Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Behind The [Ironman] Scenes With Coach Troy

Ironman Arizona was fun to watch and be part of again as the official coaching partner of IRONMAN. Congrats to everyone who accomplished their Ironman goals in 2011!

Check it out as I discuss getting started in the sport -- and why I love coaching -- in this short video clip by IronmanLive:

What are your big race goals for 2012?  Lock it down and start getting ready!

Happy Holidays!
Coach Troy

p.s. If you're not already taking the Spinervals 32 Day Challenge , you should be!

Spinervals Challenge Update #3 | The Plan & Videos Needed!

The Challenge is about to begin!! How many people are doing it, you ask? Well, it's hard to say exactly... but over 300 people have registered for a new training peaks account in order to receive their workouts daily and log their progress! Folks from here in Tucson AZ to as far away as Australia are getting ready for it. So let's GO!!

First, the month long program is now "fully baked" and is ready for public consumption.  At first, it was going to be a gut wrenching plan that would be almost impossible for anyone but a professional cyclist to complete... and even they would have a hard time.  But after further consideration and knowing that a wide range of athlete would be participating, including Ironman competitors and fitness oriented indoor cyclists, I decided to tone it down... but only a little.

One thing to know right up front is that this is **NOT AN AEROBIC BASE BUILDING PLAN**. If you are following a well-defined, traditional progression of base and endurance training this winter, this won't fit well into that regimen.  However, if you want to develop some power and boost your lactate threshold heart rate and VO2max while being motivated and training 'virtually' with others .... it'll work great.  Furthermore, I believe that many athletes who are stuck in the 'rut' of following a typical progression might find this month of training a way to shock the system into another level of adaptation.  Even for some of my personally coached athletes, I'm suggesting that they take the challenge with some minor modifications.

Another question I receive a lot is from triathletes is how to incorporate swim and run training into this cycling intensive month.  Since the month is focused on the bike, I recommend that triathletes back down on their swim and run training (especially running) and allow for the cycling work to take priority.  I've been witness many times to the benefits a block of cycle focused training can have on a triathlete's overall performance, so if you've never tried it, give it a shot.  As for running volume, I suggest only running 2-3 times per week during the challenge if you're a competitive triathlete as this will maintain your running form.

With regard to the structure of the plan, I attempted to make it difficult but still effective for the athletes participating.  Again, it would have been easy to bury you by doing "Tough Love" and "Dropping the Hammer" everyday, but that's not the purpose and would be irresponsible for me as to do as a professional coach. I want you to benefit from the plan and come out the other end on Jan. 2 with a higher level of fitness, injury free and excited about the 2012 season.  Therefore, I have incorporated somewhat of a hard/easy approach (i.e. aerobic base workouts or technique sessions then quality work), as well as some off and/or easy days for recovery.  I also included your "Wild Card" day in which you can take the day off and REST or do something else at your discretion and still qualify to be a Challenge Finisher. See, I'm nice. :)  Finally, up to 20% of the workouts can be done on the roads instead of the trainer... again giving you a mental break if needed.  Just TRY to do the workouts per the plan and monitor yourself for signs of overtraining or injury... it's up to you to train smart!  If you want to receive training guidance and advice specific to you, please consider personal coaching. 

So, what does the Challenge look like?  The best way to receive it is to register for the free trainingpeaks account, with which you'll be able to track your progress and receive detailed workouts to your inbox everyday. For those athletes who choose not to use this online coaching tool, I'll be posting workouts a few days in advance to my BLOG and FB.

Getting Started .... Here's what's in store for Dec. 1 through Dec. 4:

Thursday Dec. 1 - Spinervals 27.0 - Threshold Test (60 min.)
WELCOME TO THE CHALLENGE! Get ready for a demanding yet rewarding 32 days of pain and suffering! ;) Just kidding!! Today we'll be testing your threshold with Spinervals 27.0 - Threshold Test & Sufferfest ( to establish your zones. Use your powermeter or heart rate monitor to get a good idea of where your fitness stands at the moment and for later comparison to see your progress!

The alternative (optional) workout is to do the following on the road or trainer:
w/up 15-20 minutes
5x45 sec. pick ups @ 1 min. recovery
Spin 5-10 minutes
20 min. Time Trial Effort (best effort) while tracking your power and/or HR throughout.
Cooldown for 20-30 minutes
Use the data to calculate your training zones! There's a power meter calculation tool on this page,

Pre Activity Comments
Today is weigh-in day.  Please record your results. Also, start building your Spinervals DVD collection to match the intensity and scope of the workouts described throughout this program. Remember that we offer discounted bundles as well as discounts to our members of 20%. Learn more about becoming a member by going to

Post Activity Comments
Remember... training is only part of the performance equation. Also focus on eating a nutritious diet and proper recovery. Day to day training will gradually wear you down if you're not careful! We have lots of articles on our websites , and, as well as our blog, on this and other topics. Have a great day and post your results, send your pics and videos to the Spinervals FB page!

Fri. Dec. 2 - Spinervals 16.0 - Aero Base Builder 1 (1 hr 20 min.)

This aerobic base workout ( is to be done in zone 2 and is an 'easy' workout after the tough one yesterday where you cranked out 20 minues at LT! Remember to stay disciplined and in that lower intensity zone, and with your cadence range as described in the workout.

The alternative is any of the other Aero Base builder workouts in the series (17.0, 18.0, 21.0, 28.0. 39.0), or 1.5 - 2 hrs of aerobic training (90-100 rpms) on the roads.

Post Activity Comments
Tomorrow, we'll be adding some strength training to your plan. Get ready. If you don't already have Strendurance, you might want to get a copy of it! another strength training routine of your choice. Stay strong!

Sat. Dec. 3 - Spinervals 30.0 - Muscular Endurance PLUS (2 hrs 20 minutes). 

Legs tired yet? heh heh heh  (
This workout targets the development of your muscular endurance, zone 3. Your calorie burn will be high too. Make sure you have lots of fluids and nutrition for this 2+ hr workout. The alternative to this is about 3 hrs on the roads... at a steady moderate pace or other spinervals titles like: 9.0, 13.0, 15.0, 31.0

Strength Training

Strendurance is a great 12 week progression for strength development. Try it here,

Here's an alternative workout, short and fast, that you can do via,

Athletic Yoga is also recommended if you prefer it for strength development. Here are some great options for you to consider by Flexible Warrior,

Sun. Dec. 4 - Spinervals 28.0 - Aero Base Builder (1 hr)

Another zone 2 workout to act as recovery for yesterday's tough session!
Add an additional 15-30 minutes of easy pedaling if you'd like to hit that 90 min. range. An alternative is to do Spinervals 17, 18.0 or 28.0. If you hit the roads, ride aerobic (zone 2) for 75-90 minutes, 90-100 rpms. (Add another 30 minutes of aerobic spinning for extra credit to boost the calorie burn!)

For your future planning needs, here's a list of workouts to be used in the plan. Alternative workouts are also suggested each day that match the basic intensity and duration requirements for that day.

1.0- No Slackers Allowed
8.0- Recovery and Technique
11.0- Bending Crank Arms
12.0- Recharge
13.0- Tough Love
16.0- Aero Base 1
17.0- Aero Base 2
18.0- Aero Base 3
19.0- Bending Crank Arms
22.0- Time Trialapalooza
23.0- Time Saver 1
24.0- HILLacious
25.0- Aero Base Compilation
26.0- Hardcore 100
27.0- Threshold Test
28.0- Aero Base Builder VI
30.0- Muscular Endurance  PLUS
31.0- Endurance Booster
33.0- The Pain Cave
34.0- Super High Intensity Training
36.0- Warrior Training
39.0- Aerobic Base at 10,000 Ft.
40.0- Have Mercy, Part III
41.0- Ascending Mountains
Team Sports Training Volume 1- No Limits
On the Road Vol. 2 - Lake Placid Ride
On the Road Vol. 6 - Tempe Training Ride
Strendurance 12-Week Progression
Flexible Warrior - Athletic Yoga

Workouts can be found HERE. And don't forget that you can become a member, receive 3 DVDs and get 20% on your future DVD purchases as well as discounts to other coaching services and camps by clicking HERE.  It's the most cost effective way to go!

That's all for now. Check back frequently to Facebook and this BLOG for more updates. And if you've registered to receive workouts through a trainingpeaks account, look for your workouts to be loaded to your calendar sometime today!

Good luck everyone ... let's get this thing going!

- Coach Troy

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Spinervals Challenge | IMPORTANT UPDATES!

The Spinervals 32-Day Challenge is fast approaching and it's amazing how many people are signing up to take it from across the globe!

Here are some quick updates as the Challenge 'evolves'.

1. I have factored in a few 'mandatory' rest days into the plan. Why? Because I know how stubborn endurance athletes can be and ignore obvious signs of overtraining.  The challenge includes a TON of high intensity workouts mixed with lower intensity sessions to offer some balance.... but the inexperienced rider risks getting overloaded.  BE AWARE and MONITOR YOURSELF!

2. Wild Card REST DAYS:  In addition to the few mandatory rest days, you can include ONE additional WILD CARD rest day to take on your own accord if your energy level or your schedule requires and still be eligible to be a Challenge finisher.

3. Daily workouts include:
Name of Spinervals Video Title.
Duration of the Workout
Intensity Focus of the Workout

For Example:
Thursday, Dec. 22
Spinervals 1.0 - No Slackers Allowed (High Intensity Intervals)
45 minutes
Approx. 15 miles Total Miles

If you don't have the video that is recommended, you can substitute a similar session (or make one up on your own) that fits the basic description of the workout. Of course, it would be better to simply do the workout prescribed each and every day!  

If you've registered for a free trainingpeaks account by clicking HERE, the challenge plan will be loaded to your calendar and you'll be able to log your training progress and results each day!

Here's a list of workouts required for the first 10 days of the program. A few of these titles are now available for LEGAL (licensed for your personal use) download HERE.  Otherwise, you can order them on DVD from

Spinervals Competition Series:  16.0, 27.0, 30.0, 18.0, 11.0, 17.0, 8.0, 22.0, 31.0, 
OPTIONAL:  Strendurance 12-Week Plan and Flexible Warrior 

The exact workout each day will be posted to Facebook, as well as appear on your trainingpeaks calendar (and sent to your inbox, if you choose that option).

I hope you are getting ready! This is very exciting and I'm looking forward to all of you reaching your fitness goals over the month of December with the program!

Train well,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 Spinervals Challenge! | U Have What it Takes?

C'mon everyone... take the Spinervals Challenge with me! 
This is cool.  The 2011: 32 Days of Spinervals Challenge!! YEAH!! If you are looking for a great  challenge this holiday season to keep your mind sharp, your legs powerful and your mid-section solid, read on.

How did this idea come about you ask? Well, I wish I could take full credit for it but the genesis of the concept came from an avid Spinervals user who did 30 consecutive days of Spinervals, starting with 1.0 and going through 30.0.  I thought it was a little nuts, but after further consideration, realized it was a great idea.  In fact, this athlete said he experienced incredible gains in fitness (and loss of fat) over the 30 day period... and why not! While there's no "rhyme or reason" to the order of the workouts if done in that manner, the reality is that the random combination of hard interval days, aerobic days, technique days and endurance days really do make for a well-designed training program.  Cool!

So, the 32 Days of Spinervals Challenge leverages that same idea but will be a bit more refined.  The challenge will be HUGE however, as I KNOW how much all fans of Spinervals like to suffer (wink wink). After all, if I make it easy than anyone could do it.... I want to make it a true test of your physical and mental endurance and toughness and for those who complete the program to be in a select group.  Best of all, if you manage to get through the 32 days as intended (or even some of it, for that matter!), I believe you'll see tremendous improvement!! Keep in mind however that you'll need to 'dig deep' at times to force yourself through some of the harder sessions and the wearing down effect of training day after day.... after day. Hmmm.... it's starting to remind me of Ironman, Leadman or other Ultra race events.  LIKE!;)

Here's how it works.  Starting on Dec. 1, 2011 and finishing on January 1, 2012, you'll do a Spinervals Workout each and everyday (or a similar road session) according to my plan I post to our Facebook page or load onto Training Peaks, on which you have the option to register for a free account.  Knowing that everyone won't have every video title recommended for the program, although you can buy them, I've included some variation with the workouts... but not much.  Each day, participants in this event need to let us know that they finished the day's workout on our Facebook page.  This will keep you honest (no cheating please!) and accountable to your team members.  You'll get some positive feedback and motivation from me and other Challenge participants too (NO SLACKERS ALLOWED!).   Furthermore, since the program will be loaded to Training Peaks, you'll be able to log and track your results each and every day, as well as receive workout reminders from me in your email in-box every night.  We'll essentially be training as a team and pushing each other day after day to get the workouts done with 100% compliance all the way through to the finish line... NO ONE QUITS ONCE YOU GET STARTED!

Those people who complete the entire challenge get rewarded in a few different ways. First of all, the fitness gains will be amazing and you'll LOVE how you look and feel!   While your friends are gaining weight over the holiday, you'll be leaning down and increasing your power, VO2max and overall endurance.  Next, finishers will receive a free 6-month Spinervals Team membership, good for discounts on our products, camps, training services ,etc.  Also, your name will be listed on our website as an OFFICIAL FINISHER of the 2011 Spinervals Challenge!  And finally, you'll have the bragging rights to say that you completed the inaugural Spinervals Challenge (remember those first crazies who did the very first Ironman??). All good stuff for simply training your butt off and getting into the best shape in your life, eh?!

Here are the general rules and regulations.  Again, we're working on the honor system, so it's my hope that everyone is honest with themselves and with everyone else. No one likes a cheater who only cheats themselves! If you miss a workout, fess up... admit it and move on with the plan, ok?

Rules and other misc. thoughts:
1. You must do every workout listed in it's entirety to be considered an Official Finisher. Varying the intensity at times is fine, but you must do the intended duration per session. (i.e. A 1 hr 30 minute session means you're riding for 90 minutes, period!).

2. You can substitute up to 20% of the indoor training rides with outdoor rides and still qualify to be an Official Finisher.  I know that a sunny, crisp 55 deg. December day in the Northeast or upper Midwest makes it impossible to sit on that dang trainer... so you have some leeway here.  ;)

3. I encourage you to register for the free basic trainingpeaks account. By doing so, you'll automatically receive the workouts in your email as well as be able to log your results!

4. It's encouraged to enlist other people to help you during the challenge! Get a group together in your basement and suffer to Tough Love! Don't do it all alone!

5. This isn't a rule, but I'd like to request that you post to our Facebook page (Here) at least once a week (if not Daily!!) about how you're progressing and your thoughts and feelings on the whole shabang.  Let's have some fun with this and really push each other to ride and get the work done!

6. Also not a rule, but it would be great to 'rope' a friend or loved one into the Challenge who needs a little bit of a kick in the pants to shape up.  After all, the New Year is at the end of the program and what a great way to enter the New Year being leaner and fitter than you were before Christmas!

7.  As with any endurance event, you need to be responsible for your own personal health and safety.  That means you should get the green light from your physician before starting the challenge as well as "back off" if you feel any unusual aches or pains during the training process.  Push yourself and don't be a wimp... but also be smart and know your limitations!

8. Eat for performance during the 32 day training cycle.  A poor diet will almost guarantee your failure, so make certain that you're nailing all of your nutritional needs before, during and after workouts.

9. Maintain a good sense of humor.  No one is making you do this... you brought the torture upon yourself!

Here are some FAQS:

1. Question: Do I need to have Spinervals DVD's to participate and if so, which ones do I need?

A: Ummm, duh! - it is called the Spinervals Challenge, so YES... you will need to use Spinervals! While you can do and use whatever workouts your heart desires,  ideally and to get the most benefit from the program, you'll have one or two workouts in the series targeting each of the basic intensities and skill development areas as seen below:

Recommended Videos to Consider
- Aerobic Base Builders | Including 16.0, 17.0, 18.0, 21.0, 25.0, 39.0
- Aerobic Endurance | Including 5.0, 9.0, 13.0, 26.0, 30.0, 31.0 and On The Road 2.0, 4.0, 5.0
- Threshold Training | Including 2.0,  7.0, 11.0, 14.0, 19.0, 22.0, 23.0, 24.0,  27.0, 32.0, 34.0, 35.0, 41.0
- Power & Speed Training | Including 20.0, 23/C, Team Sports Vol. 1 and 2
- Interval Training w/ Variety | 1.0, 3.0, 6.0, 10.0, 23.0, 29.0, 33.0, 36.0, 37.0
- Technique Training | 8.0, 12.0, 23A, 38.0

Most of the titles listed above can be found by clicking HERE. And if you'd like to purchase discounted bundles of several titles, go HERE.

You can also choose to substitute other titles from our Fitness and UltraConditioning series, as you see fit. See... I'm flexible!

And to really make this an effective and challenging 32 days, I'll be making suggestions regarding strength training throughout the plan... including the Strendurance 12-Week Progression.  Check that out by going here.

2. Question:  Does this cost me anything?
A.  All it'll cost you is the initial investment in the DVDs that you choose to use during the 32 days, and that's it!  And if you don't want to buy them or don't already have some, borrow them from a cycling buddy! Please don't just 'rip' or download pirated videos... or we'll have the FBI knocking at your door. ;)  The 32 day plan and participating in it is FREE, I just ask that you tell ALL of your friends how you got so fit, strong and good looking at the end of the 32 day training period. ;)

3. Question:  How do I get started?
A. It's as simple as falling off a log.  If you want to use the free training peaks account, you can register for one by clicking HERE.  If you already have an account, simply assign me as your coach.  Once you do this, email us at and place in the subject line, Spinervals Challenge, and then mention your full name and that you registered for a training peaks account.

Otherwise, watch this blog and our facebook page daily as workouts will be posted as well as video titles to obtain.

4. Question:  If I use training peaks, when will you load the plan to my TP calendar?
A. The plan will be loaded by the 30th of November, if not sooner, for your review.  Please register for an account asap and let us know per question 3 ASAP.

If you have additional questions, let us know at and we'll be glad to help you out.

To summarize, this is to be a fun, social, facebook centered 32 day ultra-endurance challenge where you'll be using the Spinervals cycling program to boost your fitness with other athletes from around the world!  It starts Dec. 1 and is over on New Year's Day.  Workouts will be posted on Facebook each day or you can register for a free trainingpeaks account to track your progress more effectively.  I encourage you to post to our FB page daily your results for added accountability and to help motivate other participants.  You'll finish the year with a BANG and go into the New Year with your highest fitness levels ever!!! WHOOOT!

That's all for now! Let us know if you'll be taking this challenge with us or email with any questions! Get on it.

Good luck and train smart,
Coach Troy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We Take the Hard Road

A Familiar sight? A tire on the roller of your trainer. 5 am.  Click into the pedals and start to warm up with a slow spin. Ah yes, another indoor workout is about to take place on the road to nowhere.   Love it.

Pop in your Spinervals DVD workout or turn on the TODAY show. Get your water bottles ready. Turn on your fan. Put the clean, downy fresh towel on your handlebars.  Shut the door. Tell the family you're to be uninterrupted for the next hour and get the work done.  Day in, day out... 5-7 days a week. Why do you suffer like this -  both mentally and physically? Because it's who you are and it's what leads you down the path towards your goals.... whatever they may be.  Take pride in it... you are unique and special... in the top 1%. Most people think you're nuts, but you know that's not the case.  Someone, somewhere, is training more and harder than you are... in the sunshine, and you know it.  Actually, the naysayers are nuts for living a life of mediocrity and without any physical suffering. They take it easy everyday and live in the illusion of comfort while you take the hard road... everyday... with a strange sense of pleasure, because you know it makes you better.

Get up early and get on it.

Coach Troy

The Official Coach of Ironman and head Triathlon coach of Life Time Fitness, follow the coach on Twitter and Facebook

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Don't wimp out... put that belt at 15% grade!!
Fill your schedule with lots of things to do and you'll be productive most of the time. This is what I try to tell myself at least.

Like many triathletes, I try to keep lots of balls in the air. Work, kids, friends, family, training... it all takes time and energy.  I've found that the busier I am, the more I stay focused and get things done. The less I have to do, the more time it is that I waste and then wonder later on where it all went.  

So, today was one of those days where I had a million things to do and training was fairly low on the priority list, although still very important to me mentally as well as physically.   I just feel blah when I don't get the motor running a little bit most days of the month, don't you?  

After a quick and short ride, I did some of my stretch cord work (5 minutes of freestyle pulls, etc.) and then one of my favorite high intensity workouts on the treadmill.... 15-20 minutes worth of suffering. This workout will crank your heart rate and make you work muscles you never knew you had.  It's simple, tortuous and soooo effective. Try it, but only if you have an AED nearby! 

1. Set the treadmill incline at 15% grade and the speed at 3.5-4.0 mph or at a fairly comfortable pace. Walk uphill for .5 mile.
2. Raise the speed to 4.5 - 5.5 mph (Depending on your fitness) and start to 'jog' with short steps. Drive with your arms up the hill. Go for .5 miles.
3. Increase the speed to the top of your limits for .2 miles while still at 15% grade.  Hang in there and don't fall of the back! 
4. Decrease the grade to 6-8% and the speed to 3.5-4.0 mph and walk the final .3 miles as a cooldown.

Hop off and collapse.

The entire workout will take around 20 minutes and you cover a total of 1.5 miles. Not much for the hardcore endurance athlete, right. Wrong! Try this workout next time you're in need for a strong hit of intensity and you'll get it.  

Train smart,
Coach Troy

Coach Troy is the Official coach of IRONMAN and the head triathlon coach for Life Time Fitness.
Follow him on TWITTER or on FACEBOOK.

Disclaimer: This and all workouts should be done only after a complete physical exam by your personal physician.  If you get tired or sore from trying this routine, that's the intention... so stop your whining.