Monday, July 14, 2014


I rarely get sick and I can't remember the last time I got sick with a hacking cough.

It's weird I have not headache, or runny nose, only a hacking cough. All I need to do is take one deep breath and I can cough on will.

Sunday my plan was to do a long run. I didn't for a few reasons, physically I didn't feel like it, mentally I didn't feel like it and I was feeling sick. I didn't know if it would be a good idea to not rest. Normal people would not train due to the illness, I'd like to say I didn't because it was part of my better judgement, it wasn't, 60% of the reason I didn't do it was I wasn't feeling it. No mojo.

I was reading an article about low hours Ironman training, about 10 - 12 hours per week. I follow the Mark Allen principles and do about 18 - 22 hours per week. The article went on to say that those long endurance training hours are bad for you, primarily your heart and that some recent Ironman winners are training no more than 12 hours a week. The author and a coach, Ben Greenfield, did a 9:30 finish in Kona with only 10 hours per week of training.

I've noticed in the past couple of years there has been many different coaches and training structures coming into the sport. I see triple brick workouts, something I'd never heard of before. I'm now hearing about 10 - 12 hour per week Ironman training schedules.

Even though I plan on making this my last Ironman I still have plans to continue to stay in shape and continue to be involved in the sport with my longest race distance being half Ironmans. Perhaps some Olympics, although I don't like the idea of driving and preparing the same amount of time as a half Ironman for a short race. Maybe do some 10 km and half marathon races.

I'm also thinking of trying some new training programs. I don't so much need a coach for verbal coaching, I'm pretty self sufficient at that, I just need a coach to help put the training sessions together for me. I was at the website for the legendary Ironman coach Brett Sutton and was thinking I might give his coaching a shot down the road.

The one thing I've recognized about coaching is it's become a flourishing business. Years ago pretty much no one had a coach, there was none and the guys like Dave Scott and Mark Allen had to figure it out on their own by trial and error.

Now everyone has a coach and I think that's a good thing. Before I signed up with Mark Allen Online to coach me I tried to create my own training program. I got the Triathletes Bible and read it cover to cover and then started to do the exercises and build a program. With about 2 hours my head was hurting and I was full of self doubt. I gave up and signed up with Mark Allen.

It was the best decision I made. It took away any concern I had about whether or not the program was right and allowed me to focus on doing just one thing, train. If I had questions I would as and as time went on I had less and less questions.

I've always felt like a bit of a coaching snob. I would only trust my training to guys that I respect and know what they are doing. I'd hear about guys I know going with local coaches who are also local elite triathletes or others that are being coached by coaches new to the sport and I'd think they are crazy.

Now I'm not so sure. I'm seeing some great results coming from these outliers. Perhaps this is why I'm seeing the training programs and schedules chaining with unique and unorthodox methods. That's one of the reasons I'm thinking of mixing it up, I'd like to see what some of these new programs are like and how they compare. Basically start to mix it up a bit.

Even though I'm still sick there was no way I could miss my long run. Mentally and physically I was feeling much better than yesterday. I had some mojo.

The key to not losing your fitness or have your muscles strength move in the wrong direction is to not let more than 3 days go by from your last session. For example, my last run was on Friday and the 3 day rule means that if I run today my legs do not lose strength. If I wait another day they would have started to lose strength.

Many people don't understand this. If you want to keep up your running fitness you need to run every third day and you will not lose anything. It's when those three days turn into 4 or 5 days that you start reversing all your gains. That's the same for swimming, biking and weight training. Same principle.

Today was the first day in a long time that it wasn't in the mid 80's and above. Most all of my runs in the past 6 weeks has been in 90 F weather. Today was about 75 F.

My last run was a speed work session and when you have one of those your next run tends to be faster naturally and that was the case today. Right out of the gate I was running much faster than normal.

Prior to this run I purchased an audio book and listened to it on my run. I'm not sure if it was the book or just my head space but time during my run seemed to go by quicker. It was also really cool that I was running faster again in the 5's per km pace. First 4 km I was at a 5:24 pace before hitting the continuous rolling hills on number one side road.

To put things in perspective I was running close to 1 minute per km faster than my last long run. I ended up doing 25 km's this week that was over 20 minutes faster than two weeks ago. Same distance and twenty minutes faster.

My legs wouldn't have known it. The increased intensity my legs felt. Those last 5 km are the hardest. My legs were feeling fatigued, sore and stiff. Those last 3 km you just want to stop and walk. What kept me going was looking at my watching and wanting it make it it not fall below a 5:41 per km average.

With it being cooler at only about 75 F I didn't bother bring water. I rarely bring water on my long runs. It's a hassle. When I got home I was pretty thirsty but not desperately like normal. I stretched outside and on the front lawn. My legs were stiff.

The minute I stopped running and started stretching I started coughing like a mad man. It's strange in that I ran for 2 hours and 22 minutes and didn't cough once. I stop and I couldn't stop. It was so bad that it was so deep that I thought I was going to throw up. Our neighbours across the street are getting their roof redone and the workers could hear me and were looking over. I'm sure they were wondering if I was okay.

It took about 2 hours after that run to stop coughing. For the rest of the day it was a constant shuffle from my legs being so sore. I have two thoughts about this, the first is I'm so looking forward to not having to do long runs in the future and thrash my legs and the other is it feels so cool walking around with thrashed legs because it makes you feel like you did something and you're getting gains.

I keep saying how sore I am and I don't understand it. I've done much more training in the past and at higher intensities and haven't felt this beat up. I'm not sure why that is? Is it the added weight? It there something medically wrong with me? Is it mentally I'm not aggressively engaged in my training?

Either way I like it. It's times like this that cause you to learn more about yourself through new experiences. You can read about this sort of stuff in a book and you would gloss over it. Yet once you start experiencing it you never forget it. I do wonder if I'll ever get my speed back? The I wonder if I really every care? I have some next stage in life goals that I want to put in extreme focus for the next 3 years to get to the top so I'm not really sweating it whether I get faster or not.

If I was asked what would make me most happy, it would be that I get quicker on the bike. Riding at a sub 27 per km average pace on the bike is horrible. If I could do the Ironman at an average 29 kph average I'd be happy.

My biggest fear is still having the slowest and most painful Ironman of all time. After today's run I keep psyching myself out thinking that if I feel this sore after only 25 km, how much more sore will I be with another 17 km to go. I just have these dreaded feelings. I've had a 14 hour Ironman in 1993 and that was the one I vowed I'd NEVER do another Ironman again. It took 17 years until I did my next one.

One positive is I'm definitely losing my gut. I'm down about 5 lbs over the last 6 weeks and that's a firmed up 5 lbs with fat being removed and replaced with heavier muscle. I'm losing just under 1 lb per week. Had I not drank beer in June I'd be down probably 2 lbs per week. I don't remember the number of days yet but I think I'm over a couple weeks now of not drinking beer.

Long Run - 2:22:58 / 25.09 km


  1. As fast as Ben is, he gets slammed on Slowtwitch all the time. Sutton as well. His workouts are nuts

    Good on not drinking. I'm losing weight but not fast enough

  2. If slow twitch guys don't like them, I'm signing up. Those dudes on Slowtitch are haters and "haters going to be haters". I can't speak or Ben, I have to respect his marketing prowess and a 9:30 coming into Ironman as an outsider. When it comes to Sutton....come on.... the guy is legend. No one has more Ironman winners. Haters going to be hating. haha