Can you complete/compete at the 140.6 distance w/ only 10 hrs of training per week?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How 'it' all started

I can still remember the moment and store where my Ironman journey began. Back in the early 90s I found myself in the Jefferson Valley Mall (Yorktown Heights, NY) at Olympia Sports. Can't believe it, but the store is still there!

For some reason I was looking through the running apparel section and came upon a logo and a sticker that caught my eye. Below is the actual sticker that came with a pair of running shorts:

The challenge was presented to me that day as I read the back of that sticker. At that moment I was captivated by the fact that people actually did this. It was hard to imagine, but I was game and the hook was set in the roof of my mouth.

For laughs, take a look at the picture below of the shorts and the serious game face prior to the Triangle Triathlon. Back then I represented with a GT Strike Road Bike (an actual upgrade from my Mongoose Rockadile MTB) with clip on aerobars. Also take note of the video camera that is almost as big as my oversized transition bag. Evidently, I was prepared to go on vacation post Triangle.

I hope today that you too are captivated by the IM challenge. I am here to say that the challenge and the joy of embracing this event only gets better as you 'taste it' more and more.

May the 'hook' find the roof of your mouth too.

Train smart, think big...
Coach L

Monday, December 6, 2010

2011 Season

I am happy to report that 'Team Leo' is poised to take on Ironman Lousiville in 2011! Anne and I plan on approaching IML with the "IM in 10" methods with the intention to race it this time around. As some may recall, IML 2009 was taken on with three meniscal tears (one in my left and two in my right knee). A high school baseball injury and a bone head face plant on my bike promoted these tears. They have since been cleared up.

We are both amped to take on this race again and are already preparing for August 2011. In the next few weeks I will begin to 'journal' the balancing act of training/competing at the IM distance with a 'full house'. Luke will be working toward 5 years and little "Gracie Racie" (Grace Kells Leo) will be a month past a year on game day (IML 2011). Maintaining balance at the home front is one big positive that comes with training less then 10 hrs per week for an IM. The other added bonus to this training method is being able to compete and not just complete. For 2011 I look forward to toeing the line with full intentions to compete and qualify for Kona.

In this upcoming season I will be including more specifics regarding the workouts used from week to week. I also plan on shedding some light on several of my athletes who have chosen to use this method for the 2011 season.

I look forward to sharing my journey!

Coach Lance

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ironman Florida 2010 - Race Report

Last Saturday was a great day! All of my peeps 'broke tape' and I could not be prouder of each of them. For some, it was their first Ironman (IM) experience and for others it was their third M-Dot for 2010 (Meredith D):

Dan Bowker
Eric Cerwin (1st IM)
Meredith Dolhare
Carl Foulks (1st IM)
John Lennox
John Mihm (1st IM)
Joe Smith (1st IM)

Great work friends! It was an honor and privilege to play a part in your training/racing prep leading up to IMF 2010. I look forward to assisting you in the months and years to come.

From my perspective I could not have been happier with how things turned out. For my faithful followers of this blog you know the background. For those who are new to this blog I will give a very brief overview of the facts and elaborate slightly on the day itself.

The training for this IM consisted of a focused 8 week prep minus ~3 weeks that included knee surgery (R medial and lateral menisectomy). This injury was sustained back in high school, but I never had it fixed. It was just a matter of time for my years of playing catcher to catch up to me! So, this surgery was not due to my actual training, but rather as a result of my days spent behind the plate.

This 8 week training block produced on average 7:35 hrs of training per week. For more specifics on the actual training please refer to the 10/27 and 11/5 posts. As noted in 11/5 post, I was excited to see how this would compare to my IMF 2001. Back then I put in loads of training and was 9 yrs younger. Back then I worked (Ex Phys guy at ViQuest in Greenville, NC), trained, ate, and slept. I really had nothing much else to do, but focus on IMF.

So, back to IMF 2010. For clarity I will hit each mode individually. I'll try to keep this to the point and not bore you all with too many details.


I love contact and I find it amusing to get punched in the face while swimming 2.4 miles. In the first 5 minutes everyone seemed to be jockeying for the first bouy and claiming 'their spot' in the Gulf. At one point I was biffed in the eye so hard that I thought my goggle would extract my eye from its socket. That made me laugh and forced me to get vertical and adjust things. All in all, the swim was relaxing and enjoyable. I used a 5 to 7 count breathing frequency to gauge my intensity on the second lap. I have found this to be very helpful in keeping me from swimming at a pace that will negatively impact the bike and run later in the day.

Those who know my 'shark story' from 2009 will be happy to know that I only saw one jellyfish and one horseshoe crab. Both forced a 100 yd surge out of me with a heavy emphasis on the kick.

I was absolutely fired up to come out of the water in under an hour with the limited time spent in the water.

TAKE HOME POINTS with reference to "IM in 10":

(1) Technique must come before 'swim fitness'. I had no business swimming the time I swam on Saturday. If an athlete can adjust to the changing conditions of the ocean and maintain sound form in the front quadrant of their stroke they will trump the other athlete who has less efficiency and a higher level of swim fitness.

(2) Relaxation is essential. If an athlete can mesh point number one with a relaxed mind and body they are golden. Swimming can be very stressful. Learning to relax while swimming will play a HUGE part in lowering your overall energy expenditure and increase your likelihood of swimming more efficiently.


The game plan for the bike was to hold a power output range of 242 to 262 watts with a HR response below my LBP of 160 bpm. Right out of the blocks things did not look so promising from an equipment stand point. Both my PowerTap and my Garmin did not pick up an HR for the first 30 miles. This forced me to use other biofeedback measures to validate intensity in conjunction with my power numbers. I have often told athletes that one cannot use power alone or HR alone when training/racing. I am a big fan of looking at both and making logical decisions per the numbers you see. These decisions must be based on science and on observations made IN training and racing.

I opted to look at my respiration rate (RR) in conjuction with power to keep me on pace. In the lab (my garage) I knew a RR of 16 would put me in the 134 to 144 bmp range (10/13 post). This served me well until I got warm enough to sweat and create a good connection between the HR strap and skin.

All day long I was faced with the temptation to jump into a pack of 15 to 25 cyclists and spare my legs for the run. No joke, at one point I came up onto a pro and about 12 other guys. I pulled up to him and questioned his tactics. In his Aussie accent he said, "...hey mate, jump on the back...". Seriously. I opted to surge away from them, but then got swallowed up and spit out the back. This happened at least three other times. Here is the kicker. At mile 80 I get pegged for a drafting penalty. I could not believe it!

I saw this as a time to love on the people in the penalty tent and I also knew this was the Lord's will for me on this day. I certainly did not like this turn of events, but knew someone else was calling the shots!

Was tickled pink with how good my legs felt per the LBP/HR/Watts/RR approach used from the onset of this leg. I did not over extend and was pleased with the numbers; 243 average watts and 153 average HR (HR was high per the winds).

TAKE HOME POINTS with reference to "IM in 10":

(1) Study your body. There is so much technology out there at our disposal! Almost too much in fact. A watch and the ability to count to 8 was all I needed to keep from over committing on the bike. I think it is very important to train mindfully and not mindlessly. In the weeks leading up to IMF I assessed my RR at varying intensities in conjunction to HR response.

(2) Strength train. I am convinced without a shadow of a doubt that the strength training I did with Bill Scibetta (Precision Fitness) filled the gap for me last Saturday. I make this statement off of the fact that my longest ride for IMF was 2:30 hrs. The one constant I had going for me at IMF was the corrective/dynamic strength training I had done for 8 months leading up to race day.


Off the bike I felt like a rock star! Legs had plenty of zip and zap to em' and the first 6 miles reflected that. Despite having an audible timer reminding me to eat every 10 min on the bike I think I came off the battle wagon underfueled. As a result, I opted to walk briskly through each aid station from mile one. This decision allowed me to play some catch up.

The Lord was very sweet to me and allowed me to run well. The knees were a non-issue and I was able to run without incident. What I found to be most interesting about this IM experience was how the Holy Spirit overwhelmed me in the first 13 miles. No joke, I was brought to tears several times as I reflected on how blessed I was. At church I never lift my hands, but on this day I was lifting em' friends. I often say that I look forward to the day when I break down at the finish line. I have not done that yet and I do look forward to that day. Instead, my Savior touched me while I could still focus on Him and all that He allows me to do. There was one point on Saturday that a fellow athlete must have heard me crying. I was overwhelmed with joy as I realized He was letting me run a effortless 7:15 min pace. I was in awe of His blessing and presence.

I am ashamed to admit that it was post 13 miles that I focused more on the externals (splits, pace, overall time) then on Him and thus became disconnected. Tears no longer flowed.

This is getting way too long. So lets wrap things up.

TAKE HOME POINT with reference to "IM in 10":

(1) Quality over quantity. One 18 miler was the longest run I did for IMF (13 was the second longest). The key was making the run count and to reflect a higher overall physiological load. This was made possible by running at a pace that was closer to a 20K to 30K pace then a marathon pace.

In closing, I can't thank my dear wife enough for her support and patience with me. Thank you Annie for knowing me and still loving me. Your awesome and I look forward to toeing the line with you at IML 2011 using the "IM in 10" training methods!

Yes, that is the plan. Lord willing, Anne and I will be headed back to IML in 2011 to race. I am EAGER to get back at it and feel as if I just did Latta and not IMF. There is certainly something to be said about hitting the IM distance in less. Lets do this!

Train smart friends,
Coach Lance

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ironman Florida 2001 vs. 2010

Its funny how one can become quite reflective the week prior to an IM. I thought of the experiences that brought me to this race distance many years ago. Everyone has a story and I thought I’d share briefly my journey from a football, baseball, and basketball guy to triathlete.

The thought of taking on an IM began about 20+ yrs ago. A sticker, yes, a sticker was my FIRST exposure to IM. I can still remember the store and how I saw this sticker that came with a pair of Scott Tinley running shorts. On the back of the sticker were the distances of the three sports. It was at that moment that I was intrigued and personally challenged. I think we all have similar stories that drew us to this race distance and for me it was a sticker. I still have that sticker somewhere.

To keep this post short (I still need to get my bottles ready for IMF tomorrow) I will skip quickly to my first race that 'sealed the deal' for me. I think it was the summer of 1992 when I toed the line at the Rye Playland triathlon. Unbeknownst to me, this was a sprint championship of some kind. Mountain bike, worn out Nikes, cut off cotton T-shirt (with Somers High Football proudly represented on the chest), red spandex shorts, and an oversized helmet were my 'weapons' of choice. Take a look at the pictures to the right to see exactly what I am talking about!

I had NO clue what I was doing, but LOVED every minute of it! I represented with breastroke for the duration and probably finished dead last. Results were mailed to you back then and ChampionChip had not evolved yet.

Fastforward to 2000 and I am now ready to take on the IM distance. The Lord had other plans though. A motorcycle took me out 1 week prior to IMF. I should not be here today typing this post out. Brain trauma, pelvic and cocyx fractures, sliced and diced L leg, and hang time in the ICU took me out of the game. If you want to see a news clip on this take a look:

They did not get the story exactly right. I was not 'mad' I was actually grateful for this 'set back'. Say what!? Let me clarify please. This accident opened my eyes to how fragile and weak I was (and still am) and how strong and able Christ is! I could have taken my last breath that day, but He allowed me a BIG 'second' chance. He is a God of MANY second chances. It blows me away!

I found using a wheel chair and a walker to learn how to walk quite humbling.

So, IMF 2000 did not happen, but IM 2001 did. I can still remember my meticuluous note taking in my training log/journal. In those days I logged 20 to 25 hr weeks regularly. I put in the typical 100 plus mile rides and even some Raleigh to Wilmington rides. I loved the volume and the training. IMF 2001 went well and I was left wanting more. Missing the big island by minutes per two trips to the porta john did not settle well with me.

Lets bring this post to a close friends. Pressing fast forward again I find myself in 2010. This is my third go at IMF. What I look forward to most tomorrow is seeing the difference between my 2001 training default and my 2010 methods.

20 hrs of training per week vs. 7:30 hrs of training per week. How will it go friends? I certainly do not know the splits or the finishing time, but I know who does. The Lord will direct my steps and I look forward to seeing how the day will unravel.

It is important for me to note that I dig volume that is purposeful and relevant. I simply don't have the time like I did back in 2000 to train long. Thus the creation of "IM in 10" in 2009. I clearly believe one can 'break tape' at the IM distance in much less time and with much less training volume.

Have an outstanding weekend friends,

Coach L

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IMF 2010 - Training Summary

The taper is in full swing and I am now left wondering how the day will unfold on November 6. As I look back at the past 12 weeks I must admit it was not the ideal Ironman prep. The knee surgeries of 2010 and the somewhat irregular sleeping patterns of my 3 month old and almost 4 year old made this training period challening to say the least.

I can't help but compare my trainining from IML 2009 vs. IMF 2010.

IML 2009 Averages per Week
Swim 40 min / 1,175 yds
Bike 5:25 hrs / 120 miles
Run 2:04 / 16.9 miles
Weekly Hours 7:54

IMF 2010 Averages per Week
Swim 40 min / 1,650 yds
Bike 3:30 hrs / 106 miles
Run 2:02 / 17.8 miles
Weekly Hours 7:35*
*excluding 2 weeks of little to no training per knee surgery

Below you will see the allocation of time per each discipline from July 26 to present (excluding taper phase):

The one thing I look forward to analyzing both during and post IMF is how the strength training helped 'fill the gap' for the 2 hr difference on the bike. IML reflected an average bike time per week of 5 hrs and 25 min vs. 3 hrs and 30 min for IMF.

I have never felt stronger for an Ironman and certainly feel the 'mental reserves' have not been tapped. Its amazing how important those reserves are for this distance.

The challenge of the Iron distance awaits and I am eager to test the "IM in 10" methods once again.

Stay tuned friends,
Coach Lance

Monday, October 18, 2010

18 x 1 and props

With only 3 weeks out from IMF I wanted to make sure to hit one last "long run". Given the knee surgeries (February and August) of this year my running has not been built as I would have liked. To make up for this I have made sure to dial in on the strength training and I think I am seeing the fruits of my times with Bill Scibetta (

This past Sunday I did the unthinkable and ran 18 times around a relatively flat 1/2 mile section of Highland Creek (see below).

The logic here was to run on a surface as similar to IMF as I could and fuel each mile with PowerBar PERFORM. I have not felt so good on a run as I did this cool Sunday morning!

The goal was to mirror goal pacing for IMF (7 to 7:30 min/mile), but I was unable to pull back. I know most of you reading this have had a similar experience. Some call it the 'runners high' and others call it the 'flow state'. I was there. It ended up being a 6:40 min/mile average day. It was truly a spiritual moment for me. I know the motorists thought I was a whack job, but I couldn't resist lifting my hands to the heavens when my 310XT audibly notified me of the 18 miles. The Lord was all over this run and I praise Him! I am in awe of how He has healed my knees in 2010!

So, excitement is building toward November 6. I know anything can happen at an IM, but I am optimistic about how things could turn out.

Switching gears for a moment. It would not be right if I did not give props to my dear wife Anne! I couldn't be prouder of her efforts. Last Sunday she toed the line at Take Flight (3 months post the birth of Grace Kells Leo) and had a great race. What amazed me most about her performance was how close she was to her time of 2009. She was 3 min slower on the run, but pretty spot on in the other two!

I am most proud of how she is more then able to excel as an exceptional Mama/Mommy and wife to Team Leo. She simply does not miss a beat. In my opinion, she is the perfect example of how one can shine as an excellent mother/wife and triathlete. Thanks Annie for your hard work 'on and off the field'.

Train smart friends,
Coach L

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

LBP and IMF 2010

I could not be happier with the Lactate Balance Point (LBP) test that I conducted on myself this morning!

Those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning know that I am a big fan of the LBP. I came to believe in the LBP when I simply became uneasy with applying absolute lactate values to all athletes; 2, 3, and 4 mmols of lactate. As I studied the logic/science behind the LBP I quickly adopted it as my go to test for setting training zones for myself and my athletes.

In a nutshell, the LBP is the point at which the body becomes more reliant/dependant on the 'short term'/exhaustable energy substrates; blood glucose and liver/muscle glycogen. Moreover, the LBP identifies the upper limit at which your body is able to metabolize lactate. Efforts that exist just above the LBP will eventually leave an athlete unable to maintain their power output or pace.

So, lets take some real world data and bring this all together. Last week I took part in an oustanding race that came to be per the tragic loss of a little boy by the name of Garrett Campbell (; Take Flight Triathlon. I'd strongly encourage you to take part and support this event in the years to come!

At this event I averaged 364 watts on the 10 mile bike course. This equates to a Functional Threhsold Power (FTP) of 346 watts (364 x .95). Making this relevant to IMF 2010 one can multiply the FTP by .7 to .76 to get a wattage range of 242 to 262.

This is where the numbers from this morning come in. I do not want overwhelm this post with numbers so I narrowed the focus to the 220 to 280 wattage range:

The take home point from todays test is this: At IMF if I opt to roll at the low end of my IM wattage range (242 watts) I will likely be ~30 bpm BELOW my LBP of 160 bpm. For the record, I plan on riding conservatively at IMF and will likely open up at 220 watts for the first 15 miles to assess the signals the body is presenting me.

In the perfect racing world there would be NO head winds, ideal temperatures, a compliant stomach, etc. The unpredictable nature of racing will certainly force me to evaluate both HR and watts constantly at IMF. One must not get so dialed in on holding a specific wattage that they ignore an upward drifting HR response.

I am now even more excited about IMF then I was on Monday. I know lab testing has its limitations, but it is nice to see a HR response of 134 and 144 bpm at the low and high end of my IM wattage ranges. I look forward to using my newly tested LBP HR at IMF in November!

To further strengthen the validity of this test and the results noted above I plan on doing a LBP Validation Test. This test will hone in on maintaining a HR that is 10 bpm below LBP, at LBP, and 1o bpm above LBP. I plan on doing this test next week.

Stay tuned friends and train smart,
Coach Lance

Friday, October 8, 2010

What is your weekly average?

At this point I have been hitting on average 7 hrs and 12 min of training per week. Training for IMF officially commenced on July 26, 2010. Two key events have taken place just before and after this date:

(1) Grace Kells Leo came into the world on July 13. Those who have young children know the challenges that come with a baby - they are many. I am happy to report that Grace found her thumb about 4 nights ago. To get almost 7 hrs of sleep has been incredible and we are like new people at the Leo compound. Her smile is simply beautiful!

(2) Knee surgery on August 19; a medial and lateral meniscal tear were found in my R knee. This certainly forced me to slow 'the wheels' down. As noted previously, I take every obstacle that is thrown at me and try to see what the Lord is telling me. In this case, I was reminded how weak and susceptible I am and how strong and able He is.

This has not been the ideal year for Ironman training/racing. I do have to admit that Anne had warned me to stay clear of IMF, but I pressed on like a stubborn male. Confession made.

From a training perspective I have done my best to prepare for IMF. Here is a quick snapshot of some totals that will bring more clarity to what has been done July 26 to present:

Duration and % / Distance and %

Swim: 3.8 hrs and 5.7% / 5901 yds and N/A
Bike: 30.2 hrs and 45.8% / 918.9 miles and 86.2%
Run: 16.5 hrs and 25.4% / 143.8 miles and 13.5%
Strength: 10.42 hrs and 15.8% / N/A

Miscelaneous Facts:
Longest Open Water Swim = 750 meters (Latta Tri - June 12)
Longest Bike = 2:30 hrs (on CompuTrainer - Aug 13)
Longest Run = 13.1 miles (Highland Creek - Oct 8)

As you can see, there has been very little attention given to the swim and a heavier emphasis on the bike. The knee surgery really pulled my run training down significantly! What I look forward to most, however, is to see how the consistent strength training may 'fill in' for the lack of run miles.

In the closing weeks I plan on hitting the following 'to do list' items:

(1) Execute a Lactate Balance Point (LBP) test on the bike. Those who have been following this blog since IML 2009 know that this was one key tool that I use for pacing/training. I look forward to seeing where my numbers are in comparison to 2009. This test coupled with the data I extrapolate from a CP20 test will also serve to pace me for IMF. I intend to the LBP this week.

(2) Complete a 2:30 to 3:00 hr ride on the CompuTrainer where attention will be on riding under the LBP by as much as 20 bpm. The data collected from the CP20 will allow me to sync in precisely with realistic IM watts, which will compliment my LBP data. In other words, I have found my IM wattage range to elicit a HR response that is as much as 20 bpm lower then my LBP! Stay tuned for my findings.

(3) Complete a 2:00 hr run where the focus will be on consuming race course fuel (Powerbar PERFORM) at goal pacing; 6:45 to 7:30 min/mile. I will also be analyzing stride rate throughout.

(4) Continue to dial in with Bill Scibetta (Precision Fitness) where attention will be on maintaining core strength integrity and muscular endurance within the kinetic chain.

(5) Put the finishing touches to my bike. My good friend, Justin Andrews, put on a new 'cockpit' to my Trek last week. A new base bar, aerobars, etc were put on. I have never felt so good on my bike. I finally feel locked in and on top of my pedals.

Going into IMF with a weekly total high of 10 hrs and 51 min and weekly total low of zero hrs (knee surgery) leaves me wondering how the day will go.

I have no idea how it will unfold, but I look forward to the challenge. I look forward to the experience of trusting the Lord and in enjoying the gifts He has given me.

Stay tuned friends. I plan on posting my LBP results before the week is done.

Train smart,
Coach L

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

4 Week Update

I wish I had incredible news to report as I draw all the closer to IMF 2010, but I don't.

In the perfect world there would be no flat tires, no colds, plenty of uninterrupted sleep, unlimited hours to train, and no injuries along the way. We live in a fallen world friends and we must face these obstancles and many more.

In my particular case I made a bone head mistake of going just a bit too hard on a training run last week, which set me up for a week long set back. The knee that got scoped flaired up and made running...well...not possible. Its crazy how much sidewalk/road camber can absolutely do wonders on your kinetic chain - specifically your knees.

Thankful to report that I am now days away from mounting my 'battle wagon' and throwing my Nike Frees back on again.

With only 4 weeks left I do hope to put in some appropriate training that will bolster my confidence and add just a bit more umph to my engine.

This weekend I plan on riding 1:30 to 2 hrs on the CompuTrainer at IM watts w/ a conservative 1 hr run post. I look FWD to seeing how the knee responds and if this will generate the momentum I have been looking for. Within this workout I will be working with my prefered energy drinks for the bike; CarboPro (1st bottle) w/ Infinit for the remainder of the ride.

I plan on peaking out at 2:30 to 3 hrs on the Trek w/ a 1 hr run post. I also hope that I will be able to knock out a long run of 13 to 16 miles prior to November 6, 2010.

Stay tuned friends,
Coach L

Saturday, September 18, 2010

5 Weeks til IMF 2010 Update

Couldn't be happier with where the knee is and where things are trending at this point.

One thing I love about coaching multisport athletes is the simple fact that each athlete is unique. Each athlete brings a different genetic makeup, goals/expectations, physical ability, strengths/weaknesses, etc. That being said, I find it essential to meet each athlete I am privileged to work with at where they are currently.

This brings me to my current scenario. I have 5 weeks to play with until I toe the line on the cold sandy beach in Panama City (including a two week taper).

One of the primary workouts that I plan on using will be a specific CompuTrainer (CT) ride that will peak at 3 hrs in duration followed by a 1 hr run. The focal point for the bike will be to target my goal watts and Lactate Balance Point (LBP) I have validated in my testing/training.

Currently, I hope to target a wattage range of 245 to 260 watts and an LBP upper limit of 160 bpm. Please take note of the word 'hope' in the last sentence. I will be zeroing in on these numbers pretty inently in the next 5 weeks (via LBP testing and potentially one last CP20) to determine their legitemacy.

It appears that my knee surgery was a tremendous success and I am ready to take on an IM without 3 tears to the meniscus (IML 2009 - no joke). Today proved to be very promosing as I mounted my 'battle wagon' (my Trek) and held the low end of the wattage range above and rolled at 15 bpm below my LBP.

Even happier to report that I was able to play in my Nikes at a respectable average pace of 6:38/mile for almost 9 miles. The knee is as close to 100% as I think it could be.

Here is the fun kicker for those who are still hanging w/ me. I am huge proponent of stride rate/frequency. Most lean toward the 90 strides per leg per minute. Others are now supporting 95 strides per leg per minute. So get this. By the end of this run I averaged 88 strides per minute. I am in we all are. Hang with me.

I threw my Vibram Five Fingers on and lodged the Garmin Foot Pod into these 'slippers' (on the top of the foot). Bam! For the just over 1 mile run I rolled with a 92 stride rate (6:52 pace). The logic hear was to try these guys on for a very short period of time under somewhat fatigued conditions. I don't recommend this for all athletes, but per my heightened focus on corrective/dynamic strength this season I am game.

I was all smiles to see these numbers (peaked at a 97 stride rate...say what!?) and to force my body to increase stride rate when it had just finished a solid sub hour run.

Side note...I love the looks/responses you get when you are running in a 2XU race suit w/ Vibrams on. The neighborhood folk wouldn't even make eye contact let alone wave to this weirdo ;)

Lets keep the body guessing friends...lets do this!
Coach L

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Studio7 Shout Out!

I couldn't be prouder for each of my athletes who toed the line in Louisville and Wisconsin this year! Each one of them took on the challenge exceptionally well. To see each of them work through the challenges that an IM can bring was simply awesome.

Below is the IML/IMW 2010 crew that truly represented (in alphabetical order):

Julia Bonner
Scott Ellison (1st IM)
Kyle Frank (1st IM)
Jason Jordan (1st IM)
Josh Hayes
Mark Mahoney
Gary Martin (1st IM)
Mark Schuler (1st IM)
Todd Spanish (1st IM)
Jenn Tiepen (1st IM)
Dirk Wuensche (1st IM)

As a coach who takes great pride in each of his athletes I find the closing hours of an IM especially special. Some of the most intense battling takes place in the last 2 hours of an event of this length. Those who scorch the 140.6 in the low 8 range certainly battle, but I also believe the folks who are finishing with an hour to spare are something special.

I'd be remiss if I did not give Meredith Dolhare a congrats as well for tackling Roth (IM) and Regensberg (IM) with two weeks seperating the two events. She then took on one of the most challenging endurance events around; Powerman Zofingen five weeks later. A superb showing indeed!


On the "IM in 10" end of things I am grateful to report that I was able to execute a 7 mile run at Madison w/ minimal issues. So, in the upcoming weeks I will be dialing in on adding some 'finishing touches' to my IMF 2010 preparation.

I am really looking FWD to sharing my journey and trumping traditional thinking with respect to IM preparation.

Stay tuned troops...Coach L

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ironman Louisville 2010

Its 'chilly' here in Louisville - seriously. Could not believe that I was acutally cold this morning as I walked to Einstein Bagel. The scene is vibrant and there is plenty of fit looking folk walking the streets of Louisville. Its hard not to get all fired up about Ironman when you are at the race site of one. If I could I'd jump in on this one on Sunday. Below is a quick vid from my room at Louisville:

This was the first day I was able to 'workout' and I was gitty to get my heart pumping again. Mark Olson and I took off to the University of Louisville Nata torium with hopes that we could hit the water there:

Long story short, we walked into the place like we had swam there for years. Not a soul questioned our presence. They must have wrote us off as grad students or profs. So, we get into the pool area and there was not a single person in the water. We were fired up and quickly put suits on while on the deck (a comical story in itself as you can imagine). 30 minutes later and a mile or so under our speedo and we were done. Still, not a soul to be seen at this beautiful facility. Whats the deal we thought. This explains it:

I'd go back again tomorrow. Lesson learned: make sure to read the back of signs when things just don't seem right. The front of the sign was 'pool rules'.

Oh, no issues w/ the knee and water proof band aids don't work. After just 200 yds they were in the filters of the pool. Feeling great despite not being in the water since Latta.

Stay tuned friends,
Coach L

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

~1 week post-op

Happy to report that the knee is responding very quickly to rest, ice (Polar Care 500), TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), and some good old fatty fish; salmon.

Amazed at how quickly the knee has returned to 125 degrees of flexion.

Walking without any noticeable limp. Luke did take a poke at me as he mimiced my 'surgery induced swagger' the other day.

Looking FWD to seeing how all this pans out per the vision of taking on IMF in November.

As noted previously, I am very optimistic that IMF will be possible, but goals will have to be shifted quite a bit. The hopes of Kona qualification and butting heads with the big boys has long been dismissed. I'm totaly cool with that and actually find it somewhat refreshing to toe the line with no stringent expectations.

The one thing that has stayed relatively consistent this year has been the strength training. So, I look forward to seeing how this KEY component to IM training works in my favor in 2010.

Off I go to ice and elevate. Have a great day folks!
Coach L

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Speed Bumps"

I really can't stand slowing down for speed bumps. I actually avoid the breaks and throw the hands in the air as my Subaru clears em' (Luke loves it when I do this - at least he used to). I also don't like stop lights.

I am a big fan of moving and 'staying on task' once the sights are set on the target/goal.

You with me folks?

Well, as we all know metaphorical 'speed bumps' come at us at all angles when we least expect them. My immediate plans of building the engine for IMF has come to a temporary hault.

Tomorrow I will be getting my R medial meniscus worked on by Dr Pat Connor. Yep, back on February I had my L medial meniscus trimmed up (fell on my bike the day before FL 70.3) and now it is my R one. Craziness I tell ya. I believe this tear took place many years ago as I played catcher as a little tike up into college.

I really do look FWD to being fixed up and to be 100%. I truly do thank God for showing me once again how weak AND susceptible I am. I also love how He can change your course in a flicker of an eye. I trust fully in His 'guiding hand' in all things and know His plans always trump mine. Thank you Jesus!

Here is the catch troops. I still hope/intend to toe the line at IMF in 2010 if the surgery is the same as the one done in February 2010.

My poor wife must endure this with me and I appreciate her willingness to put up with me. Thanks babe!

I love a challenge and when you are forced to work through the non-optimal scenarios. Can't wait to see how this season will pan out and I intend to give all the glory and praise to Him.

Stay tuned for the 'rest of the story' friends...
Coach L

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week 1

Staying true to last year I will share total training volume per week. This may appear a bit redundant, but it holds me accountable.

9 hours and 41 min of training was had. The emphasis is on the bike (4 hrs 15 min; 124.6 miles) where 100% of the riding is on my CompuTrainer (CT). I love my CT. No dogs chasing me down, no cars taking me out, bring on flats, and I can dismount in a jiffy to re-swoddle Grace if I must. Baby monitors are the cats meow!

Coming in second to 'mounting my battleship' in the garage is the run. This came out to be 2:56 hrs or 25.1 miles. 85 to 90% of this training is done on the road.

I sealed the deal with strength training. This came out to being about 2:30 hr for the week. Two sessions with Bill (~45 min of actual strength work) and the pre-training myofascial and strength work I do prior to each workout.

No swimming has taken place since Latta (June 12, 2010). Yep, I have been keeping from the water and will plan on hitting it one time per week starting this week.

This is a very brief recap of volume in Week 1. In upcoming posts I will begin to divulge the 'nuts and bolts' of how I intend to attack IMF and the competition from an intensity/frequency perspective.

I am really looking FWD to this IM and hope to test my limits.

Stay tuned ladies and gentleman,
Coach L

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2,400 hours left or...

...100 days til' IMF 2010! I thought it only fitting to start this post off by dialing in on 'time'. There seems to be too few hours in a week to get 'it all done' and still be who y0u need to be to your wife and children. So, w/ 12 weeks til' IMF lets get things rolling friends (assuming a 3 week taper).

I am super excited that IMF prep is now officially under way. With approximately 14 weeks to train I am beginning to narrow my focus and wrap my mind around preparing for November.

For 2010 I intend to apply other training methods that I did not use in 2009 for IML (Ironman Louisville). In the next ~14 weeks I plan on sharing my weekly experiences so others can see that one can train for Ironman in much less time then 'advertised'. For those who are new to this blog I plan on training for IMF in less then 10 hrs per week. I also plan to qualify for Kona 2011 w/ this lower training volume and method. In the upcoming weeks I will lay out my goals specifically for all to see. Ya gotta have goals.

I look forward to applying proven training methods as well as others that are relatively new to this 'second round' of "Ironman in 10".

Today I put together a quick video that captured the strength regimen Bill Scibetta (Precision Fitness - put together for me w/ the speed work that followed it. For those who want to see this take a look below:

As you may have seen, I finally made the decision to roll w/ the Vibram Five Fingers KSO. I have been wearing them for about a week now and really like them. The key positive to note at this time is an increased awarness of the muscles that innervate the foot. I plan to use these for quick transition runs off the bike and maybe some runs that peak out at 3 to 4 miles. Anne completely vetoed them for church this past Sunday. They lack style points according to my beautiful bride! Despite her unfavorable reviews I wear them everywhere.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.

Enjoy your training and the process,
Coach L

Monday, July 19, 2010

Grace Kells Leo

The title of this post sums it up well. At 555 PM on July 13 I was melted like a snow cone on a hot summer day. Delivering Grace w/ my own hands and cutting the cord put me in a state of awe.

What also put me in a state of awe was how Anne took on this delivery w/ NO pain meds. I feel like such a wimp and I am humbled by her incredible tenacity. Seeing her deal with the effects of Pitocin for over 5 hrs made me feel the need to go run 200 x 400 m at 110% on 2 min recovery (ie, contractions were ~1 min in duration thus the 400 m designation). As noted in a previous post, Iowa grows em' tough.

I look FWD to seeing how life will continue to change (for the better) with this new addition to Team Leo!

On the "IM in 10" front I am happy to report that things are progressing exceptionally well.

On the morning of delivery Anne ran 3 miles and I nailed a CP20 test on the CompuTrainer. Elated to report an 8.9% improvement from the May 7 test! 326 watts to 355 watts (normalized power) increase. Could not be happier with this significant change in only 3 months of training.

I am convinced that the strength training that I have done w/ Bill Scibetta (Precision Fitness - has had a direct impact on this dramatic improvement. I have not added anything else to my training regimen that would allow such a positive change. I am looking FWD to seeing how this progessive, dynamic, and corrective strength focus will impact things come November at IMF!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Baby Coming!

On July 13, 2010 I will very likely be holding a baby girl or boy!

At 7 am Anne's 'water will be broken' and the process of drawing that little trooper out will commence.

Anne has been ready for this for about 8 months and I am both fired up and nervous. Normal scenarios.

Thought I'd post a quick update on the 'home front' for those who are interested.

On the training front I am happy to report that I participated in my first CrossFit WOD (workout of the day) on Wednesday. I could not have been any happier with how it went and how it shocked the system.

Steve and Jess Pinkerton both own CrossFit Vitality ( in Concord, NC. If you have heard of CrossFit and are interested in trying it out I would strongly encourage you to pay these folks a visit!

I have been eyeing this training method for years, but simply had no access to it. This facility is outstanding and Steve and Jess have a very good thing going here indeed.

On the "Ironman in 10" front I am now 3 weeks into preparing for IMF 2010. All is progressing as hoped and I will be sharing some specifics in the weeks to come. Below is a small sampling of what was consumed on the CompuTrainer this morning:

Not sure if anyone can see this, but the focus was to roll at my functional threshold of 320 watts for 1 min w/ 2 min recovery x 14. This intensity would draw me up to my current Lactate Balance Point of 160 bpm. These intervals were quick and concise and produced the HR response I was seeking by the last 4 or 5 intervals. I love HR trending. From interval 1 to interval 14 I saw a low of 145 to a high of 161 bpm.

I plan on retesting my LBP in the next few weeks to further refine training stragies. If any of you are interested in assisting me on this test I'd appreciate your help. Not joking. Puncturing my finger 15 times to get the appropriate blood sample can leave my fingers a bit numb/worked over. Thus, the reasoning for using earlobes when testing athletes. Less nerve endings and far more 'willing' to produce blood when prompted.

Off to prepare for 'the new arrival'....
Coach L

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"2 cm dilated and 50% effaced"

It just would not be right if I did comitt a post to my 'tough as nails' wife! As of Tuesday my dear wife has been training consistently and has not waivered from her comittment to Luke, myself, and staying 'on it' with her training. I can count on one hand the times she has opted for Subway vs. cooking home cooked vegertarian food for Luke and I. She is an exceptional wife and Mama.

I can say she is probably one of the toughest and focused woman I know. Iowa grows em' to be resilient for sure and I am blessed to have her as my wife! Per the title above, she is drawing all the closer to birthing our second child. I am freaking out and she is 'air fisting' all day long with great excitement. When she told me I am "2 cm dilated and 50% effaced" I almost hit the floor and packed my 'hospital bag' all at the same time. Are ya kidding me!?

For the last 8+ months she has been sick as a dog so she is SOOOOO ready for this little one to enter the world. We have no idea of the sex and look forward to the coolest surprise to arrive.

She jokingly says to me, "...Ironman is nothing compared to this nausea!...". I believe it. So, as you can imagine she has her mind set on IML 2011 and I can't wait to see her throw down there.

Please keep in mind, that the primary goal of this blog is to prove that one can train for IM in much less time then what is 'typically advertised'. Moreover, Anne and I want to show that a family can grow strong even when IM training/racing is part of the equation. In other words, Dad/Mom does not need to be on the bike all day on Saturday, etc. With that being said, we both will trust in the Lord in what He has in store and represent accordingly.

I have to share these stellar vids of my beautiful wife rocking it out on the bike and run (I have not vids of her swimming her preferred stroke; fly!):

Anne running on the treadmill. Love it that she checks out her form!

Anne biking on the Tacx...edited out her spiting, her out of the saddle work, and ice cubes falling from her mouth...

Last note: Anne is taking it to the pavement Friday to "induce labor" vs working the treadmill. She is a studette and I am not worthy...

Oh, it is also important to note that her physician has okayed all of this activity. It helps that she has never stopped training since IML 2009 ;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lactate Balance Point (LBP) Case Study, etc.

As most of you know, I am a big fan of using power, HR, and lactate response in training and racing. Lets face it, there are many variables an athlete can dial in on to determine race strategy. I have found that using the Lactate Balance Point (LBP) testing methods to be essential in my IM preparation.

In this post I will highlight the phenomenal training adaptions that have taken place for one of my athletes per the use of the LBP. Brian Warren (IMF 2010 goal event) had his first LBP test with me on December 9, 2009. We most recently executed a follow up LBP to further assess his progress. Below is the data that reflects these two testing days:

9-Dec-09 15-Jun-10
Initial Performance Line Data
Watts HR RF O2% Watts HR diff. RF diff. O2%
100 143 18 95 100 130 -13 22 4 98
120 147 18 95 120 136 -11 22 4 98
140 160 20 97 140 145 -15 22 2 97
160 168 24 98 160 154 -14 24 0 96
180 176 26 96 180 158 -18 26 0 97
200 183 32 94 200 162 -21 24 -8 95
220 189 40 96 220 175 -14 24 -16 96
240 195 46 95 240 178 -17 28 -18 95
260 186 NA 32 NA 95
280 192 NA 48 NA 95
-15.4 -4
Initial Blood Lactate Sample
9-Dec 10-Jun 9-Dec 10-Jun 9-Dec 10-Jun
240 280 195 192 10.4 8.9
LBP Data
9-Dec 10-Jun 9-Dec 10-Jun 9-Dec 10-Jun
120 140 160 158 10.9 10.4
135 155 167 163 8.2 7.8
150 170 175 168 6.6 5.2
165 185 178 172 5.6 5.0
180 200 184 175 5.7 5.2

As this test was unfolding I had to bite my tongue and refrain from expressing how stoked I was regarding the improvement seen in the data. You can see that at the SAME watts Brian was operating on average 15.4 beats less then his previous test. That is significant change! Moreover, you will notice his respiration rate (RR) dropped significantly as he approached LBP and beyond!

Why the change in both variables?
Brian has been training at intensities that promote left ventricle enlargement, which would increase both his cardiac output and stroke volume. This was made very evident in the data above.

You will also see a significant difference is RR as well. I believe this is a result of increasing the muscular endurance of his diaphragm. In other words, at intensities above his LBP the muscles associated with breathing have become more fatigue resistant.

In addition, one can also argue that his arterio-venous (A-V) O2 difference has improved as well. Put in simplistic terms, his ability to deliver and remove O2/CO2 to working muscles has improved. One would also be able to argue that his capillary density has increased, which allows this delivery/extraction process to take place at a greater capacity/rate.

We could continue here, but I think we get the point that Brian has seen some signficant central/ peripheral adpations in the last 6 months.

How does this benefit him?
Brian is now able to pump more oxygen rich blood (per beat of his heart) to his working muscles. This in return will allow him to keep his body in a more oxygen dependent (vs. oxygen independent) state which will promote a higher reliance/use of fatty acids vs. blood glucose/muscle glycogen/liver glycogen.

Take Home Point:
Here is the kicker. Take a look at how his LBP changed signficantly. In Dec he rocked out a LBP of 5.6 mmol at 165 watts. In this test he busted out a LBP of 5.0 mmol at 185 watts! I almost blew a gasket when I saw a 20 watt improvement with less lactate. Brian has 'earned' himself another 20 watts to play with at a lower lactate concentration and HR. You simply can't beat that.

IM relevancy. Okay, bringing it even closer to home here. We all have seen how ones HR can drift or increase quite a bit from the first mile to the last mile on the bike (or run). This can take place even when an athelete perceives the intensity to be the same from mile 1 to mile 101. This is where I stress the importance of using both power and HR numbers to your benefit.

Brian is now able to use data that was determined via this CP20 (Critical Power 20 min test) and associate it against the LBP. What I have found with most of my athletes is their LBP is typically 15 to 20 beats below their IM wattage ranges. For Brian, I have his IM wattage ranges at 174 to 190.

So, in his case he has plenty of wiggle room when starting off for his 112 mile bike leg come November 6, 2010. What do I mean by 'wiggle room'? A real life example will hammer home my point here.

On June 6, 2010 Brian executed an almost 4 hr ride that covered 69 miles. In this ride his average power was 172 watts and his average HR was 152 beats. For this ride he was 20 beats lower then his LBP of 172 bpm! This pacing allowed Brian to fuel and hydrate efficiently and set the stage for a solid run off the bike. This pacing also allowed room for the inevitable drifting that we all see when on the bike for 4 to 6 hrs. Brian will likely find his HR working up to the mid 160s in November, but he will be doing so with the confidence that his body is utilizing more fatty acids then glycogen (per the lactate responses noted above).

So, the point here is that at his current fitness level Brian is able to delve deeply into the fatty acids and spare the very limited glycogen stores for later in the day. THIS IS A HUGE positive for him and will allow him to tackle the run with more fuel in the tank and with fresher legs.

Lots to process here friends, but its all good stuff.

I will continue to share my thoughts, methods, strategies as we move all the closer to IMF.

Always remember to use both power and HR to your advantage. When used properly, these two metrics can seriously bolster performance!

Train smart...
Coach L