Coaches Corner by Kevin Coyle
At the moment, I have one goal. Those that know me or pay attention to my numerous FB posts know what that is. It’s something that is misunderstood by nearly all, except the 1,700 triathletes that get there. It is the single hardest achievement the average individual could achieve in sports. It’s something that requires thousands of Hours of training and dedication. It’s something steeped in history yet young when compared to modern sport. And unless you have completed a Triathlon and had a sense of what it is to Swim/Bike/Run you surely would not be able to fully appreciate or comprehend what it means to Swim 3.8K, Cycle 180K, and Run 42.2K, in a time that is 1 or 2 in your age group. Yes, I’m talking about Qualifying for the Ironman World Championship. Watching Ironman events on the bike and treadmill in my training, an emotion comes in to me that can only be summarized with “I want that”. I am an Ironman. But now I’m trying to achieve what I wanted when I became a triathlete 5 years ago, to Qualify for the Hawaii Ironman World Championship. At the end of the day, I don’t necessarily care what that means to most people. You know, the people that watching the NBC recap of Kona and think that anybody can go there. No, that’s not true. But I know what it means. It means that you are one of the 2,000 fittest athletes, in the world. That is what I want. That is my goal. And once I achieve that, it will only transform into other goals. Sub 3 Hour Ironman Marathon, Top 10 Kona A/G finish, whatever. But first, it’s about Kona.
Many of you reading this might not understand that passion or obsession and that is ok. This goal is not for everyone. But for me, my personality, my style; it’s for me. I do have an absolute appreciation for the sport however, something that at times I may take for granted. But today, at the Verve Group Handicap Triathlon, I remembered what it was like in my first triathlon. See, I was talking to Juanita and Kara. These ladies had recently became members and completed their first ever members event. They had questions and were uncertain, but managed a win! It was great to hear from them how they felt welcome and how accommodating everyone in our club is. Whether it was young juniors, older juniors, open athletes, or older seniors, many gave it their best today and I’m so happy that Sean Loader forgo his chance to race to Race Direct this outstanding event with a new run course.
I don’t expect these newcomers to have the same dedication that I do to this sport. But, I would hope to rub off on them and those reading, that you can achieve great things through Triathlon, which can be taken into all aspects of your life.
But enough about all of that. This is the coaches corner. And what I intend to provide is that spark to help you think about your own training, the progression of a season, the joys of improvement, and the benefits of nutrition.
I setup the 2014/2015 season with 2 goal races. The “B” race was Geelong 70.3. (Train for 6 months, see how fast you can go in a half-ironman after 3 years without one, have a 1 week transition of complete rest, and then get into Ironman mode). The “A” race of course being Ironman Australia on May 3, 2015. After Geelong, we took that week off as planned. Six days later Fiona and I competed in the Valentines Day Triathlon. I held 1:38/100 for the 300m swim, held 24.37mph or 39.2KPH for the 10K ride (really 12K FYI), and 6:26/mile for the 2.5K run (shy under 20min 5K pace). Two weeks later, and a ton of training later, I went 1:29/100 for the 200m swim, held 24.73mph or 40KPH for the 10K ride, and held 6:32/mile for the run.
I didn’t expect todays result, and I’m very proud of this race. The last two weeks I trained 23.2 and 26 hours. The day before the race, Fiona and I did a 6K swim, biked for 98 minutes at 1PM in 44+ degree heat, and then did a 2 hour run on the treadmill at Anytime Fitness. Again, do I expect my new friends Juanita and Kara to do this type of training? Hell no. But, I do want them to understand, that to improve in swim/bike/run, you need to swim/bike/run.
After todays triathlon, Fiona and I headed back to the gym. We did a 6 hour ride and a 15min run off the bike. This was my 12th ever ride of 6hours but by far the best one.
Watts is a measurement of Power. Fiona and I have powermeters on our bikes and they’re not cheap. But, you can use the powermeter of a gym bike to provide insight. Now for me, with a threshold of 315, the amount I could sustain in a race for 1 hour, my IM pace would be 80% of that at 252watts. My zone 2 which is Aerobic Endurance base building is 174watts – 239 watts. The pace I held today for each hour was: 206, 231, 232, 233, 234, 237. HR on these were 117, 118, 120, 122, 126, 127. Not only did I improve on each hour, but my decoupling (amount HR goes away from power) was very consistent. This means that I’m quite fit and can sustain long periods of sustained power.
What did I do for 6 hours on the bike? Besides drinking 2 bottles of Ironman Perform, 1 bottle of Cytomax, 3 bottles of water, 2 cans of Coke, 1 choclate carmello, and 6 gels, I read. 132 pages of The Well-Built Triathlete by former pro triathlete Matt Dixon. It’s an OK book but what I recommend for all of our friends heading to Challenge Gold Coast and IM’WA would be Joe Friels, Training for Serious Triathletes. It is by far the best book I have found because it carefully lays out a plan for Sprint, Olympic, Half, and Full IM. It would be absolutely suitable for beginners and experienced athletes. And besides Fiona, it has been the key for improving my time over IM from a 10:08 to a 9:34, or the Olympic from a 2:18 to a 2:08, or the 5K from a 19:24 to a 17:34.
Listen, triathlon is an amazing sport. Absolutely everyone of all abilities can, has, and will do this sport. I’ve raced with double amputees, quadriplegics, the blind, down syndrome, and many other awful impairments that many have to deal with; but they do it and they get it done. I love that. Many reading this might not realize what Kona means. But it is the Holy Grail of our sport. I appreciate that everyone has different goals for this sport and I know you can achieve it here. In this post you have learned what the pinnacle of our sport looks like and what it absolutely takes to get there, (or at least understand the hope that it is enough). You mayve also learned about Training Volume, consistency, frequency, fueling in your workouts, and some good reference guides. This is a journey. I hope you continue to live yours! Happy Training