January 2010 Triathlon Training Chat with Coach AJ

author : Coach AJ
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Discussions on doing Ironman Wisconsin on a road bike and a training plan for back-to-back centuries.

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[Gregkl]  Based on your recommendations I am going to do a couple oly’s and at least one HIM in my run up to IMWI. I have a couple of choices on both the oly and HIM. I could either race at the end of a cut-back week which would have a built in taper but a much heavier weekend since I would be racing. Or I could do it during one of my regular build weeks with one of them having a brick workout scheduled for the weekend. Which should I choose?

[Coach AJ]   I would go with the cut back week for sure. Like you said, it’s a natural taper, so it will give you a better idea of where you are fitness wise.

[Gregkl]  Even though my weekend mileage will be huge compared to my plan?

[Coach AJ]  Yep, the key is to give yourself a true test of your fitness. It’s worth deviating from the plan in my opinion. The race will give you the chance to really test your pacing plan, race equipment, nutrition, etc.

[aquagirl]  I think I am going to train for back to back centuries here that takes place at the beginning of June.  Apart from ride lots...which I plan to do because I love to ride...what advice can you give me?  This is the perfect year to do this event because I think I will do a late season HIM this year...B2B...so I can really focus on the riding.

[Coach AJ]  OK, how much time do you have between the two rides?

[aquagirl]   You ride...then you get there when you get there...and get up the next morning and head back! It is June 5...B2B is not until November...I am being gentle with my knee so am going to wait until late season to do a tri. Keep in mind I am still running and swimming as well.

[Coach AJ]   WOW! Beyond the obvious ride a lot, I would say consistency is the key. Try to get as many miles in during the week as you can. Don’t just put in huge weekend miles alone. Even an hour a day Mon-Fri is big. Also, mimic the terrain as much as you can.

Also, you will have to focus on riding and let the run and swim go to maintenance mode. You’d be surprised at how little it takes to maintain your run/swim fitness, and you will get faster!

You could even ride to work, use it as a way to work on high RPM spinning.

[aquagirl]  How many miles...ok I would really like METRIC but I will convert...how many miles per week?

[Coach AJ]  I’d shoot for 350-400k as a max per week. Build to that by adding about 50k per week, and the majority of that could be on the long ride. I would also have you do a long ride and a med/long ride 2-3 days after as well.

[aquagirl]   Wow....that's a lot! I am shooting for about 100k a week right now. So what would you call a “long” ride?

[Coach AJ]  It is a lot, but so is doing back to back 100 milers! The consistency across the weeks and months is what will make the difference. I would have you get in at least one ride of 140-160. Also, do a 100 miler on Sat, then maybe Tues or Wed try to get in a 50-75 miler.

[aquagirl]   100 miler every week then? Starting when? Keep in mind I live in Canada...cannot get my good bike out on the road until probably April...riding a 23 year old steel roadie right now!

[Coach AJ]   OK, so starting in April, that would give you basically eight weekends, so eight long rides. Build up to the 100 miler in Feb/Mar, you will have to brave the cold or get on a trainer. 

[aquagirl]  Ok...so a 100 miler every week from about Feb or March...building to a total of 350 to 400k. Right?

[Coach AJ]  Yep, that means good miles in over the week and the long stuff on the weekend. Try to find others to ride with for the long day too, it can be huge for motivation.  In Feb 100k is fine, but in April it needs to be 100 miles. The more the better for sure, but don’t go crazy then be burnt out in June.

[Gregkl]   I am currently riding a road bike and will have to for IMWI. This is my first issue; fitters keep trying to tell me/talk me into getting a tri bike. I would like to see if a fitter could tweak my fit on my road bike with a set of jammers maybe so I could be more comfortable for 112 miles. How do I find a fitter?

[Coach AJ]  The best thing is to talk with other cyclists. Personal experiences are the best way to find a good fitter. That said, yes a tri specific bike makes a huge difference in fit. Throwing on Jammers is the best thing for a road bike, but the basic geometries are different.

[Gregkl] Yeah, I don’t want to do the whole FF seatpost thing. From my automotive background I guess I am concerned about weight distribution and I don’t want an unbalance road bike geometry by going too far over the front end. Supposedly the best fitter in my area does this a lot.

[Coach AJ]  Yeah, it makes the bike handle differently for sure. The front end can get squirrelly, and at IMWI that would be a big issue.

[Gregkl]  Plus, I ride here in Indiana on straight mostly flat roads and I admit because of this my bike handling skills are probably not elite level! I don’t want to get on a squirrelly bike and actually end up going slower!

[Coach AJ]  One thing to consider is that just by riding in the drops more than on the hoods you will gain an aerodynamic advantage.

[Gregkl]   What I am looking for is comfort first, speed second, aero third. I want to be able to get off the bike and not have my shoulders and back wracked after 112 miles. Oh, and since I bought my shallow drop road bars, I do ride in the drops a lot.

[Coach AJ]   Well, your priorities are right. With the road bike you’ll be comfy, but not necessarily aero, losing speed. But that is better than biking hard and getting off the bike in pain.

Barring a new tri specific bike, my suggestion is to take your road bike and work on staying in the drops more. Especially for IMWI not being aero won’t be as big an issue.

[Gregkl]   Cool. That is good to hear. I was beginning to wonder if it was possible to do IMWI on a road bike, though I checked this year when I volunteered.

[Coach AJ]  Your run is a function of the bike. So while you want to go fast on the bike you need to be ready to bring it home on the run.

[Gregkl]  Yeah, I am going to watch my effort on the bike real close and make sure I don’t over do the hills. I tend to like to hammer hills.

Thanks for a great session and some good questions. As always, train hard, train smart, train safe!

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date: January 28, 2010

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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