Final Days of August

Boulder day 1

Woke up Saturday in a new environment once again to train.  I have been in Boulder a few times before, but never to train.  Once again visiting my good friend and training partner from Park City who also joined me in Bend, and now here in Boulder.  He lives a good schedule like mine!

Coffee, breakfast and off for a 4 hr bike and a 30 min run.  Great ride out of Boulder, up St. Vrain to Raymond, and then on to Nederland along the Peak to Peak Highway.  Epic scenery, good work intervals again on long steady climbs that allow you to stay in the big ring.  In this case I did 2×20 min at 10% above race watts with 10 min recovery (on a hill).  Short stops at Raymond store (cool spot), and back home via Left Hand canyon.  Home, quick turnaround to a steady run on Cottonwood trail, 4 miles of steady IM goal pace.  Done!

Observations:  riding at altitude is a personal thing.  Some people really struggle with it, despite being crazy fit, others don’t really notice it.  I felt very little over the past month, whether at 7200 ft in Tahoe, 9500 ft in Park City, or 9500 ft yesterday on Peak to Peak Highway.  As long as I gradually warm up the Diesel engine, allow my breathing and legs to work in synch, the wattages are just as high as sea level.

Another thing I noticed on this last short stack is that if you focus only on the work that lies ahead in your training, the remainder of the time running or riding turns into a more effective, efficient and relaxed output.  As many of us have observed, once doing some work intervals, the wattages and paces after seem to come easier, be stronger.  Of course there are days when the work needs to be done later in the ride, but again, if the focus is just good execution until the work, things seem to be just fine.

Lastly, finishing up this final push reminds me that I am reaching a bit.  Reaching means that I can tell the fatigue is coming, and while the workouts are still very effective, I know I am needing more sleep, recovery, food, hydration and body awareness to execute well.  Nothing comes easy.  It requires focus, inertia and prep to do right.  Luckily I have been in environments these last 30 days where almost all has been ideal for this training.  Time for a few easier days!

Boulder day 2

Feeling good from training yesterday made for a fun long run today.  Today would be about endurance and strength, as running Magnolia Rd. is not only an ass kicker, but it’s at 8500 ft or higher the entire run (16 miles).  I started cautious since I don’t usually run that high, and know from past experience that once the HR goes at altitude, it rarely settles back down.  But since this was a rolling, dirt road out and back, it allowed for a steady build run, going from an aerobic effort to anaerobic over the course of 2 hrs.  Finished strong, last mile is uphill, but knowing that this was basically the last workout of the Epic August, I pushed it to exhaustion.  After we dipped the beat up legs in Boulder Creek, grabbed a lunch and toasted to an epic August coming to a close.

Boulder day 3

Solid morning swim of 3500yrds and then off to see Matt Steinmetz for some last tweaks to bike fit before Kona.  Any changes now can still be effective going into the final 6 weeks.  He is not only a good friend but really knows his stuff when it comes to gear, technology and coaching principles, so it was a great match to work with him today.  He chastised me enough on the Coast Ride on my fit and why I leave time on the course with subpar technology, I made an effort to come out here and see him.  Also not easy after he just got off a plane from Europe and being at EuroBike.. Good tweaks, good knowledge exchange.  Can’t wait to apply the changes.

The afternoon is off!  A full afternoon off today!  Tomorrow is September 1, and the race prep and focus kicks in.  No more big volume, more about focused watts, lots of race sim and adding speed and power into the fitness I built in The Epic August of 2015!

August was amazing.  I got to train with some amazing friends in amazing locations.  Tahoe kickstarted this push in late July, staying with friends that were generous to share their home last minute in Alpine.  It continued into August with a great trip to Park City, again with friends that were so generous and fun with letting me stay with them.  On to Bend to visit my ‘family’, close friends that have been supportive of my life, approach and family for 10 yrs now (When I left the corporate world), and finally here in Boulder, back with my friends that also live in Park City, now they open their home in Boulder and join in my adventures again.  It is a month like this, I will look back on many years from now, remembering the amazing training, the epic locations along with the sufferfests out there.  It’s friendships, beers, stories, and amazing memories that will make this sport nothing but a big smile some day…and something I am totally grateful for.  That is what all this is about: living.

I’ll go on to Kona in 6 weeks, race my best, and feel a deep satisfaction that I not only trained the best I could, but also made the best memories along the way I could.  Solidified friendships for life, made many new friends, and still kept moving forward with the training and fitness.

Progress, not perfection.  That’s living…


Days 22-25: The Short Stack

Just like eating pancakes I like to stack my training into short stacks and big stacks. Short stacks are usually super focused 2 days – either big volume or high intensity – followed a a day or two of easier training. I modeled this approach from my ultra running days – where it is quite common to try and decrease the number of days you do a certain distance in. For example: when training for a 100 miler, you might begin with it taking you 10-12 days to get that distance in…and as you get fitter, better prepared and see your body is able to handle the load(s) – you might be running a 100 miles in 3 days with little recovery windows. So – back to triathlon: After some bigger volume and training with a fair amount of intensity sprinkled in the last 3 weeks, I wanted to throw in a short stack this week. A lighter Sunday (just a swim) and an early Saturday run (20 miles on trails in Bend) – I had 48 hrs of recovery with only a long – stretched out swim…I should be recovered.

My short stack consisted of 3 hrs bike with 10% over and unders with a 6 mile tempo run off the bike. I do this later in the day in order to finish the training, eat, sleep, wake up early and continue the short stack: in this case a swim and 16 miles speed changes run. Therefore in 20 hrs I got in 6 hrs of quality training. Then I planned to keep things simple again for 48 hrs.

3hrs on the bike included 5×10-15 minutes over race watts by 10%, with recovery at under race watts by 10% in between. Due to terrain, this means I started my ‘work at 25 minutes into the ride, and had to shut it down after 2:25hrs. It worked out to being a great quality ride with 5 steady rounds of under overs. Off bike and go for 6 miles, ran a little hot, but kept the RPE dead on a tick slower than 70.3 feel. Home by 6pm, eat, drink, little work, eat and drink some more…bed…5am wake up, coffee, to the pool, and in the water at 5:40am. Quick 4000, then home – eat, hydrate and 16 miles run at 5-5-5 build. 5 miles at IM pace, 5 miles at tick faster (12-15 sec) – 5 miles another tick faster (15sec)..1 mile back off on feel of IM pace. Done by 10am. Got ‘er done in just over 20 hrs.

What is a big stack? 3-4 days in a row, but being real smart on the intensity vs. volume. Since the big stack also has little recovery time (since the training hrs are longer), you can’t ask for both – so back off the intensity – until the last day – then – if things are still clicking – go! Have fun – work out all the ‘patience & restraint’ you showed earlier. But if you stack it right – that should not happen. The real big stack? What I did with Rich Roll and some of my UltraMan guys.. Day 1 was a 8-10k swim + 50 mile bike – Day was a 100 mile bike – Day 3 was a 40 miles run….basically 80% of the race distance..if you can resume ‘regular’ training after that…you are ready…!

After my short stack I ate a lot – quality = carbs! After 20 hrs of recovery it was easy to resume regular Wednesday intervals in the morning class and today worked a quality swim (3900yrds) with a quality run (2x{3×1 mile build to 30 sec faster than race pace} continuous).

Class in the morning and off to Boulder. Another short stack in the mountains please!

Day 21: What it all means

As I wrote my athletes today – any big training week, or multiple weeks, is only as good as your ability to come back home, into your structured training, and being able to execute the same or better than before.  Once home – on your familiar routes, your runs, your classes, your pool, your climbs, TT sections or favorite loops – and you can do them better, stronger, faster….THAT is successful big training.  Being able to absorb a big block of training, and then come home or into your ‘measurable environment’ and return to executing like there never was a big week?  THAT is fitness…THAT is getting stronger…THAT makes you feel good about your progress, focus and execution.  Training is only as good as your ability to absorb and progress…one day to the next…Absorb requires paying careful attention to recovery, sleep, diet, refueling and rehydration.  Progress requires smart prep, diligent execution in order to fairly and accurately compare the training week over week…month to month.  With all our tools to train these days…power meters, HR monitors, GPS for pace and speed…nothing replaces feeling strong and progress on your loops, your roads, your familiar environment…then you know you are getting stronger…

…”Your ability to train effectively enough to stimulate the appropriate adaptations”…

I woke up early today – despite getting in late from the drive yesterday.  Got some things organized, and off to swim I went.  4500 yards in the pool felt amazing.  Not necessarily super fast – but steady, long, connected, and great to flush out an 8 hr drive on the same day I woke up and did a 20 mile run…Its been 3 shorter days now with Fri/Sat and Sun.  Tomorrow week 4 begins.  But so far its all been quite manageable, I have been able to train effectively enough to stimulate the appropriate adaptations.  More on the how..and what I am seeing, in tomorrows entry.

Bend is done – Park City is done – Tahoe is done.  One more tour stop to go.  Boulder later this week.  Lets throw on one more week for good measure.  I am still feeling good/connected/healthy/recovered/absorbing:

August is 23 days old.  So far its been 1053 miles of cycling, 149 miles of running, 41,380 yrds of swimming: 78:57 hrs of training….only 8 more days to go!


Day 20: The Long Run

We woke up to a beautiful but cold morning in Bend (34 degrees…!) but we knew that starting early allowed for a bit of humidity in the air as well as better running conditions….It was a long one – we planned for 18-20 miles.  This run is quite smooth on soft single track through the woods and high desert at the base at Bachelor.  Not a lot of rollers or elevation gain and the return is a wee bit faster than the outbound leg…everyone was able to just set their watch for 1:15-1:20 out, knowing the return is faster..then whatever mileage you ran…done.

When running long on trails, without valid mile pace – the body should/like to settle into a rhythm, homeostasis.  A place where the effort, the balance between aerobic and anaerobic energy systems (fat & glycogen burning engines) synch up nicely and you just allow the ‘legs to carry you’…So after a steady start – just relax, run, take in the surroundings, and enjoy the ability to be able to go out and run 18-20 miles on a Saturday morning in Bend OR, with perfect cool weather, incredible views, fit legs and sound mind.  Allowing your thoughts to clear, to untangle the brain…and realize that you are actually running pretty well, clicking off some steady miles, feel energetic and like you…can…run….forever…THAT is the brain off running I talk about in my coaching a lot…but it only comes if you allow yourself to let go of ‘how’ you are feeling with regards to running, and instead absorb and experience your environment – surroundings – your body’s synchronicity.

It was nice to hear when I got back, that others felt the same way: connected, strong, like they could run…much longer…and that they kept looking at their watch saying “ok, just a few more outbound minutes”…!

That afternoon the kids and I packed up – and drove back to Marin, Bay Area.  I was hoping to get back before midnight – get a decent night sleep and be in the pool (remember the one I missed?!) by 8:30am for Masters…

Day 19 – Rest/Recovery Day

After stacking 3 bigger days in a row, and a total of 15 hrs in 3 days, it was time to take an easier day.  Since I missed my swim on Thursday morning, I planned on swimming a bit longer this morning.  As with most camps, with the work being stacked, and everybody absorbing the training well, besides a swim there was choice afternoon.  This means if you so desire, we are in an ideal environment as well as a beautiful one, for an afternoon spin or easy trail run.

After morning 5300m swim I got my kids squared away at the skatepark as well as riding lessons, I did my weekly strength work in stretch cordz (600) and some general core and body stably work.  Solid day that might not have been a lot of hours, but good quality.  Swim was steady and late sets were still as fast/connected as the earlier sets.  The stretch cordz are pure technique combined with strength.  Of course all of us met at 10 Barrel Brewing Company in the afternoon and toasted our hard work so far this week…

Tomorrow:  2.5 hr trail run and thats a wrap for Bend!

Day 18: getting to the back end

Last day of cycling in Bend.  The smoke has cleared and we started the day with a clear blue sky and views of all the seven peaks surrounding Bend.  Today the agenda called for a morning swim – 3 hrs bike with some cadence strength intervals on the climb up to Mt. Bachelor..followed by a fast focused run off the bike.

I missed my first workout in August today.  After picking the kids up from camp and running around with dinner and the group on Wednesday night, hot temps etc., I knew I needed sleep.  I didn’t get to bed until later, and I can feel the body creeping closer to the edge: training + kids + daily activities/work/dogs/life was starting to affect my recovery from these past 4-6 days of training.  I needed a good nights sleep – which I got (9hrs!)…and skipping a swim, well, that is one area I feel I can ‘catch up’ again quickly if I miss one…and I sorta feel good about my swimming for IM..

Off to camp after making morning lunches and breakfast etc…last day of camps!  Then off to ride bike.  Solid ride.  Legs responded immediately on the intervals – started off a little hot, but stayed within ranges (just creeping to the top end) – and I like playing mental games with this:  if I commit to a number early, well then I am ‘stuck’ holding it throughout the intervals…Can start off hot without standing by the watts/pace etc.  my…own…fault…right?  Finished a solid ride over Bachelor to the lakes and back, (60 miles) in 3:05, then off to run:  6 miles, dead on race pace.  Not quite as fast/smooth/controlled as the other day as well as I would have liked, but never compromised form, footwork and focus to finish the 6 miles as ‘asked’..

Then – with my Park City training buddy in town, we closed out a good 3 day block with beers and lunch at Cascade Lakes Brewing Co.  Off to get kids from Camps, then to pump track for some dirt biking fun…ouch…late night dinner out in Bend…and a few drinks too many as the morning alarm clock’s gonna hurt…7am swim:  5000 meters of steady work at pacing sets.  Later stretch cordz, core and strength work.  Easier day is planned.


Day 17: BOR day

There are days – where you just go out and ride…long.  Why?  We had done solid quality the day before (4.5 hrs at race pace or faster) and today a 6 hr ride was scheduled.  All was going to be a day just like last week in Park City – 3 hrs out – long chill stop – and a long ride back…throw in that today was also over a beautiful landscape with McKenzie pass on the agenda.  Flat roads into Sisters – then a nice 15 mile gradual climb into Lava fields and spectacular vistas.  Then the plan was to descend down the other side, flip a b*tch, back home we go.

Why not ride focused?  Why just a big ole ride?  Why turn the brain off?  When we just ride, we again listen to our body and tend to ride smarter.  There are days to push – watch the watts, HR, pace etc.  Where we want to grind out the work, keep the technique sound while being very focused on keeping up the intended workload. This days require mental and physical engagement…and therefore they are quite taxing for both – brain & body…And while we often feel ok enough to come back and do it again the next day, it often is not as effective as taking a day to focus on aerobic training, relaxed riding, good circles, good breathing – allowing the body to create the fatigue based off the distance (100+ miles) vs. the effort.  The load stacks well for a few reasons:  first, because the brain and body need a break from the efforts/focus the day before, secondly if you look at the energy burned (kj) and training stress, 6 hrs easy, on feel, burns the same energy and stresses the body the same as 3-4 on intervals and focused numbers.  So – at the end of the day the body still had the same energy load, but the brain and body got a break from pushing it to the edge again.

Plus – when we just ride on a big ole ride, its seems less easy those last few hours since the body is tired anyways…so the brain and body get to a similar point just on time alone.  Mitochondria is nicely stimulated in this the of ride, and often that means one needs to ride easier than you think!!

The constant triathlete mantra SHOULD be – but is often forgotten:  train hard on focused interval and speed days, train easy on easy days.  It allows your peaks (stimulus) to kick in stronger, since your valleys (active recovery/rest days) are well absorbed.  Too many do the good ole triathlete misstep:  train a tick too hard on easy days, and not hard/focused enough on the hard days…  IF you stack it right – the body will respond better and better to the stimulus…and that is our entire goal right?

So often coaches (like me) look at the athletes training plan and we wonder why the athlete can’t execute the training as written (data/testing/races all provide the validation that the intervals SHOULD be doable), but because the easy days were not quite easy enough..the body was just not ready/available..OR the athlete get sick/injured after a few weeks of this “just a tick too hard” on easy days…because the fatigue causes a crack in the armor…and gradually the body breaks…all because of that incremental “tick too hard”…

If you wonder if you are going easy enough….go easier…then you are getting close…and watch the fast days crank up!

Great day today: a little over 100 miles, 6500ft of climbing, good company, and steady, relaxed, aerobic legs all day.  Never went over the wattage I held yesterday for 77 miles…despite climbing 15 miles today…all low watts.

For me..tomorrow quality again – 20 min intervals climbing, strength work, and a 45 min race pace run.


Day 16 – Race Simulation – because it presented itself perfectly.

The temps started heating up in Bend today – day 16 of this awesome stretch in August.  After a solid recovery day it was time to really push a focused workout that had race sensations and focus written into it.  We had a 3 hr bike planned with an hour run off the bike at race pace/feel.  We started mid morning (9:15am) so the temps were quickly coming up in the high desert out towards Prineville, OR.  A very flat – fast – steady course allowed for some good interval work followed by some steady IM watts.  Of a 77 mile ride, 60-63 were non stop head down aero bars.  Temps worked there way into the 90s and it was really (really) dry.  Forest fires in the area added a little haze and seemed like they keep the heat captured in the valley…

The goal today was mental, in combination with the watts.  We are all familiar with training days where visually everything keeps us engaged, as well as smooth pavement, cool conditions, we are topped off, with fuel and hydration..: well today was NOT that.  Hot & dry, headwind, little water, visually not that exciting as it is all dry grass, rocks and bushes…the fires even stole our views of the mountains surrounding us.  It is on days like these where dropping down in the bars and just doing the work, the watts, staying somewhat smooth, drinking hot water and remaining relaxed while the body is achy holding position on a crappy chip seal road – that taxes you.  We all knew it riding…no talking – just getting through miles and miles of flat – dry – windy roads..keep the watts – do the work – get it done.  It was actually the perfect Kona stop (signs or lights) for 30 miles – quick turn – then again for 15 miles etc.  Dry hot – and mentally fatiguing…but awesome…so perfect.  Again – a rare opportunity to simulate and work the brain and body at the same time.  77 miles, 3:22 of riding..

Run off the bike was beautiful given it was 95 degrees and dry..we ran on trail just next to the Deschutes River – but where it is canaled through a tighter section and therefore flows strong with white water and speedy drop offs.  Running in the heat – cotton mouth and drinking hot water in a water bottle you carry – while the ice cold Deschutes is splashing next to you – is again – a fun mental game…60 minutes at 10-12 sec faster than IM pace off the bike…Check!  Might have pushed the last 2 miles a bit harder…but it was a solid day and I wanted to close it out with good form, fast turnover..

DONE – Race sim – complete – hydrate – eat – pick up kids from camp – then out to Worthy Brewing Company for a fun group dinner….

Day 15: Recovery Day

Day 15 was a recovery day.  Up very early for a swim, only to get to the pool to see it crazy crowded!  5:45am: packed!  Bend, I tell ya.  But we got in a nice 3600m.  Breakfast sweets at Sparrow Bakery with a perfect coffee and home to the kids for a day of camps, skating, playing, pool, and a bunch of training plans and emails!  But was still nice to have an afternoon trail run before picking my son up at outdoor survival and adventure camp.

Again:  easy on feel is so nice:  no Hr or pace, just running..

Best part of an easy day in the midst of a lot of training?  EATING ALL DAY LONG!

Day 14: Sunday Sunday Sunday!

What an epic day.  Early morning start in order to beat traffic as well as get the day going as the previous day we spent all day out doing the Bend triathlon.  Makes it hard when you leave your kids al day with your friends.

37 and clear made for a chilly start but the beauty of riding uphill to Mt Bachelor from the first pedal stroke made this a lot more manageable.  We had 75 miles planned with a one hour transition run.  Quickly an athlete of mine asked about wattage and how to ride today’s training…and most heard me say: just ride …but what HR?…just ride…but what watts?…just ride…but how do you want me to just ride?…just ride!   I know that may seem short, and not like a good coach answer…but I tell most of my athletes that when out on the road, whether for work or play, that new roads, especially in epic places…just ride, just run, just go on feel.  There are a few benefits to this:

  1. Chill out!  We are so technology driven in this sport, that just going by feel or how the body WANTS to that day is a very important ingredient in a good training plan.  If you are wound that tight that you can’t enjoy a beautiful ride in one of the most scenic spots in the country (Cascade Lakes Scenic Highway), then I am concerned more about your approach to the incredible fitness and health you have, and not enjoying it for what it’s worth.  I ride quite often just on feel, with no devices, and there is still a great training benefit as well as I am able to soak in the surroundings and my environment.
  2. If your devices go out or don’t work on race day…uh oh.  You have no idea what to feel…plenty of stories and examples out there if devices being stolen, not working or just malfunctioning on your BIG day…no biggie if you have also trained plenty on feel.
  3. Even if all your computers are working, there are race days when the HR is just not doable or the watts are way too forced.  So many things can favor into that, whether outside environment or internal stresses.  But riding and running on feel allows you to find you natural feel and cadence for the day, and often the watts/HR settle in after, but you allowed your body to dictate the day, vs. dictating a forced number to your body.  At every Tour de France you see riders get spit off the back, but once they settle into their own rhythm and feel, they often regain their placing or stay quite close!  It’s all about practicing YOUR Feel.
  4. When we are home is when it is ideal to do intervals.  Sure – I have been on the road for 3 out of 4 weeks now…and I need to get in some intervals…BUT – usually I say – when you are at home – in your usual, measured and familiar environment – that is a great time to do the focused interval work.  But when out on the road – for work or for play – it is important to not force intervals in where you don’t know the route (frustrating!) – and to not try and look for great results as often too many variables come into play.
  5. So, off we rode:  I told that athlete to put his computer in his pocket and look at it after, see how he rode on feel!

    A great ride with 5800 feet of steady grade climbing in 75 miles. Beautiful crater lakes, mountain vistas and great roads.

    After a gorgeous, and I mean incredible, run along the Deschutes river trail:  white water rushing amongst lava rock and through some beautiful forest landscapes.  As one of my athletes said: she felt like she could run forever on the soft dirt, pine needles and the amazing visual stimulation.

    Another 5 hrs of training in the books!  Rest day tomorrow!

Day 13 – Bend Triathlon

After a long day of driving with the kids from SF to Bend (taught class in SF in the morning, ended the day at dinner in Bend) – I wasn’t sure how I would feel today for our triathlon training day – 1 hr swim – 3.5 hr bike – 45 min run.

Started with a morning Long Course swim – outdoors, here in Bend. 3000m, long – stretched out and effective.  Then a quick transfer onto the bike for a 75 mile flatter – rolling ride to Sisters and back.  Close it out with a 6 mile run at Shelving Park (where we parked for the bike).  I am looking forward to this week of training.  The guys all seem to be ready to train – very little complaining, quick transitions today and overall the group was prepared for whatever the day brought.  I was impressed.

Riding up here in Bend is also unique – from horse farms to high desert plateaus – to mountain passes or even 40-50 mile flat roads, its all here.  We go a nice taste of all today.  The group might have started a bit aggressive, but that will only show itself in a few days after we layer this training for some big miles…

Observation today – after a week of training on HR in Park City – the response to wattages on the TT bike today was well aligned to what I had been seeing last week.  I feel good that the HR last week was at the right wattages, and feel even better that the HR training last week kept things more natural and tempered in this big block.  Wattages always pull you into a bigger number – if it feels good – you tend to drift higher…if it feels hard, you keep trying to re-engage into getting back onto a decent number.  You end up pushing, grinding a number that is not ideal for form, efficiency and aerobic – relaxed, sound technique riding.  Today, seeing wattages that were really good AND feeling good about the technique – form and relaxed aero position, validated last weeks training to me again.

13 days in, just under 50 hrs over training.  Another 6 to go tomorrow!  A beautiful scenic 5 hr bike via Cascade Lakes Highway and Mt Bachelor.  Then an hour run on the Deschutes River trail..

Good night – 8hrs to go…

Day 12: Driving to Bend

While the day had little training – just a morning class – and although I felt really good – one can push through 90 minutes of intervals quite nicely. BUT – while driving north 8 hrs. to Bend, OR – I was thinking how well the training is going and why I felt so good through this big block. Some things became very clear to me:

  1. I have been getting good sleep – always around 8hrs per night. Some nights a little over 7, but still good quality sleep.
  2. I have been drinking a lot of water – looking at 3-4 32oz Nalgene’s per day – when not training. A gallon of water helps.
  3. I have been eating a ton. I always eat a lot – but I have been reminding myself to keep eating…Never stop eating…always be eating..and the right foods. It becomes quite habit forming to time the food right.. its training, big training, not a weight loss plan. If I come out of these three weeks weighing the same – perfect. I am not looking to be that much lighter for Kona, I want to be fitter and stronger.
  4. The recovery between workouts has been focused. While working, I am constantly drinking water – eating well, and have my legs up or resting.

It seems so basic – but sleep often doesn’t stay this consistent…remaining on top of the fluids is often overlooked…and the food isn’t as good for fueling…Mix them all together right and it seems to work for me.

Day 11 – Halfway home?

Closing out a quick stay at home today in Marin.  Gorgeous day at home today – mid 80s and clear coast.

The day started with a fun swim.  Always a good reminder of what swimming used to be like when swimming with all the high school kids currently.  We did a set of 200s and the are holding 1:55s and pushing 1:50 on the faster ones.  Interval 2:10…I remember those days…but 25 yrs is a long time ago!  Instead I swim 2:10 and roll on a 2:25 interval…humbling, fun, and very worthwhile!  Solid 4000 yards in just over an hour.

Quick turnaround to a 5 hr bike.  Or so the plan, but a flat and buying more tubes at Pt Reyes Bike shop (Black Mountain Cyclery) delayed me, and kids were waiting at camp, so it was 4:45 instead.  But – beautiful day at the coast today (see pics below) and while it took me a while to settle in, I still go in my 2×15 min intervals and another 4×10 min.  80 miles in Marin – 4300ft of climbing via Marshall Wall (where I got my flat…) – 3.5 bottles at 28oz per bottle – all water.  2 Cliff and 1x Chomps.  (Stoked by the way that GU is introducing energy bars ‘sticks’…)

No real observations today – just work!  But another solid 6 hrs of training – layer upon layer….


Tomorrow:  Class in the morning and then drive to Bend, OR – training week in Bend and training heaven location #3 for the past 4 weeks.  Tahoe, Park City, now Bend is next…

Day 10: Air doping

Wow – that was all I could say today…After a light day of travel, swim and catching up on work, I got to be early for a good 8+ hrs of sleep in my own bed heading into today.  4:30am wake up call for Indoor Cycling class.  Great group in attendance which always makes it fun to wake up to and train effectively.

Back on my road bike with the proper fit and a good night sleep – I immediately felt good on the bike.  I hadn’t ridden since Sunday – so I was not that surprised about feeling good on the bike.  But once we got into the intervals (see below) the legs felt great.  Closing out the steady state pieces I kept adjusting the watts since my usual watts were too easy… some catching up with clients and bike fit work, then off to run…and THIS is where it got astonishing.

Sure, a beautiful morning on the SF waterfront.  Ferry Building, ATT Park, Hunters Point – just spectacular sights and weather (clear and sunny 70s at 8am!) – but when looking down at relaxed 6.40 pace, I knew it was going to be a great run.  2×2 miles inserted at Half IM pace was a controlled 6.15, it was harder to slow from that pace than to hold.  Pure – rich – moist – thick sea level air.  Coming down from 7000-9000 ft to the Bay Area was powerful.  I could have run faster or forever…

I experienced altitude training differently in the past.  1) for swimming we stayed at altitude longer – meaning we went through a full cycle of training until we were fully acclimated at 9-10,0000 ft (Flagstaff or Toluca, MX) and then returned for the full benefits in the pool.  The key there was getting acclimated at altitude in the pool takes 2-3 weeks.  It was hard, painful, and really boring!!  2) For some reason Tahoe area training never really kicked in like this.  I cannot say for certain that the extra 1000 ft make a difference (PC is at 6800-7200 ft vs Tahoe at 5800-6200) – and we did a lot of riding at 8000-9500 ft, which we don’t do in Tahoe…but this time was significant.  I don’t feel it as much in the pool on Tuesday since I went from the plane to the pool on a short night of sleep..

The afternoon strength & stability session was a bit lethargic to start – but then felt solid in the 640 StretchCordz (on my way to 1000) and core/stability, jumprope was dead on the usual.  Little soreness will kick in tomorrow during swim practice!



I like oxygen rich air!  Considering another PC window in September – but will want to see how the next few days feel – if just a short window, then might not be worth it…If it last for a a week or more, then might time it just right..Bend will have another nice effect next week as it is at 3600ft with plenty of training at 5500-6000 ft.  And – throw in Boulder later this month…

When running opposite direction in a bike lane in SF…they don’t like you.  Or – at least some agro cyclist take their real estate seriously – as one guy spit at me! Running on the sidewalk is not always ideal (concrete sucks and Hunters Point really stinks for sidewalks) – this Hipster thought my running on the side, mostly out of the bike lane – was somehow not cool, I’m the loser.  Oh well, I just confirmed my mantra I have on a T-shirt:  Don’t feed the Hipsters..we might have too many of them…If you are that upset to spit on someone while riding with your skinny jeans rolled up on one leg (they are skinny jeans, why roll them up??) – one of those funky back-encompassing recycled rubber backpacks – no helmet with perfectly groomed (greased) hair and beard – and you own the bike lane to spit at me?  Then you might just be a bit too lame to enjoy the privilege of SF city cycling with its wide bike lanes and plenty of respectful cars, runners, pedestrians…I’d invite you (that guy) to join me some time, back country hunting for chukar on a ridge up in Susanville – where your backpack and DocMartins might not fly, either out there or in the local watering hole..Spitting on someone…Please..

Tomorrow – Day 11:  4000yrd swim and 5 hr bike with some TT intervals.

2x thru:

  • 7-5-3-1 – all with 1 min rest
  • 7 is 4/3 low Z3/upper Z3
  • 5 is 3/2 upper Z3/low Z4
  • 3 is 2/1 low Z3/upper Z4
  • 1 is max watts
  • then 5 min steady smooth, efficient, relaxed and focused mid Z3/T1

Day 9 – Moving Day: PC to OAK to Marin

Waking up at 4:30 this morning was sort of uneventful.  Quick drive to SLC airport and a flight home to Oakland.  Took a while to get bag, so drive home was rushed in order to get to swim practice on time.  Long – stretched out – relaxed 3700 yards back home in sunny Marin.  Settled in at home by 11am and a full day of work to dig into.  A full recovery day with only a swim.

As is important for any recovery day in big training phases…I eat…all…day…long.  Yoghurt and granola, fruit, 2 ham sandwiches on wheat, quinoa chips, more fruit, salad and pasta for dinner with Udo’s Oil and lemons. Some sea salt dark chocolate for dessert and now I’m ready to hit the hay.  Oh, and 2 beers, Little Sumtin and a Summer Solstice…

Tomorrow is quality and power:  90 min class with some longer build intervals (2×25 min with the last 5 min of the interval at tempo) – 10 mile speed run with 2×2 miles built in at 6.30 pace – Stretch Cordz, Core and jump rope in the afternoon.  I am confident a good night sleep – and some rest today will set up a strong day tomorrow.


Day 8: Looks doable …but sucked

Ouch!  Early rise again in order to be in SLC for meetings and office time.  Late night with early rise after a 30 hr training week hurts!  But once the coffee went down the hatch and the shower kicked in – it felt ok.  Only a banana for breakfast as I was looking to just get some energy until later in the morning, then the plan was to rehydrate and fuel for a 2 hr trail run…up in PC again.  Well, meetings lasted longer, lunch was smaller – and while driving back up to PC I was busy with calls, no food/hydration either…the problem becomes aware to me 30 min into a 15 mile trail run in….the…middle…of…nowhere.  no water, food, shelter or even dwellings out here.  while beautiful and perfect for a focused trail run….not idea on a light/empty stomach…But I committed to a) doing this run aerobic with a focus on light – relaxed form – light feet – quick & light turnover…b) I own my mistakes for the lead up to this run – so I will focus on making it through while still getting the training effect.  15 miles in 2 hrs (1 bottle of water – thats it – stupid!).  Positive split by 2 min.  Not the run I wanted, but I will return to this canyon and execute the run right, strong, and smarter some time between today and Kona…

Observations – I do NOT like running in the afternoon.  Actually – I don’t like training in the afternoon.  One feels lethargic, sleepy, hot, slow and flat.  While there are plenty days where this is just unavoidable…I still can say I don’t like it…Running on a big open trail run – when tired – make everything feel longer.  When you can see the trail on the horizon, knowing you need to run there – ugh…and when tired the legs – work – form really require some focus as they just want to plod.  Lastly – dunking your head in a cool creek and getting soaking wet is a saving grace, but don’t let your mind wander to drinking that water (as I was contemplating) – as the 4 weeks of ghiardhia following the run would be awful.

Quick trip to Whole Foods to get protein drink, and a big sandwich…refuel and rehydrate…back to normal and able to join a fun close out BBQ with friends before an early 6am flight back home to the Bay area.  Park City is truly heaven to train, love the area, love the town, love the vibe, and love my friends there…surely not my last visit over the next few months.

Home: off to swim a quick 4000 yds and take the dogs on a nice chill 45 min trail run – no watch – no HR – no pace…


Day 7: Over the mountains and through the woods, to Hanna we go…

This had been the one I was really looking forward to.  While it is on the back end of a solid (!) week of training – the body had been holding up well and we had an epic ride planned.  Early morning rise into a swim is always hard – that first wake up movement is always a but achy and stiff (yes – even when 27 yrs old vs. 45) – and while the coffee kicked in well, the 7am swim is what will really wake you up.   2700 yrs of some speed and aerobic work, and quickly out of the pool to get some breakfast.  Note to self:  swimming at 7000ft in a pool with turns and breathing patterns is different than a lake a 7000ft…harder!  And – all of us noted together that after swimming the body feels looser and more refreshed – ready for 6 hrs on the bike!

Quick bagel breakfast (3 bagel with eggs, sausage and cheese as well as bacon – need fuel and fat for the day!  – and off to pack bikes, gear for the day.

Driving out to the bike start we review the course – the terrain and how we want the day to go – whether not getting dropped too quickly – or how to get picked up at a certain spot – we were ready for a long 15 mile climb over Summit Pass and turning around in a tiny Utah town of Hanna.  Myself I knew I want to climb smart – be conservative early to get a feel for the terrain and then ride the return knowing how I’ll work in different sections.  What an epic ride!  Not only do we ride by beautiful ranches with horses and buffalo (!) – but also a spectacular canyon with fly fishing streams and a big open pass that displays the grandeur of the Uinta Mountain Range.  Steep – aggressive climbing from the one side – but after 6 miles of solid 8-10% climbing we roll over the summit – 9500ft – and descend into the next valley.  Pictures below…

Once in Hanna (temperatures quickly rising into the 80s) we stop for fuel and water.  But this fuel was a bit different as we sat for a full 75 min lunch with pizza and ham sandwiches.  While this might not be your usual refuel stop on a long ride – today was a long casual ride – we did our work and interval for the week, we did the load until now – today was just about riding…so a long lunch and then turn around and ride back over this spectacular pass….and while I was well fueled, the food sat low in the belly – which meant the restart was somewhat uncomfortable…gradually – 12 miles into the return climb the legs and stomach had recovered and we crested the pass with some great TT and steady work on the return.  Quick turnaround at the car and I rolled out to pull/guide the lost puppy Florida based rider back to the rendezvous point of out finish.

An epic day ended with a great dinner and fun at High West Distillery & Restaurant in old town Park City.

84 miles of cycling – 6000ft of climbing (all at once) – 5 hrs.  7 bottles of water (24oz each) – 1x ClifBar – 2 slices of cheese pizza – 1 ham and cheese sandwich with tortilla chips and pickle – no idea how to apply those calories…!

Observations:  riding at that altitude is not an issue for me – controlled breathing and nothing too sudden allowed for HR to stabilize and the riding to be steady – climbing front side was higher wattages but due to grade – not effort/riding style.  Back side of climb was longer, lesser incline so the steady climbing cadence was more fluid at times and allowed for higher watts longer, not as spikey.  Also – need to be careful to drink and – in racing – to pour water on me for the descents as one feels quite lethargic restarting after a long 10 mile descent.  Lastly – pizza is not a good fuel for cycling (or running I assume).

Day 6: Tour of Utah

This is where the training plan for the month of August started lining with some great training.  Park City is that – great training, great community, great location.  Perfect day today – beautiful cool temps after late night thunderstorms here in Park City.  Clear mountain air, cool temps in the low 50s, sunny and everything is flushed out from a solid rain.

Roll out at 8am – with local friends as well as those who flew in.  70 miles of beautiful countryside and perfect 4-8% grades for 20 min climbs..rollers, dirt roads, canyons, fly fishing streams next to the road, country stores, and overall perfect riding roads & conditions..

Home at noon – quick fueling stop – then off to run 6 miles, steady with race sensations.  While the food in my stomach limited any type of light feet, the engine still felt good, and the focus was more keeping the HR under control vs. pushing a tick too hard.  BIG day of riding tomorrow.

Riding on someone else’s bike is always different – but this one felt great all day.  Never an issue and the fit was mighty close to perfect.

Observations:  riding at 7000ft requires smart timing on food.  If you eat while climbing or out of breath – it takes a while to have the HR catch up to the breathing again – I should say gasping vs. breathing… I am also told the the dry buggers go away once you live up here (good to know!)…HR while elevated, still settles in and once you find your sweet spot – you can actually ride quite well at altitude.  I pushed some intervals today – and while the watts were dead on, the HR actually settled in only 2-3 beats higher than normal.

70 miles on the bike – 2 bars, , banana.  4x24oz water.  While the food was a bit low – ate 2000cals for breakfast before push off, so that carried me 2 hrs into the bike, which then means 300 cals per hour was dead on big training caloric needs.  (Breakfast 3x english muffin with jam and butter, 1x egg & heirloom tomato sandwich on wheat bread, banana, 2 cups coffee, 1x peanut butter and honey sandwich)

25 hours of training into the epic August so far, 21:30 this week, the 6+ hrs tomorrow ought to add just the punch in the gut to leave me tired…

Below some pictures from todays tour…plenty of dirt roads & climbs.

Tomorrow – 6 hrs on the bike – 10,000ft of climbing is planned.  But we’ll start with a morning (early morning) swim – and then finish our ride in time to see the final stage of the Tour of Utah coming into PC..

Day 5 of 21: Travel day

Early rise today for class as well as packing, getting kids to camp – and getting on a flight to Salt Lake to head up to Park City.  Today could not have gone smoother.  Felt great in class – with plenty of upper Zone 4 work, and a good mix of steady state tempo intervals built in (Intervals below).  Race home, pack for 5 days of training in PC, but luckily no bike.  Using an Orbea from a friend locally.  Get kids off to camp, home, prep house for being away, exercise the dogs, and off to Oakland Airport.

Talk about an easy trip – in truck at 10, boarded and in the air by 11:45…land in SLC at 2:20, in PC by 3pm.  4 hrs door to door!  Although funny was that I had to check my bags because….the chamoix creme for this trip was too big of a tube allowable for carry on!  You know you are training big when you travel with the BIG tube…

I got a ride from SLC because my friends flew in from Boulder and Florida in a similar window.  Off we go:  quick lunch in PC, then 90 minutes on the trails:  perfect 20 min loop:  since I want to negative split this run I plan to run a minute faster each round….for 4 rounds with a longer warm down.  Glad to hold 7:15 pace for 12 miles at 6800ft.

Its nice to train in new terrain but I find it quite important to be conservative.  New roads, terrain, climbs and trails require patience as we can quickly shell the legs for the next 4+ days.  Its also nice to train with good friends.  Its starting to become a fun group that we are meeting up all over the West Coast in 2015.  These guys did the Coast Ride in January with me, a training week in Marin in early May, IM CDA, Vineman, now PC, then Bend, then Boulder.  Training with true training friends is a rare privilege – especially when this sign was waiting for me at the airport after I walked out to baggage claim…(see below):  Nothing like a solid ribbing to not only give me grief, but also a gentle reminder of what we are doing here.  Although they meant nothing other than a good laugh at my expense…

Up and at ‘em tomorrow:  3.5 hrs on the bike with a solid 1 hr transition run.  Goals tomorrow – good ride intervals, plenty of hydration (drink lots of water) – eat well, and run great off the bike… nothing but good sensations..

10 min easy
7 min mid Z2
5 min upper Z2/low Z3
3 min mid Z3
1 min upper Z3/low Z4

5 min low Z3
3x (1:40 at 120%/upper Z4 high cadence + 40 sec easy/rest/recovery) +1 min after round
4 min mid Z3
3x (1:40 at 120%/upper Z4 high cadence + 40 sec easy/rest/recovery) +1 min after round
3 min upper Z3
3x (1:40 at 120%/upper Z4 high cadence + 40 sec easy/rest/recovery) +1 min after round
2min lower Z4
3x (1:40 at 120%/upper Z4 high cadence + 40 sec easy/rest/recovery) +1 min after round
1 min mid Z4
3x (1:40 at 120%/upper Z4 high cadence + 40 sec easy/rest/recovery) +1 min after round

Day 4 of 21: Early Bird

Quick post today – since the workouts were quick..

Slept solid into my 5:20 alarm, then did the typical morning mind game: can I swim later?, maybe I just run first, then swim?…maybe I can run this afternoon and swim at 9:30am, maybe, maybe, maybe…but after 23 yrs of swimming and getting up for morning practices, I know that a) the sleep after that first wake up and mind games is never that good – its compromised by guilt…b) you always regret not just getting it done early…end up trying to fit in the workouts vs. really doing them as planned.

Up and on my cruiser bike by 5:35…in water at 5:50 (yes – I live close to pool) – 4000 yrds, felt decent, not great – as some fatigue from StretchCordz and days prior creeping in.  But some fun IM mixed into distance freestyle set was just right.  Also was nice to swim with a good friend of many years.  He pushed me a tick harder than I would have on my own…

home – quick coffee and bagel, then out the door for a trail run.  Ran with dogs – early enough that it wasn’t too hot for them yet.  10 miles of single track rolling trails back in the Redwoods of Baltimore Canyon.  Aerobic run.  Just looking to layer these days well as the work begins tomorrow:  Morning class with lots of intensity – then off to Park City – with an afternoon neg split 90 min run.  Not sure if it will be trails, but either way – neg. split focus, fast feet, light finish.

Home – bigger breaky – more coffee – and pack it up to head to Berkeley Skatepark!

My morning mind game reminded me of what this training (and coaching) is all about.  The way we perform come race day is the result of a lot of small decisions/choices over time.  We tend to fall into a line of thinking that how we race when it counts is because of one large, meaningful focus, change, commitment.  Actually its about all the accumulation of the little choices that make the greatest impact…especially in a past life where your focus is 3-4 years away, its easy to ‘pass’ on the occasional workout, drylands, sleep, nutritional focus…These smaller choices look small in the short-term, and when looked at individually, they appear to have little impact…but as time creeps along (and it does on some of these long training days or in a 4 year Olympic cycle!) these choices, this awareness, this ‘paying attention” begins to add up.

One morning sleeping in – pushing the workouts to later in the day, but not feeling that good, or being as focused, might not create much of a gap between me and my desired finish line time/result, but a season’s worth of the occasional compromised workout, lack of focus, or slip ups will quickly create a very noticeable (and regrettable) gap between my result and desired outcome.  Too often after the race it’s “what could I have done better”?  Unfortunately we then focus on those bigger things:  different training, losing weight, bigger base, changing coaches, new bike (!)…but its those little battle that add up to feeling good about your result – no matter what that result is!  I did what I needed to do in order to have the best outcome today:..focused on technique..reflected/took accountability of my training…won the small battles by focusing on today…did something a bit better today than yesterday…

Friday Funday tomorrow!

Day 3 of 21: Short but sweet!

Early rise today.  4:30 wake up, prep for class I teach.  90 min on Computrainers, 20 bikes, fun class with music and TVs.

I like class.  It’s focused quality and intensity.  Dial up a wattage, do the work, then rest.  Same environment, same machine, very replicable training and therefore valid to measure results.  Temps always about the same, so HR vs. watts is a valid indicator of being fresh (?) – fatigued (!) – or dehydrated, etc.  lots of inputs when one can replicate 2x a week, in the exact same environment.

Solid class and despite a slow start (lighter warm up) – the workloads at Z3, Z4 and above felt good, as well as a lot of high cadence pieces.  Plenty of hard work, but good intensity and 90 minutes is not that intimidating.  Class protocol we did today is listed below.

After class on Wednesdays I get my kids back, so home, cook breakfast (we are a breakfast bunch with bacon and sausage and eggs etc.) – and the day got busy.  Fit in my Stretch Cordz (10×50) alternating with 200 jump rope skips and some core work.  Why do I do Stretch Cordz (Red resistance in case you are curious)? – mainly to provide some extra strength to my swimming (upper body has disappeared with triathlon years) – as well as that strength works well in open water where I often feel I need to muscle some stretches of an open water lake or ocean swim.  So much of the training in triathlon is below the chest – that some arm resistance bands with clean pulling lines is quite helpful for me.  Core is a no brainer – and jump rope keep the light feet focus, single skips – fast feet.  I’ve been a jump rope junky for many decades now (!?) and I really like it after long runs (bring back cadence and light feet – sorta like rollers after a long ride).  But working them as quick stations:  50 pulls, 200 skips, some solid core reps – then rest – 10x through for some stability and strength – effective 45 minutes!

Run – 45 minutes felt ok – light – relaxed – no pace – no HR – just a watch.  While daughter was at her riding lessons, and son is at his skateboard lesson, I have a great hour to kill in a great trail marsh that has water fountains and marked miles.  Might have been fast, might have been slow.  Might have been suppressed HR – might have been elevated…no idea.  Just a run on a hot afternoon:  86 and sunny with some NorCal fires mixed into the air..the jump rope left me light and bouncy – felt good – but no numbers always feels good!

Tomorrow – early rise for a 4000 yard swim and a 1:20 aerobic trail run.  Then off to Berkeley Skatepark with the kids and some afternoon beach time with the dogs.  Park City Utah bound on Friday!


Shift – 8.5.2015

10 min warm up spin
5 min build to Z4

6×2 min:  alternating mid Z2 (80%) – and 120% – continuous.


3×15 minutes with 2 min rest/easy

  • 30 sec high cadence spin + 4 min steady + 30 sec high cadence spin. (high cadence is always T1/mid Z3) +1 min full rest
  • 30 sec high cadence spin + 3 min steady + 30 sec high cadence spin.+1 min full rest
  • 30 sec high cadence spin + 2 min steady + 30 sec high cadence spin.+1 min full rest
  • 30 sec high cadence spin + 1 min steady + 30 sec high cadence spin.+1 min full rest
  • 30 sec high cadence spin + 30 sec high cadence spin.

Round 1: add watts each round 90-T1-110-120% in the middle minutes

Round 2: 80/120% equal split of the middle minutes.

Round 3: add watts and 120% equal split 2nd half.  (4 min example: 2 min 90%/2 min 120%) // 3 min is 1.5 min T1/1.5 min 120% etc.


Day 2 of 21: A cool day in August

Rare to have cool temps here in August – actually might have been the first real cloudy day here in 2015!  But it did allow for a day with limited sunscreen and perfect training temps in the low 70s.

Today the plan called for a swim, long aerobic bike and a choice run off the bike.  I knew early on that I would not be running today – I wanted to give the running legs a break:  3 days of running in a row, along with some speedwork on Sunday meant that today needed to be an off day for that discipline.

A late night yesterday meant a late start today.  A fun dinner in SF at The Progress meant my morning started at 6:30am instead of my usual 4:30 or 5am.

GOAL today was focused swim with some good efforts but nothing too deep.  Then a solid aerobic ride with limited stops and a focus on watts above 230, but never really over 280.  Build the ride in the middle 4 hrs, so that the second half is a bit higher watts and throw in a ‘feel’ interval at mile 70 to test how the legs feel vs. wattage vs. HR. I also knew based on riding 5 hrs today in Marin that I would need to ride with a ‘race power’ approach:  this means that I coast the downhills, back off the effort when pedaling would just be wasted energy.  I am not looking for a ‘chain tension’ ride today, which would have meant limited coasting and constant pedal focus/pressure.

In the pool at 9:30 – a solid 4000 yards in just over an hour as well as some humble pie with all the college kids home and in the lanes next to me.  Out of the pool – home – quick transition and on my bike by 11am.  Solid 93 mile ride in 5 hrs, with 5700 ft of climbing (typical Marin). 6hrs and 7 minutes of training today.

Some observations:

  • Late evening along with a few good beers (CaliCoast Kölsch and a Fort Point IPA) also meant my HR was a few beats higher than usual on the bike.
  • Knowing I have so many days in a row to ’stack’ this training, wattages are not that important.  This does not mean I don’t pay attention to the Rx for the day.  It means I allow the wattages and legs to settle in and come to me.  Today this happened about 50 min. into my ride. It often requires some climbing or a solid interval to ‘wake’ the legs.
  • I felt very efficient in the aero position today.  Dropped down and off I rode.  Felt more comfortable aero today than sitting up.
  • 6 bottles: 5 water + 1x GU Roctane.  950 calories in 3 CliffBars, 1x Gu Chomps.  Little light on cals.  Should have had about 200 cals more.  But came into morning with a big 2000 calorie breakfast.
  • Late interval worked well, need to be careful to not push this but truly ride on feel as in race miles 70-85 etc.
  • Was able to ride second half of ride 12 watts higher.

And finally – this greeted me at the swim this morning:


While not all applies to my day – it hit home in the last 4 lines….technique ALWAYS trumps speed.  Especially us endurance athletes.  Speed will wane, technique will keep you efficient.

Training tomorrow:

  • 90 min cycling class + 45 min strength & core + 45 min easy run


August is gonna hurt

I don’t do blogs…

But here I go.  Why?  Its August 3 and I have 10 weeks to Kona 2015.  Been here before – many times, but this will be my last one for a while.  So why a blog?  Couple of reasons:

I have an epic August lined up with training.  Not on purpose, it just sorta settled into place like this…78 hours of training in the next 20 days.  Park City, Bend and Boulder in the next 28 days.  It’ll hurt, it’ll suck, but might as well document it for some future read.  I’ll get into why this is my last Kona for a while in some future blog.

Also, some day, I’d like to look back on this window of life, the training, the long days, the fatigue, the depths of hard training…and I’d like to read it and smile, with a little twinkle in my eyes…remembering how fun it was – how alive I felt and how good friends, family and loved ones set up a successful window in time like this.  A training partner – way back – from Sweden once said to me in his broken English: “you won’t remember the easy days of training, so you might as well stay on the couch and rest those days…what you will remember are the hard days” – And when he said hard days, he meant it – for him by definition that meant anything under a 300w ride might as well be a day on the couch…I missed doing this type of diary for my swimming days.  I have so many stories – experiences – events – friendships but I never captured a window in time with a diary…or in today’s world – a blog.

Another reason is accountability.  Writing about my training, my days, my life the next month, helps keep me accountable to this, the blog, the diary, the snapshot into a fun window of life.  Accountability also in thinking that someone, somewhere – even if it is my kids some day – might read this.  This will be Kona number 13 for me – not sure if that is lucky or not – but the point here is I know what the training leading up to October is like…how hard it gets, how tired, how flat at times, how solitary, how stressful on schedule, life, kids, family etc.  I have done all the different approaches: gone away to train.  Stay home to train.  Train big, train fast, train aerobic, train lots of simulation, train alone, train with pros, train at altitude, train low.  Geez, just writing this makes it exhausting.  So – writing about it – sharing it – being accountable – even if it adds that little extra ounce of consistency, motivation…then it is already worth it…

Sort of a bigger commitment.  Writing every day of the 20-30 days…and sort of pompous, narcissistic…to think that someone will want to read…well maybe read one day, but then not ever again…but I do have a few athletes that have mentioned that they would love to get an insight into my training, how I prepare, how I get tired, cranky, and balance this training, life, family work thing…And – if it helps in coaching, if it helps in connecting with some of my athletes, if it raises the right dialogue and questions, even better!

Not all entries will be this long. I figure a little bit of background…then down to the simple daily inputs/observations/training comments and diary:  Hey – it looks as though I am doing my own Training Log updates…the ones I request from so many of my athletes…ugh.

Thank you in advance to Mike Radogna for posting these every day for me and keeping the website up to date.  No way I could do that…!

Monday – August 3rd.. Training Plan?  I’ve just come off a solid recovery week.  I’ve had my kids for the past 8 days, we did some awesome adventures, so training is always a recovery week when I have them for longer periods of time.  Last week was an easy 16hrs of training – and July was a little of a mix&match month of training…After IM CDA I just trained on feel into Vineman, then used a week up in Tahoe to get my aerobic legs back under me.  So that was a big week of training (26hrs) at the back end of July, last week 16hrs of easy recovery and it begins today:

  • 3 hours on the bike with 1×15 min at HIM race watts – and later in the ride 4×4 min at threshold (LT/Zone 4) with 2 min recovery.  After that – settle into the aeros and let the legs dictate the watts – focus is aero, efficient and relaxed.  
  • 30 min run off the bike – 10 min easy at IM pace – 10 min Fast on Feel (FoF as I like to call it) – 10 min easy again.  

Today I wanted to be real careful – easy when not ON an interval, smart training – big block ahead.  Tons of fluids – to stay on top of hydration.  Good calories and an overall awareness of getting my sh*t together in mindset, nutrition, focus and prep for every day over the next 21 days.

3 hrs was good – intervals were all in line but the 4 min intervals were a little ‘hot’…need to err on the side of a bit easier.  Run:  4 miles, 28 min: 10 min 7:14 pace – 10 min 6.34 pace – 8 min 7:10 pace – avg HR 136

4 bottles: 3x water 1x GU Roctane drink.  2 Clif Bars. 

Also – my some serious commitments:  I will not compromise form for speed, pace or watts over the next few weeks.  I will not sabotage the training over the next few weeks:  I won’t force it, I won’t go too hard on easy days, I will not justify going easier because of some voice telling me I have permission.  I will focus only on getting today done…right, to the best of my ability

Tomorrow – swim 4000 yards, bike 5 hrs aerobic, short transition run….