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Getting Back to Training Q & A

Having a hard time getting back into training or struggling with this year's race calendar planning? You're not alone! A few athletes took to social media and asked Coach Jason a few pre season questions.

Chris IRONMAN Sills R3C I want to lose around 10 kilos to really smash my previous Ironman time. What suggestions do you have in terms of diet? I have tried cutting carbs and sugar but ultimately need these for training. I am running 40-50 miles a week at the moment so I need the energy.

You’re spot on about carbohydrates, but not all carbs are created equal. Most (non athletes) cut carbs because they want to reduce intake of low quality foods, which happen to come in form of ice cream, potato chips, soda, etc. And that is why many on a low carb diet lose weight, no brainer! As athletes, we need a relatively high amount of carbohydrates in our diet. Period! The only difference is that we need high quality carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, eggs, whole grains, milk etc. Bottom line: Focus your diet around high quality carbs and eat them at the right times. Period!

If you are running 40-50 miles per week, you’re expending quite a bit of energy so you need to time your nutrients appropriately. Eat high quality carbs, before, during (do not under fuel or skimp on mid workout sugar) and within 15 minutes of finishing your session. Be sure you are eating enough and be mindful of hunger cues along with hydration levels.

Lastly, losing weight doesn’t guarantee faster performance. Instead of a number on the scale, focus on improving your performance by improving your dietary lifestyle and monitoring energy levels. Keep a food log and monitor what you eat and how you feel before, during and after training. If you do this, your body composition will improve. Consult with a Sports Dietitian to truly fine tune your own personalized nutrition plan.

Dori Platt Need to get speed back on the run and not get injured while trying. Best things to do to increase pace??

Put an emphasis on frequency over volume initially and then slowly increase your mileage 10-15% per week.

Hit the trails! Short punchy inclines and descents are a great way to improve glute strength and lateral mobility. The soft surface will also help keep you healthy.

You can also try running faster off the bike. Shorter, frequent threshold runs off the bike are a great way to improve running fitness and strength. Running more off of the bike means you may have to ride more, which is never a bad thing! Don’t be afraid to push your run limits in shorter runs off the bike. You’ll never know your potential until you step outside of your comfort zone. Be sure to run easy the day after hard run off of the bike.

Thamsanqa Gumpo Do you think I might be able to complete an IRONMAN if I can’t swim yet? I’m comfortable with the other two disciplines.

Absolutely! As you begin to develop your stroke and swim form, remember, “swim fitness is run fitness”. Ironman is about enduring accumulated fatigue and the more time and effort you put into your swim, the better off you’ll be in the late stages of your marathon. Find a local IMU-certified coach and have your stroke analyzed. Then join a local club or swim squad that provides on-deck swim instruction. Commit to swimming 4 days per week and reap the benefits on race day.

baptiste benoist Is doing an IRONMAN 70.3 after only two Olympic Triathlons a crazy thing?

Not at all! But, I would recommend you put in some longer bike miles and a few longer runs to prepare your body for the 70.3 distance. Your swim training may be similar to your Olympic distance training Swimming 2-3k three to four times per week will work. However, the demands of a 56-mile bike are different than a 40k. Although you will be riding at a lower intensity for the 70.3, you need to be strong enough to be able to handle the demands of running 21ks off the bike. You also need to dial in your fueling as you will most likely be on the course for at least twice as long as your Olympic distance event. You will want to get in at least one 60-mile ride before your first 70.3, ideally 3 weeks out from race day. Back that up with a 10-12 mile run the following day and you will be ready to taper!

Carlos Verdu I'll hopefully race my first IM in July. I'll be traveling in Japan for 17 days during April. What should I be doing not to lose form and still have a girlfriend by the end of the trip?

Congrats on committing to your first Ironman in July! When travelling in Japan, your number 1 priority should be to stay healthy. Try to put in a solid 3 week training block before your trip and use the first week in Japan to recover and absorb that fitness. After you’ve recovered from travel and that 3 week macrocycle, use the remainder of the trip to get in 2 swims, 2 rides and 2 runs per week while you’re there. Swimming may not be feasible so I would suggest bringing swim cords or substitute those sessions with additional running, riding or gym work. Keep the sessions 60 minutes or less and focus on quality over quantity. Think macro vs micro. One missed session isn’t going to ruin your race.

Marat U How to keep a high pace throughout the race while running?

In order to run your best off the bike, you need to pace your ride well. Pace the bike appropriately by training and racing with a power meter. For a 70.3, you should ride at 80-85% of FTP. For an Ironman, target 72-78% of your FTP. Pacing the bike based on your FTP will set yourself of for your best run performance. Remember, if you do not exceed the demands of your race in training, you will not set yourself up for your best run.

Do not neglect your fueling. When you’re racing at high intensity you need to keep the carbs coming in every 20-30 minutes to keep the engine running hot!

Daryl Armour How can I keep or build on my swim fitness when I am unable to swim half the year due to weather? I can't afford to go to an indoor pool so I am looking for alternative, cheaper ways to improve if possible. Can resistance bands or plyometric exercises be just as affective?

If swimming is not an option, plyometric and band work can be an effective option, but there is no substitute for the pool. Incorporate this circuit three days per week along with band work when you’re unable to make it to the pool.

Plank 60 sec,

15 pushups

Right Side plank 30 sec,

Left Side plank 30 sec

20 supermans

30 seconds of flutterkicks,

15 pushups

Rest 30 seconds and repeat three times.

When you set up for a stretch cord session, wrap the cord around something solid like a fence pole and test it’s strength and stability before you rely on its strength.

Create some tension in the cords by holding them in front of you, bend at your waist and drop your head. As your arms are taught and straight out in front of you, emulate your freestyle stroke by pulling your arms down to your sides one at a time. Incorporate double and single arm pulls, tricep extensions, catch and skull work to stimulate your swim muscles.

Start with three sets of 10-12 repetitions and reduce recovery time between sets as you progress.

Antonio Di Berardino Could you give us a good periodization in terms of weekly hours in order to be ready for a 70.3 in May?

The number of weekly hours you can consistency commit to training will dictate your periodization model. Traditional periodization models may build for 3 weeks and then recover for 6-7 days to allow your body to absorb fitness. Some athletes commit to 10 hours per week, others closer to 20. Because every athlete responds differently to volume and intensity, work with a coach who can objectively determine how many hours are necessary to achieve optimal performance and recovery. I suggest peaking for your event 17-20 days out and then reducing volume 20% each week leading into your race. Keep the intensity high during the quality sessions, especially in the water, but reduce the duration of each interval.

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