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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TEAM Tri 2012 - Life Time Fitness

I am super excited to announce that I will be driving the first TEAM Tri program at Life Time Fitness (LTF) -  St Louis Park. For some of you this is old news while for some this is brand new intel. In the past LTF has attempted to launch similiar programs, but ongoing traction was not maintained for the long haul. I am poised and determined to make this program not only top notch, but one that will grow from one season to the next. Below is a quick overview of what this specific TEAM program will offer to participants:
  • Three workouts per week with seasoned multisport coach
    • Tuesday - 530 to 630 AM - Swim workout
    • Thursday - 530 to 630 AM - Bike/Run or 'wildcard' workout
    • Saturday - 800 to 900 AM - Bike or Run 
  • FREE TrainingPeaks (TP) account 
  • 3 FREE Spinerval DVDs for those who register by December 1, 2012
  • Additional specifics
    • WHO: 1st time triathletes looking for a sound periodized training plan
    • WHAT: Year round training with a group of like minded athletes that targets specific events
    • WHY: build comradarie, accountability, need a goal to work toward, etc. 
    • WHERE: Life Time Fitness - St. Louis Park
      • As weather permits we will be venturing outdoors to swim, bike, and run
      • Open water swims at Cedar Lake
      • Race simulation workouts at race sites noted above
    • COST: $175/month on EFT 
Please connect with me personally at with any questions regarding this program. If you would like to get to know me please take a moment to read the following article written several months ago:

I look forward to working with 15 select athletes in 2012/2013! Contact me asap to get your spot!

Train smart, think big!
Coach L

Friday, October 5, 2012

Twin Cities Taper 2012 - Part 2

For the past 10 years I have played with blood lactate testing. In this time I have come to learn much about how to use such testing to my advantage and for my athletes. There are deferring opinions on how to use this method, but I have come to trust the Lactate Balance Point (LBP) as my go to. For additional insight on this method I would encourage you to read a post that dates back to 2010;

From the LBP my interest and awareness of how blood lactate responds to varying workloads I executed a run pace validation test this week.

The key behind this test was to evaluate blood lactate within controlled settings (treadmill) and then variable settings (outdoors). The goal was to see if there was a strong correlation between blood samples against the same relative workloads. The findings were outstanding. Before I present the data I do expect some to question the duration of the test. Meaning, some would prefer (including myself) to run this test for 45 to 60 min to enhance its validity. Being that I was days from Twin Cities (TC) I opted to save the legs and see if such a short test could serve clients well. I am a 'lab rat' and love to test myself before testing others. Plenty more testing and analysis to come friends.

So, here is what I found:

3-Oct-12  [Gas, L, Field] 11:29 AM
RQ HR* Fat% L
Tmill 5 0.878 157 39.07 2.1
Tmill 10 0.898 147 32.38 2.2
Field 5 NA 156 NA 1.8
Field 10 NA 158 NA 2.0
Averages 0.89 154 35.73 2.03

As you can see, lactate maintained relatively constant despite changing testing location; treadmill vs. outdoors (2.03 average). I drew blood from my finger at 5 and 10 min into each run. I opted to run on the treadmill first and then run outdoors on Cedar Lake Road at 6:30 min/mile pace. An out and back format was used for simplicity purposes. RQ increased slightly, HR was relaitve stable (despite one outlier of 147 bpm), and fat utilization dropped by ~8% within the 10 min testing block.

I was encouraged to see that the overall trending from inside to outside showed a decrease in lactate accumulation. It is important to note that it took about 5 minutes to get outdoors and to initiate the Field 5 and 10 testing. Lactate clearance likely took place during this time, thus the need to pull blood at 5 min into the run and not earlier. If my blood lactate went from 2.1, 2.8, 3.0, and then to 3.5 mmol I would certainly have to re-evaluate my goals for Sunday. Per the response noted above (and in the previous post) I will be goal setting a 6:30 to 6:50 marathon pace for TC 2012.

To further strengthen this kind of testing I will certainly increase duration and frequency of blood draws. That will take place post the recovery block that I plan to take per TC.

I look forward to seeing how this testing and the other tests that I have conducted leading up to TC will pan out. I have not addressed the relevance of muscluar endurance and fatigue resistance. For the record, I have done little to no strength training for TC 2012. It will be very interesting to see how/when/if this will come back to get me at mile ~18 to 23.

Super excited to see where things go this weekend for Anne and I. As noted previously, we raced side by side back in 2002 to earn a BQ slot for her. Life has us in a completely different place now so 'going fast' is not the goal for Annie. Faster days await her for sure. I am proud to say she has devoted her time and energy to being a rockstar Mom and wife.

Check back on Tuesday (Oct 9) of next week for my thoughts on how the day went down.

Embrace the day,
Coach L

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Twin Cities Taper 2012 - Part 1

It has been some time since I have posted and thought no better time then now to touch base with the world. The family and I have successfully relocated to St Louis Park, MN and are adjusting to our new life here.

To stay inline with the jist of this blog I thought it appropriate to share my thoughts on the Twin Cities marathon that will take place this Sunday (Oct 7, 2012). Anne and I both ran this race 10 years ago. The goal was for her to qualify for Boston and I was to assist her in this endeavor. She achieved the qualifying part, but never got to run Boston per blowing out her knee, which required micro fracture surgery. That is a post in and of itself. 

Ten years later and here we are just days away from engaging this course again. Kind of exciting. Our training for this event has been subpar to say the least. Again, good content for a later post. 

Being the science guy that I am I will share briefly on how I am going to approach this race and why. 

On Sunday I plan to run 26 plus miles at a pace that could put me in the 2:45 to 2:55 range. With the help of gas exchange and lactate testing I feel confident that this is possible. Think big, dare to fail, and trust in the Lord. I like that triplet. 

Here is some data to chew on for those who like to evaluate numbers and make sense of it all. The data below reflects using gas exchange tesing equipment as pictured here. 

I have become a 'gas exchange' junky since moving to MN. It has become commonplace for me to don the mask (blue mask seen above) and test myself at least one time per week at Life Time Fitness. Again, good material for another post. 

Enter my good friend RQ (Respiratory Quotient). RQ helps validate at any given time how much fat and how much carbohydrate (CHO) the body is using to produce energy. If one sees an RQ value of .7 he or she is metabolizing much more fat then CHO. On the flip side, if one sees an RQ value of 1.0 (or higher) it can be determined that he/she is metabolizing CHO predomintly to create energy. The happy medium of .85 reflects a substrate use of ~50% CHO and 50% fat. Pretty simple stuff that can easily be applied to one wanting to race faster and more efficiently to the person wanting to lose 100 pounds. 

September 21, 2012
Protocol: 4 x 10 min at 9.2 MPH or 6:31 min pace (~2:50 marathon) w/ 2 min recover at 2.5 MPH between each 10 min effort (all at 1% incline).

RQ HR Fat%
Stage 1 0.88 157 39.57
Stage 2 0.89 162 37.71
Stage 3 0.89 165 37.71
Stage 4 0.88 161 38.33
Averages 0.89 161 38.33

September 28, 2012
Protocol: one less stage per limited time

28-Sep-12 Gas Only
RQ HR Fat%
Stage 1 0.84 155 52.86
Stage 2 0.85 158 50.43
Stage 3 0.84 156 51.64
Averages  0.84 156 51.64

As you can see in just one week there was a SIGNIFICANT change in fat utilization at the same intensity. A 34.7% increase is pretty legit and at an HR that is about 5 beats lower. How could this happen in just 1 week? Was it the taper? Was it the rest? Or was it that I did not eat ice cream like it was my business for a whole week? 

Here is the answer. On September 17 I ran my one and only long run for Twin Cities, which ended up being 23.43 miles. I got lost being the new guy on the block and under estimated the distance around Lake Harriet. Below you will find the nitty gritty of this little adventure:

My slow twitch muscle fibers (STF) were likely still exhausted and recovering being that they were only 4 days post the 23 miler. STF were used predominatly for this 2:30 hr run and one could hypothesize that they were still tired. Therefore, the body relied more on fast twitch fibers (FTF) or their transitional counterparts (Type 2 a, b, x) to work through these 10 min stages. These fibers rely more on CHO or glycogen stores then fat as fuel. Thus, the higher RQ values seen. 

7 days later and the numbers were completely different against the same workload. Legs were more rested and the body was ready to meet the workload with more STF then FTF substrates. Kind of cool to see the value of tapering / resting in just one weeks time. The power of tapering well?

This post is getting a bit long. This Friday (Oct 5) I will add additional evidence that science can certainly help validate your goals. Meaning, one should avoid going into any event blindly. Come back Friday and I will share blood lactate numbers that compliment these findings. I love this stuff. 

Train smart and think big, 
Coach Lance 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

TRX Endurance Clinic

Those wanting to add a little spice to their current training regimen should take note of this offering. On February 25 I will be conducting the third TRX Strength Clinic at CrossFit Vitality. This clinic will focus on combining two to four dynamic exercises within a 1 to 3 min duration. Muscular endurance and bolstering lactate tolerance will be the cornerstone of this clinic. 

All fitness levels are welcomed. To take part in this clinic please follow the link below: 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Where are you?

This past Saturday I was given the pleasure to cheer, observe, and freeze as I observed almost 30 athletes work through non-optimal weather conditions. On this particular day I had each athlete execute two baseline tests that would help solidify where they are from a fitness perspective for February 2012.

As both a physiologist and coach I believe an athlete needs to establish rock solid baseline numbers throughout all stages of the year. The question that arises is what should these tests be?

I am of the opinion that testing the aerobic system is the most logical approach for endurance athletes. I would also say that testing the 'in between energy systems' is also a logical move as well. In my March 2012 CLL Newsletter I will elaborate on a specific test I use to assess this 'gray zone'. To subscribe to this Newsletter simply click on this link:

For purposes of this post I will consider the predominant pathway used for triathlon; the aerobic energy system. By definition this is the energy system that predominates after approximately 5 min of continuous exercise.

There is an unlimited range of tests one could employ to validate an athletes current fitness level. I opted to use a 7.1 mile loop in Highland Creek Parkway that would be done two times. For the run we used a 3 x 1600 meter run with 2 min walking recovery. In both cases I asked each athlete to take splits of of both laps (bike) and also of each mile (run). I also asked for each athlete to capture Heart Rate recovery post the 14.2 mile TT and post each 1600 meter effort. Keep reading to get a sampling of how one can analyze dig deeper into the data gathered.

Variations to these tests could certainly be made based off of racing goals and experience. Below you will find just a few examples with some questions to get you thinking.

Swim Options

10 x 100 using a set tempo of 1.50 (Finis Tempo Trainer) w/ 1 min recovery
- Can you maintain the stroke rate for the duration of each 100?
- Or do you find that you start to fall of tempo per muscular fatigue or cardiovascular limiters?
- In 2 months do you find you are going faster at the same stroke rate?
- Are you taking fewer strokes per 25 at the same stroke rate?

200 / 800 regression w/ 2 min recovery
- Are you able to throw down a 2 flat 200 yard effort, but find yourself swimming a 10:15 800?
- Are you posting a 3:15 for the 200, but able to throw a 7:55 800?
- Which systems are stronger / more dialed in for each example?

Bike Option

4 x 15 min at 65% of Functional Threshold Power w/ 5 min at 100 watts
- Do you find RPMs dropping significantly from effort one to effort four?
- Do you see a marked change in respiratory rate as you progress through the test?
- How is lactate response changing from one interval to the next? 
- Are you seeing a marked change in HR response from onset to finish?
- Do you find that one leg is contributing significantly more power then the other?

Run Option

60 min at pre-determined Aerobic Threshold pace
- How does your stride rate change within this set time?
- How far are you able to run in this time?
- Does your HR go from 148 bpm to 175 bpm during 60 min?
- Does your HR stay at 158 bpm for the majority of the time?
- How does your form look from minutes 50 to 60 min compared to 0 to 10 min?

As you can see testing must point to answers. These answers help us understand how to best train your weak and strong systems. Without such data we are left to guess, ponder, and hope that the training is progressing as intended. 

I urge each of you to contact your coach and get on his or her schedule today so some rock solid numbers can be collected. I'd also urge each of you to execute field tests much like the ones noted in the Baseline Camp #1 above. 

Lets get dialed in and always be training with purpose! There is no other way to train. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to Run and...

The other day as I was playing with my 5 year old son and he called me out. We were just finishing up a high quality 'rough up session' (I recently broke the frame of our bed - no joke - per roughing up) and were dancing wildly to the theme song of "Crazy Town". Grace, our 18 month old, took part in the excitment and bounced her head just as wildly against the sofa cushions while holding a 'criss cross applesauce'. All of this is a sight to be seen for sure.

Sorry, I am talking 'kid code' and may have lost the attention of a few riders in the process.

Luke says to me, "Come on Daddy, run like you mean it!". I was left to wonder where he heard that one from ;). Its awesome how spongelike kids are. Its even more awesome to see how influential you can be to a little guy or girl. It appears that I am drilling it into Luke that if you are going to do something do it well and put your all into it. Its a true joy to do life with Luke.

Are you running like you mean it? When given the opportunity to run do you run with purpose? Do you put yourself out there and challenge your current self imposed ceiling? What is holding you back from 'running like you mean it'?

As a slight tangent I must digress to Luke on two 12 inch wheels. Luke knows to 'own it' and to 'take it' when ascending a hill. To see him come out of the saddle and attack a hill is simply priceless. Too cool.

The video below captures my son riding his bike for the second time. You can't help but love the enthusiasm and focus.

I urge you today to be passionate and to train like you mean it. There is no other way to train and to do life.

Live life like you mean it,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Thresholds Found

Lactate threshold, anaerobic threshold, aerobic threshold, etc. Most of us have heard of these thresholds before. They are thrown around by many, but each exercise phsyiologist will have a different spin on what they actually mean. For this post I will shift our attention toward the ever changing mental threshold or pain threshold.

Today as I observed each of my athletes at TRX Strength Phase 2 I could see each of them dealing with pain and discomfort. Some wore it on their face more then others. Some groaned, some turned a slight green and looked poised to fill a garbage can, while others had to simply tap out.

What I stressed to my people today was that each of us must face discomfort and pain and learn from it. To take it another step further I believe one needs to become good friends with pain that is brought on from training. Let me clarify here. I am not saying that if you just broke your knee or femur while competing or training you should suck it up and work through it. What I am referring to specifically is that threshold of discomfort that makes quitting so much more appealing and inviting. I am referring to that threshold where your mind starts to talk...

"...lets stop at 3 reps vs. push for 6..."

"...your legs really feel heavy because of the pace your pushing...slow down!..."

"...I like to be comfortable and this is starting to bother me..."

This is not an exhaustive list of conversations your mind has. A part of you wants to fight, but the other side wants to be submissive to the discomfort.

[Side note: take the ear buds out of your ears so you can deal with the pain friends and not get lost in music. When racing you'll need to face these voices head on.]

You see, we can increase our lactate threshold with sound training methods. We can also nudge our VO2Max upward to some extent (not as much as your lactate threshold due to genetic ceilings). However, one thing that I think we overlook is working on our pain threshold.

I think all of us can work on fighting through some discomfort. I also think some are born to fight better then others. For me, I actually seek out the discomfort and find joy in dealing with heavy legs that become non-responsive, a breathing rate that literally burns your airway, and intensity that allows you to hear your pulse resonating within your ear canal. Can anyone relate with that last one? I like that place. Not everyone is like that, however.

I would encourage you to find that place where the pain seems unbearable. It is at that exact moment that I'd recommend you take a deep breath, blow out the pain, and face it head on. Learn to work through the discomfort one rep at a time, one minute at a time, one workout at a time, and one race at a time.

We can all get tougher. I challenge you to find a new pain threshold in the coming weeks, months, and year. By doing so you will begin to find the athlete that is screaming to come out of you.

Deep breath, face it, own it,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


"I contstantly remind myself that resting takes confidence. Anyone can train like a mad man but to embrace rest and to allow all the hard training to come out takes mental strength" - Ryan Hall

When I read this quote this morning it brought me back to the days when I used to train like a mad man. I laugh now, but back then I was convinced that I was indestructable. There were periods of time where I'd train 21+ days straight with no rest day. The only thing that could stop me then was a broken leg. This was when I was in my early 20s.

Since then I have come to know my body and to listen to it. Instead of 'pushing through' and training with swollen glands I have opted to rest. When green mucus is rolling out of my nose I opt to rest. When my resting pulse is 15 beats higher then normal I see this as red flag worthy of my attention. When I feel medial heel pain presenting itself I foam roll the anterior and posterior tibialis (and surrounding muscle groups) to ward of plantar fasciitis. You get the idea.

In the months to come I hope to present a very new and promising training tool that I am currently 'test driving'. I believe it is a tool that could revolutionize how we train AND recover. I have been testing this tool for over 2 weeks and have found it to be very helpful in validating the stress/recovery phenomenon.

My hope for each of you that is reading this today is simple. You will take your recovery days as seriously as your traning days.

Train smart, listen to your body, and reach your potential,
Coach L