Tuesday, September 27, 2011


"It's not your legs - it's your stomach". For high school and college runners who haven't experienced a race over 30-35 minutes it takes awhile for that to sink in. I'm a "distance runner" you say to yourself - "I don't listen to music on headphones and I don't carry water or gu's". In fact you make sure that you don't eat or drink too much close to race time to make sure that your stomach never comes into the equation. Then you run your first marathon - and your world changes. Your body breaks down in ways you didn't know were possible. You realize that your body - any body cannot run more than 60-90 minutes without taking in calories, nutrients, and water.

My first experience where I felt like a good nutrition plan was as important as training or pacing was the JFK 50 miler in 2009. Luckily I got some great advice from Alyssa Godesky (she also told me about the "band method" that I wrote about in my last post). First is hydration - she told me that I should make sure that I was drinking at least one bottle of water/sports drink per hour, eat an energy gel every 30 minutes, take a salt/potassium pill once an hour, and have some comfort food available (thanks to my wife). The 50 miler went fairly well - thanks partly to one of my best years of training since college - but just as much on keeping to my nutrition plan.

Only being my 3rd triathlon I'll have a lot on my mind this Sunday. But, I think the most important thing will still be nutrition. With a triathlon it's a little different. For the first 40 minutes I'll be swimming - unable to eat or drink. So, I'll need to eat a little more before I hit the water and drink/eat a little more once I get on my bike. I'm planning on drinking two bottles in the first 90 minutes - one water and one gatorade. The nutrition stops are supposed to be every 15 miles - and I should be hitting the second stop right around 90 minutes. I'll keep the same energy gel plan of one every 30 minutes and one salt/potassium pill once an hour.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Even though I've been neglectful of this blog I have actually been training this summer. A week from today is my first half-ironman at the Poconos Ironman. 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running near the Delaware River water gap on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I plan on making up for my summer blog malase by writing a few posts this week. 

First (in this post) - letting you know the kind of training I've been doing this summer. Second - my nutrition plan for next Sunday. And finally my overall impression of my first season as competing in triathlons and my planned training for next year.

One difference in running vs triathlon training is that you plan it in hours rather than miles. The highest number of hours that I trained this summer was 13.5. Which for a half-marathon isn't too bad - I could have done 14-16 hours, but I was still somewhat limited by my hamstring/glute issue. 

Basically I took the number of hours planned for each week and then divided it by how long I would be doing each event. So, let's say I was planning on a 5 hour half-iron (which I am) - I would hope to spend ~40 minutes swimming and 1st transition - 3 hours bike and transition - and an hour 20 minutes for the run. For a 10 hour week I would swim ~1.5 hours (I need a little more time in the pool), bike 5-6 hours, and run 2.5-3.5 hours. If I focused on the run one week I would focus on the bike the next. 

The most difficult part was making sure that I had a hard workout in each discipline each week. After the Luray triathlon in August I started using the "band" method for my hard swim workouts. This consists of tying an old bike inner-tube to my ankles so that I couldn't use my legs. I would do ~12X 25 meters on 40 seconds. Usually this would mean 26-28 seconds with 12-14 seconds rest. Then I would swim 400 meters "hard" without the band in around 6 min 20 sec. I usually would do about 3-4 sets.

For biking I usually meet the Winchester Wheelmen for either their Tuesday or Thursday paceline. Both of these were difficult for me to stay on - 34 and 27 miles respectively. There were constant attacks - times where I would have to accelerate to ~3o mph on my own just to bridge a gap. Then I usually would ride a long ride on my own (55-65 miles) on the weekend.

For running I would focus on one hard workout early in the week and a long run on the weekend. My hard workouts were usually either mile intervals at 5k pace with 2-3 min rest or half- marathon pace with 1 minute per mile rest. My longer runs were 1.5 - 2 hours.

Overall I feel like this plan has worked well. I feel like I'm in decent shape. Obviously next week will tell for sure - but I think I have a decent shot at my goal of sub-5 hours.