ATC 322: Proper Pushups and Shoulder Health, Longest Brick Before Ironman (Also- Brick Options and Timing), Plus: Combining BQ Hopes With 140.6 Training

December 18, 2020


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Jason asks:

Longest brick before IM?

Happy Holidays! COVID sucks! Y’all rock! I’m catching up on shows now that I’m commuting again. Also, now that my deployment to the Middle East is cancelled, I’m registered for IMFL’21! Here’s my question: for the recreational, just want to ‘complete with a smile’ type triathlete (in the past, ~14-15 hour finish time), what’s the longest brick you recommend before an IM and how many weeks before the race would you attempt it? Thanks! Keep on being awesome!

What the coaches say:

  • At some point, doing more isn’t better. For an athlete that has done multiple Ironmans, they can get away with doing shorter brick workouts.
  • If you’re 20 to 25 weeks out, why not do a one-hour bike ride and then a 15-16 mile run; this will mentally prepare you for later on in training.
  • 4-8 weeks prior to the race, you could do a long bike workout followed by an hour run. Or you can do a short bike followed by a long run. You can also replace volume with “intensity.”
  • Take your average weekly training, and add 50% of that to your final peak phase (before your taper).
  • Practice nutrition.
  • Mimic meals similar to what you’ll have the night before the race.
  • Nutrition on the bike is going to affect your run.

Mike asks:

Training for IM + BQ Hopes

I’ve just started listening to the show since April and love it.  So much good advice that applies to so many people.  Like many, my year was a bit messed up due to Covid 19. In Spring I was scheduled for IM Tulsa. Obviously halfway through training, the race was cancelled and moved to 2021.  I am somewhat questioning even if that will go.  Since April this year I have mainly been focused on running, which is my favorite of the three sports.  August was able to run a trail 50k. September ran a last man standing and 38.5. October did a 12-hour timed race and ran 42 miles in 9 hours.  Stopped at 9 because I felt good and wanted to continue to feel good. And then in November I will run a 50 miler, trying for under 10 but a finish would make me happy. Plan is to start swimming after Thanksgiving and get back on my bike for IM Tulsa 2021 which  is at the end of May.  Have not done much of either since April. However, the main goal originally for 2021 was to BQ at a November race. I love running and I use triathlon for the crosstraining and I believe it has helped me become more durable.

Background….. I am 49 and turn 50 in March. 6′ and 180.  I am a long time runner (40 years).  Ran some marathons in my 20’s.  Ran sub 4 but nothing special.  Did not really know much about maximizing training and nutrition back then.  Ran in my 30’s but no racing until late 30’s then suffered my first injury when I was 42 (IT Band).  Since then it still crops up occasionally. Could not run as much as I want from 42-45 so finally decided to start biking and swimming.  Did Ironman Boulder in 2018 and suffered through the heat.  Temps got over a 100.  Time was 15:40. Triathlon, PT and training smarter has helped me become more durable with my running, as the IT Band does not bother me as much.  My goal for IM Tulsa was to knock a couple hours off of the Boulder time. The Boulder race was all about preserving energy just to finish so was very conservative since it was my first Ironman. Last year I ran a 5:47 mile, 19:48 5k, 1:37 half marathon.  Since the Pandemic and finding the show I have been cutting back on speed work getting ready for the ultras that I have been doing this fall. My MAF is usually around 8:30 – 8:45 and I use a range of 120-135. So my times have come up a little, still a sub 6 mile and a sub 21 5k.  These are solo TT times. Not a strong cyclist or swimmer. IM swim is around 1:20, and bike around 15-17mph for an IM race.

Finally a Question….

How can I structure my Ironman Training in early 2021/ spring to complete Ironman but also set myself up for the BQ attempt in November?

My structure for IM Training is as follows. 2 bikes – 1 interval or tempo ride and 1 long, swim – interval/tempo and 1 long. 3 runs – 1 interval, 1 tempo, 1 long.  Sometimes I include extra biking because I feel it is my weakest.  Both bikes have a short brick usually as well. I know speed work for running is not necessary for IM trainng but I enjoy it. My goal for the BQ training was to establish volume through Jun/July and then 16 week program following the 3 key workouts of 1 interval/1 tempo / and 1 long run. So should I do more long runs than what a typical IM plan would have? Or don’t change much and just turn my focus to the BQ in June… it enough time?  Any thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated. Thanks for all you guys do.

What the coaches say:

  • Post-Tulsa, maintain movement and active recovery.
  • The first week after the race, you will want to get in the pool. In the second week, start biking. After the end of that second week, do a 2-3 mile jog. If you’re feeling good after all that, you can start training again.
  • Don’t rush back into hardcore training; give yourself a true rest break.
  • The coaches recommended Joel Friel’s philosophy for the periodization and Jack Daniel’s philosophy for the running.

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