Zenman's 2013 Training Journal: 02 July

small zendurance cycling logo02 July:
So Far:

  • 14 April: Skunk Cabbage 10K: 2nd in AG
  • 27 April: Dual Against CF Sprint Duathlon: 1st in AG
  • 05 May: “Tri for the Y” Sprint Tri: 1st in AG
  • 19 May: Columbia Intermediate Triathlon: 6th in AG
  • 02 June: Keuka Lake Intermediate Tri: 2nd in AG
  • 08 June: Black Fly Challenge MTB Race: (40 miles): 22nd in 50-59 Category
  • 30 June: New England Trifest Intermediate Tri: 1st in AG

Race Season:

I have ambitious visions this season. Before I elaborate on these, let me say it won’t include any multi-day ultra triathlons. Hey, not because I’m not up for it! I would love to return to Lake Anna Virginia this October to complete another triple iron – or pursue the quintuple.

However, I want to participate in the ITU Long Course World Championship in Wei Hai China in 2014. USAT will only allow qualification through their Long Course Nationals - this year at REV 3 in Anderson, SC, the same weekend as Lake Anna. With hundreds of half-irons held in the US, and only one triple or quintuple, I am of the opinion that USAT could be a bit more flexible.

Time to let go that.

Remaining 2013 Race Schedule:

  • 14 July: Musselman Half-Iron (Goal Race)
  • 27 July: Wilderness 101 MTB Race (101 miles)
  • 04 August: Cayuga Lake Intermediate Tri
  • 18 August: Peasantman “Steel Distance” Tri (144.6 miles)
  • 01 September: ADK 80K MTB (50 miles)
  • 09 September: Survival of the Shawangunks
  • 28 September: X-Terra ASP “Epic” Triathlon
  • 13 October: REV 3 Anderson Half-Iron (Goal Race)
  • 17 November: Philadelphia Marathon
  • 30 November: NCR Trail Marathon

Early Season Training (Winter-Spring):

Very similar to last year's early season, I focused mostly on strength and speed – particularly on the bike. I conducted these bike sessions on the stationary trainer, using my time-trial bike. I described the structure of these sessions in my e-book “2012 Triple Ultra Challenge”. As always, I design the structure of all of my training sessions around neural training. That orientation includes interval training at a variety of intensity levels. The duration and intensity of both the intervals and recoveries is determined by my ability to maintain efficient technique.

A Few Details:

Typically, this training included 2 key stationary bike sessions – followed with transition runs that included some fartleks. Weather permitting, I went to the track once a week for running drills and speed-work. I also included 2-3 soft-surface recovery runs, and added in some jump rope or short hill repeats once or twice a week. As I expressed in the e-book, I don’t concern myself too much with aerobic base training in the early season. However, I do run frequently for short duration to maintain running durability and strength.

Twice a week year-round I do a functional strength session that blends Pilates and yoga , and occasionally some TRX. I have a large repertoire of exercises (some using a small inflatable fitness ball) and stretches. I perform a core regimen every session, and rotate others in according to perceived need. The sequence of these sessions also varies. I allow my body to govern and determine the content of these sessions, rather than my logical mind. The “organic” nature of this process is vital to my craft: “Mind in matter.”


Fall/winter/spring, I teach a “Swim Mastery” Program at Island Health and Fitness 3 nights a week. Hence, I arrive early and swim at least 20 minutes beforehand. This is usually a recovery “zen swim”. Sometimes I mix in some 4-stroke practice – butterfly, back stroke, breast stroke, and freestyle. Once a week, I do a performance-oriented 60-minute swim session – using a Tempo Trainer and strokes-per-lap to structure my sets.

OK, I admit this swim training may not seem like much – either in volume or intensity. Given the demands of my bike and run training, swimming is often active recovery. However, in every session, I focus very intensely on efficiency – regardless of intensity. Combining muscular/metabolic recovery with intensive neural efficiency training gives me the best value and results for my overall program.

The Big Picture:

Yes, my swim performance in my triathlons could improve. However, given my time and energy resources, I choose to focus more on cycling and running. Analyzing my race results, my swim, bike and run performances rate evenly compared to the overall field.

For instance, at the New England Trifest (Olympic Distance) my swim time ranked 34th overall, bike time ranked 32nd overall, and run time ranked 36th overall. The slight emphasis on cycling pays off – proportionately we spend more time on the bike. I am relentless with my run training (in frequency and intensity) to slow the results of... well, aging.

As a Swim Technique Instructor and coach, I practice what I preach: Efficiency first. Get out off the water at the same you used to, but without expending much energy. Save it for the bike and the run. Improve your overall time by swimming more efficiently, before you focus on improving your swim speed.

In the next entry, I will discuss more about how I am combining conventional triathlon training with mountain bike training, and why I have taken up mountain biking.

Until then, train with grace, race with joy, live in health and love.


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