3/27/17

Performing high quality workouts - weekend training wrap-up



Like most competitive athletes, Karel and I are extremely dedicated to our training but unlike many, we are highly competitive triathletes who are not too obsessive with the sport. We give a lot of our energy to training but training provides us with more than race day performances as we gain good health, enjoyment, socializing, being outside and pushing our boundaries thanks to training. We can also clear our minds and de-stress. I like to say that we have the ability to turn on and off our training lightswitch very easily so that the light only comes on when we train and then it's back to normal life so that the light never burns out.

One thing that Karel and I do not focus on as it relates to performance improvements, is marginal gains. While we do focus on all of the areas in our life, from diet, to fueling, to strength and mobility, to mental strength, sleep, gear and training in order to gain the competitive edge, we focus on optimizing the areas in our life that have direct performance improvements and don't waste our energy on anything else. In other words, when it comes to our body composition, we don't intentionally try to change the way that we look through diet and exercise. We eat to perform and we train to perform.  

This leads me to the topic of body composition, which is a very popular topic among the athletic world. In a recent article that I wrote for Ironman.com, I talked about making peace with your weight, all season long. 

Far too many endurance triathletes put way too much energy into reducing body fat in order to achieve a specific race weight (or to be lean) for performance improvements. Understanding that changing your body composition will only offer a performance advantage if the goals and methods are suited to individual needs, it should be assumed that if you organize your diet to meet your daily energy/macronutrient and vitamin/mineral needs and you fuel and hydrate smart before, during and after workouts, then you will be able to perform high quality training sessions with your body. Consistent high quality training sessions will maximize your fitness and you may unintentionally see a positive change in body composition. But trying to change the way that you look may not make you any faster, fitter or stronger, if you can't perform high quality training sessions. 

On the flip side, if you are simply trying to "get through" workouts (and life) with an underfueled and undernourished body in order to lose weight, lean up or to burn more fat for fuel, there is a great chance that you are sabotaging your chance of performing high quality training sessions with your body, all in an effort to hope to achieve marginal gains with your diet/exercise approach. 

You see, there is no guarantee that manipulating your diet, getting leaner or avoiding sport nutrition during (or before/after) training will improve performance. There is, however, a great chance that you will not be able to perform high quality training sessions, you may risk health or injury issues and you won't gain confidence for race day by putting too much energy into how you look now and how you want to look on race day. 

Because it is so easy to overlook daily lifestyle habits that can optimizing performance but oh so easy to put a lot of energy into the extreme approach of not fueling properly before, during and after workouts or not structuring the diet to help the body adapt to training stress, I encourage you to take a moment and ask yourself "Am I able to perform high quality workouts with my body, with my current daily diet and fueling methods?"

If the answer is yes, great! Keep doing what you are doing. 

If the answer is no, ask yourself why not? Because many athletes are lead to believe less is more as it relates to how much you eat (or how little) and how much you weigh, your best performance enhancer will come from performing high quality workout with your body - on a daily basis, week after week, month after month. 

As a 11x Ironman finisher, I still have yet to look for marginal gains as it relates to my body composition, like fasted workouts or trying to get to x-weight by race day, to take me to that next level. I have never been on a diet, I don't restrict any foods in my diet, I always eat before workouts, I never workout without sport nutrition and I never ever weigh myself. (neither does Karel). Yet every year, I find myself improving my skills and fitness as a triathlete and somehow, when I get closer to racing season, I see my body changing as I gain fitness. How can this be? 

There are no short cuts to success. It takes time to see results. Put in the work, be kind and respectful to your body, have fun, enjoy the journey, challenge yourself, stretch your comfort zone and focus on the little things in your daily life that can make a big difference and you, my amazing Trimarni follower will also find yourself gaining the competitive edge with your amazing body. 



Saturday training: 
AM - Donaldson center 
BIKE + BRICK RUN
Bike: ~90 minutes - country loop for warm-up

MS 3x's (perimiter loop)
8 minute at slightly stronger than IM effort
3 min smooth endurance
12 min at half IM effort
3 min smooth endurance 
5 min at Olympic distance
5 min EZ

Total: 3:38 hr
Miles: 67.8
Run off the bike:
5 min immediately off the bike, increase effort to half ironman effort
2 min endurance effort
MS:
1 min Z3
2 min endurance
1 min Z3+
2 min endurance
1 min Z4
2 min endurance
1 min Z5
2 min endurance
1 min Z5
2 min endurance
1 min Z4
2 min endurance
1 min Z3+
2 min endurance
1 min Z3
5 min EZ

Total: 35 minutes, 4.75 miles

PM Run: Treadmill50 minutes, 5.36 miles, form focused, EZ running (9:20 min/mile pace)

Sunday AM Long run (treadmill and outside): 15 minute mobility/hip work/dynamic warm-up
20 minute treadmill warm-up
Outside: 40 minutes hilly loop

MS: 
3 x 5 min at half ironman effort w/ 2 min endurance effort (and walk) between
3 x 3 min strong effort w/ 2 min endurance effort  (and walk) between
2 x 5 min half ironman effort w/ 2 min endurance effort  (and walk) between

Cool down

Total: 2.17 miles/20 minutes treadmill
10.5 miles outside/1:35 outside
Combined total: 12.57 miles, 1:55 total

A big thanks to the Trimarnis who I saw out training this weekend in Greenville - Bryan for joining us on the country loop, Thomas for pushing me on the run, Karel for helping me believe in myself and Meredith, for getting out there and working hard for dreams.