[In this mini-series of articles, we explore the training regimes of our team members and ambassadors. There is no "one" way to get you to your goal and as you will see in this series on training regimes no two TUSA members take the same approach. From climbing over fences, to lower-for-longer, we look to expose a number of approaches to training in the hopes that you might find some tips, tricks or advice to help you reach your goals and improve your training regime]
Coach or Self Trained? I was self-coached for 2 years when I first started in the sport after college. I followed a lot of the advice from the Triathlon Training Bible trying to average 12 hour weeks. This got me through 3 half Ironmans and improvements through every event but I wanted more. I had set goals for myself to get to the Ironman World Championships and I knew I needed more than just myself. I just didn’t know how to put together a proper training plan. I hired my coach April of 2016 and I found him through a Podcast I listen to regularly. He is a guest on Endurance Planet for the Ask the Coaches (ATC) podcast they have every other week. I liked his style and I knew he would be able to get me where I wanted to go.
Time Dedicated to Training: Average week of triathlon training is ~16-20hours or training. I have put in a couple 20hr weeks but these are tough because it is relentless! When I was focused on the marathon training it was lower hour weeks just because I wasn’t putting in the long 5+hour bike rides on the weekend. I get in at least 2 sessions a day, often 3. This only works because I wake up pretty early to get in the long early sessions (usually 4:30AM is my wake-up time). My company has 2 gyms on campus including a swimming pool, so this allows me to get in lunch time workouts pretty easily. And I will also add in the after-work sessions every so often (not a fan of these ones).
Training Method: My coach and I follow in general the MAF method. It is based on the building your maximum aerobic function to the point that you can run fast at a low HR. This is the general guide but the training always evolves as I evolve and adapt. It is an amazing way to become an endurance athlete. In our opinion, you shouldn’t worry about speed if the distance is the challenge. So, we put in a lot of time to get the distance to feel easy. Once that happens then it is time to introduce speed. It is a basic periodization program that you build the base so you can absorb the speed later.
Time vs. Distance: This is often debated when training. What is the best method, time or distance? I believe in both. Distance in the pool, time and distance on the bike and mostly distance on the run with the occasional timed run if it is just for recovery and an easy 20-30min with zero cares in the world how far I run.
Travel: I travel often for work, and these travel trips are not just inside the country. When I travel, it is usually for 2-3 weeks over in Asia. This is the time that is the most difficult to get in training. The jetlag destroys you and you just don’t have everything you need to be able to properly train. But I generally have a choice of hotels that have a decent gym and pool in it. So before going into the trip I will usually put in a pretty heavy bike week knowing I will not be able to bike much while traveling. My workouts when I am traveling are generally done only in the early mornings because we usually have team dinners that keep me from the gym in the evenings. But when traveling I have to accept I will miss a few workouts. It is almost impossible to do workouts 2x a day while overseas just because of the logistical reason of driving 3 hours a day to and from the factories. But I always make sure to get something in. CONSISTENCY IS KING!
Life Balance: What is this? Isn’t life all about Triathlon? JK, my fiancé probably wouldn’t like me saying that. There are 4 things I juggle in life and sometimes it doesn’t always work that well. Family, work, training, eating. I generally balance everything around my family time and training. I know that if I want to do all the training I want to do then I need to do this when my fiancé is a sleep so I can have time with her. Or for those long weekend days I make sure to talk to her first to let her know what the plan is and how long I will be away. But I am always prepared to adjust my training because guess what? I’m not a pro triathlete and do not get paid for this, it is a hobby and I must remember that!
There is not one method of training and I have evolved over the past 3 years to be able to handle this large workload. I used to believe that 10hr weeks were long training weeks for me. It takes time for the body to adapt and absorb more and more. I am in this sport for the long term and that is the best way to grow in this sport because endurance take years and years to gain. That’s why the best AG fields tend to be mid 30’s to mid 40’s.
These AG’s are crazy fast and I hope when I am in my last 30’s I will be just as fast!