10 Hours to New Orleans: Week One

Over the last three years, I’ve been implementing a strength and conditioning approach to my endurance training. It’s been a wild ride yet very enjoyable working with Craig and uncovering just the right mix of strength and conditioning to train for endurance events; a slightly less than popular approach. Not popular in the sense that folks don’t believe what I am doing, but that what I am doing is very contrary to traditional thinking. It makes it difficult to understand.

With that said, this blog commences a series of blogs devoted to sharing what I’ve learned over the years and how I am approaching my endurance training quite a bit different than what you would read in a magazine. Over the next nine weeks, I plan to blow the doors wide-open revealling further insight into my approach to training for endurance events. Week to week, I’ll recap my progress and training towards the New Orleans Half Ironman, set for April 19th. I will also highlight an example of a weekly workout and provide the purpose behind each designed session. Without purpose you’re not training. Same goes for workout selection when you’re tight on time.

When I start working with an athlete, I always ask them about their purpose and how much time they’re have for training. The “why” behind what they do. The more I become a coach, I’m finding that my athletic purpose is less about my personal results. Obviously I’m after new PRs like most triathletes, but now my training is also a test for my current and future athletes. I want to keep peeling back the layers and gathering evidence based results. I need to expand on what I already know in order to better educate the next athlete.

Last Monday, I kicked off my first block of training for the New Orleans Half Ironman. With guidance from Craig, I decided to test a few new movements as we devised a schedule that will only require me to train up to ten hours a week during the peak phase. There are many traditional Ironman training protocols out there that call for close to twenty or more hours a week. I’ve never had that kind of time. Especially as I begin to work with more and more athletes, I’ve found I need to find new ways to balance my time. I don’t want to overdo working or neglect Lindsay. Training shouldn’t commence at 8pm every night. That means I have to be as efficient as possible with the time I do have for training. Leaving out any fluff to get results. That’s sort of what first brought me to this approach. Can I really meet my performance expectations in less time? It’s taken me a while to prove this to myself…

Positively enough, last year the proof was tangible evidencel. I set a new personal record in Ironman completing the Cozumel course in 10:11 with a 3:33 even split marathon. In addition, I PR’d my 10K and half, placing first overall at the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon. I also ran my first 50-miler shutting down running completely due to an ankle roll 4-weeks before the race. Weekly training volume average 15 miles prior to that incident and by Crosstraining I was still able to complete the run in just over eight hours good enough for seventh in the race. Many people would say this is because I am genetically gifted and that if I trained the traditional way I would see even faster gains. I’ve heard it from friends over and over again and even when I when I took the USAT Triathlon Coach certification.

It’s not that I disagree with the traditional way of executing endurance training – I just don’t have the time. Frankly, I don’t want to find the time. My expectations of performance are to simply improve from year to year. Not give up my life or precious time with my loved ones. I want to stay injury free and able to race often. I’m in this for the long haul.

It should now be apparent that training volume all depends on your definition of performance. I would think that the majority of athletes are not going to the Olympics anytime soon so why train like it? If you’re an athlete who doesn’t have a lot of time in my opinion this is the only way to go.

Weekly Report 

All workouts successfully completed. Cut the volume on scheduled stamina bike session due to time. Felt good to have structure again. Recovery between workouts was strong especially with the movements we’re playing with in the strength. Also, I ran (meaning I used it as a training run – not raced) in the Tybee 10K to set a benchmark for the training protcol. I finished in 37:35 good enough for 5th overall, 2nd age group. Time would have been sub 37minutes if I didn’t go off course for 45seconds. The runner in front of me was much more upset than I was 🙂

Sample Workout

(AM Session) Monday Strength

S: Back Squat. 6-6-6-6-6. Full recovery between sets.

Stiff Legged BB Deadlifts. 10-10-10.

3 x max strict pullups. 3:00 rest between efforts

Duration: 1 Hour

Goal – Complete heavy load strength training in the legs (primary muscles for triathlon) aiming above 70% of 1 rep max to improve strength, speed and work economy.

The main move and accessory work build durability in key muscle groups needed for the sport. Triathlon is all about maintaining posture and using our more powerful larger muscle groups to do the work. By implementing this type of workout, it will be easier for me to turn over my feet during the run, keep the cadence high on the bike and increase the power of my stroke in the water.

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