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

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