Getting Faster

Sub 10 Ironman in 10 Hours Per Week (original…


Despite what your perpetually shaved neighbor with the M Dot tattoo tells you, you do not need to train 20 hours per week to kick butt in your next IM. In fact, your neighbor who trains 20 hours per week probably has some secrets he does not want to tell you:

  1. He doesn’t train 20 hours per week, he just thinks he does or says he does. Yes, he has trained 20 hours in a week once or twice, but that does not mean that he trains20 hours per week.
  2. He spends hours doing thousands of easy, sloppy yards in the pool that are probably not going to help him very much on race day.
  3. He spends most of his rides going too hard or too easy to target the #1 key for IM bike fitness: the ability to crank steady watts in the aerobars nonstop for hours. He has no idea of how long he can crank steady watts and no clue how he will feel on race day when he tries to do so for 5 hours!
  4. He does lots of easy running, spending hours to get very little benefit.

You can be better prepared than your neighbor for your next IM by following this focused 10 hour per week training plan.   I’m not saying that this 10 hour training plan is the only way to train or the best way, but it can be quite effective.  Incidentally, this is very similar to how I trained to go 9:21 at Ironman Switzerland when I was working during the day and going to school at night. And make no mistake about it, I’m not selling you a shortcut. If you follow this plan and all the rules, it is physically and mentally challenging. You’ll wish you were out with your neighbor lallygagging for hours and hours every week. read more

Busy Athletes

Busy Ironman Athletes: Think “Minimum Effective Dose,” Not “Overload”


This post highlights a way I approach coaching busy triathletes, including Ironman racers.  This “minimum effective dose” approach was the foundation of my 10 hours per week Ironman training experiment.   However, it’s a good way for ANY triathlete to think about their training.

Most triathletes, especially Ironman racers, (as well as some coaches) think of training primarily in terms of overload and adaptation.  In other words, they pile on as much training as they think they can handle or whatever they think it takes to achieve their goals.  They feel the more they can pile on without injury, the more their body will adapt and get stronger. read more

Getting Faster

The Coach Coady 10 Hours Per Week Complete Saga


It actually worked!   Back in November, I came up with the idea that I wanted to try to qualify for Kona on a 10 hours per week training plan.  Fast forward to May… and I won my age group at Ironman Santa Rosa with a time of 9:26 and qualified for Kona.

The goal was never to show that lower volume training is the best way to train. It’s not.   And it is DEFINITELY not a “how to qualify for Kona” post– if you have never qualified for Kona, your best bet will be with a higher volume plan.   (TriForcer Tom Glynn just took 3rd in his AG and qualified for Kona at Ironman Texas, and he did 16-20 hours for most of his training weeks, a more “typical” KQ plan)   The goal is to show you how you can be almost as fast as if you did a “full” training plan if you are on a smart lower volume plan. read more

Getting Faster

Coach Coady Wins IMSR (9:26, 40-44) and Qualifies for…


Holy cow– it worked!   I followed a 10 hours per week training plan to get ready for IMSR.  I did it as an experiment and a learning experience to make me a better coach.  The goal wasn’t to PR, but I was hoping to be almost as fast as if I had done a “full” training plan.   Mission accomplished!

For more about my build, read about about the first half of my training and the second half of my training + taper.


My goal was simple– qualify for Kona on 10 hours per week so I don’t look like an idiot for writing a bunch of articles about how I’m trying to do that with the conclusion being that I failed!  I figured it would take a top 4 finish, so that was my goal.  I felt a 9:30 should be safe and might even be good for a win, but I thought that even being a good bit slower than that would give me a good chance for 4th (I was wrong about that- our AG was much deeper with talent than I thought with 8 guys sub 9:35). read more

Busy Athletes

Coach Coady 10 hours per week Ironman training experiment:…


This is the third post in my series on my experiment in trying to qualify for Kona on 10ish hours per week Ironman training plan.   It’s an example of how a busy athlete might approach Ironman training on a time budget.  I wanted to use this build as a learning experience to improve myself as a coach.  Before reading this post check out the previous posts: (1) The 10 Hours per Week Plan and (2) the halfway update of my 10 hours per week training.  This article picks up where they left off. read more

Team Update

TriForcers qualify for Kona at IMSR and IMTX 2019!…

Kona bound!!!

Congrats to TriForcers who are off to a strong start in the spring!

Tom Glynn was 3rd in his age group at Ironman Texas, qualifying for Kona!

At Ironman Santa Rosa:

Coach Coady (me) WON MY AGE GROUP (9:26) at Ironman Santa Rosa, qualifying for Kona!  (woohoo!) The 10 hours per week training plan worked!

Yohann “the Flying Frenchman” Coppel (right, below) finished in 10:05 at Ironman Santa Rosa – a solid day at the office despite a flat tire and stomach cramps.   Mark my words– Yohann will qualify for Kona. read more

Getting Faster

Coach Coady 10 hours Per Week Ironman Training Experiment-…


I’m halfway through  my 10 hours per week Ironman Training experiment!     The goal is to qualify for Kona on a minimalist training  plan.   I’ll stick to 10 hours per week of training until 6 weeks out from the taper.  Once I hit that point I’ll see where I’m at how much “extra” I want to add in order to be ready to go the distance.      So far, I’m loving the plan and it’s  working (surprisingly) well, especially the bike training.   The only area of concern is my run durability / endurance (and injuries).   If you are a busy athlete I hope you’ll get some useful information in this update to try in your own training plan. read more

tempo brick run for Ironman training Busy Athletes

The Tempo Brick Run– the Busy Triathlete’s Best Friend!


This article is part of our recent series on training for busy athletes.   It describes one of my favorite workouts I’m using to try to qualify for Kona Ironman World Championships on a plan of mostly 10ish hours power week.

Are you tired and falling behind struggling to fit in all your workouts on a busy schedule?  One of the biggest challenges we face in coaching busy triathletes (especially coaching Ironman triathletes) is figuring out how to set up a training plan that will get the athlete ready for their race (often Ironman) but that leaves then time to succeed at work and to enjoy their family (while also letting them sleep and maintain a strong foundation for adaptation). read more

Getting Faster

A Sub 10 Ironman in 10 Hours Per Week…

I first published my original "sub 10 Ironman in 10 hours per week" article back in 2010.   The article described the type of training I did to go 9:21 at IM Switzerland when I was working during the day and going to school at night.  This is an updated and improved version of the plan for 2019. 

With many TriForcers having kids and with their lives becoming increasingly busy we now focus so much more in providing time efficient Ironman triathlon training for busy triathletes who want to perform at a high level.

As a learning experience and as a break from the physical and mental grind of "traditional" Ironman training I'll be following this plan to see if I can qualify for Kona at Ironman Santa Rosa, May 2019

Despite what your perpetually shaved neighbor with the M Dot tattoo tells you, you don’t need to train 20 hours per week to crush your next Ironman.  Don't get me wrong, there’s no question that volume “works” when it’s done right, and if you are chasing those last percentage points in performance, it’s probably necessary. But your neighbor’s big volume approach comes with some serious drawbacks as well.


Drawbacks of High Volume Training

💩 Higher risk of injury and deep fatigue.

💩Less time for sleep and other key aspects of your Foundation for Adaptation

💩Probably less time spent at focused Ironman effort. The higher your volume, the more important it is to keep your long workouts at a “relaxed” <70% effort as opposed to the focused 70-78% steady Ironman effort. That leaves some athletes not ready for the demands of an Ironman-- cranking nonstop, relentlessly in the aerobars at 70-75%
💩 Increased risk of mental burnout.

💩And, of course, high likelihood of neglecting work, family, etc.

The Alternative

Instead of grinding out the “big miles,” a busy athlete might consider a FOCUSED Ironman training plan, stripped down to the essentials,  that gets results and leaves you time for other things in life. I’m not saying this is necessarily the best way to train, but it can get you VERY fit on a limited time budget.    The following “core week” is an example of how you might approach it. If you build up to this level then repeat a week like this for 6 weeks, then leave room to bump things up for the last 4-6 weeks before your 2 week taper, you’ll be fit.

Incidentally, this is very similar to how I trained to go 9:21 at Ironman Switzerland when I was working during the day and going to school at night. And make no mistake about it, I’m not selling you a shortcut.  It's tough!

The Core Week

Planning Your Build: 3 Phases

MONDAY  (1h) shorter / harder bike intervals

+ optional ez run off the bike
TUESDAY (2h) lMish effort long run
WEDNESDAY(1h) swim - solid IMish distance swim
THURSDAY 90 min solid focused TTing ride / longer intervals
+ :25 fast t run
FRIDAY(optional swim)
SATURDAY (3h) SOLID FOCUSED Ironmanish effort (power creep OK 2nd half) (indoor sets or outdoor focused ride)
+ (1h) run at SOLID FOCUSED IM effort off the bike
SUNDAY   (1h) hard IM distance swim

= 10 hours, 55 minutes - yes, we cheat a little and truncate when saying “10 hours” 🙂  (and it presumes your swim moving time is about 1 hour IM pace average like mine)

Phase 1: Build Up to the Core week

Don't just jump into the plan.  Start from where you are at and build gradually up to the "core week."  In general, the further we are from the race, the more we emphasize shorter, harder reps vs. longer reps and workouts.    Swim-wise, your biggest goal here is to be strong enough to do 2 x IM distnce swims / week.  You'll probably have to swim 3x / week at first to get there.

Phase 2 - The Core Week

This is the meat of the program (see table to the right).   A week like this repeated 4-6 times  will get you FIT.

Phase 3 - the last 4-6 weeks before taper

In the last few weeks before you taper it's time to add extra if you can.   See guidelines for this in "the rules" below.

The Rules

✔️Consistency is Key. If you skip workouts or have “bad weeks” on this plan it starts to add up very quickly and you won’t be fit to race. Slackers and workout skippers need not apply.

✔️Maximum "focus factor". Once you are feeling fit your long rides should be very race-like (or even more focused)-- do everything short of peeing your pants to keep cranking and keep the intensity up. STAY IN THE AEROBARS! These are not social rides! If you don’t have a good place to crank it outside, then you have to ride indoors. (I warned you… it’s not supposed to be easy).

✔️3 hour focused IM effort ride + 1 hour run off the bike: each of these is a little mini race rehearsal. Take advantage of it! Practice your pacing, nutrition and hydration just like race day. This is a major advantage of this type of plan. You have no excuse not to have things DIALED IN on race day.

✔️Fast Transition Run.   A solid tempo (threshold) run off the bike is an outstanding option for building speed in a time efficient way.

✔️2 x Ironman Distance Swims. If you are going to drive to the pool, etc., make it worth your time. Once our volume is maxed in the bike and run, we’ll do 2 SOLID IM distance swims per week. Within those swims we’ll touch on threshold work, sprints, etc, (so, not just grinding out IM distance)-- and they will be hard! Obviously you need to build up to this over time (and you probably want to start the season with 3 swims per week with the main goal of getting to the point where you can crush an IM distance swim-- then you’ve earned the privilege of swimming 2 x / week). And, even more obviously, if you are only swimming 2x per week, you can’t miss swims! Doing the Friday optional swim will definitely bring some additional re

✔️Once you can crush the long ride... when Ironman effort for 3 hours leaves you feeling very STRONG at the end and eager to do more, you know you are getting fit. In that case you can allow some natural “power creep” in the 2nd half of the ride. Don’t TRY to push the power above IM effort, but if it just happens naturally (and it still feels around IM effort) that’s OK, assuming you are bouncing back and feeling strong for your Monday intervals. (if not, stick to IM effort). Just remember NOT to allow power creep on race day-- a minimal plans means we need disciplined execution on race day!

✔️Optional runs. The run is stripped down to essentials: a long run, a solid IM 1 hour off the bike (taking the place of a second medium run during the week) and a harder run (done off the bike).  But there's no question that additional run frequency is helpful, so if they don't stress your schedule, go for it!  Just keep them relaxed so your legs feel good for your key runs.

✔️Layout of the Week.  The layout above is excellent because it maximizes spacing between your challenging workouts.   If you want to play with the layout (e.g. do both your long ride and run on the weekend), you'll probably want to make other adjustments to the plan.  If in doubt, ask a coach.

✔️Last 4-6 weeks before taper. This is the period that most impacts your race results so we want to add to the core week if at all possible. Add 1 hour relaxed (65%) before the IM effort reps, or build to 2.5 hours relaxed, 2.5 IM effort. Start doing your “optional” swim and run every week (keep the run relaxed and on a soft surface if possible).  So, we might get up to a "massive" 13ish hours per week.    This is also a good time to attend a training camp (TriForce typically has a training camp 4ish weeks out from Ironman Santa Rosa).

✔️Taper. Taper doesn't mean shutting down your training-- it's reducing things in a smart way so you keep as much fitness as possible while having fresh legs on race day.  The less fatigued you are heading into the taper, the more "normal" your training should be.    The taper is a great time to keep up a good focus on your swimming as well.

This is not necessarily the most “fun” training plan (except as far as it is fun to get results and have spare time and energy to do other things in life), but it gets results. Do I guarantee that you’ll break 10 hours by following this plan? No. But I do guarantee that you’ll get SERIOUSLY FIT training this way… if you follow the rules of the plan!

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Getting Faster

6 Keys to Building Your Foundation for Adaptation (and…

The human body is amazing. If you keep gradually adding more and more stress, the body will adapt and get stronger and stronger. BUT ONLY IF YOUR BODY IS IN AN ADAPTIVE STATE. If you are not in an adaptive state, you might be able to train, but you won't ABSORB the training well and you won’t get faster.

You are likely NOT in an adaptive state if you are: * burning the candle at both ends * sleep deprived * on an irregular sleep schedule * dehydrated * stressed out * having a negative attitude * under fueled (not enough calories) * undernourished (not enough nutrients)

Good hydration is a key to turning your training into adaptations... and victory

Doing the six things below will lay a strong foundation for adaptation. As a bonus, all of the following with enhance EVERY area of your life (work, relationships, zest for life, energy levels). Treat them with almost with the same dedication as swim, bike, and run and you go a long way toward maximizing your adaptation and your life.

1. START BY BLOCKING OUT YOUR SLEEP. Most people need 7 to 9 hours depending on the person. A genetically lucky few need less. You probably know "your number."   I personally need 8. Put it into your calendar and if at all possible stick to a regular schedule. For me it's 11-7. If possible, use power naps if you are tired in the afternoon.  There is plenty written on sleep hygiene. In my opinion, sleep is more important than nutrition. Sleep is almost as important as swim, bike, run.If you struggle sleeping, get on it!

2. FUEL. Be sure to fuel during all longer workouts and to eat after ALL workouts. Those are times when the body is primed to take in what you eat and turn it into fuel instead of turning it into body fat. If you are avoiding processed foods and want to "fuel healthy" I recommend using dates (which are higher in glucose than most fruits.) Eat a meal ASAP after training. Plan ahead and have food ready.  You don't need

3. HYDRATE. I'm guilty of neglecting this. Drink 1 bottle per hour during workouts (more in heat). Drink a glass or two first thing in the AM and have a glass with every meal. There’s no need to go crazy with hydration (the body can only hold so much), but just don’t neglect it. I notice a correlation between being dehydrated and feeling like my muscles are "rough" like dried out rubber instead of supple and soft.

4. REDUCE STRESS AND MAKE FRIENDS WITH STRESS. Stress pumps your body full of cortisol and adrenaline which is a great way to get things going in the short term.  But when your body stays in a stressed state is hurts your ability to adapt and compromises your immune system. If you run your engine in the red for too long, it will blow up. The best athletes I've coached are typically very even keel. They take life as it comes and they don't get very up or down. No drama. There are a couple exceptions, but those people seem to enjoy challenges (and draand attach positive feelings to what we might call "stress". So.. it's not stressful for them. I can honestly say that I have observed a clear and massive correlation between someone's reaction to stress and their triathlon performance AND work performance. People who "shut down" their training (and other areas of life) to deal with something stressful (big project due at work! gunning for promotion! boss is being a dick!) seem to have much worse outcomes IN LIFE than people who are much less dramatic about it. Techniques for reducing stress include meditation, deep breathing, etc. AND EXERCISE! Cutting out training when you are stressed is a terrible idea! Remember, you might think of stress as being a mental thing but the results of stress are PHYSICAL.

5. KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Have a belief that YOU CAN DO IT. That there IS A SOLUTION. That life is FUN. That things happen for a reason. That you will make the best of every bad situation. THE MIND IS POWERFUL.

6. EAT HEALTHY. This is one where I am definitely guilty. IN THE SHORT TERM my body thrives on eating a ton of calories and junk food. I had my best races in recent years after eating McDonalds the night before. But, in the long term I end up fat and tired from that kind of eating. Even in the short term, I would have great workouts on that diet but my energy levels and moods for rest of the day are garbage. Leaving aside fad diets, we know that fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, healthy oils and moderate amounts of healthy proteins are good for us.  Eat a diet with a ton of that stuff and much less of the stuff we know is not good for us (sugar, breads, packaged snack foods, fried foods).

If you are busy or overwhelmed it's tempting to neglect your sleep, nutrition, etc, and just focus on getting your training done.   Don't fall into the trap!    Here at TriForce, we'd rather slightly under-schedule your training (maybe putting an athlete on a 10 hours per week plan or a 1 hour per day plan), but give you more time for sleep and to take care of the rest of your foundation.   Without a strong foundation for adaptation you might be able to train... but you will struggle to get faster.

Getting Faster

The New Dad Experiment- 1 Hour Per Day Triathlon…


Could I get fast squeezing an hour of triathlon training in per day as a new dad?

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m writing up my training strategy and race report for Escape From Alcatraz, which took place 10 weeks after the birth of my first child! At the outset, it was unclear how much time and energy I would have for training during this period, so my coach Kevin Coady and I appropriately termed this The New Dad Experiment.

But first, a disclaimer: this post is not meant to be a brag about how little training I did in the lead up to Escape From Alcatraz.   I want to show people that you can continue to push yourself and enjoy the sport even when life and training aren’t perfect.   Here at TriForce we believe that triathlon is the best lifetime sport and it can be dialed up (Ironman) or down (sprint distance or even single sport focus) depending on what’s happening in your life.   It’s not always about Ironman finishes, PRs or qualifications.  Sometimes the biggest win is doing your best under the circumstances. read more