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

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