Someone actually wants to know how I train! Although I'm suspicious. Nega-Coach, is that you? Is this a trick? Also, it could be Mike (not Gilio), and not Nega-Coach. If it is Mike, please know that I really liked talking with you at the workshop, and I think you're smart and funny, and not abrasive at all, and my ranting was/is not directed at you AT ALL. And thank you for talking with me about the Nike Free shoes, too.
AND if this is just some David I have never met, which you most likely are, then hi!
First, before I get into the beauty of how I train (or how Jen trains me, I should say) I need to mention that
I get to race tomorrow! Andy and I are racing the Lobsterman Olympic in Freeport, Maine. Then, on Sunday, I'm in a relay for the Dover Sprint. I'm doing the swim. It's like 500 meters, I think. What could be better than that? Then I get to watch Jay and Mike, my relay teammates, suffer. Should be fun!
My goal is to work so hard in this race that I come close to puking at the end. That will be success. And not to be a chicken on the bike, that's another goal--both on descents and corners, and around pacing.
So onto training. Naturally I could go on and on about this, and the question is how specific to get. I will start with the general:
My fav. triathlon book on training is Joe Friel's Going Long. Lots of my early understanding on training for long course triathlon comes from him.
Before I get into each discipline I will start by saying that I believe in nonlinear periodization. Periodization is considered nonlinear when it mixes together all of the training types (aerobic, anaerobic, muscle-training, speed, strength and power), throughout each training cycle, and changes in emphasis are not extreme. I find that most triathletes are taught to train, and do train linearly--that is, each phase of training is distinct from the others in terms of what type of training is emphasized or de-emphasized. I believe it's important not to allow any one part of your training fall behind the others, because each type of training is inter-dependent. Should any one aspect of your training by side-lined because of the phase of training you are in, you risk that aspect becoming a limiter to your other aspects of fitness. (This thinking is taken directly from Brad Hudson's Run Faster.)
In my case, neuromuscular fitness is a limiter in the swim, bike and run. I have learned over the years that my endurance/aerobic fitness is quite strong. I can build it quickly and it stays with me. I'm lucky that way. However, neuromuscular fitness, for me, is a limiter. My body loves long, slow miles, and it takes a great deal of focus and practice to get my body to learn and retain speed, strength and power since my body wants to be programmed to run long and slow. For this reason, the long, slow base training followed by a short period of sharpening does not work for me. I need consistent, steady focus on neuromuscular adaptations to race well.
I usually do three swim workouts of about an hour/3000 or so yards each week. During base training and peak IM training some of those swims get longer and can be up to 4000+ yards. Each workout has some intensity--though the amount and length of intensity varies depending on what period I'm in and what I'm training for. In the winter I often do a few meets, and my training at those times is geared toward swimming faster in the pool (as opposed to the strength/endurance needed to swim long in OW). My favorite workouts involve a lot of IM (individual medley--fly, back, breast, free). In base or peak training I top out at about 11-11,500 yards a week.
I do three-four rides each week, with one, sometimes two of the rides involving intensity, and one ride longer than the others. The other two rides are usually recovery or medium effort rides. Usually the long ride is a brick--that is, followed by a short (under an hour) run. At times there are race-intensity efforts of 5-15 minutes followed by short recoveries interspersed in these long rides. The intensity workout varies according to the period of training I'm in, and also what I am training for. It often involves repitions of high zone 3/low zone 4 efforts (heart rate) for 10 minutes followed by several minutes of recovery. The long rides are between 2-6+ hours, the longer ones occurring in the base phase and during IM peak training. My highest volume week so far has been about 230 miles. I have a long way to go on the bike, I know.
I am a fan of Jack Daniels, Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald. I have read all of what each has written (Daniels (Jack Daniels' Running Formula) and Hudson(Run Faster) each have one dominant book. Fitzgerald has a few, but I like his Brain Training for Runners the best. As a triathlete I can only run 4 times a week, though recently that has increased to 5 days because I am also training for a marathon. Two of those runs are recovery runs or medium-effort runs. One run involves intensity, frequently fartlek, sometimes tempo, sometimes intervals (usually longer ones) on the track. I also do one long run, which usually involves some slightly faster than race pace running when I am close to a specific race. My mileage caps at about 50-55 miles per week, but most of the time I hover between 35-40. I've never run more than 60 miles a week in my life. I find it's impossible to do when you are also focusing on the other disciplines. Additionally, I'm not sure it's necessary, given that I do so much work on the swim and bike to build aerobic endurance.
This is a very typical type of schedule. Nothing too novel. Where I differ from some is in my belief (like Hudson) that all systems should be a part of each training cycle.
I also differ from others in the per mile pace of recovery, medium-intensity, and long runs. I prefer to train by heart rate, which I guess is actually not uncommon. At the workshop I was at this weekend they recommend running a good 3 minutes slower for my long runs than my marathon pace. That's 10:35 miles for me--and I find the thought of running that slowly absolutely ridiculous. During a recovery run, I try to keep my heart rate in zone 1 only. This is very slow running for me, but still not as slow as was recommended. It usually translates to a 9:00-9:10 pace. For a regular, moderate run, for warm-ups and cool-downs, and for long runs, I hover in mid-zone 2,which for me is between 8:30-8:10 pace usually. For long runs, however, I often pick up the pace progressively as the run continues, starting at 9:00 pace or so and finishing according to Jen's instructions--usually around 7:30 pace. This type of running goes against what many coaches recommend--as it combines two types of hard-workouts, namely the long run and some tempo running. I should also say that as a race draws near, I often slip in pace miles and pick-ups all over the place--just to get the body snappy and ready to move.
I often follow the hard/easy protocol, but not always. Long course triathletes must do a lot of their racing in a fatigued state, so it makes sense that some training should be done when not fresh. My long brick is often followed the next day by a long run, for example.
I also race more frequently then many coaches recommend. I believe frequent racing keeps me in touch with the feeling of race-intensity pain, which is very hard to create in training. It also functions as a way to do race pace work. When training for Boston several years ago I did a long race roughly every other weekend, and alternated racing with long, easy runs. The effect was that I built endurance, but also got my body used to the pace I planned to run at Boston. It worked. And it was really fun.
Some people break down more easily than others. I have noticed that I can really pick up my hours/miles per week for several weeks, and then I just will suddenly shut down, first physically, then, soon after, emotionally. Often I don't see it coming. I'll have a few great workouts in a row and then I'll crash. I have learned to listen to my body, and when it shuts down, even if I can't figure out WHY it's shutting down, I back off. I hate to admit when I can't handle a workload, but as I get older I have become more careful. I've only be seriously injured once, with a bad bout of Achilles tendinitis, and my plan is to not let that happen to me again.
Finally, I do some lift and I do do functional exercises and core exercises, but not as frequently as I should. I don't stretch often, and I never do Yoga or Pilates, although I would if I had more time. I believe my weaknesses are primarily on the bike. I need help technically--as in pedal efficiency, cornering, getting on and off the bike quickly and smoothly, and I need work on increasing my power. Although I hate to admit it, I think that these two things will come if I do base work this winter and get my mileage up. My swim and run weekly mileage are higher comparatively to my bike.
I'm sorry if this was really boring to you. Actually, if it was boring you would've stopped reading by now, so who cares. I'm not sorry. I had fun thinking about it. Thanks, for asking David! Hopefully at least you read to the end!
There is no reason for this picture. I just like it.