ATC 297: Preparing For Frigid Races, Fitness During Pregnancy, Long-Term Kona Goals, and More

October 11, 2019


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Our friends at UCAN and renowned coach, Hunter Allen, co-author of Training and Racing with a Power Meter, have teamed up and are offering an awesome giveaway where you can score a spot in one of Hunter’s Peak Coaching Group Camps and a $275 UCAN Nutrition Training pack to fuel your training. If you win, there are five camps from which you can choose, all taking place in 2020. Click here to enter this giveaway or go to where you will simply provide your name and email address. Be sure to do this asap as the deadline is Oct. 23, very soon.

Also be sure to pick up UCAN Tri Starter Pack, which is a sampling of all UCAN’s products, and by using this link that will activate a 50% discount on this package making it just $17.50. And as always use code enduranceplanet for a 15% discount on all UCAN items. Click here to get 50% off your UCAN Tri Starter pack. Hurry while this special lasts!


  • Endurance Planet is opening up a second team for Ragnar! Email if you’re interested.
  • New moms are medaling at Worlds and men in their late 30s are breaking world records! These amazing feats shows that we’re learning how to take better care of ourselves as athletes and extending the limits of what we thought was possible.

Julie (aka IronMutti) asks:


I have now been listening to the podcast for about a year (I think a fellow Betty first got me onto it) and I listen a lot, so I’ve been catching  up on old episodes as well (but I have by no means heard them all)

This may be a question for the podcast, but it may also have to be a single consult (as much as I’d like to be coached by you, I don’t think I can afford it)

I am a 48 year old mum of 4 (23,17,10,8)

I was an active swimmer, track and field, handball,  in my teenage years. Did rowing at university and mountain biking/spinning after my first daughter … then moved to Canada (from Europe) and life happened without much exercise.

4 years ago I had the opportunity to start teaching spinning again and took it. 3 years ago I drastically changed my lifestyle (nutrition metabolic efficiency,  training…) and started triathlons.

So at my last race I was lucky (I did jump for joy and let out a scream when they pulled my name out of a hat) to get a world card spot for the 2020 NORSEMAN race…. It doesn’t scare me and I know I can finish, but of course now the black shirt dreams have started.

Competing against 250 other hopefuls the majority of them being the 35-40 AG men, there is a very small chance of getting lucky, BUT  if there is a chance that I can get into the shape that will allow me to compete for a spot in the first 160 I want to take it.

My swim is good, and cold does not bother me

I will need a 7hr bike

And then there’s the run… already my weakest… 25k + 8k of Zombie hill …. If I can ace the first 33k I will crawl the rest if I have to

Thinking of running mostly hills, long hills, short hills steep hills and doo strength training. But would like your taken this (Lucho … I have been mostly barefoot all my life and only put on cycle shoes and the occasional high heels to go out, I do not own a pair of socks and run all my races in Zoot  Solana shoes with no laces and bare feet)

I currently swim 3 times a week (3-4k OWS in the lake June to October and the pool) on swim days I add a run after easy 1hr, intervals, long run ( 75min to 150min)

On the interspersed days I teach 1hr spinning followed by 1hr TRX plus another 1hr of spinning at night

I try and do. One long 3-5hr bike a week during the summer and teach  2hr class of spinning in the winter

One rest day

Of course I have times (42.2k 3:53 stand alone, 12:06 IMAZ,…) and ME crossover point data…. And can send that if needed.

What the Coaches Say:

  • You’ll definitely want to wear socks for this race.
  • The hill-work you’re planning is key.
  • Get your hiking effective so you can hike really hard.
    • Consider hiking with a weighted vest.
    • Run 30K then have your weighted vest at the bottom of a hill, where you’ll do 3×1 mile up the hill.
  • Do long runs that finish on a steep climb. Make sure your hill endurance is good.
  • The conditions will be the most challenging part of this race. Make sure you’re training in the cold.
    • You want to psychologically handle the cold.
    • You also need to be physiological able to deal with the cold.
  • Lucho is worried about the number of spin classes you’re doing. Make sure you’re biking outdoors in the winter.
  • Practice dressing for intense cold/rain/wind conditions.
    • Use a pair of cycling shoes that are a size too big, so you can wear an extra pair of socks.
    • If your shoes are too tight it’ll reduce blood flow, which is not what you want.
  • In the cold you need to up your carb intake. You have to increase fueling to prevent hypothermia.

Claire P. asks:

Pregnant Triathlete – “Freaking Out Big Time”

I’m an avid listener of the podcast. I love the content that the team puts out – it’s my standard listening go to for every long run! I’ve always love the Ask the Coaches episodes – I’ve learnt a huge amount from the listener questions and the answers you guys put forward – especially enjoy the ramblings and knowledge nuggets from Lucho 🙂 and so happy that you are back and thriving Tawnee.

To stop myself from rambling I’ll jump straight in. I find myself in an interesting situation where I would love to be able to pick the brains of the Endurance Planet Coaches.

I’m 28, and a mid to back pack triathlete and runner. I’m an mechanical engineer by day – I squeeze in my weekend warrior training into the rest of the hours in the day. In the last 3 years I’ve completed 2 marathons, 3 half ironmans, multiple half marathons in the lead up to training for IM Western Australia last year. It would have been my first full distance IM.

Unfortunately I had a collision with a truck 2 weeks out and never got to the start line. I sustained 3 cervical spine fractures and a thoracic fracture that required stabilisation. Recovery has been incredible however! I bounced back better than I could ever have hoped for (it wasn’t without a lot of tears, frustration, sweat, and support – so much mindset gems from the podcast that have helped an incredible amount) and I was aiming to get to that IMWA start line a year later.

I’ve been on track with my training – back up to 15 hour plus training weeks – similar speeds, distances, and heart rates to where I was this time last year. However, I just found out I was pregnant!! A bit of a shock (for various reasons) but my husband and I are thrilled. So my long winded question for the coaches is, what now??

I would love to continue to train throughout my pregnancy but I’m struggling to find good information on what is recommended for endurance athletes regarding training and pregnancy. I still want my Ironman and I also don’t believe it would be good for me mentally or physically to just give my training away. My plan was to stick to low heart rate training and try and maintain as much fitness as possible/feels good but I’m at a bit of a loss for what that heart rate is? If there is a “safe” training heart rate? While I do at least one weights session in the gym currently, my plan is to step this up going forward, is there a recommendation regarding strength training volume in pregnancy? So many questions!

I really appreciate all that you do for the triathlon and endurance community, but also what you do for each listener individually.

Any information or resources you could point me in the direction in for helping me train safely for this new phase of life would be so appreciated!

What the Coaches Say:

  • Don’t start anything new that you weren’t doing before you got pregnant including new workouts, heavier load, higher intensity, or more volume.
    • Exceptions: walking, mobility/functional bodyweight exercises to prep for birth, light swimming at lower intensities.
  • Always, always work with your care provider on exercise routines, heart rate, etc!
  • Pregnancy is definitely a time to keep up a fitness routine, modified to be safe for pregnancy, but Tawnee doesn’t see pregnancy as a time to train for competition. Keep up with fitness and exercise, and this will help you to more quickly and easily get back to real training postpartum.
    • Professional athletes can be the exception here.
  • Old-school thinking on exercise while pregnant is to keep HR at 140 or less.
    • That said, Tawnee used MAF heart rate while exercising during her pregnancy.
    • Chat with your care provider, as MAF may be a good guideline for you to follow.
    • You’ll see examples of elite or pro women pushing beyond aerobic efforts into higher intensity, but this is the exception not the norm.
  • An important question to ask if you’re worried about letting go of training: What’s wrong with letting go of training and just exercising for the health of you and baby? What’s so scary about that?
  • Some physiological things during pregnancy:
    • You become a more efficient sweater.
    • Respiration increases, which means you’ll find yourself out of breath during exercise because oxygen is shuttled to the baby.
    • Ligaments loosen, possibly makes you a little more clumsy.
    • Increase in blood volume.
    • Round ligament pain.
  • As far as caffeine usage: no more than 200mg a day.
  • Book recommendation: Emily Oster’s Expecting Better 

Kevin S. asks:

Kona Qualification Hopeful in 5-10 years

I’m 40 years old and I have a 5 to 10 year goal of qualifying for Kona. Ive been doing triathlons for 10 years have done multiple Halfs and Fulls and my best time in a half was this last April with a 4:45. I currently train around 20 miles per week of running 30 at peak and 15- 17 hours total training at my peak. With my current running ability I believe I have no chance of ever qualifying unless i can run 3:30 or less marathon. The only way I see getting faster at an easy pace is by increase my running mileage. Ive began to use MAF in training but the problem Im having is how do I best increase mileage throughout the year and how much do I need to increase by(running Volume goal) during my training blocks when I have two other sports to train for? What are you having your triathletes do for running volume?

What the Coaches Say:

  • If you can’t go out and run 26 miles easily, then running 26 miles hard in an Ironman will be extremely difficult.
  • Structural durability, rather than HR, is the key to doing that.
    • The weight room and hill work are crucial here.
  • You have the time to incorporate a run-focus block in your training.
    • Back off on the bike. Run fitness will make you a better cyclist, but cycling won’t make you a better runner.
  • From Alan Couzen’s Benchmarks blog post:
    • Kona Q for a M 40 y/o entails:
    • 800-1200 hours of training per year
    • ~25 hours per week
    • Z2 swim pace 1:30/100m
    • Z2 bike 250-270w
    • Z2 run 4:24-4:42 km (7:05-7:34 mile)
    • vo2max 66-70
    • sub 4:30 HIM with a sub 1:30 run split
    • 9:13-9:47 flat IM, with 3:09-3:21 run split
    • Alan Couzens Benchmarks
    • Alan Couzens Kona Qualifiers stats
  • Putting in this amount of work is a huge sacrifice.
    • You’re definitely sacrificing health when you’re doing that amount of exercise.
    • If you have a family, this level of training is something that should be discussed with everyone.

One Comment

  • Ksmith79 says:

    Hello! Its Kevin. Just wanted to say thanks for adding my question to the show. I really enjoy listening to the show on my long bike and runs. Lucho thanks for the advice on building my strength and then doing some running specific training. 1000 hours a year! I think i just threw up in my mouth. LOL!

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