Season: Ironman Arizona Coaching Approach

Yesterday Fiona and I skype’d with Sean Foster of Fluid Movements based out of Melbourne, Australia. He’s the real deal. A former professional triathlete with “4x Top 10 Ironman overall finishes – Korea, California, Forster – Australia(x2).” He was a “Professional Ironman Triathlete 2000 – 2004”. You know, the complete opposite of those narcissist people out there in this world who just blatantly lie about what they’ve done and who they are; those without a shred of evidence to their claims. He’s a quality guy and very humble. Thankfully his time is not over as he could have nearly been taken from this Earth after receiving a blood clot and minor stroke just a week ago (he’s still very fit). But even after those recent struggles, he showed the Ironman spirit never dies, that we fight, and move forward.

Our skype session was great. Fiona called me her cycling coach and Sean recognized her IM New Zealand performance having beat 3 female pro’s, the 5th fastest amateur bike, and more than 4min ahead of the next person in her division. Her run was decent, the 6th fastest run of the amateurs, but she lost nearly 8 minutes to the famous Singapore athlete that is touted as professional in this age grouper field. Sean recognized her run needs work and was concerned that his coaching last season may have been impacted by too much of my cycling load. We had a very great discussion “among coaches” which really made me feel like I need more accountability over Fi’s training and we know where feedback is required. He had trained Fi’s sisters in the past of which 1 was the first Collier to go to Kona in 2009.

But, Sean’s coaching did lead Fiona to FINALLY beat me in the IM Marathon by 40 seconds in 3:41:32. My rebuke was that I was on the toilet.

Our discussion spoke about balancing the training load and insuring that the bike training wouldn’t impact the run training. We are still using the Joe Friel framework of our season and will be doing 3X quality of swim/bike/run per week since Fiona will be closer to my training load this season of 20-30hours per week. But we also feel our discipline will be much greater and we’ll do what we say we’re going to do by moving to Tucson, Arizona (in 2 weeks) and Fiona just focusing on completing her master’s (4 classes full time) and training.

I also brought up pacing and racing strategy. Realizing that most of the literature out there and magazine articles, and websites are not catering to what Fiona and I are trying to do; setting personal bests, being on the podium, and qualifying for Kona. I loved hearing his experiences like running 1:21 for the first half and still finishing with a 2:55 marathon after a 3.8km swim and 180km ride. There’s nothing wrong with just finishing and we all have to find what motivates and inspires us. For me, that’s looking up to people like this. With credibility.

While it was interesting and welcoming to hear Sean talk about TSS (Total Stress Score), another well known coach, author, and former Pro, Jim Vance replied to me in which his response struck me as slightly odd but understandable. My FB message to Jim said “what are your thoughts on FTP testing inside vs outside?”. Jim wrote saying, “Yes, indoor and outdoor are different. Use your judgement and if the number isn’t accurate, don’t switch your ftp. You should have a good idea of what is correct. I rarely test ftp anymore, I can tell by an athlete’s training performances.” I struck this as odd because Triathlon 2.0, Jim’s last book that I read was highly analytical spoke about TSS and it’s metrics of ATL, CTL, and TSB which are: Fatigue, Fitness, and Form. And all of this, understanding where your fitness is, can only be understood and validated with current and accurate FTP and Threshold tests for bike and run; it’s simple math. The algorithm requires these variables to function. However, I can appreciate what he says. It is in alignment with what some of the best athletes in the world have said like Sebastian Kienle by “train the way you race”. And when Fiona and I had our 1:1 session in Alice Springs with Olympian (1st Aussie in the 2000 Olympics) Miles Stewart told Fiona and I that he used to train exclusively by racing the distances in training; doing long time trials. To back up what all these legends have said is my own evidence of my 5 hour tests during Big Day Outs. My power has nearly been identical to these as race day. With 7 years in the sport and 11 ironman’s I have much more to say on this topic.

Researching and having a passion for this sport are leading Fiona and I to evolve in the sport and really start new in Tucson with a whole new fresh and positive outlook in the 18 weeks ahead of us to Ironman Arizona.

It’s been a great 3 weeks of preparation for me after a week of recovery from Ironman Cairns. Over these 3 weeks I have averaged 18.8 hours of training/wk on increasing TSS’s of  908, 960, and 998. Which is the most consistent and highest 3 week average I may have ever had. My swim consistency is equal to the start of last season, my bike has all been on the trainer using the new Garmin 820, and I’ve been averaging 45miles/72km/week of running for 3 weeks. The last 2 times I held this were for Ironman Cairns in Build 1 Week 2 phase in April 2017 and during training for Geelong 70.3 in December 2014.

I tested this week my FTP at 288 for 20min inside which is where we will do much of our training this season except for long rides up Mt Lemmon and the surrounding mountains of Tucson. I tested a 5K solo in 20:49 which was slower than the 20:30 I ran in Tucson 7 weeks ago when I was fresh and coming into IM Race Form, but 7s slower than the first 5K of the half marathon from 3 weeks ago w/ the Racing motivation. But I’m dialed in, ready to go, and so excited to start this season!

Please subscribe to my blog by clicking follow from the homepage. I’ll by doing race reports for this seasons races, and some of our training. Come share in our journey!

July 10, 2017 – Base 2 Begins

July 29, 2017 – Breeze in the Trees 5K, Sahuarita, AZ

Aug 13, 2017 – Mountain Man Half (70.3 distance) Flagstaff, AZ (RV)

Sept 9, 2017 –  Tri for Act of Kindness Sprint Triathlon Tucson, AZ

Oct 1, 2017 –  Barlett Lake Olympic Triathlon outside of Pheonix, AZ (RV) (6th oldest tri in west)

Oct 7, 2017 – Oro Valley Sprint Triathlon

Oct 22, 2017 – 70.3 Arizona (RV)

Oct 28, 2017 – Patagonia Lake Triathlon Olympic, 1hr South of home close to Mexico (RV) (toughest tri in AZ)

Oct 29, 2017 – TMC A Mountain Half Marathon (w/ former US Olympian)

Nov 11, 2017 – Pecan Festival 5K Sahuarita, AZ

Nov 19, 2017 – IRONMAN Arizona (RV)

Dec 9, 2017 – Tucson Half Marathon



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