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Category: Getting Faster

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

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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

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The Coach Coady 10 Hours Per Week Complete Saga

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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

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

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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.

Goal

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

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Coach Coady 10 hours per week Ironman training experiment:…

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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

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Coach Coady 10 hours Per Week Ironman Training Experiment-…

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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

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A Sub 10 Ironman in 10 Hours Per Week…

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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. read more

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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.

The New Dad Experiment- 1 Hour Per Day Triathlon…

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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

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Strap up! Why you need to race with heart…

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With the availability of power on the bike and GPS on the run, the good old heart rate monitor can seem obsolete. And it’s true, the most important pacing tools are (in order):

1. perceived exertion
2. power (bike) and pace (run)
3. heart rate (HR)

But, just because heart rate ranks #3 doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable!

USING HEART RATE DURING A RACE

1. During the race (especially on the bike), a higher than normal / expected heart rate is a warning sign that you might be working too hard. read more

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