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Trannie Kona Qualification Study

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I have only just got around to having a look at this thread and while I have not read on the responses, there is some great stuff in here. My first Kona was 2008 after qualifying at Port last year.

 

A few thoughts on what it took to get me there. Firstly, to give some background, my first Ironman was 2002 with an 11:57. I then had a couple of years off and went back in 2006 and posted a 10:04. When I first started Ironman and even in 2006, Kona was only ever in my mind as a pipe dream - it certainly wasn't the reason I started doing Ironman. I used to think Kona was for all those "elite guys".

 

2007 I raced again at Port (9:48), then Busso (9:05). Only after these two races did I actually believe I could do it. I then qualified last year with a 9:21 in Port, and managed a 9:37 last year in Kona. The background is really to highlight that for me there was no "magic formula" - it was just consistency and solid work, without being obsessed with the sport. So my top points??

 

1. Consistency does payoff. My training over those few years did not change dramatically - sure I tweaked it, but it was fundamentally the same. Maybe I could have done it better with a coach, but I enjoy the challenge of coaching myself.

 

2. Be Normal. My life certainly doesn't revolve around Triathlon. I love a beer (or twenty)! Even during the heaviest training for all Ironman's I have done, I would always put Sunday aside as a rest day, and make sure I went out Saturday nights and had a few beers with mates. I am not saying this is for everyone, but for me, this was my mini reward every week, and something to look forward to - rather than looking at this race that I was going to do in 3+ months time.

 

3. Quality over Quantity. I know this has already been said, but it's true! My running improved out of site when I started doing track sessions one to two times per week.

 

4. Key Sessions. Consistency and solid work ethic in these helped me. My long rides were with one other guy who was matched similar in ability to me, so we could ride at a solid pace and not stuff around. My long runs were always alone, and I always ran them at only about 10-15 seconds slower than intended Ironman race pace.

 

5. Find a Winter focus. For me, the last few years I have focussed on running at least 1-2 marathons over winter. This helped get my run time down to a PB in Kona of a 3:04.

 

6. Have a good break after big races. My body needs it after an Ironman, but I think my mind needs that break more!

 

7. Just do it. I don't train with a HR monitor, I don't know what watts I am riding at - I just get out there!

 

8. Believe in yourself. I believed after 2007 Port IM that I could actually race an Ironman, and all my target setting in races changed appropriately and got me there.

 

Anyway, that's my top list that helped me. As far as actual training volumes go, I can't give you exact figures - I am pretty slack with keeping them year round. For my Ironman build, which I only ever do for 12 weeks usually consists of:

 

Swim:10-12km

Bike: 250-350km

Run:70-90km

 

Matt

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Great thread. Have been reading it for a few days now.

 

A couple of questions.

 

1) None of you have really mentioned your diet......... Is it something you guys just do (as in eat right) or do some of you take the approach eat whatever you want so long as it is in moderation.

 

2) During the 12-14 week build phase to IM give me an estimate of your meals?????? ie, Pasta meal-Rice meal-Fish meal etc. Whatever you would typically eat including any supplements/vitamins etc.

 

3) Does/Would racing more IM (instead of 1 a year) maybe IMWA + IMOZ + 1 other help with teaching your body to race over that distance hence decreasing times OR is it more benificial to concentrate on just the 1 with training being a higher priority.

 

4) SICKNESS. How often during your first IM builds did you get sick. (Throat, sniffles etc) and what do/did you contribute that too. Is it nutrion, rest, intensity............

 

Would love to hear your thoughts. It is awesome to hear that guys who put in consistent training get rewards. I will take alot away from this thread.

 

Thanks again,

 

Scott

 

I have only just got around to having a look at this thread and while I have not read on the responses, there is some great stuff in here. My first Kona was 2008 after qualifying at Port last year.

 

A few thoughts on what it took to get me there. Firstly, to give some background, my first Ironman was 2002 with an 11:57. I then had a couple of years off and went back in 2006 and posted a 10:04. When I first started Ironman and even in 2006, Kona was only ever in my mind as a pipe dream - it certainly wasn't the reason I started doing Ironman. I used to think Kona was for all those "elite guys".

 

2007 I raced again at Port (9:48), then Busso (9:05). Only after these two races did I actually believe I could do it. I then qualified last year with a 9:21 in Port, and managed a 9:37 last year in Kona. The background is really to highlight that for me there was no "magic formula" - it was just consistency and solid work, without being obsessed with the sport. So my top points??

 

1. Consistency does payoff. My training over those few years did not change dramatically - sure I tweaked it, but it was fundamentally the same. Maybe I could have done it better with a coach, but I enjoy the challenge of coaching myself.

 

2. Be Normal. My life certainly doesn't revolve around Triathlon. I love a beer (or twenty)! Even during the heaviest training for all Ironman's I have done, I would always put Sunday aside as a rest day, and make sure I went out Saturday nights and had a few beers with mates. I am not saying this is for everyone, but for me, this was my mini reward every week, and something to look forward to - rather than looking at this race that I was going to do in 3+ months time.

 

3. Quality over Quantity. I know this has already been said, but it's true! My running improved out of site when I started doing track sessions one to two times per week.

 

4. Key Sessions. Consistency and solid work ethic in these helped me. My long rides were with one other guy who was matched similar in ability to me, so we could ride at a solid pace and not stuff around. My long runs were always alone, and I always ran them at only about 10-15 seconds slower than intended Ironman race pace.

 

5. Find a Winter focus. For me, the last few years I have focussed on running at least 1-2 marathons over winter. This helped get my run time down to a PB in Kona of a 3:04.

 

6. Have a good break after big races. My body needs it after an Ironman, but I think my mind needs that break more!

 

7. Just do it. I don't train with a HR monitor, I don't know what watts I am riding at - I just get out there!

 

8. Believe in yourself. I believed after 2007 Port IM that I could actually race an Ironman, and all my target setting in races changed appropriately and got me there.

 

Anyway, that's my top list that helped me. As far as actual training volumes go, I can't give you exact figures - I am pretty slack with keeping them year round. For my Ironman build, which I only ever do for 12 weeks usually consists of:

 

Swim:10-12km

Bike: 250-350km

Run:70-90km

 

Matt

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Great thread. Have been reading it for a few days now.

 

A couple of questions.

 

1) None of you have really mentioned your diet......... Is it something you guys just do (as in eat right) or do some of you take the approach eat whatever you want so long as it is in moderation.

 

2) During the 12-14 week build phase to IM give me an estimate of your meals?????? ie, Pasta meal-Rice meal-Fish meal etc. Whatever you would typically eat including any supplements/vitamins etc.

 

3) Does/Would racing more IM (instead of 1 a year) maybe IMWA + IMOZ + 1 other help with teaching your body to race over that distance hence decreasing times OR is it more benificial to concentrate on just the 1 with training being a higher priority.

 

4) SICKNESS. How often during your first IM builds did you get sick. (Throat, sniffles etc) and what do/did you contribute that too. Is it nutrion, rest, intensity............

 

Would love to hear your thoughts. It is awesome to hear that guys who put in consistent training get rewards. I will take alot away from this thread.

 

Thanks again,

 

Scott

 

purely from my perspective

 

1. energy in, energy out. i make sure i am never hungry. dont specifically focus on anything, just get the calories in. you know pretty quickly if your not.

 

2. no vitamins or supps. i eat porridge 3 times a day with fruit. toasted cheese for lunch, and meat n 3 veg for dinner. snack on anything in between, usually 6 weetbix. i do think if i ate better i could race 2kg or more lighter. i never really get the ripped look going.

 

3.i think racing often teaches you lessons, which you remember the next time you race. although it is unsustainable. i did oz, busso then nz(qualified) in 11 months. building upon each peak makes you strong. you also always have a goal that is not too far away. i always seem to sacrifice doing any races for training sessions, which is probably not the best way. mostly due to money, i have not done a half since 2006.

 

4.very rarely get sick. cant remember the last time

 

hope others can give you their thoughts too.

 

supa chime in with some of your info

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Cheers for that Roo.

 

1 more to add hoping i catch the others before they reply (If they reply)

 

Employment. What do you guys do for a living???????????

 

purely from my perspective

 

1. energy in, energy out. i make sure i am never hungry. dont specifically focus on anything, just get the calories in. you know pretty quickly if your not.

 

2. no vitamins or supps. i eat porridge 3 times a day with fruit. toasted cheese for lunch, and meat n 3 veg for dinner. snack on anything in between, usually 6 weetbix. i do think if i ate better i could race 2kg or more lighter. i never really get the ripped look going.

 

3.i think racing often teaches you lessons, which you remember the next time you race. although it is unsustainable. i did oz, busso then nz(qualified) in 11 months. building upon each peak makes you strong. you also always have a goal that is not too far away. i always seem to sacrifice doing any races for training sessions, which is probably not the best way. mostly due to money, i have not done a half since 2006.

 

4.very rarely get sick. cant remember the last time

 

hope others can give you their thoughts too.

 

supa chime in with some of your info

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Cheers for that Roo.

 

1 more to add hoping i catch the others before they reply (If they reply)

 

Employment. What do you guys do for a living???????????

when i qualified i worked full time at a swimming pool. plus a couple of hours of pt on top. very easy non physical work. work was close to home (ie 100m).

 

no commute time was handy

Edited by roo

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Muz,

Good questions....to answer them directly:

 

1) None of you have really mentioned your diet......... Is it something you guys just do (as in eat right) or do some of you take the approach eat whatever you want so long as it is in moderation.

I am definitely not strict on diet, as Roo said, just make sure I am never hungry. Usually large cereal for breakfast, with eggs on toast instead a couple of days a week. Anything I feel like for lunch, but definitely with carbs and same again at dinner. Snack on anything I get get my hands on, but this was where I watch things a bit - pretty easy to eat crap when snacking, so mainly nuts, a bit of fruit (although I find fruit just doesn't fill me enough as a snack). Again, I gave myself a day a week where I just ate anything I like to give myself that mental break. I raced Kona at about 67kg and I am 5ft11.

 

2) During the 12-14 week build phase to IM give me an estimate of your meals?????? ie, Pasta meal-Rice meal-Fish meal etc. Whatever you would typically eat including any supplements/vitamins etc.

Everyday supplements - Swiss Ultivites or similar, a Long Term Cold and Flu Defence (Herbs of Gold) and Endura Max magnesium.

 

3) Does/Would racing more IM (instead of 1 a year) maybe IMWA + IMOZ + 1 other help with teaching your body to race over that distance hence decreasing times OR is it more benificial to concentrate on just the 1 with training being a higher priority.

I guess the more you race IM, the more used to it your body gets. That said, I think 2 per year is optimal - physically and mentally. I still believe that when you are really racing them, your body only has so many IM's in it!!

 

4) SICKNESS. How often during your first IM builds did you get sick. (Throat, sniffles etc) and what do/did you contribute that too. Is it nutrion, rest, intensity............

When I was strict about my supplements and resting properly I haven't got sick during the last couple of IM builds - tocuh wood. When I have it's usually a sore throat and head cold. When I get first symptoms, I stop training immediately for a day or two and hit the supplements hard.

 

5. What do you do for a living?

I work in sales for an IT software company, with work hours fluctuating but always more than 40 hours per week. That said, they are quiet understanding and supportive, allowing flexibility of hours etc if I need to do a semi-long ride during the week and work a bit later - which made it achievable. I also ensure a 1.5 hour commute each way as I work in Sydney and live on the Central Coast. I am married, but don't have kids which helps!!! Time management is important - for example, rather than sit in peak hour traffic every day (or endure a train commute which is painful from the coast), I usually leave at 5am to beat the traffic to get to Sydney, do my training in Sydney before work, and then do the same again at night, so I miss the traffic most days!

 

Hope this helps!

 

Matt

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Oh crap now I have to think.

Training for me has no set plan. I have tried to write down plans but find I get annoyed if i miss a session or have to change it from what is written, so I know what i would like to do and then just change it to suit the work/time/weather/minister of finance... that way i am happy getting anything done!

Some have called my training the chaos method but that is how it is sometimes.

Reiterating what others have said, consistency and time will bring results.

My first Ironman Foster 05 I did 10:40ish and was never going to do another one but with another year of training was able to drop down to 9:36 at port 06. Distances didnt increase much but was getting stronger (riding with the Warrnambool, crew, Kitey, helped this).

For New Zealand in 08 I included a Saturday brick session that had a longer run in it 21km.

Distances in training for New Zealand ranged from

Swimming 8-10km One pool session and one or 2 open water. Surfing when it was ant good.

Riding 250-450km, mostly round the 350 mark with a fair bit on the trainer. (dont like riding in the dark)

Running 50-70 km Sat 20km, monday 20-25 max.m Never ran longer than 25km. Thursday track session with knox helped heaps.

Friday rets day to have quality in long weekend sessions.

Great thread. Have been reading it for a few days now.

 

A couple of questions.

 

1) None of you have really mentioned your diet......... Is it something you guys just do (as in eat right) or do some of you take the approach eat whatever you want so long as it is in moderation.

I eat ok, good breakfast (maccas on thurs morning), roll for lunch and meat and 3 veg dinner. I have a problem saying no to doughnuts, chocolate, lollies coffee, big m's... you get the picture but dont put on weight.

2) During the 12-14 week build phase to IM give me an estimate of your meals?????? ie, Pasta meal-Rice meal-Fish meal etc. Whatever you would typically eat including any supplements/vitamins etc.

Poached eggs on toast...yum! most mornings otherwise normal. Oh fish and chips once a week!!!

 

3) Does/Would racing more IM (instead of 1 a year) maybe IMWA + IMOZ + 1 other help with teaching your body to race over that distance hence decreasing times OR is it more benificial to concentrate on just the 1 with training being a higher priority.

Have only ever done 1 a year as cant afdford anymore (none this year :lol:). I would love to as believe that the more you race the better you know what to do and the stronger you become. 2 a year would be great,

 

4) SICKNESS. How often during your first IM builds did you get sick. (Throat, sniffles etc) and what do/did you contribute that too. Is it nutrion, rest, intensity............

Working with kids (30 grade 4's) i tended to get the colds and flu's without fail. I take multi vitamins and drink v8 juice. 3 weeks before Hawaii i got severe gastro and didnt eat for 4 days and lost weight that i didnt have to loose but just took it as a rest and made sure i got better. As matty p said, when you begin to feel sick, stop, get better, then return to training. You will do damage and end up losing more time if you train ill.

Would love to hear your thoughts. It is awesome to hear that guys who put in consistent training get rewards. I will take alot away from this thread.

 

Hope this helps in some way (first time for everything!!)

 

As for employment I am a primary school teacher, concretor and crap giver!!

Roo is a fluffer :lol::D

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Yeah excellent thread. This should be required reading for anyone wanting to not only get to Kona, but to just get the most out of ANY endurance event.

 

Dunno if I can add anymore... only a couple of points for anyone from this little asbeen (or, um, eneverwas...)

 

Understand that we're all different. What works well for someone esle won't always work for you. You only have to look at the variation of training that great athletes have, yet similar time/race results. Yes there are constants like consistency, but there's still a lot of scope to fine tune that for each of us.

 

Understand that we need to embrace Art and Science to succeed. It's not all textbooks, numbers, HRs, and Watts. But then a lot of it IS too. As above, finding that balance for each of us is the art that makes IM so rewarding, frustrating, and addictive.

 

Develop a FLEXIBLE training program. Of the three levels of training cycles (macro, phase, and micro), not even the macro should be set in stone. That is, spend real time planning where you want to go and how you're going to get there, and keep that plan in your face every single day during the journey, but ALWAYS evaluate if that plan is appropriate for you. If it's not, update it to be where you currently are and how to get to the goal from THERE. Without forcing yourself to keep critiquing yourself and the plan, you'll most likely veer far off your optimum path.

 

Find a balance between improving your weaknesses most, and still having fun. Just as PeePee said he mainly rides because he loves it and bluffs his way through the swim/run. That's important. The most gains might be made from improving your weakest points (well, apart from focussing TOO much on swimming...), but if you TOTALLY HATE working on that particular waekness you're more likely to lose motivation in general and all of your training will suffer. Motivation is KEY, and keeping it fun is the key to keeping motivated. Again, balance.

 

Understand what you can control, and CONTROL it! You can't control the weather. You can't control your competitors. You can't even always control your own body (an injury from a crash, sick from bad food, etc). But what you CAN control always is your mind. And that's VERY powerful, as the difference between a weak mind in IM and a strong mind is a HUGE chasm. It's very hard to be in control when the world seems to be falling in all around you, and IM WILL do that, but if you've worked hard on mental strength then you'll get through where others fall away.

 

Hope that helps...

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As noted above, this is from the "just scraped in" end of the Kona spectrum.

 

Qualified at IMNZ08 aged 51 through a roll-down to 8th place . I took up triathlon about 5 years ago. Prior to that I had been involved in recreational cycling over a period of about 6 years with a brief involvement in vets road racing . I have no other background or talent in any of the disciplines.

 

I did IMOZ in 2006 and IMNZ in 2007. Have also done a few HIMs.

 

Average training hours per week prior to IMNZ - 17 hours.

Heaviest week - 25 hours.

 

I had a coach who set my program and could help to adjust it as necessary to deal with other issues in my life. I generally enjoy training and motivation was rarely a problem. I probably trained too much on my own (particularly in the lead up to Kona). I agree with the comment earlier in this thread that you should mix training between group sessions and solo sessions. The group sessions can force you to push harder than normal and the solo sessions allow you to work on pacing, nutrition etc without distraction.

 

I am self employed lawyer (don't have any admin/secretarial staff) and there was not much time left for anything else in life apart from work and training. I have a very supportive family. The biggest sacrifice was in the area of keeping in touch with friends. I seem to have remained close to the friends that "get it" (eg keen cyclists) but have lost touch with those that don't. Qualifying for Kona made the problem worse as I did not have the usual downtime in winter where I could catch up with people more.

 

The other big challenge was to get to bed and asleep early enough to get a decent nights sleep in, with early morning training sessions nearly every day.

 

Have not had time to go back and look at mileage but I know the heaviest run week was just over 100 kms (a fair bit higher than any other week). Long run each week built up to 36 kms and long ride was usually around 150 kms. Each week I had at least one run intervals session and one track session on the bike (outdoor track on my TT bike) where intensity was high. Most swim sessions had an intervals component.

 

I had no injuries or significant illness in the 16 weeks prior to IMNZ.

 

I don't get sick very often (touch wood) and the key thing for me is to avoid injuries. I have some problems with my lower back and neck and if I aggravate either of these then it disrupts training. I also have a regular leg massage.

 

I tend to eat similar food when training hard but I eat more often (have snacks during the day at work as well as three meals). Would usually have a big banana smoothie as part of the recovery feed after a long ride. Took a multivitamin capsule every day.

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Maybe a little bit late, but having a read JimmyC’s comments, he has really nailed it. That’d pretty much echo any sentiments that the people who have raced at Kona would have said (and know). There’s no wizardry to what I do, it’s just consistency and a measured build up to a particular race.

A quick bit of my history, I’m currently 37yo 6’, 80kg’s, work full time as an Account Manager and married with 3 kids. First IM was in 2003 – Forster. First qualified for Kona in 2006, raced and pulled off a 9hr44min. Qualified again in ’07, knocked back my spot, then qualified again in ’08 where I took it. Finished Kona ’08 in 9hr42mins.

My weekly training volumes for Kona 08 were:

Ø 3 x 1.5 hrs swim squad

Ø 3 x rides – 1 long slow ride 5hrs maximum, 1 hills (strength) & 1 hard shorter ride of 2 to 2.5 hrs duration which I bricked with a run varying from 1 to 1.5hrs.

Ø 4 x Run 1 long slow run up to 2.5 hrs, 1 x hill session up to 1.5hrs, 1 x tempo up to 1 hr & aforementioned brick.

Ø 2 x recovery runs with my wife, who was flat out while my HR was around 90 bpm !! I didn’t count these as sessions as it was good catch up time for us both and it was very cruisy

Ø 2 x weight sessions with a heavy focus on core strength.

Total maximum hours – around 20 per week, although average was more like around 15 as I missed out on 2 weeks of training due to the flu. 20hrs is my maximum volume week/s.

 

Here are some rules I abide by –

· Variation, I road race a bit (B grade), track race and adjust my training to suit this. I road race simply because I love doing it.

· Never have 2 hard sessions in a row, recovery is the key.

· If I’m tired I drop a session & simply write it off.

· Always train on the road, nothing is more specific then getting out on the road, even if I get wet, cold and have to fight the wind for hours.

· Nail my key sessions, don’t get sucked into racing against other people when doing them, stick to your plan.

· Always acknowledge your team – wife, kids, sponsors and other people who offer you support and guidance along the way.

 

I eat a lot! I try to eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vege but do slip up on an over indulgence of Coffee and Coffee Scrolls. I take no supplements apart from protein powder after training sessions. I try to be in bed by 9:30 every night. I rarely get sick, although I had the flu 4 weeks out from Kona 08 which took out 2 weeks of training, this was the first time since I was 18 that I have had the flu or a cold! I didn’t let it bother me too much, I took it as a positive thinking at least I’ll be fresher when I hit the start line.

 

Hope this all helps !

Edited by Matty

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Have only ever done 1 a year as cant afdford anymore (none this year :lol:). I would love to as believe that the more you race the better you know what to do and the stronger you become. 2 a year would be great,

Supa, I assume you did Kona in 06. How did you go in your AG? Do you have a desire to go back there and go for a AG win?

 

You noted a lot of trainer km's. Were they steady recovery sets, or harder ones? and what sort of percentage would you spend of you totals indoors?

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This is one of the best threads I have ever read. keep it coming.

 

Below is some more information from the Kona study I have. Hope it helps.

 

 

Mean weekly training volume per training phase

 

swim bike run

Off season 5km 60km 21km

Base 1 10km 210km 43km

Build 1 12km 304km 48km

Taper 5km 160km 32km

Base 2 10km 210km 48km

Build 2 11km 272km 56km

Taper 6km 128km 18km

 

During the base phase training is elevated to

Swim: 87% of peak volume

Bike: 70% of peak volume

Run: 90% of peak volume

During the build period phase in the lead up to qualifying for Hawaii training volumes reach their peak. During the taper volume will fall to 40-60% of peak volume.

All biking and running volumes in the base ad build periods were positively correlated to performance. The weakest correlation was between swim volume and overall performance, although it is still significant.

 

In conclusion, kona qualifiers need to not only do more volume than the non qualifiers, they also need to carefully balance their program, taking care not to neglect any discipline, with an emphasis being placed on bike volume in the last 6 months prior to their “A race”.

 

Coming next will be

 

How should I break up my training week? What are the most important sessions for a Kona qualifier?

 

 

fluro

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A few thoughts on what it took to get me there. Firstly, to give some background, my first Ironman was 2002 with an 11:57. I then had a couple of years off and went back in 2006 and posted a 10:04. When I first started Ironman and even in 2006, Kona was only ever in my mind as a pipe dream - it certainly wasn't the reason I started doing Ironman. I used to think Kona was for all those "elite guys".

 

2007 I raced again at Port (9:48), then Busso (9:05). Only after these two races did I actually believe I could do it. I then qualified last year with a 9:21 in Port, and managed a 9:37 last year in Kona. The background is really to highlight that for me there was no "magic formula" - it was just consistency and solid work, without being obsessed with the sport. So my top points??

Thats great to see Matt. As a newcomer it's interesting and encouraging to see the progression over time. Any other Kona qualifiers care to share similar. i.e. When was your first IM and what time did you do then when did you qualify and what time did you do?

 

AK

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Good relevant questions from Muz- I think mattp's made a good start.....here's what's worked for me with a bit of other crap. It rambles a bit more than what I would like to:

 

Diet.

-KISS. I just eat real food that agrees with my stomach- stuff I worked out myself- basic trial and error

-Calories are calories. Eating well is keeping your mouth shut when other people keep going

-Its amazing how few calories you need (athletes included) The majority of triathletes I know would be better off not having all their fancy sports nutrition and fad menus when what they really need is to keep their mouth shut. Watch Peter Reid in "What It Takes" and you'll see what I mean

-Just like race nutrition you have to work out what foods work for you. The stomach is incredibly stupid and the more erratic you are with your meal times and what's in your diet the harder time it will have coping with it. Again CONSISTENCY pays off

-I like to eat at 7.30am (after morning session) 11.30pm ( fuel up for arvo workout) 3pm (snack) and early dinner (pre 7.00pm). I take my own super sized lunch box (avoids any problem with corporate schedule- in the main you could tell the time by when I eat.

 

Meals

-Simple foods without much cooking

-lots of rice, vegetables without much cooking time (think raw) and lean meat

-I don't use any heavy sauces- most of my stuff is cooked with chilli,garlic,lemon juice or olive oil

-I never buy F&V from a supermarket- I go to the markets or grocer- you can taste the difference (i like them to have dirt on them not bleach and pesticides!)

-I don't eat out much and when I do I choose simple stuff most of the time

-Im not really a desert man but I love a good quality chocolate

-i drink very strong coffee before morning training and races (about 430am ) and then no coffee or tea the rest of the day

-I let myself have the odd meal where I just eat what I feel like/something different for experience

-The best book I've read in this area is "In defence of Food" (Michael Pollan)

-Essentially the guy says "eat real food, not too much and mainly plants"

-I only use sports nutrition when racing or trialling race nutrition. I eat normal cheap food the rest of the time. My diet wouldnt be much different if I didnt race triathlon. I grew up on this diet, my parents ate this way and so did my grandparents (they were into whole foods way before it became fashionable)

 

Supplements

 

-I use a multi and flaxseed/fishoil every am and fishoil/flaxseed pm

-I cycle a few other supps depending on the training load but nothing exotic-wont go into that here

-Again I never ever miss. its the first thing before the light even goes on.

-You really don't need 99% of the stuff that expensive coaches and sports nutritionist say you do (most of whom sponsor the studies or get kick backs)

-I got right into it for a short while then realised most of it was cheaply available (if not better quality) in real food

 

Racing

 

I'm defenitely of the one race a year two at the most school

I personally would rather do other things and take a mental, financial, physical break as well as a break from seeing triathletes every day

I also would like to keep doing this for a long time so Id rather err on the side of less rather than more

From what Ive studied for someone to have a "breakthrough" they would be better off to go race hard at shorter distances when they are not racing their Ironmans rather than just doing more Ironman races

Just like the sport of running i think the best athletes will come from those who do long course sparingly and race regular short distances (like the current IM champ and Mark Allen before him)

 

Sickness

 

-Very interesting this one.

-From what I've observed most people will break down in the first 12-24 mths of adopting Ironman regime

-Even people with elite genes think they can do way more volume than they actually can ABSORB

-Most people I know are regularly sick in their first 1-2 season unless they keep the volume down or sleep ALOT

-Even really fit guys, really fast guys have a hard time handling ironman training for a couple of years

-Season 2 or 3 the light comes on and the body adjusts

-You need to sleep WAY more as a first year Ironman- this will stop you from getting sick.

-If you havent regularly done 15hr weeks week in week out be constantly on the lookout for fatigue related illnesses (Glandular fever, toncillitis, flu that takes forever to go, etc etc)

-It takes a looong time to be able to get through 15-20 weeks and go about your daily life without feeling knocked around but it comes eventually

-Most people will have an overuse or mechanical thing they have to address short or long term. Very few people are built perfectly and with several thousand specific movements a week any small problems come to the surface (like a car thats driven 200K)

-Those who learn to adjust and fix problems continue in the sport those that dont drop out (most)

-The majority of seasoned and successful triathletes: a. have a great awareness of their body, its old problems,weak areas and emerging problems- they are constantly on the lookout and adjust to suit (eg slight niggle on an calf is iced and rested the day its felt not left until it breaks down) b. have an awareness of when they are getting sick and are not afraid to cease training

-This last one is the killer for new Ironman candidates. So many people cant get past the sick=not training=loosing fitness psyche. When in fact not training is the best training you can do when sick.

 

Living

 

-General Manager with quite a few staff

-50-60 hr weeks with regular travel

 

Times

 

-First IM I went 9.58. Took me two more to qualify with a 9.38 and only just scraped in the 35-39 AG. (I'm now 40-44AG). I think I started to train much better however a lot of this was affected by the fact I got promoted in my job significantly through those 3 years. I didnt have the luxury that a lot of the guys on this post had to train/rest. My first IM I got it pretty spot on. If I had been able to keep going like that without job restraints I believe I would have improved even more than I did. Luckily I had a great coach that got more out of less for me.

 

Summary

 

-Consistent, repetitive, predictable, regular approach works best. Gordo states that "success in all fields of endevour in life comes through sustained process management"

-from what ive read humans can function ok on nearly any diet and in any enviroment. its just that it may take several generations for the adaptation to take place.

-modern humans can speed this up by treating themselves as a sample of one- take advice freely and seek it actively but run your own tests on your own body

-just like when people ask about the "ideal workouts" or "ideal core workout" or "ideal bike setup" there is no ideal diet or ideal approach to ironman. However like all things in life narrow it down to a few things that work for YOU and keep repeating it

-For example Pitman loves his Kinesiologist- follows what he says religously- works for him- he's got views on the right diet for him-great. I think his guru is a complete nutcase and totally unsuitable for me- we dont click. There are other people I do click with -my Chiro, my sports doc and a nutritionist I go to. Ive tried a heap of people and ideas to narrow it down. Open mind but critical about what works for me.

 

-Find your own path- thats why threads like this are great- to see patterns-but I dont think there is any one "right way". Whenever people ask for a "list of specific things to do" I never see the point in answering. The list depends on who you are. How much to race- depends on you. Fried chicken or Watermellon ? depends on you. What key sessions? What core work? etc etc All the people replying on here chose their own path and then stuck to it for a long time. They don't wander around like sheep following the herd. As Reefman has said he's very focused on his own plan and he sticks to it. He also keeps adjusting by feel. AP says "there are many right ways to do it but Im only interested in my own" You need your own Vision and Goals and then just stick to them. You cant buy that or get it from the internet forums like a prescription

Edited by Jimmy C

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The next part

 

 

How should I break up my training week? What are the most important sessions for a Kona qualifier?

Swim: 3 hrs of swimming each week is broken up into

 

  • 1 hour of base
  • 30min of hard swimming (85-90% of MAXHR)
  • the rest is made up of strength work (paddles), drills and short sprints.

The big difference between a novice and the kona qualifier is that they will spend significanly more time swimming at race pace. The difference in volume is negligible, however, kona athletes got substantially more yardage covered in time due to less drill-work and more intensity in main sets.

Bike: 10hrs of bike training is broken up into

 

  • long easy 5 plus hr ride with some pickups
  • An ironman pace ride with 2.5hrs at race pace
  • A hilly of strength endurance ride
  • A trainer session with 30min of intervals from 85-90% of MAXHR

The rest is made up of easy riding and drills.

Athletes who performed better not only did more overall volume but significantly more race pace training, more strength endurance training and more hard training at 85-90% MAXHR than non-qualifiers.

Run: 5hrs of run training is broken up into

 

  • 2.5hr long run (easy with some hills)
  • 2hr medium-long run with 1.5hrs at race pace
  • 30min of intervals at 85-100% made up of drills
  • Short recovery run

 

Kona qualifiers performed significantly more running than non qualifiers each week (ie around 1hr and 40min). Most of the extra volume came from race-pace training (ie 1hr). The proportion of time devoted to speed work was also higher.

Compared to athletes who almost qualify, kona athletes do significantly more run volume and more hill runnng.

To summarise, running becomes substantially more important for the prospective Kona qualifier.

 

Coming up next

 

 

  • How will my training change over the course of a year? When should I begin speedwork?

 

 

fluro

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Great topic, very interesting. I think I am curious about is age(or age groups) of those posting as its got to play a part in recovery times.

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one other thing - make sure you know what kit & bike set up you are using a couple of weeks out. You don't need the stress running around getting your bike servicesd, trying borrow wheels or wondering what to wear in the week leading up to the race. Get strength sitting and resting in the lead up week watching the other people doing this last minute things plus watching them cram in massive training sessions!- :lol::lol::D

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Thanks for all the info.

 

Have taken alot away from this. I appreciate some of the detail you have gone into realising it all takes time. Have had/got the flu an havent trained in 3 days and was starting to think the world was going to end if i didnt start training again :lol: It has given me time to read this post a couple of times over.

 

Thanks again and if there is more out there keep it coming.

 

Cheers,

 

Scott

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Great reading all, it looks as though a lot of Kona qualifiers seem to be self trained. I write my own programs as I know what my REALISTIC limitations are re: time, HR, fatigue levels etc, it may work for some and not for others as it is time consuming etc. I find the main thing it does for me is that you really need to have a hard look and critique yourself on how your performance has gone and figure out where and why you went right/wrong, from there you can make adjustments.

Sometimes it can be hard to deviate off what you know, but when you do and get it right there is no better feeling, when i get it wrong I simply assess it, then cross it off the list and look forward to the next challenge.

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there are many right ways to do it ...

 

This is so true. I always find it interesting to come across individuals who think there is only one way to achieve a certain goal. There are many many ways to skin a cat - the key with triathlon is to find the one way that works for you. The way that works for you will probably be the one that allows you to be really consistent with your training over an extended period of time.

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The way that works for you will probably be the one that allows you to be really consistent with your training over an extended period of time.

 

Seems so simple and is yet so hard :lol:

 

Great thread, certainly a lot to take in !!

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Glad someone bumped the thread. it should be pinned

 

More stuff from Alan Couzens for those that think qualifying for Hawaii is impossible.

 

fluro

 

 

Genetics, determinism and other unpleasantries

 

“Top results are available to anyone who builds up to my training and dedication levels (not an easy thing, I accept, but that’s the limiter, not genetics, not training protocol, not athletic background)”

- Gordo Byrn

 

We had an interesting discussion going on on the EC web site this past week on the tail of some 2009 training volume totals that I posted from some of my guys (with some additions from other EC members). I’ve reposted these below:

 

 

On the whole a pretty strong anecdotal correlation can be observed between training volume and performance. However, a couple of outliers; folks who put in a lot of volume with diminished results and other folks who got great results on minimal volume can be observed. Once again, this brought the aspiring athletes least favorite topic to the fore, i.e. genetics.

 

So, I thought it would be a good time to throw out a reminder that at least in the world of ultra-endurance athletics you (not your parents) are most responsible for how far up the ladder you choose to climb.

 

I remember a very heated discussion with a former pro athlete on another tri board a few years back in which the topic of genetics came up. As a confirmed eternal optimist, you can guess which side of the fence I was on. But this guy was beyond vehemently defending his position that the reason that he didn’t make it to the level to which he aspired was all his parent’s fault. What about this study and that study that display the very long time course of training adaptation I would argue, and he would counter with his standard reply – but I tried and I didn’t make it.

 

Frankly, “I tried and I didn’t make it” is a lousy (and IMHO pretty pathetic) argument. The reality is that any athlete at any one time can only ‘try’ one program and, all that one failure ‘proves’ is failure of that specific program for that specific athlete. The true limiter, in my opinion, is not genetics but mental laziness. Record keeping skills, even at the elite level, particularly in a lifestyle sport like Triathlon, are notoriously poor. I have seen more than one elite athlete (often self-coached) achieve a very high level of performance and have absolutely no clue how they got there (or how to go about reproducing that performance in the following seasons). It brings back memories of the overweight person who would come to me as a personal trainer and tell me that they tried every diet and nothing worked, therefore it must be their thyroid. Really? Show me your food logs!

 

To complicate matters, unlike collegiate sports like swimming and athletics, in triathlon, the best triathletes rarely have access to the best coaches (whose job it is to keep and analyse these records) because they simply can’t afford them!

 

My point is not that this guy was going to be the next Mark Allen, had he just ‘trained right’. As you read on, you’ll see that based on the general research, it’s entirely possible that this guy did reach his genetic potential. My point is that he made a conscious decision to jump on a thread and happily adopt the role of ‘dream crusher’ to some poor guy who wanted to discuss athletic potential without any knowledge of the performance curve or training of the guy he was advising and, whatsmore, from the content of his retort, limited knowledge of his own training-performance relationship. For parents, coaches, anyone in a position of authority, do not under-estimate the power of your words. Before joining the ranks of the ‘dream crushers’ seriously consider the information at hand. If you don’t have the information, consider your own motives for wanting to offer an uninformed opinion.

 

So, disregarding the psychological influence of attribution theory, on what physiological studies are these deterministic beliefs based?

 

The formative researcher on the influence of genetics on performance is Claude Bouchard. Bouchard’s studies, and those of his fellow researchers have shown the following influences of genetics on various physiological capacities

 

Initial VO2max

From studies with dizygotic and monozygotic twins, Bouchard concluded that ~40% of the difference in aerobic capacity was genetically based. Follow up studies have confirmed these findings, showing figures of 29-58% (Fagard et al, 1991). Interestingly, the trend seems to be that when true VO2max tests, as opposed to submaximal estimates are used, VO2 is less genetically influenced.

 

Trainability

After training programs lasting 15-20 weeks in 47 young men, some experienced no change, while other improved by 1L min (all subjects 17-29 males) see below.

 

 

In summary, the vast majority of folks can expect a 0.4-0.6L improvement in VO2max after 15-20 weeks of high intensity training. However, there are outliers who will experience less than 0.2L/min or more than 0.9L/min on the same training program.

 

I know what you’re thinking, the guys who experienced the least improvement were already fit. Surprisingly, no. Initial VO2max accounted for only 25% of the difference in training response.

 

Anaerobic Output & Fiber Type

In a study by Lortie et al. (2001) 10s and 90s max power improved after 15 weeks of interval training with a difference of 5-9x for high vs low responders, an ~40% influence of genetics (Lortie et al. 2001). This can largely be explained by differences in Fast vs. Slow twitch fiber type. Simoneau et al (1995) found that 40% of the difference in fiber type distribution (ST/FTa/FTb) can be attributed to genetics.

 

Anaerobic Threshold

Differences in performance in and around the anaerobic threshold closely mirror the relationship of genetics to VO2max. This is of little surprise considering, among a heterogenous sample, central factors in O2 delivery remain limiting. Studies around the anaerobic threshold show the following:

 

• Similar difference in endurance performance after 20 weeks of training (megajoules of work in 90min ergometer test). Mean difference = 40%, range = 16% to 97% (Lortie et al. 1999).

 

• Difference in O2 uptake at an RER of 0.95 was 58% explained by genetic influence (Fagard et al. 1999)

 

Submaximal Work Capacity

Only recently, however, have researchers began to seriously look at the impact of genetics on work capacity below the anaerobic threshold. In a study by Fagard et al. (1999), this question was posed. In the Fagard study, performance at Half Ironman to Ironman heart rates (150bpm) was only 16% attributable to genetics, 11% attributable to body composition, but, the largest chunk of the pie, by far, 34% was attributable to plain old training volume.

 

Additional studies have shown similar influence (~20%) of heritability on substrate usage (Bouchard et al. 1994) and mechanical efficiency.

 

************

It is obvious that it is at least somewhat important for the short duration athlete to take care in choosing his parents (or more aptly, choosing a sport and event that matches his parents). Genetic influence in events lasting less than 90mins typically represents ~40% of the performance difference. IOW, if you are not at the top of the genetic pyramid, 40% of a given 5K field could beat you with inferior training. Long course racing on the other hand is different, with, based on the studies to date, only ~16% of performance difference explainable on the basis of genetics.

 

In other words, even with very poor genetic material, it would not be unrealistic to think that given similar training volume to top age group/pro athletes, the aspirant could make it to the top 16% of the field. Interestingly, in the context of Hawaii, with zero genetic ‘talent’ this represents a 9:55 performance.

 

Coincidentally, on the EC thread that I mentioned at the start of this piece, Chuckie V commented the following:

 

"AC,

I'm not entirely sold on the genetic component either, to be honest. I still think anyone who can train 25 hours a week for 25 weeks is capable of cracking 9:30 at an Ironman”

 

The G-man added the following:

 

“More than "anyone" to do less than 10 (men); less than 11 (ladies). I tend to see it as possible for the average person”

 

Coincidence?

 

Frankly, it would be unusual for a person with zero genetic talent to stay in the sport long enough to develop aspirations of fulfilling their potential. On some level we all want to be ‘good’ at what we do.

 

In reality, (IMHO) most of us will fall under the meat of the bell curve: ~9:30 performance given optimal training. Incidentally, but of most practical significance, based on the long term performance curves for the athletes that I have long term data on, the asymptote generally lies in this area of the performance curve.

 

The real trick, as always, comes back to monitoring your own individual response to different types of training. Only then can you determine just where on the bell curve you fall.

 

Again, discovering what ‘optimal training’ means to you and fitting it into your life is the real limiter. Most folks are unwilling to do this work. The athlete who is willing will have an advantage that outweighs most of the potential that comes from winning the genetic lottery.

 

Train Smart.

 

AC

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Guest Gimili

pin it, but take out all the crap ...like this is good etc... this post.... just have the quality

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Time for some more TriGold from those the qualified over in New Zealand - Goony, MtbBoy, rjs, Show Pony etc. :lol:

 

Anything to add/ offer

Edited by CQTri

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As encouraged, here is a summary of trianing leading into my Kona qualification. I had a shit race, had hoped to do around 9.20 which i thought had been reflected in my training. I had donea 9.36 in 2008 when i qualified, but was unable to go as i was wasted in a bad crash.; That led to 3 months off work. And having to start from scratch, jogging IN october, then a bit of swimming and riding by November

 

I have a fulltime job, so there woudl be a long run each week (2 hours or plus) , then uusually a few shorter run of 60-90. Always run after long rides.

Two longer rides on both days of the weekend. Looking through it all i seemed to do bugger all swimming. Swam 62, rode 5.36 (gutted at) and ran 2.58 for a944 odd

 

Things were a little different as i had the 3 sessions which i went down to taupo, they were pretty big days so there were a few days off before and after those. Distances for the bike are accurate, and km for the runs are estimates (relatively accurate) based on teh average speeds.

 

There were a few random times like when i was away over xmas and didnt have the bike, and things like that. Any questions fire away

 

Started back swimming on nov 17

So starting from the week beginning nov 3

 

B 180 R 50

B 390 R 62

s 3 B 75 r 50

S6.3 B 375km R48

S 10.6 B 335 R 50

S 6.7 B 306km R 70

10.5 B 305 R 70

S8 B 280 R 72

S 6 B 310 R 86

 

2009

 

S 8.1 B 265 B 82

S 10 B 360 R 76

S 9.5 B 360 R 80

S 5.5 B 325 R 80

S7.5 B 443 R 84

S12.5 B 84 R 56

S 7.5 B 389 R 62

 

Feb 23 Taper

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Having just read the latest interesting comments from Alan Couzens on this thread, and generally having skimmed through this excellent thread again ...

 

May I recommend a great book called "Talent Is Overrated", by an American guy, Geoff Colvin.

 

The book is based on a feature in Fortune magazine that, coincidentally, I spotted in a bookstore while I was in Honolulu, post-Kona 2006.

 

But I digress ...

 

Colvin offers up a ton of interesting stuff, using greats such as Mozart, Tiger Woods and Jerry Rice (gridiron legend) as examples.

 

Colvin argues that we're capable of all sorts of achievements, but a lot of it comes down to what he calls DELIBERATE practice. I'm halfway through the book, some really thought-provodking stuff.

 

IMHO, this is an essential read for anyone who's at that point where they want to spend the next year or so building up to a Kona qualification.

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