Fitness After Blackout

author : mikericci
comments : 0

A week prior to the race, I was diagnosed with strep throat and placed on antibiotics. I decided to race anyway. Since that event, I have struggled to get back the fitness.

Member Question

Last year, I capped off a rigorous training season with an Ironman 70.3 in Augusta. After about two to three weeks, I began slowly training again. Due to the unusually cold and wet winter, I was unable to get outside most days but was at least able to follow a Long Course BT training plan to race Ironman 70.3 Florida in Haines City. Within a week prior to the event, I was diagnosed with strep throat and placed on antibiotics. I decided to race anyway and the conditions were 86 degrees with 80 percent humidity. Succumbing to the heat and body fatigue, I suffered mild heat exhaustion and blacked out at the finish line after a grueling event. My question is this: Since that event, I have struggled to get back the fitness I had leading up to the event. I could ride 60 miles and run 10, even do brick workouts of 28mile bike / 6mile runs. Now, my legs are tired and I struggle with minor distances. I have had a physical and an echo-cardiogram ruling out any illness. How can I reinvigorate my training to get ready for several sprint and olympic distances, finishing the season with a repeat of Ironman 70.3 Augusta?

Fatigued and Perplexed.

Answer from Mike Ricci
Head Coach at

As long as you are fully healthy with the echo and physical, I would get to work on bloodwork. There could be some signs of under resting (not over training, there’s a big difference). Low iron and hemocrit would be the obvious signs. You’ll also want to look into Vitamin D and cortisol levels.

Once you are deemed healthy with solid blood results, you’ll want to ease into your training. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Start out easy.
  • Don’t train with anyone faster!
  • Make sure to stay within your zones.

Monitor how your fitness is from workout to workout and sport to sport. You may feel great running but feel terrible in the pool. Or vice versa. The other factor that you may want to look into is your mental strength. It may be a good idea to look into mental skills training and have that evaluated by a mental skills coach.

In terms of training itself, I would recommend the following for a basic week:

Monday – off or easy swim of 1500 yds.

Tuesday – Bike with intervals (on the trainer or road), and then a quick run off the bike, with 6x40 seconds fast with 1:20 recovery.

Wednesday – longer swim with longer sets – 500's and 800's. Then an easy bike.

Thursday – longer run with some intervals – maybe build up to 30 minutes of LT work – for example 6x5’ with 2’ recovery.

Friday – Harder swim, with shorter intervals of 100's and 200's. Easy bike today as well.

Saturday – long ride and then a short run off the bike 30-45 minutes.

Sunday – longer run – very easy – with some strides at the end to improve your turnover.

I hope this helps you out with your salvaging your reason!

Mike Ricci, the USAT National Coach of the Year, is the owner and founder of the D3 Multisport coaching group, through which he coaches all levels of athletes from beginner to elite. Mike is also the former head coach of the 2013 National Champion CU Triathlon Team, and has guided them to 4 consecutive collegiate National Champion titles from 2010-2013. Mike has written training plans for Team USA for the past several years, is a USAT Level III Elite coach, and has helped many athletes to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona.


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date: July 24, 2014