Different Long Runs

It is very easy to get into the habit doing the same kind of long run each week. That moderate effort for a long period of time. I am guilty of this myself as I like to do my long runs with a small group of runners. However, by making some changes to your weekly long run in the lead up to your race can not only have a massive impact from a physical prospective but also from a psychological point of view as well.

Here are some great options for mixing up your weekly long run.

Building Miles:
Adding walking within your long run is the best way to increase volume each week and lower the risk of injury. Simple things like adding 30sec every 10min of running, run 9min and walk 1min. every 5min of running add 20sec of walking.

You can mix and match this to fit in with where your fitness is at.

Depleted Long Run
Not having any carbs before or during the run and keeping the pace moderate. This is a great session if you are training for a marathon, Ironman or longer. I would however recommend bringing some nutrition with you. Best to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Breaking your long run into three parts and running medium effort, back the effort off into a moderate effort and increasing it again into a medium effort. For example if I had a Ironman athlete do this sessions maybe three or four times in a twelve week lead up to their race, the session would look like 10 miles medium effort, 10 miles moderate effort, 10 miles medium effort. The medium efforts should be uncomfortable but manageable.

Three rounds of 5x 1min effort
Adding 5x 1min medium effort (uncomfortable but manageable), 1min easy in the early part of your long run, again somewhere in the middle and again towards the end. The rest of the long run is done at a moderate effort.

Fast Finish
Long run with a fast finish could be from 20 minutes through to 10km. The effort could be from race effort through to an uncomfortable but manageable effort. Unless you really know your body, no efforts on the long run should be completed at a MAD state (as fast as possible without compromising your technique)

Ten Push Ups every Ten Minutes of Running
This isn’t the best session if you suffer from back pains but is a great session to do in the off season and even better to do with friends. 10 push ups every 10 minutes of running. If you do this with your friends, you can have some fun and do one or two extra push ups each time so by the end, you can say you did more push ups.

1min on, 1min off – Focus on Focusing
Chopping between 1min at race effort and 1min easy is a great way to get your body use to the demands of race day without the damage of doing a race. To me it is a greater session to help with focus. The difference between a good race and an average race is often focus.

Effort vs Pace

Note that I don’t mention pace.  I don’t really care about pace. I care about the effort.  What does it feel like for you.


Ironman & 70.3 via Power Numbers

You have a power meter.

You have a Functional Threshold Power score.

You have a power zone list for training.

Now what should your race power be?


This is a guide for Ironman and half Ironman events you can used based off a percentage of your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) or critical power score.

Looking at your predicted race finish time, you can use these percentages to help guide your training and what power you plan to hold for your race.  Many athletes simply pick a number they see often when they feel good on their long rides. This doesn’t translate too well come race day.



These hours are total race times and not bike split time. The percentage is a percentage of your FTP


Half Ironman Power:

  • 3-4 hours = 83-85%
  • 4-5 hours = 81-83%
  • 5-6 hours = 79-81%
  • 7+ hours = 75-77%


Ironman Power

  • 8-9 hours = 78-80%
  • 9-10 hours = 76-78%
  • 10-11 hours = 74-76%
  • 11-12 hours = 72-74%
  • 12-13 hours = 70-72%
  • 13-14 hours = 68-70%
  • 14-15 hours = 66-68%
  • 15-17 hours = 64-66%



To use nice simple maths, if my FTP was 300 watts and I wanted to race a Half Ironman in 4-5 hours and a full Ironman in 9-10 hours, my racing power would be:

  • Half Ironman: 243-249 watts
  • Ironman: 228-234 watts



For both half Ironman and Ironman, riding up hill at these power watts will be too low however you don’t want to go over threshold. so bringing it up to threshold but not over threshold.

With downhill, big gear and peddle softly.


Hope these numbers help.

Tim Egge



Mistakes Noticed at Kona Check-in

Recently I was looking at photos on social media of athletes checking their bikes into transition at the Ironman World Championship. I noticed five athletes make the same mistake. They all have their nutrition already setup on their bike ready to go for the next day.

As you can imagine kona is hot as crap and you really do not want the nutrition you’re relying on the next day to be out in the sun for too long. Things like gels, bottles, saltsticks, bars, etc.

It’s taken months of training and months of preparation to get to this point, last thing you need is something like the hot sun ruining your nutrition. You’ve worked far too hard to get to this point.

I also noticed one athlete with their race number wristband on their left hand. Most athletes have a Garmin/watch on their left hand. With this wristband and the Garmin rubbing against each other will only cause friction and discomfort.

I have seen it a few times where the athlete was forced to put their watch on their right hand only to cause problems with their swim as they are not used to swimming with their watch on their right hand. You wouldn’t think such a lightweight object could cause problems like this but unfortunately they do.

Also it made me wonder looking at all these photos how many of these athletes have got the tire pressure ready for the next day. Again, Kona is hot as crap. Your bike out all day in the blaring sun can cause your tube/tyre to bust. Best practice to do is to deflate your tires slightly so if you’re racing at 110 psi then decrease the air pressure to approximately 80 psi. This will simply reduce the risk of any problems.

The only thing that should be on your bike the day before your race is simply your race number. Everything else gets done the next day once transition opens. There is plenty of time to do your tyre pressure, your nutrition, clip on your cycling shoes and anything else that may need doing.

If you have any questions regarding racing training or nutrition please email me tim@trainsmooth.com

Tim Egge

Chris Froome’s Breathing Technique

I posted the following on the Train Smooth Private Facebook group for our current and past athletes. I thought it is worth shearing on the blog.


Some of you know that I have been doing a lot of reading in regards to oxygen and in particular how it can help with sports performance.

If you watch Chris Froome cycling he will lower his head between 5-7 seconds at a moderate effort and 2-4 seconds when he attacks. A lot of people comment that this is Froome keeping a very close eye on his power meter.

This could be right however I personally think what Chris Froome is doing a special breathing technique that may bring an advantage over an uncontrolled breathing athlete (I would guess most in the field).

Lowering the head implemented with a special technique.

Bowing the head facilitates the elevation of the diaphragm and encourages the complete empting of the lungs. A complete elevation of the diaphragm reduces the intra-abdominal pressure and promotes the venous and lymphatic return from the lower limbs.

The next deep breath through the nose and mouth with the head looking forward for cyclists (and looking slightly up for runners) will fill your lungs with oxygen, reduces the endothoracic pressure by increasing diastolic filling and cardiac output and therefore the amount of oxygen that gets to the muscles.

For example, when the effort is moderate, complete cycle every 3-4 breaths and when the effort is high, complete cycle every 1-2 breaths.

I tried this technique over the past couple of weeks and I notice that each exhalation is resulting by a 15-20% increase in instant watts.

Watch the video of Froome https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26NmxKiihnU


DIY Ironman Training Program

A lot of self-coached athletes I see struggle with the basics of blending swim, bike, run in a week. There are some who will underestimate the training, while others will over complicate things. I thought it would be helpful to create a basic template with some information that will assist you to customize a program that best fits in with you, your goals and your lifestyle.

Please keep in mind that this is a basic way to create a program with the goal of making everything as simple as possible.

Available Training Hours

Do not be concerned with getting caught up with all the needless effort of writing down how long you work, how long you need to sleep, time spent with family, time preparing meals etc. This is all unnecessary. Simply write down Monday through to Sunday and write down for each day the times you can train. You know your schedule and what you can fit in to each day throughout the week, so there is no need to complicate this. Knowing what time you have free to train is the first step.

See example below.



Goals, Race and Time Frame

Depending on your fitness levels, strength and weakness will depend greatly on what your training will look like. In line with keeping things simple, we will work from the following:

Poor Fitness and new to Ironman: You need to spend a considerable amount of time putting in aerobic miles, both on the bike and run. You would want to start this training a minimum of six months prior to an Ironman, however sooner would be more beneficial.

• Mid pack athlete: Ideally you need to start six months out with a combination of speed, strength and endurance and really start to dial things in from 16 weeks out of your Ironman.

• Quarter pack athlete: You should mostly be working on speed and strength work from six months and start to add more endurance work come 12 weeks out whilst really dialing everything in.

• Pointy end: Extremely customized program – this blog would not apply to you.

The Basics of a program

In the 16 to 12 weeks in from your Ironman when you really start to build towards your race, you really need the following things in your program.

• Weekly long swim (4km or greater)

• Weekly long bike (5-6 hours)

• Weekly long run (2-3 hours)

• Brick session (from 10 minutes through to 1 hour)


Ironman Program.JPG

There are a couple of reasons why I like to allocate the long ride Saturday, the long run Sunday and the long swim Monday.

1. Most people work Monday to Friday and have weekends off. A long run the day after a long ride helps create that feeling you will experience in an Ironman marathon.

2. If you put in your long run early Sunday morning, you have the option to spend the rest of that day with family to help create a good work/family/train balance.

3. I really like the long swim on a Monday as this can be a good recovery day for your legs.

Adding the Brick Session

What is the reason you need a brick within your program? Your history will normally provide you with this answer. I have listed a few reasons and answers below.

• I run well off the bike with little brick sessions in my program: You might be able to get away with just adding a run off the bike as part of your cool down. 10-20 min of easy running will do well. This can be good to add off a hard and fast bike ride.

• I struggle from around 20-30 minutes into the run: This could be a pacing problem or you don’t do enough brick sessions or you might be doing the wrong type of brick sessions most suited for you. Make your brick sessions off a hard 90 minute ride. The brick should be around 30 minutes and done at race pace, (keeping a close eye on pace). One big problem triathletes suffer from within an Ironman, is that first 20-30 minutes into the run is way too fast for them. You need to keep this controlled.

• I struggle holding pace off the bike: Running off the bike at race pace, include a 20 seconds walk between each 1km of running. Focus on holding the same pace throughout.

• I don’t have time for brick sessions as I have only an hour in the afternoon to train: Do a 40-45 minute indoor ride that is crazy hard and fast and include a 15-20 minute brick run.

• I start to break down after an hour or two: You many need to increase the distance of your brick sessions and/or the distance of your weekly long runs. Another good possibility is to include an hour on the bike before your long run. At first make this ride all easy and over time slowly build it into a strength session and complete your long run off this. Another option is to have a few hours rest after your long ride then do an hour run in the afternoon, with the majority of this at race effort, (this should be done at effort and not pace). Between the afternoon run and the long run the next day, this should help.
While there are many other reasons you may fall under, this will give you an idea.

Please note that all transitions should be completed FAST. Even if the run off the bike is easy, transition should be as fast as possible.

How many sessions per week?

In an ideal world you will cover a minimum of three swims, three rides, three runs and three core/strength sessions. Some of these sessions you can make two within one like bike/run sessions or swim/run sessions. You really don’t want to make all sessions at the same effort/speed.

Swim: After your weekly long swim, include sessions that are focusing on speed and power within the water.

Bike: You have your weekly long ride, now it is time to add something shorter that is fast. Your indoor trainer is best for this session and also a ride with longer intervals that will help increase your race pace like 10-20 minute efforts.

Run: If you have no injuries and can run safely, a weekly long run and a brick run as well as something a little harder and faster.

Core/Strength: These can be done as little as ten minute sessions and can be completed at home. If you are in the gym, between once to twice a week can be enough as long as you are still completing some extra core strength sessions at home.
Yes I know there is a lot more we can add and include but remember that I am just covering the basics of an Ironman program and want to keep things simple.

Increasing Volume

We all know the 10% rule with increasing volume by only 10% each week. This can be good but not 100% correct. Here is a good principle to follow:

Swim: Between 500-1000 metres a week on a swim session

Bike: Around 30 minute increase on a session per week

Run: Around 10 minutes on your long run and around 5 minutes on the short hard and fast sessions

Strength: Whatever you can handle that will not take anything away from any other sessions.

Working on Weakness

Most of us have a weakness that we need to focus more on. For a lot of age groupers it is the swim, some the bike and others it is the run. Finding time to add an extra session per week that will help improve on your weakness can be hard as something has to give. Here are a few tips to look for.

• Find the reason why you have this weakness. If it is the bike, ask yourself why. Could you be doing all your rides at the same effort or are you not doing enough miles? Once you have the reason, you can then look at ways to work on the reason. You may just need more speed work and strength work sessions.

• Often removing a session like yoga or a gym session is the number one choice as you can get your strength session in through the swim, bike or run by using swim paddles, over gearing and hill repeats. This opens up some extra time within your program to focus on your weakness.

• Including the weakness as part of another session, eg if your weakness is your swim, you can finish your long run at the pool and jump in for a recovery swim session. This will help with recovery and give you some extra miles in the water.

These templates can show you how to include extra sessions to help with your weakness.


Ironman Program Template.JPG


Ironman Training Plan.JPG


Ironman Triathlon plan template.JPG

Please note that with the running, if following this template, you will have two key run sessions and the rest will be more aerobic sessions.


Empty template

So with these three templates, you can see what days you can look at adding the type of sessions you need. Some things to note:

Aerobic: Keeping heart rate under 80% or in other words, you should be able to talk and train at the same time. If you can’t hold a conversation you are going too fast.

Speed: Short fast sets with lots of recovery between each set.

Strength: Swimming with pool paddles, over gearing on the bike and cycling or running hills.

Easy: Very easy unless your legs are feeling okay and you are doing an easy ride then put the bike in the biggest gear and ride as easy as you like.


Ironman Triathlon Program.JPG


Ironman Week Program.JPG


Ironman Training Plan for Age Groupers.JPG


Ten Day Program

If you struggle to get everything you would like to do within a week, maybe a ten day program could be the best option.


Brett Sutton Training Plan.JPG


Rest Days

You may note that I haven’t got any rest days posted. For most athletes I like to fill their program up and let their body and life circumstances dictate when to take a rest day. Often simply cutting the intensity out of a session but still keeping the volume maybe all you will need.

Never change a session until you have completed the warm up first as some of the best sessions you may ever have will come off not feeling motivated to do it.

If you are one of the following, please set in appropriate rest days.

  • Over fifty years old
  • You are fully dedicated and never miss a session.



Please feel free to email me tim@trainsmooth.com if you have any questions. I know there will be athletes who don’t fall in with what I have written so if you need some guidance, please let me know.


Tim Egge


Oxygen Program

This is from the book called The Oxygen Advantage that I highly recommend you read. It has changed the way I look at not only training but life in general. This is a 260 page book taken down to the basics so I highly recommend reading the book as it is filled with so much value that you can take real time off your swim, bike and run without the stress of actually doing the extra miles.

The main areas of what this program is created around is
• Body Oxygen Level Tests (BOLT)
• Nasial Breathing
• Breathe light, breathe right
• Strategic breath holding


There are a number of benefits you should expect to receive from this program like

• Improved anaerobic and aerobic energy supply system, allowing for greater endurance, strength, speed and power.
• Faster VO2 kinetics, allowing the blood to carry more oxygen to the muscles.
• Increase tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
• Decrease recovery time
• Reduced lactic acid build-up
• Improved oxygen of active muscles,
• Increase in natural Erythropoietin (EPO)
The Program
For the next 14 days, I want you to aim and do this every day and after the 14 days are up, you can make up your own mind whether you would like to continue or quit.


BOLT – Between 10-12 minutes
• Gently exhale and pinch nose
• Time how long you hold and you start breathing at a “normal rate”. If you inhale with a large breath, you most likely held your breath for too long.
• 30 seconds of normal nasial breathing and repeat ten times.
**** Ideally you want to increase this number to 40 seconds or longer. Don’t stress if you can only do 10-20 seconds at first, you should see great improvements within a days****


Warm ups in training (Don’t do this if your average BOLT is 10 or less)
During your warm ups in training, include a half a dozen of breath holds with around 30 seconds normal breathing between each one. No need to times these. Each breath hold you should have no oxygen in your lungs.


Altitude Simulation Session
The other breath hold session is Altitude Simulation Session that can be carried out a few ways (walking, running, cycling. Swimming as well as an advanced running session) but just start with the walking session as this is a session you can do anywhere without any impact to your recovery or needing to add another training session.
Walking: Walk 2min, exhale & pinch nose, walk to medium to strong breath is needed and start breathing with short sips of breaths for 15 seconds then normal breathing for 30 seconds. Repeat this for 8-10 times.
What you are doing here is getting red blood cells to be released from your spleen.

Nasal Breathing
This is the most important thing you can do during rest (awake and sleep) and as much as possible during training. Most people take in too much oxygen and often through their mouth and this is not a correct way to breath.
This list of benefits of nasal breathing versus mouth breathing in everyday life a crazy long.

Personally I saw around 10 seconds per 100m taken off my swim time over a 500m time trial. I have found I am significantly more efficient cycling and running uphills. For the athletes who I coach that have completed the 14 days have all seen improvements with one seeing major improvements in his FTP in under a month.
If you do continue the oxygen program past the 14 days, you really need to read the book so you can get a greater understanding of the science and for further information, tips and exercises.

Tim Eggetim@trainsmooth.com



Allan Pitman & his athletes

While I was at Ironman Cairns last weekend, I met up with my mentor and one of the best triathlon coaches in the world, Allan Pitman.   I got to sit in with a race brief Allan gave his athletes who were racing the Ironman the next day.  This would be the fourth time I have listened to Allan give a race brief to his athletes the day before a big race.   Every one of his briefs is different but with the same desired outcome……. to get the most out of his athletes.


Throughout this race brief, Allan spoke about mental strength, courage, fear, nutrition, transition and laying it all out on the course.
Mental Strength

One of his favourite sayings is, “Once the training is done, 70% of the race is all above the chin”.

When we find that our minds are down and things seem to be in a slump, Allan talked about resetting our minds by counting swim strokes, counting peddle strokes, counting run strides and to keep counting until we are mentally back on track.  Sometimes this can take seconds and sometimes much longer.   The result of this method of counting along with your body’s movements is that your movements become more accurate and faster.
Courage and Fear

You must be able to control and balance courage and fear.   You need to have the courage to push yourself as hard as possible in the swim, push as hard as possible in the bike and push it as hard as possible on the run.

Yes, at times you will go into the red.   Just like we do in training with intervals, we can often push ourselves on the wind trainer to the point where we cannot do another peddle stroke, yet after a minute of easy spin, we can be  back ready to go again.  He said it was okay if this occurs when we are riding up a hill in the race.   Don’t be concerned about going into the red, because it won’t take long before we are all good and we can keep pushing hard again.

Allan spoke about how it is better to under feed than over feed.   When you have too much nutrition, your stomach becomes stressed and more times than not, it will come back out through your mouth.   It is also harder to add more nutrition when your stomach is under stress.   Often you will keep bringing it back up.   When you underfeed, you can always add more if and when needed.

Salt loading is important.   It is good to stay in front of the situation.   It is not always cramping that is an indicator that your sodium levels are low.  When you wake up for the race, take two salt tablets.   Your drink on the bike should include salt, and take salt tablets throughout the race on feel.


Transitions are an important part of the race.   Races can be won and lost within transition.  Allan told us a story of the first time that he qualified for Kona.   He won it through transition.  The athlete who came second, by under a minute, had a slightly faster swim, bike and run time than Allan, but Allan’s transition times were a quarter of the time of the second placed athlete.   Less than one minute separated Allan and this athlete in their finishing time.
Leaving it out on the course 

Allan told another story of his experience one year competing in Ironman.   When he crossed the finishing line, he felt great and still fresh.   There was plenty left in the tank.  He regretted not pushing himself harder throughout the day.

From the moment the race starts, you race and you go as hard as possible at that moment.

Tim Egge

Email tim@trainsmooth.com


A coin of great value

When I was a teenager I was into my father one day about money and how I want to be rich by playing music in my band at the time.  He told me this old story.

“If you give a man a coin, does that make him rich? What if you give him another coin and another coin and another coin?  At some point, a coin will make him rich”.
While my band never made it far, I still think of this message often and think it has a crossover to many things in life including triathlon.

If someone wanted to be a doctor but kept missing science, maths, never doing homework, always cutting class. That dream of becoming a doctor dramatically decreases and their nightmare of  being a security guard at their local shopping center starts to look more like a reality.

This isn’t to say they can turn things around, They are simply not doing themselves any favours.

I get athletes tell me all the time they want to qualify for Kona, they want to finish an Ironman, they want to run a marathon, etc.  Within the first training block I can tell the ones that will give themselves the best opportunity of success and the ones who will struggle or simply fail.

By missing a training session, it isn’t going to make or break you however in my experience missing a training session makes it a lot easier to miss others.  It can be a slippery slope if you haven’t got real self-control.I tell all my athletes when they join these simple but effective tips


  • Aim not to miss a training session
  • If you are sore and tired, drop the intensity but keep the volume.
  • If you are still sore and tired and are really struggling, shut it down and have the rest of the day
  • DON”T PLAY CATCH UP. If you miss a session or a day, just move to the next day and forget about what you have missed.
One of the biggest issues that come up by athletes is “I struggled to get out of bed in the morning”.  NEVER get into the habit of pressing the snooze button on the alarm or looking at the phone or checking the weather before getting out of bed. Alarm goes off, roll out of bed right away and start moving and before you have a chance to think, you are already in transition from waking up and getting your training gear on.  Just like if you were going to the airport for an amazing holiday, treat training the same way. UP AND AT IT 
I mentioned this a hundred times and it is worth repeating
  • Get the volume in
  • Through the volume, you get your recovery
  • When you can do the first two, you can add intensity.


Tim Egge


DYI Training Program

I don’t see great value in purchasing and downloading a twelve or twenty week generic training plan.  Yes you will get some ideas on how to structure a program and some of the sessions may be perfect for you.  I am a true believer in having a program based around you, your goals, work, family and lifestyle.


There are so many veritable when it comes to creating your own training program like
  • Available training hours
  • What, when and where is your main race for the season
  • Current fitness level
  • Weakness and strengths
  • How are you feeling/fatigue levels, etc
  • Does your available training hours make it work spending time on weakness, doing a typical base training block, maybe MAF training could be better or is short, hard and fast going to be best.
Available Training Hours
I’m not one of these coaches who makes their athletes write down how many hours you work a week, how many hours you sleep, how many hours you travel, etc with the hope of finding out how much training can that athlete do. I want to know the athlete’s available training hours. This can change day to day, week to week, month to month.
Example of this would be
Monday: 0500-0700
Tuesday: 0500-0700 & 1800-2000
Wednesday: 0500-0700
Thursday: 0500-0700 & 1800-2000
Friday: 0500-0700
Saturday: 0600-1200
Sunday: 0600-0900 & 1500-1600
From this, I can see this athlete has approximately 24 hours in a week to train.  Just because that athlete has 24 hours available training hours, doesn’t mean they should use everyone of them.   Yes recovery is important but also you need keep in mind, is doing extra miles on a day going to cause problems for other key training sessions the next day or day after.
What, When and Where
While it is hard to write in great details about this because there are so much to consider, I will give some things to think about.  The typical way of thinking for a triathlete to train is base training for 3 months, build training for over two months with a taper and peak at the end giving you a six month training plan.
There simply is way too many faults with this way of thinking (I’ll leave this for another blog) but to keep things simple for now, taking the information from your available training hours, look at the time frame from now to your main race and now you have a starting point.
Basics of your training program
Again, keeping everything simple, using a spread sheet or I personally use a online training program for me and my athletes called Final Surge, you can start laying the basics down on your program.
Normally this is a “basic” rule of thumb for each distance when creating your program.
  • Sprint Distance: Speed work
  • Olympic Distance: Speed and Strength
  • Half Ironman: Endurance and Strength
  • Ironman: Endurance and Strength
Examples of this would be
Sprint and Olympic Distances
Monday: Speed
Tuesday: Strength
Wednesday: Speed
Thursday: Aerobic/easy
Friday: Speed
Saturday: Aerobic
Sunday: Aerobic
70.3 and Ironman
Monday: Strength
Tuesday: Speed
Wednesday: Strength
Thursday: Aerobic
Friday: Strength
Saturday: Aerobic
Sunday: Aerobic

I won’t get into this too much now but some athletes work best with a ten day program that can look something like this.Day 1: Strength

Day 2: Speed

Day 3: Strength

Day 4:Aerobic

Day 5: Easy

Day 6: Aerobic

Day 7: Strength

Day 8: Speed

Day 9: Aerobic

Day 10: Rest day or easy day

Ideally you need these four things each week
1. Long Swim that is the same or greater than the distance you will be racing.
2. Long Ride that is the same or greater than the distance you will be racing (more is always more with this session).
3. Long run that is or greater than your race (except for Ironman distance athletes, cap this at 20 miles or 3 hours, whatever comes first).
4. A brick session
As long as you have these four things in your weekly program, you can then look at inserting all the other sessions around these sessions and as you learn more and get to know your body with what works and what doesn’t, this becomes a lot easier.
Base Training
If you are to follow what so many coaches and books teaches you, you are more of less spending winter doing base training except that this is a shocking time of year to do this kind of training for most of us.  There is less sun light, it is cold and for many of us, icy and dangerous.
In an ideal world, clocking up some big miles, working on weaknesses between six months and three months from your main race is a great idea however for most of us, its just not the best option so doing a reverse periodization plan is the best option when you spend the colder months working more on speed and strength will give you a bigger bang for your buck and as the weather warms up, you can then start to include greater miles into your training blocks.
If you have only got under ten hours a week to train and you are training for a 70.3 or an Ironman, there really isn’t such a thing as base training for you.  You haven’t got enough training hours in the week to get the benefits from this.
Are you aerobically fit?
Looking at your aerobic fitness or what I like to call “building your aerobic engine” is a good option for running and often cycling as well.  I am a big advocate for the MAF concept.  Created by Dr. Phil Mafitone, the MAF concept is heart rate training that is 180 minus your age.  For example, I am 35 years old so 180-35=145.  This makes my MAF zone 135-145.  For when I am doing a MAF training block, I will spend as much time as possible keeping my HR between 135-145.
If you are fit, you can increase this number by 5 beats per minute. If you have had an injury in the past six months, decrease this by 5 beats per minute.
If you would like to use this concept in training (not too close to racing), you really need eight weeks of training at MAF to see the benefits.  This means all your runs for the eight weeks should be at MAF.  At first you will most likely have to walk a bit to lower your heart rate and over time, you should see your pace increase whilst training within that heart rate zone.
Strength Training
I made mention in the training week examples, “strength days”.  This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym.  You can get your strength training a number of ways.

  • Swimming with paddles
  • Hill repeats
  • Low cadence riding
  • adding hills within a session
Yes the gym can help greatly but again, I refer back to your available training hours,Sometime you are much better off getting your strength work in through your normal training than going to the gym, Many world champions don’t step foot in the gym ever.
However, If you are over 35 years old and have got the available training hours, I would recommend gym strength work.  Not only to become a stronger athletes, but also a stronger 70 year old.
Brick Sessions
How far should my brick sessions be?  This depends greatly on you.  A lot of athletes can get  away with a 30-50 minute run off the bike however, if you are doing your long runs well, not missing your training sessions and find you are bonking in the last half of the run in your race, look at increasing your brick distance.
Another option could be is doing a one hour ride before your weekly long run.  At first make the ride easy and slowly increase intensity.
Training Weaknesses 
All the magazines will tell you spend winter working on weaknesses.  This is great if again, your available training hours will let you, if you are actually training to really improve your weaknesses and not robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Most triathletes, their weaknesses is the swim.  To improve, we are told, more is more. Speed, speed, speed.  But if you are doing nothing but speed work in the water and not seeing any improvements, you are most likely wasting your available training time.  Your time may be best spent working on core strength to help improve positioning in the water or more swimming with pull, paddle and band or technique correction.  You maybe best to see someone who know “triathlon swimming” to help here.
Yoga, etc
I don’t mind having athletes do yoga or stretch session as long as it doesn’t get in the way of everything else and it actually compliments what we are doing.  If you can only train an hour a day, you need to cut all the fluff like yoga, gym, etc and spend that time swimming, cycling and running.
I have recently started everyday with doing 10-20 minute session that combines yoga/balance, core and movements.  Yes I wake up a little earlier to do it and I feel amazing for it.


First run after injury


Most of us get injured, it is just part of training and racing.  We push our bodies so much that we walk a fine line between being healthy and being injured.  So how should you come back from injury?

Well depending on the injury will depend greatly on how your comeback will be structured. I will touch on some generic injury training plans that I use with some athletes I work with but you are best to consult with a professional to ensure this is right for you.
To be honest with yourself, you don’t know if the rehab has fully worked or if you are fully healed, etc.  This is where your first run back is so important. You are more or less looking for feedback from your body.
A good session to do so you don’t push anything and push your recovery backwards, is a 40 minute run with 1 minute easy jog, 1 minute walking (repeat 20 x) You can get an idea on where you are at and have less risk on re-injury or setting your rehab further back.  You also have the option on stopping at anytime. Do this two or three times with one to two days rest between each session.
To progress from here, 40 minute run with 90 seconds easy jog, 30 seconds walking.  The same as the first run, do it two or three times with one to two days rest in between sessions.
From this you can progress to walking 30 seconds every 3 minutes and then 30 second walk every 5 minutes.
It is important to take one to two days rest in between run sessions.  As you can see, it is a slow progress with increasing run volume.  The key is to slowly increase volume and take one to two days rest in between.  You can make changes if and when needed.
Using running to measure rehab
With some injuries like shin splints, minor ITB, etc, you can use running to measure if the rehab is working and if changes are needed or keep everything the same.
For example, I had shin pains and the pain would start around 20 minutes into the run.  I then used the 20 minute as a marker.  I would massage and hit trigger points.  Every second day I would go for a run.  If I could run 25 minutes before the pain set in, I know I am improving and continue with what I was doing.  If the pain set in 15 minutes into the run, I know the pain was getting worse and would have to try something different.


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