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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Faster IM bike split - guaranteed!

I can't recall the first time I did it. I wish I could. It must have been back when I rode in Raleigh to the beach with Cid Jr., Paul Sullivan, Phillip Carter, Woody, Mark Workman and the rest of the gang. Those were long days in the saddle. Lots of fluid would go in and lots of fluids would go out through the skin and...

So, how can I guarantee you a 10 min improvement on your Iroman bike split? Moreover, how can I guarantee you this with NO additional training required? Easy. Learn to (brace yourself) to urinate while on the bike.

When I race I do not stop. The only thing that will stop me on the bike is a mechanical. So, when I hear people stopping to relieve themselves on the bike I don't really get it. In my opinion, that is an outstanding momentum killer.

So, for 2012 I encourage you to learn how to do this. Here are some pointers on the 'how':

(1) Survey the scene. Make sure to create space between you and others. You do not want to shower others around you. This is kind of obvious, but be considerate of others when you are ready to 'go'.

(2) I prefer to stand up and to lean to the left and away from my drive train. Once I take the 'pressure off' it is 10x easier to let things flow. You never want to lean right and get your drive train drenched. Remember, stand up, lean to the left, and relax. I also try to surge for about 30 or so seconds to build speed. I have seen speed diminish (depending on the terrain, wind, etc) to 5 to 10 MPH while taking care of this.

(3) After you have taken care of business I take a water bottle (preferably from an aid station) and spray myself clean. This all should take about 1 to 2 min total and you have never lost ground.

(4) For those who are concerned about ruining your bike shoe (left one) I am not sure what to say. Bike shoes stink. Kind of like running shoes. Sweat and urine don't smeel good. Thought it would be appropriate to state the obvious.

Stay in the game friends and learn this skill while on your battle wagon for the 112 miles, 56, etc. Its best to learn this skill while in training and not racing. I believe some of my IMF athletes this year could have gone at least 10 min faster on the bike if they had learned this skill and become comfortable doing so. Stopping up to 5 times on the bike to take care of #1 can negatively impact your IM bike split. Especially if you are hiking into the woods for some privacy.

I don't recommend learing this while training indoors over the winter ;)

Make sure to have fun,
Coach L

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ironman Florida 2012

Short post from Coach Lance. More to come per Ironman Florida 2011. To see more check out my Coach Lance fan page on Facebook. Loads of pics to consume.

Register today for the Team CLL 2012 Iron distance event. I will be converging on Panama City, FL in about 362 days from today.

Train with Coach Lance for your first Iron distance or for a new PR!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TRX Training

I am not tough enough to be a SEAL. I admire SEALs and often wonder how much I could endure if I took on BUDs Training. There are many qualities that these guys exude that I dig. Being able to endure Hellweek sums it up well.

Enter TRX Suspension Training. This approach to training was developed by an ex-SEAL who was determined to stay fit while out on the field fighting for our country. The story goes that Randy Hetrick - founder of TRX - was sitting in wait for 3 weeks in a 10 x 10 space in a harbor waiting for some pirates. The story gets better, but would expand beyond the focal point of this post. As a result of his ingenuity people now have zero excuses not to train.

I have very few regrets in my life, but the one I just added to my list was not adopting TRX training into my regimen earlier. Last weekend Anne (my wife) and I had the opportunity to take the Suspension Training course in Raleigh. For about 8 hours we were given a very thorough overview on every aspect of TRX.

Two days later I now feel as if a moped has run over my entire mid-section (anterior and posterior) at least 30 times each. I have always endorsed strength 'from finger tips to toes' and have finally tasted a system that delivers this. The link below shows one of my favorites:

For the more advanced here is a taste test:

I'd like to think this fella was a Navy SEAL or may still be one. Either way, this guy is legit and these exercises should not be attempted fresh out of the gate as a newbie.

So, CLL is a firm believer in TRX. I will be doing a baseline test on myself to validate where I stand currently from a muscular endurance perspective. I'll share this baseline test with you in the upcoming weeks and make sure to circle back with progress reports along the way. CLL is super excited to see the direct impact this approach to training has on all three sports and his loyal athletes.

Stay tuned,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

LSD vs. LT

Saturday was a great workout for all who took part. Approximately 20 athletes showed up to partake in the 3 x 5K (became 3 miles instead of 3.1 miles) w/ 5 min recovery baseline test.

As I was working through this test many things came to mind:

(1) It hurts to push 5:45 to 6 min for 3 miles x 3 w/ 5 minutes of recovery per effort.

(2) The body wanted to slow down, but I/we had to resist.

(3) The acute stimulus was performance enhancing.

As a coach I am always considering and testing new methods to produce favorable results for my athletes. This Saturday was a learning experience for me for I had never broken down my 'long runs' into smaller segments and run them at a pace I would normally save for 8K/10K efforts.

Granted, 9 miles is not a 'long run', but it certainly felt long after pushing close to sub 6 pace for 53 minutes and 27 seconds.

After consuming this effort I was left to consider the value of running the same distance continuously at a much slower pace. More specifically, I started to evaluate how I prepared for Ironman Louisville this year. I confess, I stuck to the default of running 13 to 18 miles with only aid station 'stops' to fuel. Looking back now I wish I had done more acute fatigue inducing efforts to better prepare me for IML.

Why would I consider such an approach?

Simple answer. At IM/Marathon events it all comes down to being able to maintain pace and to fight off fatigue. The athlete who is able to fight off fatigue best will be most likely to hold consistent splits and avoid the dreaded 'IM Shuffle'.

So, given that simple fact above I had an 'aha moment'. Why would I not do more broken interval sets at a much faster pace then a typical long slow distance run?

For those who are wanting to see marked improvements in their racing performance I would lean toward doing:

4 x 5 mile efforts at 10K to 1/2 marathon pace w/ 5 min recovery


20 miles continuous at marathon pace

I see value in creating a stimulus that will promote the greatest physiological gain for my athlete. With this intensity, however, comes increased risk for injury. So, one must consult with their coach on the WHEN within the season for such intensive efforts.

Here is a brief list of favorable physiological adaptations that will occur per taking part in LT (Lactate Threshold) based intervals as mentioned above:

(1) Improved fatigue resistance at faster then normal pace

(2) Increased muscle mitochondrial enzymes

(3) Increased lactate threshold

These are the top three adaptations I see coming from these efforts. I see these as trumping the adaptations seen at Long Slow Distance (LSD) efforts.

Looking forward to sharing my experience with the TRX Suspension Training Course that Anne and I took part in this Sunday.

Train smart friends,
Coach L

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

3 x 5K Follow Up

Wanted to make sure I clarified something per the test this coming Saturday.

Please know that this baseline test and all testing can meet athletes of varying fitness levels and experience. Below is a quick look of tests one could do in the water to validate both current fitness level and stroke efficiency*:

10 x 25 w/ 1 minute recovery

10 x 50 w/ 30 seconds recovery

10 x 100 on 1:30 interval

4 x 500 w/ 1 minute recovery per

3 x 1000 w/ 1 min recovery per

200/800 regression test

*To make these tests even more robust one could use a Finis Tempo Trainer to keep an athlete at an optimal stroke rate; not too fast nor too slow. In time the athlete will be able to cover the set distances above faster at THE SAME OR LOWER STROKE RATE.

As you can see, the tests noted above can meet the needs of ALL kinds of athletes. Testing can often intimidate some folks. I understand that. So, when I design baseline tests I always take into consideration where the athlete is STARTING from before prescribing.

If you are reading this post today and are on the fence about taking part in the 3 x 5K you can be rest assured this test can still fit.

Last night I had the opportunity to hang with the HCTC folks to talk about 2012. During this meeting one member voiced concern that this test may not fit her current fitness. I made it clear that she could do 3 x 1 mile with 5 to 10 min recovery. She is very new to running and wants to play it smart and I applaud her for having this kind of mindset.

Bottom line: all testing must meet the athletes current fitness level AND allow for validation of where they are. Without concrete baseline testing you can't determine if your training is providing the appropriate stress to promote the optimal adaptations you seek.

See you out there Saturday,
Coach L

Sunday, October 16, 2011

3 x 5K Baseline # 1

This Saturday (Oct 22 @ 8 AM) I will be rolling with fellow CLL athletes and friends for a total of ~15K on the Highland Creek Parkway. If you have not joined my training group (its free and there are no strings attached so I'd strongly encourage you to do so:

I created this run baseline test for several reasons:

(1) To help promote sound pacing for all participants.

(2) To help validate current fitness level for all participants.

(3) To stress high end aerobic energy system development for all participants.

Lets take a few minutes to elaborate on each of these points.

Learning How To Pace:

Many athletes have one or two gears to pull from. One is an 'all day long' pace and the other is 'all out'. Splits may look like this for the first gear: 23:24, 23:30, and 23:18 (1:10:12 total time). Splits at the other end of the spectrum could look like this: 16:38, 17:35, 18:20 (52:33 total time). As you can see, this second example does not reflect good pacing from the onset. If he/she were to have held back to say a 17:00 one could speculate that the other two splits would have been more likely to be in the neigborhood of 17:20, 17:35 (51:55 total time; 38 seconds faster). So, it is important to learn how to throttle down and not throw it all out in the first effort. This carries over to real world racing as well. If one does not learn how to split up an event accordinlgy they will likely be less potent on the back half of the race.

I'd encourage all participants this Saturday to target a pace that promotes steady splits to descending splits.

Fatigue Resistance and Fitness Level:

The second focal point of this test ties into the first topic. The athlete who is best able to resist fatigue will be able to throw the most consistent splits at high end speed. Lets use an example to illustrate this.

Athlete "A" can run at 90% of his lactate threshold (LT) for 1 hour and 15 min without much deviation in his pace. In fact, his respiratory rate (RR) and HR response is pretty stable and there is very little upward trending (assuming a 0% grade and constant conditions). Oxygen saturation (O2Sat) stays stable as well up to this duration. He is able to hold a steady 5:45 min/mile pace at 90% of his LT.

Athlete "B", on the other hand, is only able to operate at about 65% of his LT for about 30 min. Post 30 min his HR climbs significantly, his RR becomes labored, O2Sat drops to 93, and pace dwindles to a walk post 30 min.

In the example above, athlete A would be more likely to tolerate one hard effort after another at or very near to his LT. There would be very little deviation from one 5K to the next. Moreover, one could argue that athlete A is more fit then athlete B.

Lastly, it is fair to say that athlete A has a greater ability to resist fatigue at a higher % of LT.

All of this will be further validated by the pace exhibited from the first to last 5K effort on Saturday by each participant.

Good Stress/Stimuli:

As I eluded to above, there is a tendency to fall into a comfortable pace and stay there by many runners. This approach to running/training will promote one speed and be more likely to lead to stagnancy for the athlete. This test will expose athletes to an intensity (if they so desire) that they may not have tasted before. The variable at play here, of course, is where one is starting from. For Saturday, I will be encouraging the relatively inexperienced athlete to run at a moderate to comfortably hard pace for each effort. For the more experienced athlete I will be encouraging them to hold a pace that is between 5K to 10K pace. Clearly, each athlete will have a different fitness level, varying fatifue on their legs, and goals (short and long term). All of these variables will impact how they approach each 5K. There will not be any lollygagging going on here.

I look forward to seeing each of you Saturday morning. Come ready to test the body and mind and to baseline for the 2011/2012. The 2012 season begins now.

Enjoy the process,
Coach L

Friday, October 14, 2011


As a coach and athlete I am constantly trying new things to see how they impact my training and racing. Recently, I have started to experiment with a product called UCAN ( after one of my atheltes shared her successes with the product.

What I am about to share will be hard to read or 'swallow' for it will go against everything you and I have been 'fed'. Please know that I am an advocate of experimenting (as noted above) and I would urge you to make transitions like the one I am about to elaborate on slowly/cautiously. In other words, please talk to your coach before making a switch from one product to another.

Okay, so here are several real world examples to process:

(1) Meredith Dolhare takes on Ultraman UK this year and excels there (currently holds Female American record at Ultraman UK) on only ~65 calories per hour! Yes, 65 calories per hour for an event that took 3 days to complete! She would later take on Kona and report a 'nitro' like response at 18 miles after consuming her UCAN at the special needs.

(2) Coach L uses UCAN for a 5:30 bike ride and consumes only 2 x 200 calorie packets of UCAN (Chocolate protein mix). No bonk experienced and first time using it. Figured I'd truly test the product under a very low intensity bike ride with two of my athletes preparing for Ironman Florida and Arizona. Was impressed by the product for sure. No GI issues and, again, no bonk.

(3) Anne takes on a 13 miler with the Lemonade mix (110 calories in packet) this AM and holds 7:30 pace for duration. She later states, "...I wish I had this stuff for Ironman Louisville...". She consumed this produce ~40 min prior to the run and did not use any external calorie sources for the run. Very convincing connection between UCAN and performance.

In the field of sports nutrition and exercise science one must have an open mind. One must be open to experimenting and studying HOW their body responds to various fueling options under varying conditions.

IMPORTANT NOTE: UCAN contains a 'super starch' that no other product out there contains. The following excerpt from their site sums things up well:

Generation UCAN is a powder-based sports energy drink mix. It's meant to be consumed before activity for sustained energy, or after to assist with recovery. Its unique carbohydrate (deemed "SuperStarch" by its founders) is revolutionizing sports and consumer nutrition. It was originally designed for a child (Jonah from CT) who suffers from a rare condition that results in frequent and dangerous episodes of hypoglycemia. However, after a series of tests, its founders realized this one-of-a-kind energy yielded incredible benefits including:

Healthy, steady, ongoing energy without sugars or caffeine
No energy spikes and crashes or re-dosing
No gastrointestinal (GI) distress - it's gentle on the stomach
A unique dual-fuel energy profile that helps burn fat
Achieve metabolic efficiency

Not to confuse here, but I do want to make sure I stress the obvious. If you are NOT using UCAN I do not recommend using such extreme caloric intake as mentioned above. Please know that no other product out there contains SuperStarch. If you are using other products like Infinit, Sustained Energy, etc. I would NOT recommend limiting your caloric intake to 65 calories per hour. Most of you have been hitting calorie ranges of 200 to 300 calories/hour on the bike and up to 200 calories/hour on the run. DO NOT waiver from what you have trained your mind and gut to process. There is plenty of time to experiment post your A race for 2011.

Think outside the box and put yourself out there,
Coach L

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sleep and Training

How many hours of sleep did you get last night? My hope is that each of you reading this got about 8 hours. In fact, I hope you slobbered all over the pillow and can't even remember falling asleep.

For the Leo Camp we have gone for about 15 months with about 10 nights of uninterrupted sleep. This has been quite the test for Anne and I as Grace and Luke have done an outstanding job at making their presence known at various times of the night/morning.

I also hope that most of you reading this blog are fully aware of how important sleep is to your overall health, training, and recovery. Recently, I found a great study that hammers this home. Its a quick read:

In short, if you are opting to get less sleep each night you are literally shooting yourself in the foot. Notice how I used the word 'opting' above? For those who can sleep for 8 hours a night need to turn the TV off and get their fanny in bed. I totally get it that some are wired for a later bed time, but I do believe one can train themselves to 'turn off' earlier. Lifestyle modifications are required.

For Anne and I we have found that the TV is THE culprit for robbing time from 'Zville'. This is coming from a household that has 15 channels and not 400 to choose from. The best move we made was to cut cable all together. I would surf the tube like I was cutting waves in Hawaii for hours.

Back to point. Sleep is like medicine. Make it a priority to sleep so you can promote recovery from hard training sessions, enhance your bodies ability to use glucose/glycogen, maintain appropriate body weight, and perform at your ability consistently.

As a side note I have to share my training experience this morning. As I eluded to above, last night was the first full night of sleep in about 2 or so months. I went out for a run thinking that I would feel sharp as a tack, but was shocked to find a 45 pound backpack affixed to my back. The legs felt as if I was taking on the last 3 miles of the marathon leg at an Ironman.

The science guy that I am is now wondering how many nights of uninterrupted sleep one needs to recover from sleep deprivation. Do cortisol levels dimish by 45% after just 3 nights of 8 hours of sleep? Does your bodies ability to metabolize glycogen increase by 20% per this same time frame noted? Can one lose those nagging 5 to 10 pounds by simply getting a full month of quality sleep? Lots of questions here friends.

In trying to answer these questions I found an article that made me laugh. Why? Check this out:

The good news is that, like all debt, with some work, sleep debt can be repaid—though it won't happen in one extended snooze marathon. Tacking on an extra hour or two of sleep a night is the way to catch up. For the chronically sleep deprived, take it easy for a few months to get back into a natural sleep pattern, says Lawrence J. Epstein, medical director of the Harvard-affiliated Sleep HealthCenters.

Go to bed when you are tired, and allow your body to wake you in the morning (no alarm clock allowed). You may find yourself catatonic in the beginning of the recovery cycle: Expect to bank upward of ten hours shut-eye per night. As the days pass, however, the amount of time sleeping will gradually decrease.

No alarm clock? Are you kidding me? Take it easy for a few months? Clearly, this fella is not working around the reality that Anne and I are.

Have a great day friends and sleep 8 hrs tonight!
Coach L

P.S. Thank you Elizabeth H for praying for Team Leo. Your prayers were answered :) Please pray again for us tonight that L and G will count MANY sheep.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CLL 2011 Winter Running Training Program Overview

In talking to some of my athletes, it has come to my attention that there is a kind of “winding down” going on for the 2011 season. This is normal, but not the best mindset. I want to talk to each of you a bit about my view on an “off season” as it is called. I feel that having an off-season is basically shooting yourself in the foot for the next year. Please don't get me wrong here folks. I do see the need for some down time, but 4 to 12 weeks of mashed potatos with gravy and loads of Christmas cookies never ends well.

Many athletes take the fall and winter to put on ten pounds, relax, and take it easy. It happens. Many of us have finished our last big triathlon for the year (with the exception of some Ironman Florida and Arizona athletes) and are anticipating some kind of slow down period. Frankly, this is a mistake. A big mistake and I don’t want to see it happen to my athletes. You’ve all come way too far to let it slide.

One of the reasons this happens is that we no longer have a significant goal out there driving us. No ‘impending doom’ to push us forward exists. So I am developing some goals that I want all of my athletes to participate in and start getting your minds around.

I am anticipating having all of you do three half marathons over the next few months. The goal is to increase speed, increase foot turnover speed, improve form, and bolster you run fitness. You will notice that there is a gap from December 3 to March 12 in the events noted below. I will be recommending several 5K and 10K events to keep us on our toes and to further bolster our run fitness. Triathletes/athletes get faster by running faster not slower.

I also want everyone to drop any extra pounds you might have carried through the year. I don’t encourage athletes to drop weight in the middle of race season. It needs to be off BEFORE race season. I know it might feel like October is a bit early to be talking about 2012, but the truth of the matter is, how 2012 will shake out for you is being decided now and I want to make sure all of you are armed and ready. So here we go!

I would like each of you to get signed up for the following three half-marathons:

Huntersville Half Marathon – December 3rd, 2011

Alston & Bird Corporate Cup Half Marathon – March 12th, 2012

Charlotte RaceFest Half Marathon – April 16th, 2011

I will coordinate with each of you to pick time, form, and speed goals with a final ultimate goal. I will tailor your workouts to make sure you hit those goals and, as always monitor your progress. Get ready to throw down on these half marathons. We are going to push the pace on all of these and see what you’ve got!

I also want to get each of you filling out and submitting your calorie journal EVERY week. If you do not know how many calories you should be taking in, we’ll figure that out together. But keeping track of calories is one of the primary ways people shed pounds. We need to get on track with that. Below is my recommended calorie/food journal of choice:

I will be having many team events throughout the fall and winter and early spring. The first one I have put up on MyTrainLocal (MTL) is set for October 22, 2011. If for some reason you are not on my MTL group and want in on the fun please follow this link:

Please know that this session is intended for all. One can use this test to their advantage regardless of where their fitness level is today. Executing a 3 x 5K with 5 min recovery per effort will be very helpful in determining several things. Below is a brief summary:

(1) Muscular endurance

(2) Lactate clearance capacity

(3) Pacing awareness

(4) Fatigue resistance

(5) High end aerobic threshold

One component to this program that I will also draw attention to is strength training. Several sessions will be devoted to focusing on the key exercises to be using during this phase of training.

Program Overview


(1) Increase speed, foot turnover speed, form, and ultimately to make you a better triathlete in 2012.

(2) Improve fitness in weak links that were discovered in 2011 season.

(3) Build cohesiveness amongst fellow CLL athletes and friends.

(4) Stay motivated during the cold and dark months of fall/winter.


(1) A focused 12 to 16 week block of training with three half marathons and other events to keep athletes sharp.

Scheduled CLL Team events that will serve as baseline tests and serve as cohesive sessions.


All CLL athletes and those wanting to train with CLL, but know how he rolls.


(1) Training would be done primarily on your own except for those training sessions done as a group.

It is important to note that current CLL athletes will not be paying anything extra for this program. They will stay dialed in with their current training program.

Those who are not on the CLL Team Roster would be strongly encouraged to discuss program options that would best fit their needs during this critical phase of the season.

Please send CLL any thoughts or questions regarding this program at

Friday, September 30, 2011

Post Ironman Warning

It feels as if Ironman Lousiville took place about 6 months ago, but it has only been 34 days since breaking tape on 4th Street Live.

As I sit here and reflect on Ironman Lousville there are many things I have yet to elaborate on. Before I stop, take a breath, and then put my thoughts into words I wanted to share one thing that relates to all Ironman athletes.

As we all know, the body goes through 26.2 miles of loading post the swim and bike. In the six Ironman events that I have taken on I have always felt like a rockstar within about 1 week of active recovery.

Please keep in mind that all athletes will recover at a rate that is specific to their genetic make up. Some can recover rapidly and others will need significantly more time to absorb the stress of racing/training. One of my athletes, Meredith Dolhare, is a prime example of being a freak in regards to recovery. She can take on an IM or Ultraman and be ready to go in about 2 to 3 days. She is an outlier or exception to the rule.

The majority of us need more then a week to fully absorb an IM. Please know that your muscular system will recover significantly faster then your skeletal system, for example. I was prompted to write this today because nothing is worse then an injury that shows up about 2 to 3 weeks post an IM. I share this with you because today I was reminded of how I need to pull back a bit on the run at this phase of re-entry into training. Its funny how in tune you become with your body as you use it more and more.

Allow the micro trauma to the skeletal system to be absorbed. The body was designed perfectly to break down and then repair.

As a general rule of thumb allow yourself up to 3 to 4 weeks for the body to fully absorb an IM. This range varies as noted above, but I think it is safe range to work from. It is during this time that I would spend more time in the water and bike. One of my favorite post race/workout actitives is to do super slow walking lunges within a 3 to 4 foot deep pool. I exagerrate the range of motion to open up the hips and then go into a cooler pool and swim. This is repeated for about 30 min. I always come out feeling like a 18 year old. I am 37 years old. You get the picture.

Train smart and study your body,
Coach L

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Finis Tempo Trainer

Training with purpose and precision is awesome. This morning I played in the water with my trusty litte Finis Tempo Trainer and made each stroke count. I urge you all to consider adding one of these to your swim bag.
On this particular day I focused on validating what tempo I should be using to maximize my extension, catch, and finish phase for a 1:10/yd pace. The Finis Tempo Trainer allows you to set a metronome ranging from insanely fast to uber slow. Far too many triathletes focus on splits and speed alone. Unfortunately, too little attention is drawn to HOW to enhance ones speed more efficiently and in less time. For this post I will simply share my findings and I hope you can apply them to your swim training. This workout also used the Finis Freestyle Snorkel and old school swim paddles (

Tempo Trainer Setting / Split / Stroke Count
1:30 / 1:22 / 9 to 11 per 25
1:25 / 1:13 / 10 to 11 " "
1:20 / 1:12 / 10 to 12 " "
1:15 / 1:12 / 10 to 12 " "
1:10 / 1:11 / 10 to 12 " "
1:05 / 1:09 / 10 to 12 " "
1:00 / 1:08 / 10 to 13 " "
1:00 / 1:08 / 10 to 13 " "
1:10 / 1:10 / 10 to 12 " " 5 100s were at 1:09 to 1:10 range w/ same stroke count range...

The last 100 was done without paddles, but at same tempo setting of 1:10 to produce a 1:13/100. Clearly, there is a mechanical advantage when using the paddles.

It is important to start off conservatively when trying to establish our tempo setting. After completing each 100 assess your swim split against the stroke rate and exertion used. In this case I was opting to find a comfortably hard tempo setting; 1:10/100 yard intensity. Depending on your fitness level and training/racing goals this tempo can be adjusted accordingly. As you can see above, the 1:30 tempo produced a pace that is more reflective of IM pacing (IML 2011 swim pace of 1:21/100 yds).

For this 30 min workout I wanted to stress my lungs and lats. It was accomplished. I decided my threshold for this particular day was at the 1:00 setting as I began to speed up my stroke rate to stay with the tempo trainer (take note of the 13s noted above). After posting two 100s at a 13 stroke rate I backed it off to a 1:10 tempo.

As a side note, I do believe for calm open water swimming one can use a relatively low stroke rate vs. a quick one. The key is to find your optimal stroke rate for all racing conditions; choppy water vs. calm water. Moreover, one must also understand that in the opening 100 to 500 yards of a triathlon a more aggressive stroke rate may be required to break from the pack. On the flip side, some would rather hold a super conservative angle when hitting the water. Either approach works.

The key is to make each swim count. I don't like spinning my wheels or accumulating yards for yards sake. I urge you to consider using a Finis Tempo Trainer so as to maximize your training time. Feel free to share your thoughts/questions in the comment box below!

Train smart and enjoy the process,
Coach L

Friday, September 9, 2011

Augusta 70.3 - Coach L Training Session

For those interested in training with Coach Lance and his teammates (and friends) please consider riding 2:30 hrs and running 1:00 hr with him tomorrow.

Here are the specifics:

When: Saturday September 10 starting @ 7:00 AM

Where: Highland Creek Elementary School, 7242 Highland Creek Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28269-0805

Who: Coach Lance Leo athletes and friends

Why: Sharpen the edge for Augusta 70.3 (September 25, 2011) and to build cohesion amongst teammates.

What: 2:30 hr on the bike at goal 70.3 intensity w/ a 1:00 run at 70.3 goal pace. To simulate aid stations Coach L will have a 1 mile loop that has PowerBar PERFORM available.

IMPORTANT: If you plan on attending please follow this link ( sign up for this event. I need to have a handle on how many will be attending so I can best prepare.

Can't wait to see you out there!

Train smart,
Coach L

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's Next?

I thought it only appropriate to address one very important topic that relates to ‘post Ironman’ folks. Actually, this relates to anyone who has accomplished a goal of any magnitude; 5K run/walk to Ironman.

I have had the privilege to observe first hand how coming off an IM can leave you feeling blah, off kilter, and in a haze. Some athletes can 'break tape' and then be left feeling as if they are 'lost in space'. I am here to say this is very normal, but I think one should be proactive to turn the table on this non-optimal predictment.

Before addressing how to counteract this common occurence lets focus on the 'why'. Meaning, why the body and mind can experience a downward spiral after covering 140.6 miles in water and on land.

(1) Chemicals

Endorphins, Serotonin, and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. This line up of chemicals can leave an athlete feeling like a rockstar when 'consumed'. I yearn for these suckers to be relased when training. Lets face it, most of us become dependant on these chemicals. No shame here - I am 'addicted' to these things. I have found that the more I train the better I feel - within limits of course. The less I train the more I feel like a slug or three-toed sloth. The memo is out and I have read it. The more active you are the more likely you feel fired up and ready to take on the day. The less active you are the more likely your body and mind will go south both mentally and physically.

(2) Ironman Build Up

When you go to an Ironman you KNOW you are at an Ironman. You are bombarded from all angles with M-Dot merchandise, super fit folks, and an energy level that can make the most level headed guy get a bit dizzy/unsettled. For the two or so days leading up to an IM ones mind begins to absorb the enormity of the day that is about to test you. Anxiety can build. Here is the catch though. Once you break tape, get in the car, and get onto Intersate X you leave it all behind you. That can leave some folks feeling the first bite of reality that the carrot that was dangling out in front of you for 12 months is now in your stomach. The goal has been consumed and the Ironman is now behind you. You have left the city that embraced the insanity and entered the world of 'routine' again. This reality can be hard for some to adjust to.

(3) Off Calendar

For months athletes have followed a very structured and customized training plan - I hope. During this time they have become very accustomed to the ritual of lacing up the Nikes, putting on the goggles, and riding the two wheels. Atheltes become very relient on their training calendar and rituals. I get it. When one works toward a key event for so many weeks and months they find comfort in the routine.

This is a perfect segue to the action step that I think all athletes need to follow. Upon completing your "A" race one must have another goal event to shoot for. This becomes all the more important when the big event falls at the end of the triathlon season. I do think it is appropriate to absorb and reflect on your accomplishment. I also think its important to have some active rest that allows the body to heal. The mistake many athletes make is disconnecting all together from the activities they once embrassed. I confess, that I have done this several times and have learned the hard lesson of doing so. You gain weight, lose fitness, and lose the edge you worked so hard to own. It stinks and its for the birds.

So, go out there crush your event. That event could be a local 5K or an Ironman. Enjoy each mile of it and relish in the victory of owning the event. However, to keep the mind and body in the game post breaking tape make sure to place another goal out there that will motivate you to get out of bed when its 20 degrees out and dark (or 95 degrees and sunny out). Make sure this next goal is of 'value' to you. In other words, if you just did an Ironman a local 5K may not be enough of a challenge. A 1/2 marathon 8 to 10 weeks down the road, however, would be an ideal fit.

Without having additional goals to work towards you are more likely to experience the 'lost in space' emotions I referred to on the front end of this post.

Think big, train smart, and enjoy your endorphins,

Coach L


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

IML 2011 Race Report

When tackling an Ironman you always come out of it with many lessons learned. Last Sunday provided me with many minutes to contimplate why I was out there, what I did right in preparing, what I could have done better, and time to simply reflect.

Before going into the reflective elements I'll give a super quick overview of the day.

I found it very amusing that within the first 20 strokes of the swim my goggles began to leak (see Aug 23 post). Yep, I bought brand new goggles, tested them in the practice swim, and they worked perfectly. So, throughout this swim I was forced to stop, empty them, and then get back at it. Kind of frustrating, but IM is full of them. One must leave the pouty pants at home when racing at this distance. Get over it and get on with it.

Take Home: Find someone of equal abilities and let them do most of the work. I worked off some fella for most of the swim, which allowed me to maintain a stroke rate that felt like 10 to 15 strokes/25 yds and a perceived effort of 5 (1 to 10 scale). Be corteous though and don't touch their feet or you'll likely get your teeth knocked out or goggles kicked off.

Things quickly went down hill on the Felt. Not sure what to say here. I played it smart and held watts that I knew were appropriate, but the legs were simply not there. What shocked me most was that my power numbers were 7% less then in 2009. It was somewhat demoralizing seeing the downward trending from mile 20 to mile 112.

Take Home: Consistency is key. In order to deliver on the bike (and run) one must be consistent in their training. I tried to be consistent in my training, but was not. In order to complete or compete using the IM in 10 approach you need to be consistent. I averaged 1 to 2 rides per week for this IM and placed other priorities ahead of my training. No regrets. Just speaking the truth.

Off the bike I felt great. Mechanically I felt sound and pace was appropriate. I was optimistic coming off the bridge and heading out of town. However, post the 5 mile mark things began to deteriorate. Fast paced 20 second aid station water breaks quickly turned out to full blown conversations with volunteers. No joke. At one point I made myself at home under one tent like I had made it home from college for Thanksgiving dinner. The volunteers must have thought I was a bit off when I helped myself to their table. "What ya got in here?" I asked. I have never run with a 50 pound backpack until last Sunday.

Take Home: Listen to the Holy Spirit. My most memorable moment at IML this year was at an aid station. This young girl was in a wheelchair handing out water. Her father was there and her siblings were too. They all had name tags on. I think her name was Cyndi. She couldn't talk. I was almost brought to tears when I saw her. Her father was so proud of her - I could see it in his smile. I made sure to take a cup of water from her. As I left her I felt a tug to spend more time with her. No joke, I wanted to get on one knee and kiss her cheek. Not sure what came over me. I promised myself I'd do so when I saw her on the final loop. You guessed it, she was not there when I returned. This was my biggest regret/disappointment of IML 2011.

Below are some other tid bits that I thought I'd share.

#1 - 6 hrs is enough.
As I looked back on my training for IML 2011 it became very clear to me that I had accumulated an all time low training volume for this event. Anne and I both accumulated similar training volumes per life and the challenges it presented. Although the race was not a PR by any stretch of the imagination I believe one can tackle an IM in much less training then advertised. I plan to compete another day using 10 hrs vs. 6 ;)

#2 - One must be able to adjust on the fly.
Back in February I had grand plans of Kona. My default is to think big. That is how I am wired. I still clung to this plan, but was prepared to shift accordingly. I felt Kona slip through my fingers like sand last Sunday. As I saw power output dropping and perceived effort increasing I knew I had to adjust expecations quickly. By doing so I was able to fully embrace the gift/joy of moving ones body for 10+ hours.

#3 - Bring ear plugs.
Most people are terrified in the moments leading up to the start of an IM. You can see it in their faces. I am totally confused, therefore, why onlookers feel it is appropriate/necessary to create more commotion. If I could have jumped the fence and broken the 3 foot long horn I would have. Bring ear plugs if you want to get in a zone in the moments prior to the start.

#4 - Strength rules.
If you really want to 'keep it together' at an Ironman make strength training a top priority. I know that I could have done more, but the little that I did do kept me in the game. Bill Scibetta ( worked wonders with me in this department and I recommend him highly to all.

#5 - My athletes.
I think of my athletes all the time. Many of them have said things to me that have stuck. As I am sure I have said things to them that have stuck and helped them work through hard times. I so wanted to walk more then run, but I opted to stay the course and move. There was no room for a DNF. I pressed on because I know my athletes would press on. My athletes finish what they start.

That sums it up. I could go on and on, but would rather not. Thank you to those who prayed and tracked Anne and I.

Continue to think big and be different,
Coach L

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pre-Race Meal

Thanks for the questions. Mark, below you will find a video that summarizes what I do prior to race day for the Iron distance. As I note, please practice, practice, and practice again what you plan on using for race day.

Fighting the Blahs

For some, the weight of an event like an Ironman can get a bit heavy on their mind. As a result of this weight they can become doubtful, which can then create a downward spiral of thinking. This is very common for the first time triathlete to the veteran of the sport. I am a bit blah-like right now in fact.

My solution to fighting the blahs and the doubt are quite simple. Those who have followed this blog from the beginning know I love Jesus. I'll get to the point here for I need to get to the IML open water practice swim. I rely fully on His strength and not 'mine', which is fleeting and insufficient for the task on Sunday.

Two songs that have touched me during this season and for IML are below. The links to these songs capture the energy and passion I hope to exude on Sunday.

Kristian Stanfill - "Always"

Casting Crowns - "Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)"

As I sit here at the Marriot this morning and absorb these lyrics and the Word I can't help but feel like a million bucks. The blah turns into joy. The joy then helps refine the focus. The Lord can always help press the 'reset button' when clouds roll in.

How cool is this. Here is the verse for this particular day. The timing is perfect:

Psalm 63:7-8

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

I hope you all can/will 'experience' this same power that I know I will be pulling from on Sunday.

Own the day friends!
Coach L