Sunday Summary 16 October 2022

Top Threads

  1. Fast After 50 – Ironman
  2. Team “Feel The Byrn” in Sweden next June
  3. How to review an Ironman Bike File
  4. How to Qualify for Kona
  5. How to review an Ironman – more next Tuesday on Twitter

Endurance Sport Tips

High Performance Habits

Racing A Fast Ironman After Fifty

Found this in the archives – memories of a very good day
5th Ironman in 14 months, October 2000

With Ironman Hawaii last weekend, there is a treasure trove of data waiting to be mined.

I took a look through my speedy friends’ activities to see what I could learn.

I started with a summary of January to October weekly averages.


16.25 hours a week, every week, for decades

The first thing I noticed is they do a lot of exercise!

That said, it’s not as much as I expected. The implied range is 12-22 hours a week. When I was a speedy 40-something, my range was 18-28 hours per week.

So perhaps this is a “stay good” level of training – these guys are already at the top.


What can you, and I, learn from these athletes?

Think about a Basic Week and forget about the pace that you’re going.

  • Three swims
  • Three runs
  • Bike leads metabolic fitness improvement
  • Strength work to address personal limiters and injury risks
  • Mobility – 10′ minimum every single day

My Rx for you, and me, would be 5 months of that program (November to March).

That might seem like a lot but ~300 aerobic hours is a drop in the bucket compared to the lifetime mileage of top endurance athletes.


What a best-case scenario looks like in Kona.
Showing the vibe I want to the bring to my training, and racing, going forward.

How fast are these guys?

I started by pulling up the marathon splits of the Best-of-the-Vets in Kona.

  • Mens 50-54 ran 3:15 to 3:40
  • Mens 55-59 ran 3:25 to 4:00

Not as fast as expected, except for the handful of sub-3:20 tropical marathons.

I headed over to the Boston Marathon site to have a look.

  • Mens 50-54 was 2:30-2:45
  • Mens 55-59 was 2:40-2:55

Still really quick, and my pals remain quick over shorter durations


Implications for me, and you.

Best in class race pace is ~8 minutes per mile, ~5 minutes per km

Right now, fresh, I can run that 30 bpm under max, 15 bpm under threshold – I’ve been running for five months, it’s reasonable to expect some improvement.

The best Ironman athletes (50+) in the world aren’t running much faster than 8 min mile pace – takes a lot of pace pressure off my run sessions.

Might do the same for you…

…and that would give you energy to place elsewhere in your program

…or recover faster

…or do something else!

That’s enough for today, more to come

Raising Fit Kids

Towards a Self-Directed Life

They say we should teach about subjects where we don’t need notes.

Fit kids is that subject for me.

  • Our kids are 10, 11 and 14
  • We live in one of the fittest zip codes in America
  • Our kids are competitive in whatever they set their minds on
  • Most importantly, they are happy, engaged and a core part of every team they join
  • We’ve been raising them with intent, since before they were born

I threaded the outline for the video last Friday.



Winning means NOTHING if you lose the relationship.

Children carry an embedded option for the most common challenges of aging

  • something to do
  • someone to share experiences with
  • someone to love

Don’t blow it by being a bozo (at the game)



If the family has a special sport, swimming for us, then think in terms of minimum weekly frequency

None of our kids had to “be a swimmer” – all they needed to do was swim a little bit

Every. Single. Week.

Touch the water, once a week, since they could stand up


5-8 hours a week of jumping, climbing, twisting, spinning – All Summer Long

Very Consistently Undertrained

Our kids have done a lot since they were little.

What they have not done is specialize in a specific niche, or train like an adult.

I’ve also been careful to match my encouragement to the way the kid likes to train

  • Long days
  • Fast days
  • Mix of days

The kids decide what and how much – my role is to up-skill and keep it fun.


Ironman Finish – more than 11,000 days after I was born

10,000 Days

From the time a child stands up…

…to realizing their maximum adult potential

About 10,000 days

Longer in my case!

Several important realities flow from this timeline:

  • We control less than half of those days!
  • We don’t even control what we think we control – for example, effort at practice
  • It will not be the parents’ call – without a deep love of exercise, the kids are DONE as soon as they get out of the house, sometimes before!

The most important relationship in a child’s life is the quality of their parents’ marriage
Choose coaches, and mentors, based on the quality of their non-athletic lives

What Do We Control?

  • Modeling Personal Excellence
  • How our children see our marriage and other relationships
  • Sleep & Nutrition Habits

Spending my time, and giving my attention, to create a link between Fun and Work

Leave Room To Load Later

  • Middle School
  • High School
  • The Collegiate Level

None are a final destination!

Give the athlete somewhere to go when they leave you.


Being a badass breeds confidence – this impacts everything

Start With The End In Mind

Where do you want the athlete to be when they are done with their competitive career?

  • Resilient
  • Courageous
  • Persistent
  • Healthy
  • Enthusiastic

Use sport as a vehicle to teach these traits.

Start today!

Keep these traits front of mind when you’re tempted to make it about winning.


A teacher’s job is to fill the world with positive memories for the student to carry forward

Sunday Summary 9 October 2022

Top Threads

  1. Training Update (Managing Fatigue & Coach Engagement)
  2. Data on 50+ at Ironman Hawaii, my speedy pals
  3. Zone 2 isn’t slow, bottom-up fitness
  4. Raising Fit Kids, blog & video tomorrow
  5. Athletes Overestimate Training Load Required for Health

Endurance Training Tips

High Performance Habits

When Greed Shifts To Fear

My inbox is filling with doom-forwards.

Contacts are asking for quick calls to discuss strategy.

UK Pensions nearly blew themselves up.


Remember : worry has never changed outcome

Prepare : know what you want to buy

Watch.

Patiently.


Monday

May

The yield curve, and net yields in the real estate market, are indicating we have a ways to go with price adjustments.

At present, stocks down ~20% and my zip code’s real estate 10% off the peak.


30-Year mortgage rates at 7.5% was unthinkable a few months ago
Seems pretty close, now (6.7%)

If you’re a cash buyer then the psychological pain of waiting is being reduced.

Any USD Money Market Fund is yielding better returns than you can remember (VMFXX 2.8% on Monday).

I know inflation is a multiple of that but financial psychology isn’t rational – nominal yields matter to the marginal buyer.

My advice:

  • Let it unfold
  • Enjoy life
  • Share experiences with friends and family

Be prepared to “give back” paper gains as the interest rate adjustment works through the global economy.

Targeted Endurance For Self-Coached Athletes


Following on from the Lactate Testing Video, I made another helping you apply your data.

Just in case you prefer written content, I’m going to pull the key points out in this post.



#1 – We train ranges, not averages

To ride a 172w average, I sit in a 150 to 200w range.

If my range crosses into a higher zone/domain then I will be changing the nature of my workout.

With elite athletes, this is not a big deal. They have superior lactate clearance ability and handle micro surges, with ease.

With new and developing athletes, this is a source of underperformance in long workouts. The effective intensity is much higher than the average of the workout.

Learn to swim, bike and run… SMOOTH

It is a foundational skill



#2 – Anchors

Skew your errors left

Recognize that we exercise in ranges, not averages.

Keep your range in the domain you are seeking to train.

Setting an accurate anchor can help.

++

Aerobic Threshold (AeT) (Border Between Zone 1 and Zone 2)

Easily found using the protocol in my lactate video. Anchor your endurance training here, exercise smoothly, and your range will straddle Zones 1 & 2.

++

Threshold-Minus (T-) (2.5 to 3.0 mmol step on your lactate test)

For Heavy Domain training, start by anchoring here. This keeps your range away from the Severe Domain, where the recovery cost of your session rises much faster than the benefit from working a fraction higher.

++

What you call the zones doesn’t matter.

What matters…

Figure out the correct anchor for the stimulus you are seeking


Key points:

  1. Know the effective range of your training
  2. Consider if your range overlaps a higher intensity domain
  3. Set endurance anchors bottom-up
  4. Consider checking in-workout lactates to confirm the above

When you have a fatigue mismatch, it is likely because you are training more intensely than you realize.

When you have upward drift in your heart rate, consider backing off.

++

The most common “intensity” mistake is blowing right past T- into the Severe Domain (above FT/CP/LT2)

  • Floods the body with lactate
  • Recovery greatly extended
  • Painful
  • Time at intensity reduced, for small gain in work rate

We don’t graduate to crushing ourselves in the Severe Domain – we learn how to use the Heavy Domain wisely.


Additional Resources

Thresholds and Domains – explained very well in this Video by Dr Mark Burnley

I think of domains in terms of green, yellow, red

  • Green – Moderate Domain – Endurance
  • Yellow – Heavy Domain – Intensive Endurance
  • Red – Severe Domain – Use With Specific Intent – Costly

My Lactate Testing Video

The Lactate Thread

The Training Zones Thread

++

Final Word : it’s easy to get wrapped up in zones & domains.

Given the experts struggle to reach agreement amongst themselves… better to find an effective anchor and get to work!

Sunday Summary 2 October 2022

Top Five Threads

  1. We train a range, not an average
  2. Do-less strategy worked for Middle School XC
  3. A Feeling of Running Out of Time
  4. 90-days without Caffeine
  5. Face-Your-Fear Session from Mark Allen

Endurance Sport

High-Performance Habits

Change, Choice and a Feeling of Running Out of Time

A buddy reached out…

I do not want to derail any of the Twitter conversation regarding fat burning/race fueling/weight loss.

But, I’m suspicious there is a story as to how much impact can be had regarding fat burning in the long-in-sport masters athlete. 

Can you teach a system to burn fat after it has fueled on white hot carbs for years?

Or, am I just too inpatient looking for results?

Some of us older folks don’t have years to figure it out.

I think about these points all_the_time!

  1. Can I change?
  2. Is it too late to change?
  3. What if change doesn’t work?
  4. What’s a reasonable time horizon to give change a chance?

I start by reminding myself of the game I have decided to play.

I am going to spend 1,000 days doing my absolute best to get in shape

That’s my game.

Use my experience, my network, my time… and embrace what’s required, in order to move towards SuperVet Fitness.

Life is not about change.

It is about choice.

Figure out your game, then choose what’s required.


Time.

I am running out of time.

But I have had this “running out of time” feeling since my late-30s…

…and here I am!

So I have both “limited time” and more time than I realize.

Back to Choice.

How will I CHOOSE to use my time?

Play the game, make better choices, accept what the journey requires.


Results, success, achievement, getting somewhere…

Every single day, I am asked a question along those lines

  • How long will it take to improve?
  • What should I expect?

The only way find to find out is to take the journey.

Creating Bomber Calves & Hamstrings to Support Pain-Free Running

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, few years back

It’s been a fun summer of pain-free running. My blog, linked, is how I got back into a slow, and very satisfying, run groove.

Recently, I’ve been managing common niggles. My niggles were a reminder that it’s much easier to prevent injury, than treat one.

The niggles stayed minor because I never ran through pain, and shut down immediately when I started to tighten up.


Previously, I shared my Hamstring Protocol (Google Doc) for a return to activity.

From the protocol:

  1. Reduce the stress that’s hurting you
  2. Reduce long periods of sitting
  3. Remember: if you are constantly injured then you need to change your overall lifestyle

Time to consolidate and follow my own advice.


Goals:

  • Enough stress to make progress
  • Not so much stress we trigger injury

This means we need to reduce stress while we strengthen our weak points.

For nutrition, it is the exact same advice to lose body fat. Drop stress before moving forward.

If we layer on additional stress, while seeking change, not going to make it.


I’m going to run you through to components of my program:

  1. Daily Habits
  2. Damage Limitation Strategies
  3. The Cycle of Injury
  4. Strengthening Prior To A Return to Loading

Daily Habit of Mobility Work

10 minutes per day, minimum, every day.

It’s done wonders for me.

  1. Hip Progression (PDF Link)
  2. Daily Barefoot Flexibility Routine (Video Link)

I also added the Couch Stretch (Video link) as it helped balance my increased time on the bike.


Damage Limitation Strategies

As soon as you feel tightness…

Stop making things worse and…

Get eccentric load into the problem area!

In my case:

Both of these provide relief faster than rest alone.

Relief doesn’t mean I’m ready to return to the cycle that caused the issue in the first place.


The Cycle of Injury

My issues arrive via : (a) equipment; and (b) load.

My hamstring issue came from my bike position. My saddle was too far back.

Easy fix => acute phase exercises combined with position change

My calf issue had a source in my training load. Here, I want to share a lesson from an Orthopedic Surgeon buddy…

Overuse injuries take six weeks to form

So it’s not the workout where you noticed the issue… it is much more likely the six weeks of training that occurred prior to the issue.

In my case:

  • Uphill bounding (20s efforts)
  • Uphill sprints (5-8s efforts)
  • Bike sprints (5-30s efforts)

All of the above are stressful on my calves, particularly after years of not running.

Another heuristic passed down to me:

A tight muscle is a weak muscle

Before any of us progress to injury, there is tightness. Often chronic tightness that doesn’t go away with dedicated mobility work.

Time to strengthen!


Strengthen Prior To A Return To Loading

Autumn is the ideal time to address a weakness, likely to cause injury as soon as we seek to ramp load in the Spring!

Again, whatever your long term limiter happens to be (technique, body composition, emotional stability, finances, posterior chain)… NOW IS THE TIME

I asked my Twitter Pals for help and they came up with a solid range of suggestions (Thread Link)

  1. Single-leg deadlifts (weighted & unweighted)
  2. Jump Rope (too advanced for me, right now)
  3. Foot-elevated Calf Raises (Video Link)
  4. Double Leg Pogos (2 x 20) (Patrick’s Tweet has a vid)
  5. Reverse Lunges (torso over hip)
  6. Front Squats (heels elevated, vertical torso)
  7. Vibration Gun
  8. Self-Massage

To these, I would add:

Biomechanical Challenges, specific to running:

  • Rate of loading – even a slow jog has faster loading than many traditional gym movements
  • Lower leg loading across the footstrike – often as the arch collapses
  • Hamstring loading as the leg swings forward

The challenges are addressed by the plyometric component of the program.

Drop load when you add plyometrics AND always add plyometrics gradually. They are strong medicine.

The suggestions split themselves into three categories

Post-Run

  • Daily Mobility Routine
  • Self-Massage
  • Vibration Gun

Strength Routine

  1. Unweighted Single-leg Deadlifts
  2. Reverse Lunges (torso over hip)
  3. Front Squats (heels elevated, vertical torso)
  4. Hinge Lift

Plyometric Routine

  1. Foot-elevated calf raises
  2. Double Leg Pogos
  3. Mini-Blasters

Most of us will need to split the strength routine away from the plyometric routine. When I combine, I find the fatigue is a bit like 2+2=5.

Where to start depends on what you’ve been doing for the last six weeks. I’ve been slowly developing overuse injuries… 

If you haven’t been strength training then you’ll need to come in very gently.

With the mini-blasters, each cycle takes a minute and I take a minute between cycles. Five rounds, when combined with the rest of my program, proved more than I could handle!

Here’s my plan:

  1. 1-2 sets of each exercise
  2. Split Strength Away from Plyometrics
  3. Do each program once every ~10 days
  4. Repeat for ~60 days

With every intervention, the first “little bit” has the highest return. This is particularly important with respect to mobility work.

Finally, powerwalk the first ten minutes of every single run workout.

Both of these are Google Docs.


I put the key bits of the program into a Google Doc for you.

Sunday Summary 25 September 2022

Top Five

  1. How Self-Coached Athletes Can Use Lactate To Work Smarter
  2. Eliminating Weight Gain While Exercising Lots
  3. My friends helping me with The Calf Thread
  4. How I Got The Weight Off
  5. The Threshold Thread

Endurance Training Tips

High Performance Habits