Sunday, December 19, 2010

TriSpecific: Training Blog Wk1

Well I am still alive and kicking (even though now that hurts). The idea was to ‘gently’ ease back into things, so actually I have done less this week than I have been doing previous weeks past.

So what's the difference? Now I execute with meaning and with the effort required, this can also be determined as effort available!

While my new routine and work pattern have heaps LESS stress I sometimes have the tendency to try and fit too much in. When the afternoon rolls round I am pretty much useless and so if able I will take a nap. I think it is much wiser to do this than to carry on in a zombified state and go to meetings with a trance-like glaze over your eyes! (sorry Denis, and everyone else).

I harbour no secret desire to qualify for KONA next year. Lets make that clear. While I would love to race and race well, at present I am happy to have renewed motivation.

I have enjoyed my swims this week. Something a little different but not too different, remember what I do now is similar to the old stuff just less volume.
I got through Monday unscathed from a 1.5k swim set.

Tuesday morning and I am reunited with my friend the bike trainer. The bike legs are still there, just under some extra padding, once again, I escape unscathed and went off to work.

Another short 1.5k but rather odd swim set that I really enjoyed, with that in the bag my first double session (a run) was in my mind for the afternoon.
The run is my first of the week and my first run of any intensity. For months I have just being going out and trying to maintain some sort of fitness, never really pushing it.
It was only 40minutes (the idea is to ease into things), but the intention is negative splits, (this HURT).
Not sure if I started off too quick, I guess time and trial and error will teach me. But I managed a final set of negative splits and also managed to nearly throw up. I think this affirms the fact that I was trying (or was it the litre of ice cream rolling around in my stomach before hand?)!! NO NO NO JOKING!!!

The good thing about the session is while it is short, it allows me concentrate and to have the confidence to PUSH into the nasty uncomfortable pain box. You just have to keep telling yourself…it’s just for a little while. It will soon be over. Spittle flying, heart popping, the legs didn’t actually hurt during this session…then again it was their first real outing!

We get back on the trainer. I looked at the session and thought piece of cake. But with a warmer morning, no fan or air-con as I was out on the car porch I was overheating. Short 1minute efforts are no problem in the heat. Longer efforts take their toll. Lydia and Dave revived me with ice water that I poured over the head to cool down and before the last effort I had to get off before I fell off and let my body temp come down before I started the final set.

Power is there, legs a little queasy after Wednesday run and a note to self…put a bloody fan out next time!

Friday morning and swim time again. I am swimming a little without the buoy and paddles. It feels weird but trust in what I have been told and just execute. I really do not question much at all. I just do it. What I am doing different though is making sure the coach knows how I FEEL.*

Friday afternoon I had a short run dialled in. Friday was a mentally mind numbing day. The brain was mush from work and it rained for most of the day. But it was just 30minutes and sometimes/most of the time when I get my butt out there I DO fell better for it. Now in hindsight, maybe I should have skipped it, because Saturday came and kicked me swiftly up the butt!

When you only have a short time allowance for your only road ride of the week, one word of advice. Make sure you ENJOY it. So what if you have to drive to a scenic loaction and spend 45min’s in the car. The pleasure you get is so much worth the drive and you still get home earlier than if you were doing a 100plus k ride.
Mother Natures perfection can be found just a short drive outside of Kuala Lumpur
I drove to Ulu Langkat. Easy is on the menu with my last 20mins moderatly hard. I still have a tough time determining what is easy, easpecially when on the bike. It being my strength even in my current level of fitness I never quite know what to do. Does it mean not pushing any resistance? Or just keeping an extremely low heart rate, which funnily enough while the weight increased over the past few months this is the one factor that has remained a consistent low.

So I kind of keep it on the small chain ring. Yes you read correctly. For a short while at least. I do not gun it up Perez (a 9km climb). The final TT section back to Batu 18 I push so I am uncomfortable. Nasty headwind yesterday but I believe I still averaged 38/9kph from the 12km marker.

I ran off the bike. This was my first run off the bike since August. I was ready for pain, for serious discomfort.  Imagine my surprise when it never came? Hip is pretty uncomfortable but after four minutes I was shuffling away and enjoying the scenery. Drove home and that is where the day ended for me. The week caught up and the body gave up for the rest of the day. So I accepted my fate and vegetated.

A short run (Read 50minutes) this morning over rolling hills, so I went to Bukit Aman. I started out really REALLY easy. I have never truly followed a Sunday run plan to a T, so now I am going to try and execute. Nothing to lose I figure. After 25minutes of really easy I ramp it up (well try) for just 15minutes. I make myself uncomfortable and just keep telling myself it’s only 15minutes. I felt good. My legs are killing me from the week and the fatigue in my system but my breathing that usually poses such a problem was not a hindrance today.

So the week is done, tomorrow it all starts again with a slight increase. It seems a bit bizarre starting training with Christmas just around the corner. But I think I have had enough eat-whatever-you-can-lay-your-hands-on time and now I need to start moving gently forward again.

*If you are embarking on online coaching, remember your coach cannot SEE YOU. A lot can be revealed in seeing an athletes face; fatigue, tiredness, sickness, health, your spirit etc. So it is your job as an athlete to relay how you feel to your coach.

I get this now. Some coaches can read it through how you write. You feel good training is all hunky dory and you are blogging and face booking up a storm, simply put, the world could not be rosier.

But then come the crossroads, the doubt, and the tough days. You are having a rough time and you shut down, close out the virtual world. When this happens they can only help you IF you seek them out and explain what’s going on and how you feel.

Never think you are being a pain in the butt (I always thought this, so didn’t ever bother my coach much). But this is the priceless advice that you are buying into: The guidance. It’s not so much about the plan and what to do and how to do it.
It’s the support network, the understanding, the peace of mind a coach can deliver to you.
Use it!


jaimev said...

love your new bike

Emma said...

Hey jaime...thats not mine :(

But I am wishing on a BIG christmas star!!!

Happy Christmas to you guys :)

Miro said...

...Kristian Manieta - hasn't he been an Ironguide coach? I wonder how much different the training concept will be from what he's learnt/tought there.

Also I'd be interested in what is understood under "less volume" (I went through the site, but could not really find any really new information). Since all the "less volume" plans finally turn out to be somewhere in the range of 15-18hrs/week...

A simple math: 3x1hrs swim + 2 short & 1 long bike of 2x1,5hrs& 1x4-5hrs, 2 short 30mins brick runs, 2 short 1hr runs and 1 2+hrs long run et voila it sums up to ~15hrs. I doubt, that Kristain's training will be way different from this. For a long distance you just need to get in a certain volume.

Does this mean, that ~15hrs/week is considered "low/less volume" training?

Sorry for questioning all this, but I'm just curious, since I've been through a couple of coachings and plans with a minimum average of 11 (where I abandoned swimming) and a maximum average of 15 hrs/week resulting in ~10:00 to ~12:00 hrs finishes. So when it comes to "low volume" I'm curious how low/lower one can go and still maintain certain quality of the achievement.

Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Perfectionist said...

Welcome back to the training ground. It's about time to leave the bad-luck-Emma behind.

Glad to meet you at Bkt Aman last Sunday. Merry X'mas and Happy New Year to you.

That is a very good question. AG like us has very little time to train and I also like to know what is the magic number for training hours in a week. Of course there are other factors like intensity and quality of a workout. Hope to get some guidance from a Kona qualifier too.



Emma said...

Hi Miro, yes great question. And yes Kristian was with IG's.
Let me put it this way. I am currently doing less than 10hours per week. My old base training was 15hours.
It is not too dissimilar in theory but in practice I am not only doing less but also executing differently, meaning my sessions, timing, scheduling are ALL different.
I no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to ride and run - that in itself is a result!!!

If you are training for an IM then of course the weeks are going to increase to 15/16hours - but only for a short time when race day is 6 weeks away.

Richard. There is no magic number. Only what works for you and the time you have available and the goals you have.

Watch this space as we are currently working on a Malaysian coaching section for TriSpecific.
Once ready I will be organising a casual chat so we can get together and then you can 'hit' me with you questions :)

If you want to chat further before that, please drop me a mail and I can go into further details.

Merry Christmas to you both too!!

Kristian Manietta said...

Hey guys, some good questions in here which I'll answer tomorrow (Xmas Eve). Need to get through some of the pre Christmas rush list :)

One thing is for sure, I consider lower volume to be under 15h or preferably around the 12h consistent week, but I do have a good friend and coach who is more like an 8-10h guy and went 9:30 in Wisconsin.

Anyway more insight into the whys and hows tomorrow.


Kristian Manietta said...

Hi Guys,

I am emailing Emma with my response as it's too long for the comments section.

So once Emma posts it you'll be able to read and re-comment.


Kristian Manietta said...

Hi guys, I figured I could just comment a few times to get the whole response across without starting a new topic.

Also sorry this took longer to respond to. Xmas madness got in the way.

Yes I was previously an ig coach running operations and coaching in Australia and NZ.

I continue to use many of the concepts I learnt with ig and couple those in with previous knowledge and also new knowledge I acquire from learning via my talks with many athletes and other coaches and of course the experiential learning part of it, from my own training. Learning and application is a never ending pursuit.

TriSpecific was around before I partnered with ig and I relaunched TS due to the stress involved with ig.

My goals are quite simple with my coaching. Provide athletes with the tools and education to not only perform but to ensure a holistic approach to long term sustainable health. When we provide a foundation of health performances will come.

There is also way more to coaching than the plans we write and there is way more to results than just following the plan. The plan becomes just a small part of the picture. In one2one coaching we take in athletes life circumstance and develop them in line with those circumstances and make sure their stated goals are congruent with their current life circumstance. When it comes to athletes that follow a generic download plan or membership site plan we will see vastly different results for the same plan. Talent doesn't really count that much. How those athletes apply themselves in each and every sessions counts big time as does there day to day nutrition, recovery methods and their attitudes also play a major role.

Coaching whether its one2one or a generic plan or membership site, needs to contain other important knowledge transfer such as the role of nutrition, the role of sleep, stress reduction, regeneration, among other things.

Results come from consistency. Not just in the plan but the above factors also. Many athletes that train 20+ hours/week lack the long term consistency to get great results. Typically they get so aerobically whacked they will miss sessions, due to excessive fatigue, sickness or injury. You'll get better results following year round training at a sustainable volume than you will from 12-20 weeks of higher volumes. There will always be outliers but I talking about the typical age grouper.

When it comes to iron distance racing there is a commonly held belief that you need big volume to perform. Over the years I have found that not to be true. Your base grows from session to session, year to year. This year I have had some major success with athletes doing a lot less volume than most of the age groupers out there. Out of the five athletes I had in Kona in 2010, four of them where AG champions in the 2010 season and I had three podiums from those five in Kona (1st, 2nd, and 3rd). The volume these guys and girls do is totally linked to their current life circumstances and even so for the most part it stays under 15 hours. Even my pro athletes train under 20 hours/week.

Its all about getting the best return on investment for your training buck. If you had to do 30 hours per week to go 9:30, I would say that is a terrible ROI when I see athletes going that on 8-10hr/week. I know some athletes who train in the 14-15hr bracket and have gone mid 8:30's! They don't miss sessions and each session is very focused and has a purpose to it.

Kristian Manietta said...

The major issue I see with volume is with the so called 'base' training. The norm is to do long slow sessions early on and then keeping volume up add in a speed element. The problem here is that excessive volume coupled with high intensity will kill an athlete quickly. Its just so catabolic on the body. With all the long slow stuff, you essentially train the strength and speed out of your body as you wreck your immune system.

Flip that on its head and do more strength and speed work early on to develop those crucial skills and you develop aerobic capacity anyway. Repeat that for the long term and then in the lead up to the race, 6-8wks out you can up the volume in some sessions to marry the specifics of the race.

This works so well, becuase... you have increased not only your cruising paces but have more efficiency and will complete the longer race specific work faster and using less energy expenditure.

In terms of hours, unfortunately there is no magic number of hours that will see results. As I mentioned above, its so much more than the training. Everything counts. Looking at my generic 20 week Ironman plan we see an average training week across the board of 12.5 hours. But there is 8 weeks where the volume is between 16-17.5hrs on the advanced plan.

For between 14-15h/week you can get 3-4x ~ 40' swims done. Bikes of 1x70', 1x 90', and 1x4h and finally 4-5 runs, 2-3x 40-60', 30' and 120' run. What's important here is how these sessions are placed and what they contain. ie intensity and quality are very important. Quality does not always mean intense effort. Quality can also mean intense focus on form.

So I believe we start talking lower volume when we are under 15h/week. Between 12-15h is a very sustainable model for the majority of athletes competing over the iron distance. I know others that successfully train and race with much less than this.. ie 8-10h week. When we go <14h each and every session is very much key.

I do emphasize swimming as it is so important to your overall results. Even though its the shortest part of the day, it can take massive amounts of energy away from the bike and run. Being swim fit is a key component to triathlon success.

As Emma mentioned we're working on a Malaysian part to the TS site and will have that up and running soon.

Hope you all had a great Christmas and have a Happy New Year


Miro said...

Hello Kristian,

thanks a lot for your comments and I very much appreciate that you've hooked up here onto Emma's blog!

Giving some insight information from a professional coach is very interesting.

Yes, it all makes sense what you are saying. I may have some history in sports and agree to that, that the amount of training is one portion, but also the history of the individual and other circumstances play an important role.

The guy (Angus?) from your blog has a ~20 years history in triathlon, so it's "not very difficult" to get such great results with that little volume of training. But "normal people" may struggle to achieve such great results (eg sub-9:30 or Kona in one of the main male AGs).

But these things (eg athlete's history) are only very seldom told; what is told very often are the volumes and the results.

Just to underline what I mean, 3 examples:

A sub-9:30 guy (late 20-ies), who's first triathlon race ever was the IMWA. His triathlon-specific training volume is about 3hrs/week (that was 1 swim and 1 2hrs bike) over a 10-weeks period, yes. But this guy is an elite rower, representing his country in the worlds and was doing the IM for fun in his off-season...
Another example is an ex-elite downhill skier, who's also on a ~10-12hrs plan with a sub-9:30 finish.
Lastly, the 3rd is my favorite - a 60 year old ex-elite rower (3-times olympian) who's finishing regularly on the podium (~10:30-11:00) with a 7-10hrs/wk. :-)

Which for an average AG-er who may have been in the sports in total for 2-5 years, is kind of misleading looking purely at the volume figures. But you are right, if someone has a 12-13hrs plan and goes 12:00 vs a 14-18hrs guy going 11:30, the ROI of the first guy is definitely much higher. But the 12:00 still would like to have a 11:30 with the same effort. :-)

May I ask you one more question - after 4 years of triathlon training, I still do not understand the use/relevance of a brick run for a long distance tri. The legs from the bike are well set for a run latest after 4-5km and that is where most of the training bricks finish anyhow. Just kind of puzzled, 'cause regardless of whether with or without brick runs, my marathon time remains approx the same (low 3:40ies).

Thanks again for sharing and I wish you and TriSpecific a lot of success!

Cheers, Miro

Kristian Manietta said...

Hi Miro,

Thanks for your reply and examples. Yes Damien has 17 triathlon seasons under his belt and that counts, as does his knowledge of the body and how it functions.

However I still believe you can achieve really good results in a matter of seasons... if trained the right way.

Unfortunately most people come into the sport, like I did and fall into the high volume, periodisation concept and end up sick, injured and under perform.

I believe the average AG-er being in the sport for lets say 3 - 5 years should without any major limitations (physical) be able to go under 12h period. Discussing that may be for another time ;-)

To answer your question. If I understand what your trying to ask. Relevance is becuase its sports specific and you have to do it come race. The hard part is how much and how you do it. Personally I like to max a run off the bike at 60' tops. A faster athlete will obviously travel further in this time. However with right protocols the run off the bike can reverse the viscosity that builds up in the legs from the long bike, this run can also recruit deeper muscles fibers and thus maintain strength while also promoting a anabolic response and thus quicker recovery.

Remember also that training is cumulative. Meaning results and performance do not just come from one session or the so called 'key' sessions. In my book each and every session is key. Finally on your marathon times. A lesson from the late Marc Becker and I believe via Brett Sutton is your swim training is your run training.

Thanks for your best wishes and I wish you success in your Tri endeavors.