December 2008 Triathlon Training Chat with Coach AJ

author : Coach AJ
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Discussions on indoor cycling drills such as one legged drills and power intervals. Also we discuss how many half Ironman races should be done before your first full Ironman.

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[Coach AJ] Hi there! Any question to start us off?

[Cassieaggie] Hi! this is my first time in here! I just have a random bicycle training question.  I just got an indoor trainer because I'm not able to ride my bike outside right now. I don't have any training DVDs or anything and I am not very good on my bike at all. Are there any websites that offer things I can do on my bike written out?

[Coach AJ] The trainer is great for winter riding. As far as how to use it, just do what you would do outside. Think shorter interval workouts that last 60 to 90 minutes. Mix up your intervals from 3' to 20', and mix up your cadence as well. The trainer is also great to work on 1 legged pedaling. As far as websites, most coaching sites, BT and other will have ideas. Remember, they aren't secret workouts!!!

[Cassieaggie] Yeah I figured that. I just have really only put in around 10 hours outside before my first tri (and it was hard to get through) then I hurt my back at my job so I haven't done much but I am cleared to work out now so I start training tomorrow, but I work during all light hours. I just don't want to get on my trainer tomorrow and it do nothing for me, if you know what I mean.

[Coach AJ] I would start with high RPM spinning then. It has less "impact" on your legs, but it's great to get your pedal stroke back. Try the 1 legged pedaling drill. Just go for as long as you can at 85+ RPM's. Don't be discouraged if you can only manage 30 seconds, it's HARD!!

[Cassieaggie] Okay...I will try that. Should I include that in my minutes of training or do that extra?

[Coach AJ] All of your training should be included! It is time spent on the bike. You don't have to be doing big efforts to have a workout count. Some of the toughest workouts are ones that focus on technique.

[Cassieaggie] Okay that's good. I just wasn't sure if when doing the plans they wanted that to be 24 minutes of training and then if I wanted to do technique then I needed to do that after I got the planned workout in! Thanks for clearing that up!

[Coach AJ] Sure, I think that tracking your recovery is beneficial as well. Track how often you stretch, get massage, even sleeping and napping. You'd be surprised at how unbalanced your recovery can be when you look at how much training you do.

[Cassieaggie] I will do that since I am just starting out and that will probably be very helpful information

[Coach AJ] Just starting out, it's important to get into good habits. Focus on technique, proper training zones, recovery and knowing that more is not always better. Those are the most common mistakes I find athletes make. It's rare to find that triathlete that doesn't fit the "Rocky" mold. I've made many of those same mistakes.

[Cassieaggie] Okay...I will def focus on those things then. Guess I need to figure out my HR zones then when I go to the gym tomorrow!

[ejc999] What are some of your favorite trainer rides? I try and do more intensity in the winter over trying to do base training. Any tips?

[Coach AJ] I am a big fan of the one legged drills. Mix up more reps of a shorter interval, and fewer reps of longer intervals. Starting out, 30 sec. to 1' is good. I also like low RPM work. Steady output at 60 to 70 RPM's really builds power, and works on the muscles that stabilize your hips. Without a strong core, you won't have the platform to use your power. I like the low RPM work right after a weight routine especially.

[Comet] That sounds like a good workout. How do you vary the times? Is this for shorter rides, longer rides or both?

[Coach AJ] The power intervals are good for any workout length. If you have less time, go for a bit more power on a shorter interval. Also, if you are a short course athlete you should focus more on the shorter, harder efforts. For IM athletes, think a little less power output, but a longer interval. For both athletes, start with an interval you can handle, then work up. It can be hard to know where to start, so your 1st session is more of a test session to see where you are.

[ejc999] Do you use HR as a target for intervals?

[Coach AJ]
Yes, but only as a limit. If your HR is over zone 2, you are using your aerobic system more than your muscular system, not what you're after. Pedal at an effort that is 60 to 70 RPM's with your HR in mid zone 2.

[Cassieaggie] Is it okay to do strength training on my run days if that is all I am doing triathlon wise on that day?

[Coach AJ] Yes, just mix it up between running before, and after your run. When running after a weight session, do some hill work. This will take the strength from weights and transfer that to running. The same principle applies for cycling. When lifting after a run make sure you don't overdo it.

[ejc999] I've seen different guidance on doing an HIM before an IM. When should you do a HIM before a IM and how should you race the HIM?

[Coach AJ] I think an athlete should do at least 2 HIM's before their 1st IM. The 1st one is to see where you are fitness wise, and to work on your nutrition plan. This can be well in advance of the IM. The 2nd HIM should be 8 to 6 weeks from IM day and again, it's an assessment of fitness, equipment and ESPECIALLY nutrition. As far as "how" to race it, that depends. If you are feeling strong, a good race is a great mental boost. Or, you can race it at more IM pace and dial in that effort.


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date: December 24, 2008

Coach AJ

USAT Level 1 Coach
"My coaching philosophy can be summed up in two words: listening and balance. By combining these two elements I feel I can help each athlete achieve their full potential."

avatarCoach AJ

USAT Level 1 Coach
"My coaching philosophy can be summed up in two words: listening and balance. By combining these two elements I feel I can help each athlete achieve their full potential."

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