by Kristen Marchant
There are many things I could have written a blog post about right now, however I chose to do a simple account of what a week of training looks like for me now that I am working full time (thanks to Kim Nelson of Royal Containers). I haven’t given up on the dream of racing as a professional, and by the way training has been going of late, it would appear that having a full time job is better than not working. Two of the workouts I completed on the bike this week I could not have done last year, so something has to be going right. :)
This was the 3rd week of a three week build, so was my hardest week before an easier recovery week.
A few things you may notice about the training- there are no ‘epic’ workouts- generally I finish every workout feeling like I could have done another interval. Two key things about winter training especially (but really applies to training year-round) are Consistency and Repeatability. The ability to come back day after day and execute workouts is what makes a great athlete, not smashing one workout that leaves you needing 3+ days of recovery. Those kinds of efforts should, for the most part, be reserved for race day; they may look good on social media, but in the end you are doing yourself a disservice if they become the essence of your training plan.
The run workouts I am doing are not in the realm of very challenging. Right now I am focused on getting in consistent weeks of running and will dial back or scrap any run workout if I feel my legs are not coping with the training load.
There are a lot of bike workouts with V02 max level efforts. According to science (I mean PubMed research articles, not what I read on triathlete.com or what my friend said is good), the biggest improvements in cycling occur when a plan of one week with 4-5 very hard sessions followed by 3 weeks of the traditional 1-2 very hard sessions per week is followed. I am testing it out- the studies were done on pure cyclists, so the challenge becomes trying to incorporate that idea into a 3-sport training program.
For reference with the wattages, for a well-paced half-ironman I would ride an average of 205W, and there is definitely a difference between indoor and outdoor wattages. Generally I think I would be 10-15 watts higher outside for the same effort level, I think a large part of which comes from the ability to create torque outside (rather than being locked in place by the trainer inside).
Monday to Friday I am up at 4:15am and out the door in 12 minutes flat. This allows me to get in the pool at 5:15am, provided we don’t have shitty weather.
5:15am- 70min endurance swim.
These were all done on a base pace time of 1:30/100m. It may not sound hard but the fatigue builds over the set.
4:45pm- 75min on the elliptical
5:15am- IM set in the pool
7am- 75min on the spin bike at the gym. Main set was 15x 1min HARD!/1min ez
5:45pm- 65 min run- 3x10min tempo efforts at about half marathon pace plus strides at the end.
5:15am- hard swim
Main set: 2×200 + 4×100 + 4×50 + 4×50 + 4×100 + 2×200. Objective was to hold 1:15/100m on a pace time of 1:30/100m.
5pm- 2hr bike. Main set was 5x4min @260W (zone 5)/4min ez.
5:15am- 85min swim, technique/endurance focus.
7am- 70min run with 5x5min at ~10km race pace/ 3min ez.
5:45pm- 90min ez spin + 20min tempo run. (usually it is only a 1 hour ez spin but I was waiting for the snow storm to clear up)
5:15am- hard swim
Main set was 4×50 + 4×100 + 2×150 + 400 then 3×200. All attempting to go 1:15/100m (didn’t quite make it)
5pm- 2hr bike. Main set was 6x3min @265W (zone 5)/ 3min ez.
9am- Easy long run- 80min
12:30pm- 2hr30min bike with 2×20 + 2×10 @220W
5pm- 1hr swim, main set was 10×100 @ :30 holding 1:15. (normally I would not swim on Saturday but was otherwise occupied Sunday afternoon and wanted to get the swim in)
7am- 2hr bike with 8x2min @270W/ 3min ez
30min brick run (not hard as it was extremely slippery outside)
And there you have it. Between training, working, and 2+ hrs/day of commuting, there is not much time for anything else; of course this lifestyle would not be sustainable if I had kids (heaven forbid), but for now this is working for me. Merry Christmas everyone! (or ‘Happy Holidays’ if you prefer)
Special thanks to Barrrie Shepley, C3, and Kim Nelson of Royal Containers who have opened the doors to make this a possibility, and to Skechers and Alto Cycling who have confirmed their continued sponsorship in 2017 despite my lack-luster injury-filled 2016 season.
by Taylor Reid
I wanted to talk about my swim development over the years and how I have gotten to where I am in the water and where I want to go. As the 70.3 distance gets more competitive it is becoming more important to have the full package Swim/Bike/Run.
When the Ironman and 70.3 distance first appeared the run was the most important part. Nine times out of ten the fastest runner would win the race. Over time the bike started to become very important. With athletes like Lionel Sanders, Sebastian Kienle and many others, the bike became more important. Now with the 70.3 attracting more athletes the swim is starting to play a larger role in every race. Races are having large groups and if you miss the lead group in the swim the race is much more difficult. This is best seen at the Championship races. With swimming being the area that needed the most improvement I need to make sure I do not fall behind as triathlon develops and evolves.
I started swimming at about 16 years old. In the swim world this is very late. Pure swimmers usually start at the age of 8-10 years. So I was a little behind at the very start and had no control in the water. I could keep my head above the water but that is about as far as I could get.
The first thing I did was start working with a swim club. The first club I joined was the Dorado Stars. It was right beside my High school. It was the perfect location since we had 2-3 morning practices a week. I fully immersed myself into the swimming culture, swimming eight times a week and all the strokes. This helped to jump start my swimming a little but I still was getting my butt kicked by 13 year-old girls and swimming in the lane with the eight year olds. You really need to let go of your ego at the start. It is a long process to develop your swimming. There were a few times that my coach told us that the lane I was swimming in may as well be filled with dirt because that is how poorly we were swimming, great times but lots of long hours in the water. As I finished my high school stage in my life I had worked my way up to being able to swim with some the of girls that were closer to my age but I was no were near the best of them.
I then went on to Mcmaster university were I was lucky enough to have formed a great relationship with the varsity swim coach Andrew Cole. He allowed me to train with the varsity swim team and further my swimming skills. I feel that it played a huge role in moving my swimming forward. I had all the assets that the swimmers had and had so many great teammates to emulate. When I started I was probably the slowest in the pool. But after 5 years of 8-9 swims a week with the team I became a decent enough swimmer to hold my own against most of the women on the team and some of the men. I was no where near as good as I needed to be but I had come far since I started.
The next big step in my triathlon swimming was connecting with Paulo Sousa’s Triathlon Squad. This move allowed me to work solely on my freestyle. Since we all were triathletes instead of a swim group. This was the right time in my swim development to focus solely of freestyle since I had built up enough muscle from doing years of IM. Doing only freestyle lowed me to cut back on the over all time I spent in the water which in turn gave me more time to recover and work on running and biking.
I still have a lot of work to do to get to the point I want to be at. I will continue to follow Paulo’s guidance and see how far I can go.
by Taylor Reid
I have been hearing more and more about rollers over the last few weeks. I have been on and off them over the years but this winter I am going to use them a lot more. After riding them for a few weeks and talking to Lionel Sanders, I think they are a very useful tool. As any training tool they have their advantages and disadvantages.
The first thing that people have trouble with is getting over the fear of falling off. Yes it is a fairly daunting task, having only 2 feet of room to play with, as you are balancing on two wheels. They key is to stay relaxed. The best way to start is by setting up the rollers in a doorway so that you have something solid to hold onto until you are up to speed. The doorway also gives you something to grab onto if you feel you are falling off. Once you have gotten going it is all about not over correcting, if you start drifting to one side do not freak out and over correct. All you need is a little touch to the handlebars or lean in the direction you want to go, and you will float over to that side.
Once you have the skill it really does not leave you. I got on the rollers for the first time in about three years and probably only the fifth time I have ever ridden them. It was just second nature. It also is not that scary when you fall off. If you are in the doorway you will just grab the frame and burn some rubber off your tires. I fell off twice when I started to use then for the first time this year, you just catch yourself then reset.
As a training tool I think it is useful because it keeps you very engaged through the whole ride. It also makes the hard effort that much more realistic and taxing, because you have to stay focused on your balance as well as pushing a big gear. I personally have a set of rollers that do not have any extra resistance. So the resistance is built around your gearing and how fast your legs can go.
Personally I have found that once you get around 450watts on the roller or short 30 sec efforts they are not as effective. The very short and intense efforts takes so much out of you, so they are better done on the trainer where you can focus just on the effort. My rollers also start to vibrate when I get around 450w. So that is a little freaky. For all the effort that are around 300-350watts or lower the rollers are amazing they just add another level of reality and engagement that the trainer does not have.
It also takes a little bit of time to get confident riding the rollers in the TT position but again it really comes down to staying relaxed and not over-compensating any movements. I am now playing around a little bit with standing on the rollers too.
I would recommend rollers to any one who is looking to add more to there winter training.
Here is a little look at the 2016 season as a whole and some insight into what I want to to change in 2017.
After a nice three weeks of down time, it is time for me to get back to work and start training for the 2017 season. In those three weeks I had some time to look over the 2016 season as a whole and see what I will do differently in 2017. I thought I would share my thoughts on 2016 with you and give you a little glimpse into what 2017 will look like.
2016 was full of high and lows like any year but it had few more crazy turns than expected. The year started out well with a very strong block of base training down in Poway California to prepare for a full race schedule. I was planning on upping the number of races I did this year to 12 so there were a couple of races right on top of each other.
This did not really work out in the end and actually I only did 8 full 70.3 races. One I had a nasty crash in, one I flatted in and two were turned into duathlon due to the weather. I found that I struggled racing back-to-back weekends and need more time in between races to train. These means that I will have to start my season a little earlier and end it a little later.
In 2017 I will race a little less with more space in between races. This will allow me to focus more on each race and prepare properly. I also will not be making a large trip to Australia, which will allow me to stay on an more manageable time zone and cut down on my travel. I will be getting back to the basics in 2017. I want to continue to keep improving all aspects of my sport but putting a heavier emphasis on the swimming. I saw some improvement this year in the swim but not the consistency I wanted. I need to be coming out the water closer to the leaders on a regular basis.
I need to do all the little things now. Everything will add up to make next year even better. I will be working on my nutrition in races and training. How I can better recover from workouts to be more consistent through the season and stay injury free. Consistency will be the cornerstone for my 2017 season.
Taylor's Race Report
Last week I made a trip to Miami this is the third time I have raced here. It was the second 70.3 race I ever did and the first course I broke 4 hours on. So it has a little more of a personal connection to me than other races.
Downtown Miami is an interesting place to try and train. Luckily I had an understanding of the area and knew where to go do my biking and swimming. It was a little cooler than usual the day of the race, which was very nice since Miami can get really hot and sticky.
I had one of my best swims ever at this race. I never felt out of control and was with in reach of the leaders for the whole swim. It was the first time I have been able to see the lead paddler throughout the whole swim course. Even with the swim being long I exited the water just over 30 seconds down from the leader. I was able to have a very clean start that set me up in a good position around the first corner. With 55 pro men in the race it was very similar to the large groups of swimmers in ITU races. I was able to stay very relaxed for most of the swim and make moves when I needed to. Only on the last 300m did I start to feel labored. This definitely was a first for me and I look forward to repeating it.
I jumped onto the bike in about 11th place. I was in a position I have not been in before being so close to the lead swimmer. I was able to see the lead group and knew that I needed to try and make my way up to them. That is were the medals were and I needed to be there. I pushed into a biking zone that I have not gone before and rode one of my fastest times if not the fastest. But I still was not able to bridge the gap.
I entered into the run in 8th place and was just was not able to get my run legs going. I lost a couple of positions after a hard fought run and finished in 10th. It was not the result I was looking for but I will move onto the next one.
Next up will be 70.3 Austin on Oct 30. This will be the first time I have tried to race two 70.3 one week apart.
Kristen's Race Report
After having been injured for the past few months I was excited to head to Miami to get one last race in. I travelled Thursday and being out on my bike Friday I was extremely excited- the sun was shining, the roads are spectacular, and the weather was relatively cool. Unfortunately I woke up Saturday and headed straight to the bathroom to throw up. This set the tone for the entire day- I could not eat or drink anything without being sick minutes later. When I was still feeling dreadful at 7pm I e-mailed Barrie in a panic- do i race? what do i do? He assured me the world would not end if i was too sick to race, but to take things one at a time in the morning. I literally could not believe this was happening- i just wanted to wake up from the nightmare.
Sunday morning did not bring much change, although having not eaten it meant i wasn't heaving my guts up. It was not until 90minutes to race start that i decided to ride my bike down to the start and do the swim. One thing at a time.
With almost 40 women in the field it was a big pack to start with, but things splintered pretty quickly. I felt like I was moving in slow motion and knew I was not in the pack I should be in, but I had three others to keep me company so I focused on staying with them. I was 4+ minutes down from the leaders when it should have normally been 2-2.5min. Onto the bike it was again like my body was moving in slow motion. By 40km I could not wait to get back to T2. My stomach was cramping so I had to keep getting out of the aero bars to let it settle down. About 55km in a fellow Ontario pro, Miranda Tomensen passed me and I knew that the best way to stay focused was to sit behind her (at 12m). I did this all the way back to T2 where I dismounted and walked through transition to the bike rack. I spent a couple minutes there looking at my bike and my running shoes while I drank a bottle of water. Eventually I decided I would try to run one mile and see how it went. This was the theme of the run- just one mile at a time, one aid station at a time. No matter how bad I felt, a DNF feels worse, so I just kept putting one foot in front of the other until I got the the finish line- exhausted, dizzy and still feeling disbelief that this is how my season ended. It has been a rough year.
by Taylor Reid
Nutrition is a very important part of the puzzle when you are trying to get everything out of your body on a day to day basis and then asking it to do the unthinkable on race day. Personally I have not even really thought about my nutrition until this year.
When I was racing ITU and in university, nutrition did not even enter into my train of thought. My nutrition then was eat enough no matter what it was cake, cookies, meat and the occasional green thing. I had a couple of races go up in flames because of these bad habits.
When I started to race Ironman 70.3 things started to change, slowly at first. First I got my race nutrition under control then I moved onto getting my day-to-day nutrition figured out. Here are some things I have learned and use to keep my body going.
Lets look at race nutrition first. A couple of rules I work with are 300-350 calories an hour on the bike and 200 calories an hour on the run. These numbers will go down the shorter/faster the race is. Water/electrolyte is based on how hot the weather is and how much I need, but roughly 750ml an hour.
For me these races are under 1 hour so I would really only be looking to drink. I might put a little bit of 1st Endurance Liquid Shot or a gel into my water bottle but that would be it. Your body has enough energy stores to get through 90min of work without taking in any food.
These races would be in the 2 hour range. So I would be looking to take in about 200 calories on the bike and maybe 100 on the run if I needed it.
This is when nutrition starts to become a real factor. These races are about 4 hours (24-26min swim, 2:05-2:15 bike, 1:10-1:20 run).
-I like to take eat something right before the swim about 100 calories.
-On the bike I take in most of my nutrition as 1st Endurance Liquid Shot they come in a handy little flasks. I take in about 100 calories every 20min so 300 calories an hour. If you take in much more your gut will shut down and you will not get any nutritional value from your food.
-For the run I look to take in about 200 calories about 50 calories every 5km. I use 1st Endurance Liquid Shot but I like to water it down so that it is easier to take in without water.
Long Course (4km swim, 120km bike, 30km run):
For the long course distance I just extend my half eating plan.
-A gel before the swim, 300 calories an hour on the bike and 200 calories an hour on the run.
I have not raced an Ironman.
When it comes to my day-to-day nutrition there are a few things that I have found really help. It is so important to eat with in 30min of your workout. I think the biggest trap that we have fallen into is protein. Protein is important in our diet but we have been pushed to take too much and have forgotten that simple carbohydrates are just as important, carbohydrates or the energy that fuels our body.
I have started to make large batches of rice/pasta/quinoa so that I have a carbohydrate ready right after my workout. Once I have had some carbs I will go and get some protein. It is simple but it works.
On top of my regular diet I take a few supplements to make sure my body is healthy. The most important one is Regenurex, it is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. This helps my body stay healthy and ready to go. To keep my immune system strong and healthy I take probiotics. On top of those I also take iron and vitamin C supplements.
by Taylor Reid
On Sept 4 I competed at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mooloolaba, Australia. It was the first time I have traveled this far. This in itself was a learning experience. I landed 9 days before the race and set up at Michelle Bremer's house about 20min away from the race site. I cannot thank C3, Alto, Regenurex and my homestay Michelle Bremer enough for making this trip possible. Arriving this early allowed me to get used to the time change and the climate in preparation for the race. There are a few tricks to getting use to time zone change, which I will talk about more in another post but the most important thing is to get onto the local time right away when you land.
The racecourse had an ocean swim, with the first half of the bike course on flat highway roads going into some very steep hills on the back half. The run was fast with two larger hills every loop. I spent a lot of time in the ocean that week feeling out how to swim in it. This was important for the exit since there could have been some rough surf on race day. My early arrival also allowed me to ride most of the bike course. I moved over to a hotel close to the race site about 3 days before the event so I could get to the start line more easily.
On race day I was very excited and ready to go. The morning was calm and the ocean was a glass lake. I did my normal run warm up, after I set up my transition. I find this really calms me down and allows me to think clearly on race morning.
The swim start was very chaotic. After they had announced the top ten there was not very much time for the rest of the field to make it out to the start line. I was not in the position I wanted to be in when the gun went off, but no matter what, when the race starts I am ready to go. I put my head down and just went for it. In about 200m I had reconnected with the group. The sun was in our faces so I relied on following the people around me. At about 800m I was still in contact with the front main pack. Over the next 200m the group was pulled apart and the leaders pulled away. I stayed with a smaller group trying to minimize the gap. I exited the water about 1min down from the front pack of 24 people. It was my best swim of the season so far.
After a long transition run I was onto the bike and ready to bring back as many people as possible. I quickly overtook the people I had been swimming with. At about 10km into the ride Trevor Wurtele pulled up beside me. We exchanged a few words and continued racing. Keeping the legal 12m back Trevor and I traded turns on the front doing our best to bring people back to us but when we saw the 24 person group go by at the turn around we knew this was an uphill battle. I never gave up putting it all out there, trying to bring myself into striking distance of the leaders. But the world championship is unlike any other race on the circuit and I was not able to catch the lead group. As the ride came to an end I was able to catch a few more people.
I put all I had left in to the run and by the end I was able to work my way in to 28th place. It was not the result I was looking for but I will be building on this as I go into the end of 2016 and into 2017 season.
Since it was the first time I had been in Australia I chose to spend a little more time there after the race to see the sights. Ashley and I went down to Sydney to check out the iconic monuments and see some koalas. It was really nice to do a little tourism and see where the first Olympic triathlon was held. We were able to do a few boat tours, see the Opera House, get to the zoo, go whale watching and eat some good food. Even with all the sight seeing I still had to keep up my training since I have the ITU long course world championships on Sept 24.
I am back home now ready to rock the rest of the season.