ATC 280: Triathletes Seeking Love, Heart Rate for Half-Marathons, And Does Max Heart Rate Hold Any Significance?

February 15, 2019


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Chris Asks:

Ironman Looking For Love

Thought you guys may have some fun with this one; and perhaps a little different than some of the other questions you get. Maybe. 35 year old single guy who loves a good endurance challenge (Ironman, Leadville, etc. à humble brag) I’d say I’m slightly better than average but can be put in my place by most at any moment from an athletic perspective.  Don’t really care much though, just out there to compete and play with my friends.

Staring down the barrel of another year of training and practice in prep for 70.3 at St. George and 140.6 Wisconsin.  I love it! It’s fun for me. The trouble is I am actively seeking a partner in crime. How the heck does someone find and maintain love when their favorite hobby includes getting up at 5 AM to ride bikes for 6 hours.  I’ve been on plenty of first dates where her eyes gloss over as you start talking about going to bed at 7:30 PM on a Saturday so you can get up after 10 hours of needed sleep to go make exercise. To be fair Ironman is easier than dating.  So why wound ’t I just Ironman.

I feel like you and the team may have some fun anecdotes and advice for me. I can’t imagine this is unique just to me? All right heading to the pool because that’s the normal thing to do at 4:45 AM on a Friday Morning. You guys rock!

The Coaches Say…

  • Are you looking for a sherpa or a race partner? Think more about what type of romantic partner you’re looking for, and search accordingly.
  • If you’re looking for more of a training partner (or, at least, someone who wants to do a little bit of racing themselves) commit to socializing outside of training with various athlete communities. Look for social functions put on by local triathlon clubs.
    • Also consider proactively seeking your love interest at the gym, races, or even masters swim. Sure, you’re not looking your best in these scenarios, but that’s a good thing!
    • Consider online dating for athletes: Fitness Singles or GoSporty
  • If you’re looking for more of a sherpa, then don’t talk up triathlon so much on your first date. Focus on connecting as a person, not an athlete.
    • Pro tip: Make it about her! Ask the woman lots of questions to truly get to know what she’s like… she’ll likely love this.
  • Above all, resist the natural athlete urge to be a hermit because you’re prioritizing training. If you really want to find a romantic partner, then put yourself out there!

Dan Asks:

Strength Training DOMS

I’m training for an April marathon and I’ve just started to build a better strength program into my training (moving from body weight to actual weights and lifting). I was wondering whether you had advice on how schedule my strength training?

I do a workout run, easy, workout, rest, long (Tuesday to Saturday) then another easy run Sunday and rest Monday pending how I feel.

I tried strength on an easy day, but the workout was really hard the next day – thoughts on how I overcome this (or should I suck it up because it will be hard for a while)?

The Coaches Say…

  • You want to start heavy weight lifting well before peak marathon training. Loaded weight should take place in off season, and transition to body weight during marathon season.
  • Don’t force the weight now… body weight is sufficient to prevent injury.
    • Using the TRX can help you expand the “body weight” repertoire.
    • Resistance bands are also good.
  • Instead of doing heavy leg weight sessions, do hill repeats for sport-specific strength training.
  • Consider taking a “microdosing” approach to strength: try 10-minute isometric holds.
    • See Tony Holler’s articles on this approach here.
  • If you do want to continue with loaded weights, gravitate toward unilateral lifts.
  • Tawnee has her athletes do balancing stick exercises (holding T position) to check for imbalances and train stability.

James Asks:

Keto Runs

Thank you for your great advice. I started the keto diet with a protein focus on New Year’s day. I realize that I left out some information from my last question.  I am a mesomorph (think Christian Bloomenfeldt without the talent). I started off at 188 pounds and weighed in this morning at 179 (so almost 10 pounds in a month). I think I will continue for another month and start adding more carbs back into my diet. So, at 169 while I am in the heart of my Marathon training.

Question about Resistance training: I am very muscular (even at 53). Can I keep my Resistance training down to one day? I am already doing core training, Plyometrics and jump rope (plus yoga on my recovery days).

Question about MAF: I started MAF back in October. I feel it was good for my off season but now that I am training for my Marathon I am doing MAF on non-quality days (e.g., when I am not doing Intervals, tempo and hill Repeats) and am doing 2/3 MAF and 1/3 Marathon goal pace on long runs. Trying to stick with an 80/20 formula. I know this isn’t true MAF but does this sound like a realistic training plan? Also, being from the Pacific Northwest, I am not able to get a lot of Quality outdoor runs right now. I do my MAF test on a treadmill in order to create the same run conditions every time (no undulations in elevation or changes in terrain). I feel comfortable with my hill repeats outside but not my intervals (tracks and roads are covered in snow and ice).

The Coaches Say…

  • Resistance training is not conducive to losing muscle weight, especially for your body type.
  • Beware plyometric training! It can be very hard on the body and lead to injury.
  • Instead of heavy loaded exercise, consider doing low weight and high reps (as high as 50, or 3-4 sets of 15 reps).
  • You can also play around focusing on tempo: lower slow and raise fast.
  • Weights one day only is plenty.
  • Maintenance 1-2 days is also fine, but not necessary. Do as desired.
  • An 80/20 approach to the marathon is great! One way Tawnee adapts the MAF approach is to have athletes finish a long MAF run at tempo (for the last 30 min or so).
  • You might also want to look into polarized training, which is more intuitive in some ways.
  • Be sure to add those carbs back in during marathon training.
  • The treadmill is fine for monitoring your MAF now, but know it will change when you go outside. Have 2 different MAFs, one for each.

Frank Asks:

MAF For Half Marathon

I am 51 and have been doing MAF for over a year, No recent injuries although in November or 2016 ( over 2 years ago) I tore my PF around the 9th or 10th mile of a half marathon in which I was on track to break my PR by over 5 minutes.

Currently my workout regimen includes: 2 runs/week–with each run being 10-13 miles. Sometimes a shorter distance if I am doing a high incline run but usually around 3-4 hours/week running; 2-3 swims/week ranging from 2500-3500 meters and 1 (occasionally 2) power ride spinning classes per week.  I use my swims as sort of a recovery day from my runs and rides and vice versa. I went to a 2 run/week regimen because I think I needed more recovery time. I will sometimes do a session on an elliptical rather than a 3rd swim, 2nd bike or 3rd run.

I am 5′ 10″ with a large frame and about 190.  I had gotten my weight down to around 170 on a keto type diet but fell off the wagon and had to stop running for a while after my PF tear. I recently started a No sugar no grain regimen and seem to be loosing weight (and much to my wife’s joy, seem to be a lot less flatulent) ;.).

My current goals are to start running 1/2 marathons again and perhaps entering a 1/2 iron man towards the end of this year.

My questions are:

1) Does max HR as measured by a stress test have any bearing on what my MAF should be?  A recent stress test had my max HR at 179 which is about 10 above predicted max HR according to 220-age formula.  I imagine (or would like to believe) that a higher than predicted HR is a sign of a lower physiological age. If this is so, should I be adding to my MAF based on my higher than predicted max HR?

2) While swimming, would I use the same HR for MAF or decrease it by some specific #.

3) When I do my next 1/2 marathon, what kind of HR should I shot for during the race?  10 beats above, 15? How can I predict expected finishing time for that distance with my MAF pace?

The Coaches Say…

  • MAF is about fat burning, so the test to do is a metabolic efficiency test to gauge where your crossover point is.
  • Max heart rate lines up more with zone based approach to training.
  • See past episodes on adjusting MAF heart rate.
  • 220 formula is garbage…
  • Don’t use HR for swim. It’s too difficult to track, and not useful in practice. Use swimming as a time to work on perceived effort.
  • Use HR for the first half of the race to make sure you aren’t going too hard. After that, you can probably scrap it and try to sustain your goal pace.
  • Use simulation workouts to judge what your goal HR and pace should be on race day. Set realistic goals!
  • Using HR and pace on race day is counterproductive, because they conflict. Your best bet is to start 10-20 seconds slower than you intend to go, see how you feel, keep the HR 10-20 beats above MAF for the first half, then, if you’re feeling good, give it your all for the second half.

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