Friday, December 16, 2011

Over-reaching in training?

From twitter the other day:

@behrenst asks:
"Would still love to hear your thoughts on intentionally overreaching and where in a training plan it might offer the most benefit"

Thanks for the question. The whole of point of training in general is over-reaching, just how much we should over-reach is the art of training/coaching. This is incredibly individual, even in the timing, given career and family responsibilities, as well as climate and race schedule.

One athlete I coach is a school teacher who has his summer off. We use this period to focus on either Ironman Wisconsin, or Kona, as he alternates years usually with these events, qualifying for Kona one year, racing it the next. The fact he has so much free time, allows this to be an excellent time to over-reach more than we would during the school year. It also coincides with the 12-week lead-up into Ironman Wisconsin for him, so this becomes a perfect time-window for specific preparation for the race.

So to answer your question, the specific preparation period is most important, and if you can over-reach there, you'll see a better transfer of that effort into actual performance. But I also want to caution you to be careful in your over-reaching, as this 12 week period is CRITICAL, so a mistake in over-reaching can lead to injury, burnout, over-training, and missed training during this time.

If you've given yourself plenty of time to build slowly into this specific preparation period, you won't require over-reaching beyond a normal amount. Remember, the more time you have, the less risk you need to take in training. The less time you have, the more risk you must take to be prepared.

Consistency of training over the long haul will trump a few big weeks of training, always.

Coach Vance

Monday, December 12, 2011

How much running is enough?

I was asked a question the other day about how many runs in a week is enough for a triathlete, given the need to swim and bike, especially when preparing for a half or full Ironman. It's an interesting question, and one which is entirely dependent on the athlete's strengths, weaknesses and goals.

However, most athletes are time crunched, and looking for the minimum needed to get by and compete sufficiently, and I do believe that number is 3. Here are a few key points to this:

- For most time-crunched Ironman athletes, the easiest training session to get completed is the run. Pool sessions require going to a pool and then returning, and a minimum of time in the pool needed to do well is about 45-60 minutes, but most likely 60 minutes will do better than 45. Biking for 60 mins doesn't give you much, unless on a trainer. So adding a run should be the easiest part of training.
- 3 is a good number, but 4 is better. 5 is better than 4, but this is not universal. The key is consistency, as missing just one run means reducing the training load by about 33%, or more. The less runs you do, the more important each run is. You can't afford to miss them.
- 3 is a good number if one of the runs is a long run. How long is a long run? That depends again on the athlete, but a minimum of 90 mins, and as much as 2-3 hours, if the athlete can handle it.
- 3 is a good number if another one of the runs is a medium distance run, perhaps with some tempo effort in it. This means about 80% of the long run.
- 3 is a good number if the third run is high intensity intervals! As an athlete gets closer to race day, these intervals should get longer and longer, generally speaking.
- If you can get a 4th run in, what should it be? I think it should be a zone 1 economy building run, or something which addresses the key weaknesses of the athlete.

Coach Vance

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Costa Rica Tri Camp & Rev3 Races, March 12-18, 2012

Brief Description

Join us in beautiful Costa Rica for a week-long training camp with TrainingBible coaches and athletes. The week-long camp will be 3 days of intense training followed by 2 skills and learning focused days and up to 2 races at the REV 3 Event (Olympic distance on Saturday, Half on Sunday). Fly into Liberia airport on Sunday, we will pick you up, take you to villa, camp starts on Monday. Athletes can leave either the following Sunday late evening or Monday morning, accommodations are included for this entire time-frame.

Additional Information

Camp Features:
  • 8-night stay at Coco Bay Estates (an $1800-$2400 value)
  • Option for private room or shared room available
  • 2 Meals provided per day, (catered breakfast and lunch buffet)
  • All sessions coached and led by a TrainingBible Coach
  • Low traffic, paved roads for riding
  • Coach on-deck for pool sessions
  • Incredibly beautiful open-water swimming in Coco Bay
  • Underwater swim video technique assessment for each athlete, ($115 value)
  • Run technique video assessment for each athlete, ($100 value)
  • Discounted entry fees to REV3 Olympic and/or Half
  • Classroom sessions for individual learning
  • Complimentary airport shuttle to/from Coco Bay Estates from Liberia Airport only
  • Camp Head Coach is Jim Vance -
  • View the Camp Itinerary
For photos of last year's camp, see this post I wrote about the camp.

Coach Vance