April 27, 2008

Atomicman duathlon post race report

Atomicman duathlon post race report.
I completed the Atomicman duathlon today. The Atomicman duathlon is by far my favorite race of all time, followed closely by the Buffman & Squeaky triathlon in Lubbock Tx. Which will be my next race on May 18th by the way. I ended up swithching my registration at the Atomicman
from the long course to the short one. It was a 4k run, 15k bike, 4k run. Last year I had done the Little boy course (that's what they call the short course) & PR'd it with a 1;11 time.

I got off of a 12 hr work shift this morning at 5am. Drove straight there and raced on no sleep. Both of my runs were great, but I threw a chain on the decent of Ocho canyon. By the time I got the bike stopped, put the chain back on, & got back up to speed I'd lost no less than a minute, probably allot more. Even with the thrown chain I finished in 1:07:13 taking 10th overall, & 1st place in the 30-34 AG. My 2 runs were an 18:25 which averages out to a 7:28 ave & a 19:00 for an ave of 7:36! My bike time was a 28:29 which averages out to a 19.6 mile per hour average. Those were by far my best runs ever, considering how hilly this course is those times still seem a little unbelievable to me. Turns out I was 45 seconds behind the 8th place guy. If I hadn't of had mechanical problems on the bike I'd of been in 7th or 8th place. Not to bad for a recovering fat guy eh?
My coach, Peter Alfino, has really been doing miracles with my training. The longer he works with me the more he knows what my body is capable of. He told me when I hired him the longer he trains me the better results I'll get from his training plans. I believed him, but I had no idea he could get me this fast. I never dreamed I would be able to race as fast as I did this weekend. I've been coached by other coaches before. Some were better than others. But coach alfino has been performing near miracle typ results with me. He's in a class of his own. He says if I continue to follow his plan he's pretty sure I'll finish IMAZ in 13 hrs or less! & to think I'm still in the base phase of training where athletes tend to be slow. Can't wait to see what will happen when I get into my build/speed phase!

April 22, 2008

Huge goal accomplished!

I weighed in today. I weighed in at 192. I have now lost a total of 100 lbs since I was at my heaviest of 292!!!!!!!!!! I think I'd like to see if I can get to 180. That would be pretty skinny, but light is fast in triathlon, & I want to be fast.

I love to ride my bike. Not just in training but also as a form of transportation. I really enjoy taking my bike rather than a vehicle to drop off rented movies @ the video store, buy groceries, ride to the pool, etc. My problem has been that both my road bike & my triathlon bike are worth a bit of money & I'm constantly afraid someone will steal it while I'm doing my errands. Today a buddy of mine said he has a cheap road bike he bought for $100.
It's a GMC Denali model. He's going to bring it tomorrow so I can see it. If it's in decent condition we've agreed I can buy it for $50. That will be my commuter bike from now on. I'll chain it up of course, but if someone goes that extra mile & cuts my lock or chain I wont be devastated by the loss. It'll take most of my worry about commuting away. God is good to me:) The only problem I have is that I will now own 5 bikes. 2 MTB, 1 TT, 2 roadies. Add my wife's road bike we just got off lay away that is 6. We have 8 pairs of wheels too. I'm running out of room in my shed!

I'm competing in the atomicman duathlon this weekend. It's a 10K run, 40K bike, 5K run. It's by far my favorite race of all time. Great RD's excellent support, great shag, super challenging course-I believer its a harder course than the BSLT, just not as hot. I got a HED 3 rear wheel yesterday off ebay. So I'll be sporting a fest wheel set. I'm really excited. This will be my 3rd year competing in the Atomicman, but my first as an AG. Not sure how I'll place amongst those little guys, but I know regardless of where I place I'm going to leave it all on the course. Is that cliché enough? I love this race, I really do. so far I've taken 1st place clyd both years I've raced. That would be nice to see this weekend because I've got 2 races in the SW series & only 14 points. Meaning I'm averaging a 4th place finish in the series so far. I'm not going to be doing many races this year, so I need high placing in every race I do if there's any chance of taking top 3 in the series. So, yes I want to place high, but my only real goal is to shatter my PR. It is 3:01. I'll be racing around 33 pounds lighter this year than my 2 previous years. I think I can go sub 2:45, shaving 15 minutes off my time would be a stretch. But I'm up for the challenge!

By the way, I had decided not to go low carb because of all the great advise & reasons not to given by my fellow bloggers. Thanks for the advise. Especially S.Baboo.


See you at the races!

April 20, 2008

Time to give credit where credit is due

Wow, what a busy week and a half I've had. I'm usually busy by normal peoples terminology. I work 6 12hr shifts a week. As soon as I get home I sleep, train for triathlon as soon as I awake, then spend a couple of hours with my wife & kids before I go back to work & do it all over again. So like I said, I'm usually busy, but this week was unusually busy. Last week the transmission went out in my van so my wife I are were trying to use one vehicle between the both of us. Since time is such a rare commodity with me, juggling who can use our only remaining vehicle, & when, made things pretty rough. But we made it through that just fine. My wife a I have always had the ability to make the best & see our way through anything as long as we have each other. Our mini-van has a 100,000 mile warranty & we had 90,000 miles on our van.

I called the dealership about our transmission & told them our extended warranty should cover it. They said "bring it in & we'll see if it is covered. The new tranny will cost 2,400 dollars. We'll put the new tranny in & in the mean time we'll see if its covered." A red flag went up in my mind. I'll spare you all the gruesome details, but long story short after what felt like a hundred hours on the phone with the dealership they decided to cover the cost of replacement & labor. We only had to pay 100 dollars for the deductible. We also had the battery & oil changed. Total damage was 350 dollars Much better than over 2600!

Tonight an immediate family member & I worked out some problems that we should of worked out over a decade ago. It wasn't easy, and there were some hurt feelings on both sides that we were able to talk out. But we worked it out. First time since 1993 I felt like all was well in that relationship. I've missed her so badly even though she was right here the whole time. We made up allot of ground tonight.

I weighed in yesterday st 193 lbs! I've met my WW goal so now I'm going to spend a couple weeks in the maintenance phase of the diet. In the maintenance phase I'll be getting allot more calories a day to eat. 6 more food points to be exact. For someone like me who has a love-hate-love-love relationship with food like me that is great news!!!!

In Nov 2006 I did the Clearwater 70.3. When I had my bike shipped from Fla. back here to NM, UPS damaged my bike during shipping. It just so happened that this week they finally decided to work out all the kinks to try & send me a check to fix or replace my bike. 17 months fighting with them & they just now decided to get off their butts. So there is another large block of time spent on the phone, sending out email & faxes. It looks entirely possible that UPS will be sending me a 2000 dollar check in the next 14 working days. The new Cannondale Ironman carbon frame came out recently. Cannondale has a frame trade in policy so that I can get the new frame for 2250 dollars (usually 3800) by trading in my old frame. I don't think it was a coincidence that it took 17 months to get this UPS claim resolved & Cannondale just now came out with their first carbon frame. No coincidence at all.

My son is normally a perfectly behaved 8 month old. He's teething this week so all hopes of sleep & peace have been out. Poor guy. But today he got his first good nap all week. There is light at the end of this tunnel.@The gate on our fence broke. Normally I can't fix anything mechanical or home project to save my life. The gate only took about 45 minutes to replace. Usually fixing broken things are one of my 3 triggers to send me into emotional eating. I didn't turn to food this time!

I thought I had broken the pinkie toe of my right foot. The Dr said I stubbed the heck out of it, but its not broke & I could continue to train as long as I didn't feel like it was at anytime becoming more badly damaged.

My wife and I put a bike for her on lay away 3 months ago. This was the last week we had to pay on it. By Saturday we had to either pay it off or lose the money we had put down on it. We got our tax refund about 10 days ago. So my wife & I not only was able to pay the last 400 dollars owed on the bike, but we also got her a helmet, cycling shorts, a jersey, & cycling shoes. Before I went to work my mother in law watched our children while Cindy & I went on our first bike ride together. It was amazing. We had more fun than I could ever have dreamed. We rode through a neighborhood in the NE heights of Albuquerque looking at houses & talking of when I retire from the Penitentiary & we can move our family to a real home in Albuquerque away from the prison. We talked about our children. We discussed each others dreams & inspirations. I have over 10,000 miles on my Cannondale Ironman bike. That's only 1 of the 4 bikes I own & ride. I've ridden allot of rides that I've felt were special, but today was by far the most magical ride I've ever had. We enjoyed it so much we decided we're going to do the Albuquerque quarter century together May 7th.

Friday night my wife & I went out with friends to the Horse & Angel bar & grill. It was the first time in 2 years I'd gone out on the town. I had my wife by my side so I was bound to have a great time. But last night ended up being one of the best times I've had in years. Friends, my wife, laughter, & love. Truly, I had so much fun last night out on the town with my amazing wife. Add today's bike ride, I can truly say I fell in love with her all over again. Today, before work I didn't want to leave. I felt like it was when Cindy & I had just started dating again. All I wanted was for me stay with her & in each others arms.

God is good to me. I don't deserve even a small tidbit of what he has blessed me with in my life, but he goes & blesses me anyway. God deserves some much deserved and over due credit. Thank you my Lord. You are so big, & sometimes I don't recognize all the blessings you give me in my life. This week you threw so many blessings into my life not even someone as blind as me could have missed it all. Thank you my God.

A shirts eulogy: It will be greatly missed

I bought this shirt my Junior year of high school, back in 1993. It was sold by
the Moriarty high school basketball team to help raise funds for their
basketball program. It quickly became my favorite shirt & I wore it every
opportunity I got. My wife hated this shirt. Yet because of how supportive she
is, she handled it with the utmost care when it was time for it to be washed. As
you can see it had seen better days. I still wore it out in public up until a
couple years ago, it became so well used that I had to stop or risk a divorce;) At that point I started wearing it underneath my stab proof
vest at work at least once a week. As you can see from the picture it was doubtfull that it would make through another wash. If you have received this email I
have already said my goodbyes and it has been given its last respects. I hope
everyone can find the joy from a shirt that I had found in this one.

April 08, 2008

190 or bust

I've really made great gains since Nov. I've made great improvements in my bike, my swim, my weight, & a healthier diet. This has been a great 4.5 months. My first 3 months of trying to lose weight I was averaging 3-4 lbs of weight loss a week. It has recently slowed to 1 lb a week. I'm so close to my goal in terms of body weight. But the closer I get to my goal of 190 the slower I lose. Of course weekends of overeating like I had this weekend doesn't help.

I'm a very impatient person. One of my favorite things in the world is coffee. I really love coffee, but I drink instant coffee simply because I don't like waiting for regular to percolate. I'm running out of patience with getting to my ultimate weight. I've struggled with my weight most of my adult life. So I really have allot of experience with diets. I've tried every diet you could ever have heard of. Perhaps in this case that's a bad thing. Back in the summer of 2008 I lost 25 lbs in 30 days doing allot of base work & eating a low carb diet. I eventually got off the diet even though got really fast results because its too difficult to live everyday life on a low carb life style. One of the reasons I love weight watchers so much is I can live a normal life. I can eat the foods I want, just in moderation. But I am simply tired of waiting for that magical # of 190. I have decided to go low carb until I get to my goal weight. I know its a stupid decision. Low carb doesn't work for endurance athletes, its an unhealthy diet full of artery clogging fats, etc. But dang it I'll get fast results! I will probably get to 190 in less than 2 weeks! In my mind that IS worth it. Now that I've gotten to 200 I've done great maintaining it. I believe once I get to my goal weight I'll be able to maintain that easily. Its so much easier to maintain a weight than to get to a certain weight. My daily calories will go up once I reach that weight, I'll stop having to desire that dang # of 190 so much. I can think of dozens of reasons to go low carb, only a couple not to. So starting today, I'm on the Atkins diet until I'm at 190. Wish me fast results. The faster I get to 190 the faster I can get back to a healthier way of eating. The faster I can get to a diet that is more conducive to an endurance athletes needs. Thanks for tuning in.

April 07, 2008

2 wrongs don't make a right

I missed my 1st long bike on Saturday since the birth of my son on Aug 5th 2007. I never miss long days. I've called in sick to work rather than miss a long work out. The reason I'm so vigilant about completing my long runs & bikes is I know a triathletes most important workout is their long bikes & runs. I'm so obsessive compulsive that when I do miss them I get so upset I end up falling apart on my diet. & this weekend fall apart I did!

My family & I were going to Las Cruces for a weekend getaway. I hopped on my bike at first light, 6am, to insure I'd get in my workout, but my rear derailleur stopped shifting about an hour into my long ride on Sat. By the time I got back to the house & got my bike shop to get it working, it was time for us to leave. I spent the entire weekend stuffing my face with cookies, candy, coke, pizza. Oh boy, it was a bad couple days.

I know 2 wrongs don't make a right. But I just couldn't stop the feeding motion! I'm surprised I didn't end up with carpal tunnel syndrome. As bad as this weekend was there is good news. I stopped. In the past once something triggered my emotional eating I wouldn't stop for weeks. The more I ate the madder I'd get at myself. The more upset I got the more I'd eat. This time, after 2 days I stopped. 2 days isn't something I'm going to say is ok. It's going to take awhile for my weight to recover from that kind of eating. But I'm learning to stop the avalanche thanks mostly because of some great skills a buddy of mine taught me. There's light at the end of this problem. I'm not trying to fool myself by saying "some day I won't have this issue." But I'm definitely learning skills to better deal with my issue with food. Hey, at least it's not a heroin or crack problem.

While I was in Las Cruces someone stopped and asked if I was Cody? He said he reads my blog & he thanked me. I was floored. Took me completely by surprise, in a good way. My readership is way down. I know that's because I haven't had the time to read others blogs & post comments. Working 72 hrs a week & trying to train for triathlon at least 15 hrs a week has really limited my free time. But someone thanking me for what I'm putting in my blog was sure a high point of the weekend for me. all in all it wasn't the best weekend. But it was a weekend full of future potential.

Peace! I'm out!

April 04, 2008

Slowly but surely

My coach Pete Alfino told me the only way to get faster at swimming is to swim. Well apparently he was right. For the first time in my life I've been swimming consistently. I looked back at my triathlon logs & pulled up my 1000 yard swim TT PR's. I've done more swimming TT's, but I'm only going to write the ones where I set PR's.

July 27, 2007
a 1000 yard time of 22:23
averaged 2:14 per 100 yards.

Dec 26th 2007
time 19:43
ave 1:58.

Today April 4th 2008
1:41 ave.

That's an increase of 33 seconds per 100 yards! If you look at one of my favorite races of all time, The Buffman & Squeaky, my PR is a 2:52, & I PR'd the swim at 36 minutes. If I keep this progression on my swimming going I think a sub 30 minute swim is more than possible. That's 6 minutes faster on the swim alone. Now take into consideration how much lighter I am, I believe a 2:40 may be possible. I'd have to have a great race, but I usually bring my best on that day. I'll keep you informed.

I've been agrivated this month because since March 3rd (one month and 1 day) Ive only lost 4 lbs. I was averaging 4.5 lbs of weight loss every week for almost 3 months. But recently my losses has slowed to a snail's pace. I decided rather than become frustrated I'd take my measurements & see if I've really stopped making gains or if I'm losing fat & gaining muscle. My last measurement was on March 5th 2008. 1 month & 2 days ago. Since then I've lost 4 lbs.

Chest 41.5 41.25 loss of .25
arm 15.5 15.75 gain of .25
stomach 39 38 loss of 1 inch
butt 43.5 43 loss of .5 inches
quads 26.25 25.5 loss of .75 inches
Total loss of 2.25 inches. Not bad, slowly but surely. Just don't ever call me Shirley.

April 03, 2008

marathon training

I dont know who wrote this, but the working out on an empty stomach was great advise & has helped me lose allot of weight.

Marathon training

Ahh, the marathon long run. What a worrisome thing for most runners. And for good reason, the long run is such a crucial part of marathon training. I don't think there's any other race distance where one single workout plays such a large part in the success or failure of the race. As a result, you're often left with many questions: How far should I run? Do I run for time or distance? What about pace? What to eat and drink? The list goes on and on.
In this article, I'll answer these questions for you as I describe my thoughts on the marathon long run and how I utilize long runs for the marathoners I coach. As I like to do, I'm not only going to give you the "how-to" but I'm going to provide you with the rationale for why I think this plan works. This way, you can take the information and incorporate it into your specific training plan.
I will preface this article with a note that these are simply my ideas. Some of them have been widely criticized in forums. I aim to address these concerns but in the end, you have to do what you think works for YOU. And, I would also recommend that you experiment in your training to determine what works for you. With that, here is how I prescribe long runs in the marathon phase. The results have been consistent and positive. You can hear from some McMillan Running athletes by clicking here.
Two Types of Marathon Long Runs You Should Use
With long runs during a marathon program, you are trying to accomplish two distinct purposes. On the one hand, you are trying to maximize your ability to burn fat and spare your limited muscle carbohydrate (glycogen) stores as well as improving your leg strength and resistance to fatigue (both physical fatigue and mental fatigue). You are also trying to teach your body to better handle lowered blood glucose levels. On the other hand, you are trying to become more economical at your marathon race pace (learning to burn less fuel for a given pace) along with testing out your race equipment and nutritional plan. You also want to give the mind a taste of the focus and determination that will be required in the latter stages of the marathon itself.
Therefore, when I design a marathon training program, I include two distinctly different types of long runs. You're probably familiar with the first type of long run - the long, steady run. In this run, you simply go out for a steady, easy run and stay out for a long time. The pace isn't fast and time on your feet is the most important goal, not speed. The second type of long run, however, is new to many runners. In this long run, you start at your normal run pace but you try to average your goal marathon pace for the last 30 to 60 minutes of the run. In most programs, I simply alternate the two types of long runs - one weekend, long, steady distance and the next, a fast finish long run.
I'll now go through each type of long run in detail so you know exactly how to run each. I will warn you that if you don't execute the long run correctly, you screw up the program, so listen up.
Long, Steady Distance
The key aims of the long, steady distance long run are to increase your ability to burn fat, store more glycogen and to challenge the body and mind to continue running even when fatigued. From physiology, we know that the body uses fats and carbohydrates while running - the portion of each is determined by the pace. Run fast and the reliance shifts to more carbohydrates, less fats. Run slowly and the muscles rely more on fat and less on carbohydrate. Therefore, it is very important that in this type of long run - the long, steady long run, you don't run fast. You'll rely more on fats at an easy pace, possibly improving your ability to burn fat. When I say steady or easy or even slowly, I mean a conversational pace. Use my calculator and stay in the "long run" training pace range.
Another aspect of the long, slow run is duration. While running slowly increases fat burning for fuel, another way to really increase fat burning is to run when the carbohydrate stores are lowered. When the carbohydrate stores (muscle glycogen) are lowered, fat burning really goes up since there is little carbohydrate available. We know that the carbohydrate stores are lowered after 90 to 120 minutes of running so you want to do 30-60 minutes of running "after" this to maximize fat burning and to help stimulate the body to store more muscle glycogen for future runs (and races). When running (and racing) for this long, the blood glucose level also lowers. Ingesting carbohydrates (either through a sports drink or energy gels) before and during the run, maintains your blood glucose level. However, as you see below, we may also want to challenge the body to run with a lowered blood glucose level and to adapt to be better at handling a lowered blood glucose level. Therefore, the long, steady runs must last at least two hours and the longer the better and you may want to try to slowly reduce your carbohydrate ingestion before and during this type of long run. Except for a few exceptions, you should try to gradually increase your long run above two hours and I find that long, steady runs of two and a half to three and a half hours are ideal for most competitive marathoners.
Running for this long also helps us accomplish two of the other goals for this type of long run. First, with these runs your legs will get very tired but will become stronger and better able to tolerate running for such long periods. Second, you will experience fatigue and have to be mentally strong to simply keep going, knowing that you are going to continue to feel tired. However, it's important to remember that feeling tired is what training is about. You receive many benefits in marathon training only after you're tired. So the goal is to run beyond to the point of being tired so that the body is stimulated to grow stronger and more resistance to tiredness.
Finally, (and this is optional) a great way to ensure that you will deplete your carbohydrate stores on these long, steady runs is to not eat any carbohydrates immediately before or during the run. Any carbohydrates ingested will be used by the body for fuel, and we don't want this. We want to deny the body carbohydrates in these runs so that the muscles will become better at sparing the carbohydrate stores, more efficient at burning fat and used to running with lowered blood glucose levels. Now, many people think I'm crazy when I say this, but it works. It takes time to get adjusted to it if you have always been carbing up before and during your long runs, but with time and practice you can do it. I will note, however, that it is important to drink water and electrolytes throughout these runs so that you don't get dehydrated. I also recommend carrying an energy gel with you just in case you run into trouble (like taking a wrong turn, having to run longer than expected and getting a little woozy).Two words of wisdom here. First, I don't recommend withholding carbohydrates for runs lasting longer than three and a half hours. And second, withholding carbohydrates is the "icing on the cake" for the long, steady run. The "cake" is the fact that you are running for over two hours. If you're sent into hypoglycemia by the thought of having no carbohydrates on a long run then by all means, ingest them. You'll still be stressing the body to adapt to these longer runs.
I cannot stress enough that if you want to adopt this long run strategy that you very gradually wean yourself off of carbohydrates. Your body is likely used to it so I recommend that you continue with your same breakfast and gradually begin to space apart your intake of carbohydrates during the run. For example, if you take an energy gel every 45 minutes, begin to take them every 50 minutes. On the following long run, extend this to 55 minutes. See how your body responds. Then, gradually begin to reduce the amount of breakfast you have before the long run. Over the course of several weeks and months, you will learn that your body has plenty of energy stored in it for long runs and marathons. You just have to retrain it to access these energy stores and not depend on external sources. My experience has been that in most athletes (there are exceptions), the body and mind can be trained to work more efficiently with fuel use in training so that when more fuel is available during the race, you feel like a million bucks!
Another note: I recommend that you do these long, steady runs on a soft, uneven surface like dirt trails. This helps avoid injuries, challenges the accessory muscles and is usually a more enjoyable way to run easily. Take someone along with you as well.
I run my long, slow runs first thing in the morning and have nothing to eat before the run. I tuck a Clif Shot into my pocket on my shorts and hit the trails. I'll drink water with electrolytes during the run during hotter months but no carbohydrates. I get my 120-180 minutes of running in, then begin the reloading process described in the nutrition article on this website.
Fast Finish Long Run
The second type of long run is completely different than the long, steady run. The fast finish becomes the focus of this run. You start the workout at your normal easy run pace, increase it slightly in the middle of the run then try to average your goal marathon pace for the last 30 to 90 minutes of the run. I say 'average' because you will gradually increase to marathon pace but one thing that most people miss is the fast finish. I learned this from Gabriele Rosa (arguably the world's greatest marathon coach). In his program, the last 10 to 30 minutes of the fast finish long runs are like a race. You run as hard as you can and sprint at the finish. It is grueling but very race-specific training. After a few of them, you will see just how effective these are at producing marathoners who can outlast their competitors! Physiologically, you train the body to work more efficiently at marathon pace and mentally, you undergo the extreme fatigue that marathon racers inevitably face during the final few miles.
So, a generic long run for someone who's goal marathon pace is 7:00 per mile might be that the first 12 miles of a long run will be at 7:30 to 8:00 per mile, then the pace over the last 6 miles will average 7:00 per mile with the last couple of miles at 6:15 to 6:30 pace and the last 400 meters very fast. Believe me, this is a tough run so you will need to get mentally and physically prepared.
The fast finish long run provides an opportunity to practice your marathon routine. Have the same dinner the night before as you plan to have the night before your race. Get hydrated like before the race. Wake up like it's race day. Do exactly what you plan to do on race day even to the extent of wearing your race gear - shorts, singlet, socks, racing shoes. This is a true "test run" for the marathon. I also recommend that you have someone help you with this workout. Have someone on a bike with you so that you can drink at the same intervals that you will in the race. And, unlike in the long, slow run, do this run (or at minimum the fast part) on the asphalt - just like the race. Also unlike the long, slow run, you want to eat carbs before and during this run. P lease note that I just said I DO recommend carbohydrates before and during the fast finish long runs. This point has been overlooked by many runners. In fact, you want to mimic the exact nutrition plan that you will do during the marathon. It's likely that you'll have sports drinks every two miles. You may also be carrying energy with you so practice your plan. You'll be amazed at what you will learn about your planned pre-marathon routine - the things that work and the things that don't. When marathon day arrives, you'll be cool and calm because the routine will be second nature to you.
Our general rule when I coached the Discovery USA program was that if you could finish a 14- to 22-mile fast finish long run with the last 8-12 miles at your goal marathon pace and the last 2-3 miles at 10K race pace, then you would have no problem accomplishing your goal in the marathon. For the first fast finish long run, the initial few miles would be about a minute and a half slower than marathon race pace and only the last 5-10K would be fast. But, by the time the last fast finish long run would come around, the initial few miles would be only 30 seconds slower than marathon race pace and the last 15-20K would average goal marathon pace. You can follow this guideline as you implement these workouts into your training.
How to Implement
While I recommend a two-hour long, steady run virtually year round for most runners, you should not start the fast finish long runs until 8-10 weeks before the marathon. Too many of these workouts and you will peak too soon and be flat by marathon day. And, you only need 3-5 of these long runs before the marathon. So, I've found it convenient to simply alternate a long, steady run with a fast finish long run during marathon training. This will put you in good stead for the marathon and keep you from doing too many long, hard runs which can burn you out and make you peak too early. The fast finish long run has to be respected and if taken to extreme will not help but will hurt your marathon. You need to buy into the two types of long runs and do them correctly. Running too fast on the long, steady runs hurts you for the next week's fast finish long run. Trust me, marathon training is hard enough. Be patient and let these workouts work for you.
To sum up, the marathon long run doesn't have to be a mystery. Just alternate a weekly 2-3 hour long, steady run with a fast finish long run during the 8-10 weeks before your marathon and you will be amazed at how your body adapts. In the long, steady runs, start at the slow end of your long run pace and run for two to two and a half hours. On the next one, increase the duration by 15 to 30 minutes until 3-4 weeks before the marathon, you are running for two and a half to three and a half hours. (NOTE: I like the longest long run to be no more than 30-45 minutes longer than you plan to race.)
In the fast finish long run, start by running just the last three to five miles fast and on each successive fast finish long run, increase the distance of the fast part so that 3-4 weeks before your marathon, you run a 20-22 miler with the last 9-12 miles averaging marathon race pace. (NOTE: I find that jumping into a half-marathon as the last part of your final few fast finish long runs is a great way to get these runs in with the support you will have in the marathon itself.)
If you're planning your marathon training, I recommend incorporating these two long runs into your program. Good luck!


I had found this article I'd written a couple years ago. Thought I'd put it up on my blog. The best way to watch for overtraining is to check your heart rate every morning as soon as you wake up. See how many beats per minute it is. If it raises more than 5 beats per minute than your usual resting heart rate you need to rest. Take the day from training or simply don't go as hard for a couple of days. Always check your HR as soon as you wake. If you get up & walk around for awhile before you check it it wont be your true resting heart rate.


Overtraining is a danger for any motivated triathlete. In attempting to improve your performance, you progressively increase the volume and intensity of your training. At some point you hit your individual training maximal ability. When you exceed your bodies exercise threshold, positive gains stop and losses in your performance and health occurs.

Individual training thresholds vary greatly among athletes. Training above your body’s threshold level can cause a feeling of exhaustion known as “overtraining”. Although each athlete has a training threshold, this exercise limit can change. Overtime and with proper training, your body will gain the ability to handle higher intensity and duration levels. But if you apply too severe a stressor for too long overtraining occurs. It behooves you to be aware of its signs, so that you can make the adjustments before a crisis occurs: poor race performance. Did I just hear you gasp? Yes, poor race performance is one of the many effects of overtraining. Let’s go over some of the signs of overtraining so that you can take the proper steps to avoid this nasty problem.

1. Lack of motivation: if you start to feel unmotivated, start to dread your upcoming workout, or can’t exercise at a level you previously could. These are some of the first recognizable signs.

2. Irritability: In the beginning of overtraining things that usually wouldn’t bother at all annoy you. If you continue to overtrain your attitude will get worse. A spouse can be a great asset to your training. They can often times be the first to recognize -be the brunt of- overtraining. Allow them to tell you if they think they see the signs of overtraining. Make a conscious effort not to get upset with them when they do this. That could lead to them resenting your training.

3. Feeling tired or sleepy: You feel tired and sluggish throughout the day, even after a good nights sleep. This is an early sign.

4. Rise in resting heart rate: Also an early indicator. A 4+ beat rise in your normal morning heart rate means your body is tired and is trying to deliver more oxygen and fuel to the overly fatigued parts of your body.

5. Steady deteriation of your performance: You get slower despite, and due to hard training.

6. Inability to sleep: If you are unable to get to sleep and/or sleep restlessly, this should be a big red warning flag..

7. Abrupt weight loss: A 5% loss of body weight can mean two things. Chronic dehydration, or a lack of glycogen during hard training in which can case the body may begin to devour muscle tissue for fuel.

8. Persistent soreness: Constant or persistent soreness in your joints or muscles can mean your body isn’t healing properly from your workouts due to lack of sleep, lack of recovery time, increased levels of stress, or overtraining.

9. Increased incident of illness: A weak body can’t fight off viruses and illness well.

10. Depression: The university of Michigan found that If they stressed the heck out of a rat, the rat will have high levels of stress hormones. The rat’s serotonin receptors become “messed up”. The brain of a highly stressed rat looks very much the same as a highly depressed rat. Depression can be a serious side effect of overtraining. Not only can overtraining affect your health, the depression caused by this can affect your life. You might to start eating unhealthy, looking to food for comfort. You can start having problems with relationships, perform poorly at work, there can be sexual side affects to depression as well -oh, did I find the one thing that means more to you than triathlon?

11. Diarria or constipation: chronic fatigue can disrupt your digestive system.

12. Your nail and hair slow or stop growing: At this point your body is overtrained and stressed that your body is having to pull all available energy, nutrients and oxygen from other parts of your body to simply keep your organs working correctly. If you get to this point you are risking more than loss of performance or injury. Your health is now at risk. Your body will make you stop exercising one way or another very soon. Severe overtraining in lab rats causes death! In some cases overtraining syndrome is caused by not consuming enough calories compared to calories used. If you have a deficit for a prolonged period in combination with hard training, your body’s hormonal system undergoes modifications that make your body easily susceptible to overtraining syndrome. If you neglect giving your body enough calories while training for prolonged periods of time your body can get metabolic imbalance. Even if your weight stays the same or only slightly decreases because your body attempts to adjust to fewer calories. In layman’s terms you are forcing your body’s metabolism to slow down. Which may cause severe weight gain issues later on in your life.
Written by Cody Hanson

April 02, 2008

South West Challenge series stratedgy

My first year competing in the SW Challenge series was by far the easiest year to try to make top 3 in my division. Even though I was slower then & there were a couple of REALLY fast triathletes who were competing at that time & are no longer racing in the series I.E. Arnold Ciniceros. The reason that year was easier was because I was watching those 2 other athletes race/point totals on the SW series web sight, they had completed more races earlier in the season than me. I was able to click on the series results & see how many points they had for the series at anytime during the year. I knew exactly how many races I still needed to complete & how well in those races I had to do to place top 3.

This year is going to be VERY hard for me to place because I'm no longer racing as a Clyd. I'm racing in the 30-34 AG. Those 30-34's are silly fast. Plus I told my coach, Pete Alfino, that my ultimate goal for 2009 was to finish IMAZ before the cut off time. So I have agreed to him being in complete control of which races I will do. If a SW series race fits into my IronMan training plan than he'll let me do that race. But if it doesn't he tells me "No, you can't do it. Stay focused on the goal." I'm glad he is doing that with me because I tend to be a little compulsive. I'll end up doing a race on a day when I should of been doing a specific workout with a specific goal for my IM. But let me tell you, it's going to make qualifying TOP 3 for the series a NIGHTMARE! Almost all of the SW races my coach is allowing me to do are very early in the season. That will make it more difficult to take top 3 because as of right now I'm less than 2 lbs below 200. Later in the season I plan on being lighter, thus faster. & the other reason is that any other 30-34 AG's will just need to look at the series points throughout the year to see how many races & what placing they will need to pass me just like I did with Arnold Ciniceros in 2006. Very easy to pass up someone like me when I'll be one of the slower competitors in my division & they have the edge of knowing exactly how many points I have for the series early in the season. Add in the fact that my last race of the SW series will be in July. That'll give the other athletes 4 months to match or surpass me.

What that means is that I'm just going to have to do as well as possible in the next 3 months of SW series racing & for the first time if I take top 3 will be based solely on quality of my racing rather than quantity of races It'll be one heck of a challenge, but one I'm looking forward to. By July or Aug I'll know if I did indeed have enough quality races to have placed top 3. I'll keep you updated. Wish me luck. Send prayers for speed & slimness my way if you're willing.

Thanks for tuning in.