Sunday, December 16, 2007

Base Training?

A very good write up on the falacies of "traditional" base training versus what you SHOULD be doing in base training.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Summing up my view on how to race faster.

This comes from my friend Chris Whyte, with whom I've had the pleasure of debating with and learning from on the technicalities of triathlon training.

During one of our many forum based debates he posted this about the best way to better one's self at getting faster at the IM, or any ultra-distance, event.

Should you be racing short course as opposed to long course the RSP(race specific prep) would have you moving into intensity overload with appropriate rest placed within the framework of the plan.

Below is Chris' summation.

Framework for "Raising the left, filling the right"
(MVA note: raising the left means raising your sustainable speed on a speed/duration graph... the goal is to first get fast and then go long... long meaning filling the right)


Overall goals across all disciplines:

  1. Focus on achieving maximal training load
  2. Applying progressive overload
  3. Specificity

I dedicate the General Prep (GP) phase to raising the left and the RSP phase to filling the right.


1. Raise vVO2Max and pVO2Max and/or FTP and FT Pace -- Assessment of where to focus your time might leverage the concept of "Power Reserve."

Key workouts: FT intervals and/or VO2Max intervals

Note: Tricky part is balancing bike and run intervals (eg Can I actually do both bike and run VO2Max at the same time?)

2. Fill the remaining time with enough L1 (easy) and L2 (steady) to achieve maximal stimulus based on the athlete's time constraints.

3. Progressive overload is achieved through a structured increase in L4 and/or L5 interval work (across all disciplines).

4. Specificity training only exist in the form of doing your working interval sets in the aero position at race cadence.


  1. Training load shifts from low(er) volume, high(er) intensity to high(er) volume, low(er) intensity but our goal is to still achieve maximal stimulus.
  2. Focus on specificity requirements of your A race: race position, race cadence, variability (ie steady-state), etc.Key workouts: Long ride on tri bike only; Long run
  3. Progressive overload comes in the form of structured L3 and slight volume increases at L2.


MVA Note: If there's anything that I hope you can take away from this reading it's...

Before you go long it's best to be fast... because if you try going long before you are fast... then at what speed are you going long at?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tracking stress... and the graphic representation of a training block

Okay... so time to show off some of the work that I've been doing for the past 4.5 months. I've been using myself as the primary subject and have recently added a few others to the complete training tracking as well. For those interested I also have coaching plans that do not involve the data tracking as discussed below.

First up... year long tracking...

If you don't care about the minutiae of all this than skip to the next paragraph! :)

The scores on the left side of the chart are ATL (acute training load- i.e. near term) and CTL (chronic training load- i.e. long term) scores. Basically this represents your fatigue (red) and your fitness (blue). The relationship between the two is expressed with the TSB (yellow line). Less fatigue and more fit? Then the yellow line goes way up! This score is represented by the ruler on the right side of the graph.

So.... what does this all mean?

Well... by utilizing the underlying spreadsheet it allows for one to be able to forecast out training stress and the corresponding workout and thus predict the desired response over a given training period from an athlete. Over the course of a year you can set up a preliminary schedule that can show how an athlete will have a run or swim focus, then a big cycling block and then pull it all together and start the build for the key event. In the chart above you can see how during critical build points I was able to boost my fitness. It is important to follow up these blocks of training with recovery or taper periods where the athlete is then allowed absorb the work that they have done. As the final, or key event of the season, approaches, you begin to slowly taper off the overall stress while still keeping the focus of the workouts intense so as to leave the althlete still feeling sharp. By charting out the graph you are able to show how fitness is built and maintained as well as display the focused weeks and rest weeks. After which, and as the season progresses, you can build the proper workouts into the plan that will most completely optimize the build.

Now it can get kind of difficult when looking at the whole year to see the more focused details of any given training period. The graph here represents 8 weeks out from Kona. As you can see I put in a BIG block of training for the first two weeks before falling ill, due in part to the high volume of work I was doing. I can now look back and surmise that trying to dig a stress hole that deep will lead to nothing but excessive fatigue and illness.

Also by looking at the micro cycle you are better able to see the effect of the rest and recovery weeks on your fitness. Even though I was sick I was still going out and getting in little bits of workouts so that I could continue to feel snappy. Race day was great and then I took an easy week to recover from the effort as well as repair the physical damage (which cannot be shown here). Once sufficiently recovered, both aerobically and physically, from the race I then launch into one last final big week before then starting a slowly rising three week taper.

What stress tracking can do is allow you to see how the athlete is responding to the work prescribed. Like Dave Harris said, "The body is like a swiss watch. You just have to know how to wind it." But the technique used to wind it is a completely different story. I'll leave that one for my next write up.

Just think about it this way. How high you build your fitness is not necessarily more important then what you built it with.

See ya!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thoughts on swimming and aerobic stress

A definition of base could be several things.

A chronic training load that is high enough that allows you to do more work of various speeds without becoming overly fatigued.

Or to take base from an endurance standpoint.... endurance is a function of time and effort. The faster you are at the top end the faster your % of effort at any given distance will be. i.e. if your top end says you can swim 1000y in 10 minutes and your buddies top end says he can swim 1000y in 12 minutes then you will be able to swim 2000y faster than your buddy.... so your buddy should work on speed and not spend time working an aerobic system that barely scratches the surface of stressing ones system. Using a maximal lactate steady state baseline time of one hour any effort/speed beyond that one hour is HIGHLY correlated to one's ability to perform work for that one hour. Any discipline shorter than one hour is highly influenced by ones ability to derive energy from their VO2 system. This is why you see many MOP IM athletes not able to race a sprint at speeds any faster than they might race an IM.

Mammals respond to aerobic stress by getting faster (big generalization but it'll do for now).... L1 hardly stresses you at all... hang on... lemme go float.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Here we go!

so I've finally taken the plunge and decided to start offering a more formal coaching service rather than quiet on the side operation I've been doing for a couple years now. why now? well if you look at my other blog you'll notice the post on career convictions. Tired of the rigamarole of the 9-5 world I have committed myself to sharing my talents and abilities and want to work with people to help them achieve their goals. Be it financial or athletic aspirations, I am here to serve.

In coaching it is my intent to provide an absolutely unbiased calculated approach to training. Utilizing power meters and pace watches (plus the trusty wall clock at the pool :) we will work together in ascertaining both your benchmark paces as well as your benchmark stress load and from there develop a training program custom tailored just for you. The program that you will get is not one that is based on someone's perceptions on where you need to be, but rather is a program that is based on where you are now and working on building from there.

Your numbers, your plan.

check out the website for more details or contact me with any questions

Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon!