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Consistency is Key

Consistency is Key

A dominating performance by Rahel at Half Distance Klazienaveen.

Rahel Bellinga took the victory in a local half-distance triathlon this weekend 3 weeks before IM Maastricht, used as a fitness and confidence check! Rahel went straight to work on the bike and produced a great bike split that rivaled some of the top men! At the line, she did what we hoped, and finished with a 10min gap to 2nd place! We did exactly what we wanted to with this race, and are eager to produce a solid result in Maastricht! Congrats Rahel, your hard work and perseverance is paying off!

Cory Giesselman flew home to Omaha, USA from Curacao and took part in a home race at the Omaha Olympic Triathlon. We started working together after the Mallorca Camp in April, and Cory has been making steady progression in the last couple months! His swim as improved the most, and also has strong results in the bike and run. Cory made the trip worthwhile and came in 5th in his age-group, and and 20th overall on a hot and non-wetsuit race day! We continue to learn new things that will make the next race better and better! Awesome job, Cory!

Bill Knoedel took part in two TT bike races this past week. A strong 2nd place in his Elkhart TT Series at home in Iowa, and a 3min PR over the 40km distance at the Cordova 40K TT in Illinois, USA. The past few months have produced some new race bests and confidence, which only leads to more in the future! Super, Bill!

Race Recap from Coach Brett Sutton:

Podium for Michelle in Geneva.

Michelle Derron raced at the Genève Triathlon in her preparation for Ironman Switzerland at the end of this month. Her effort while in full Ironman training was commendable, and with a 2nd place in the women’s race.

Race Recap from Coach Jo Spindler:

Congratulations Diana! Photo Credit: Top left and bottom Jo Spindler Top right: Huw Fairclough

This weekend, I had 3 athletes racing and all 3 finished on the podium! The Jo Spindler squad is going stronger and stronger.

Diana had a strong race at Ironman UK and finished 2nd after a thrilling battle with Lucy Gossage for the whole marathon. That Diana again had to drop out of Ironman Frankfurt was a big disappointment. She again suffered from hypothermia due to the non-wetsuit swim for the pros. So we decided for a back-up race at Ironman UK, to at least secure Diana’s ticket for Hawaii. There is no course in the whole Ironman racing that suits Diana less than this race at Bolton. It’s a complete ‘anti-Diana’ course. A cold and rainy bastard, with lots of cornering and steep descends and climbing. That she still finished 2nd on a rainy day just shows how well she did and how mentally strong she is! No, she does not fear the cold. As long as she can wear a wetsuit, cold water temperatures are not a porblem. She did her swim training for IM UK in a 12 degree cold river. Her body is just not made for nen wetsuit swims in less than 24.5 degree water.
The water in Bolton was 19 degrees and wetsuits allowed. Diana had a good swim, was 2nd out of the water and took over the lead very quickly at km 36 already. She led the bike until the 160k mark. Roads were wet for almost the entire bike leg and especially the first hour was very cold. Many pro male athletes crashed. Not so Diana. She roade super carfully. Too carefully. She really climbed the hills faster than she decended it. Lucy, who knows the course well took over the lead and quickly worked herself into a 2min lead in T2. Knowing that Lucy is a super-strog runner, I thought the race for 1st was over and it was only to secure a 2nd place that would earn Diana enough points for her Kona slot. Not so Diana. She run incredibly strong and step by step, second by second she gained time back from Lucy. She came closer and closer. With 5k to go, she was as close as 80 seconds. But the course was only downhill from there, so hard to make up more time on that decending section. With Lucy in sight down the road she finished 2nd. A time of 3:08 on that hilly marathon is her strongest performance ever. She missed the win, but her 2nd place felt like a win after the setback in Frankfurt. Kona slot secured with a big show and a real confidence building effort. Diana never believed she can run well. No matter what coach said. Now she proved herself wrong with an outstanding performance!

Well done Peter on second place in Berlin.

Another outstanding performance came from Peter Rudolph who finished 2nd overall at the Berlin XL distance race. He had a strong race in all 3 legs, but especially on the bike. We seem to have really built a big bike engine into his body over the past 2 years of training. Peter then finished off with a super quick 1:21h run. Watching Peters progression over the years makes me happy and humble. And it’s so statisfying to see the work and effort we put into his training paying off.

A strong race by Rowan in Hamburg, backing up after a 70.3 the weekend before.

And the final podium came from Rowan Vorster. Only 7 days after winning the slot for the Ironman 70.3 World Champs, he finished 3rd in his age group at the ITU Olympic Distance race in Hamburg. Very solid performance in all three disciplines and happy that he could back up his strong race in Sweden with an equally strong race in Hamburg. Well done Rowan and looking forward to your race in Kona already.

Race Recap from Coach Lisbeth Kristensen:

Very well done Arnaud, very happy for you and very proud of you!

This weekend, I had Arnaud racing the IM Bolton in the UK. The goal was to secure a slot for Hawaii…
I started working with Arnaud almost 2 years ago, and he’s the most dedicated and talented guy and then he never, ever misses a session! Last year, he got a top 8 in Frankfurt in his first IM. This year, he raced in IM Lanzarote and he was 6th. Then we had to look for another IM as he was still not qualified for Hawaii. We choose IM Bolton as I thought that the bike course would suit him well.
Arnaud raced very well on Sunday! He had a good swim (1:05) and then a FANTASTIC bike! The top 3 pro’s rode: 4:52, 5:01 and 4:52 Arnaud rode 5:12!This got him into the 1st place position in his age group 25-29 after the bike.
And then it was like: will the mice win or will the cats get him! He had 2 cats after him and they both went under 3 hours for the marathon! Arnaud was still holding until the lead 2/3 into the run but then he was caught from the 2 fast runners from behind! Arnaud still ran a 3:17 marathon, his best one until this date. Arnaud still held unto a very amazing and brave 3rd place and he got his slot for Hawaii!

Race Recap from Coach Rafal Medak:

Hard as nails! Congratulations Kat! You did excellent!  You should be proud of your performance!

Four of my athletes were racing this weekend and they all delivered a stellar performance.  Hard work and dedication was rewarded with very good results.  I could not be happier as a coach.
Katherine Renouf raced Ironman UK in Bolton.  It was her first Ironman ever and she have chosen one of the hardest courses on the circuit.  The preparation was far from perfect with her demanding job often requiring running for hours in the hospital or working at nights. She is a a very dedicated and hard working athlete. We worked around her commitments, often improvising and adjusting the plan to make the most of the available time.
She executed the plan perfectly while overcoming challenges that her body and the race course thrown at her. One of the strongest swims in the women field (overall) – 56min, followed by 6:23 bike on a course with over 2,000m altitude gain and on a technical course and a 3:44 run on a very challenging and hilly roads.  She came 2nd in her AG only to a former Pro and an ITU National Team Member athlete whom she gave a real fight to the last kilometre on the run.

Backing up successfully – a great race by Carolina in New York.

Only one week after finishing 70.3 Sweden with a massive PB Carolina Lanza was on the way to NY to race NYC Triathlon.  You would think she should be recovering from the 70.3 but she was desperate to give it a go!  It was a risky strategy but we at Trisutto don’t always follow usual paths and racing back to back is often on the table. Carolina was more surprised as the Coach with her performance – a 16min swim (well the current might have helped a bit) followed by a very strong bike and equally impressive run and she finished 6th in her AG out of 138 competitors. Another week, another PB! The way she described the performance in her race report said it all: ‘The Spaniard Smashed It!’ Congratulations on the race and the ability to take the risk and trusting the coaching approach!

Great job Marko! You were patient and trained diligently and the results are showing now!

Marko Vaisanen was racing a Finnish championships in Half Distance in Joroinen. It is a historic race and it has been organised since 1983 – the most iconic Tri-race in Finland. Following Marko’s last race we put more focused on the run while maintaining the bike and swim training.  The result was a perfectly balanced, very strong performance across all 3 disciplines. In his report Marko summarised it as follows: “Pretty good day… In the end I was placed at 38/190 in my age group and out of all participants 175/1197. Even if the ranks don’t matter, best thing was of course new PB and a very well executed race.”

Congratulations to Rafal!  A very good race and a step forward!

We continue with re-building Rafal from a diesel engine into a racing car.  Until 2 weeks ago the shortest distance he ever raced was 70.3 and then quite a few Ironmans including 2 times in Kona (and now 3rd qualification). 2 weeks ago he finished 4th in an Olympic distance race.  This weekend it went even better – he won his AG in a distance which is a Polish speciality (Ironman should take note 🙂 a 1/4 Ironman (950m swim, 45km bike and 10.5km run). His preparation for the race was far from conventional as we are working on his engine but this did not affect his race at all. The opposite, he biked faster than ever! A short summary of his report: “This time I warmed up properly and it made the difference from the start. A very strong swim, 18th overall, quick T1 and on to the bike. I felt really strong and pushed hard overtaking faster swimmers, I kept pushing and building the effort, last 20k was a total TT effort (after the race the Garmin shown a new FTP!) The run was also better than 2 weeks ago. The training really works, lets keep pushing!”

Race Recap from Coach Mirjam Weerd:

Winners smile! Congrats Brent 🙂

Brent Pattheeuw from Belgium tested his run speed in a 8km run race on the beach near his hometown. Defending last years title Brent did really well after a hard week of training. He ran away from all the competition to finish in first place with a 2 minute gap on number 2. The progress Brent is showing is significant and we’re happy to see this over all three disciplines. Congrats Brent!

Race Recap from Coach Mary Beth Ellis:

Congratulations Miriam – a great win in Racine 🙂

Miriam Cole dominated her age group in 70.3 Racine crushing the nearest competitor by 12 minutes. Due to cold water temps, the race was a duathlon but that didn’t upset Miriam. She raced her way to the fastest bike split and second fastest run to win her age group.

Race Recap from Coach Edith Niederfriniger:

Jonathan (on the left) with his teammate Davide after the Senigallia Olympic Distance.

Jonathan Ciavattella (pro athlete) raced the olympic distance of Senigallia (Italy), just for fun to mix up a little bit the training routine. Johnnie placed 5th in 2:01.37 right behind the italian olympic distance national team members Uccellari, Facchinetti, Azzano and the strong athlete Kurochin from Ukraine. A good test and fast, intense workout!

Very good 3rd place at the triathlon sprint italian championships for firefighters for Emanuele!

Emanuele Mutti raced at Chiusi (Italy), he did a triathlon sprint valid as Italian Championship for the Firefighter, won his category M25-29 and took excellent 3rd place overall! Manu is not only a passionate triathlete, but also a very passionate firefighter and I’m very proud of his podium. It was the first time he could place top3 overall. Very well done Emanuele!

New experience and excellent pacing job for his sister-in-law: happy Stefano!

Stefano Pavan, a multiple Ironman finisher, for the first time participated in a trail run, the Transcivetta trail (Italy) with 1500+ and 23,5km. Together with his sister-in-law (it’s a couple-race) they finished in 4:06.35 and Stefano contributed to a 30minute improvement for he (she raced also last year).  Excellent job ‘pace-maker’ Stefano 😉

Race Recap from Coach Robbie Haywood:

Gisela showing a great turn of speed in Genève!

Gisela Reichmuth keeps up her summer of racing, this time at the Sprint Triathlon in Genève. Another podium for Gisela finishing 3rd, and with it being a Saturday race, was able to follow up with a 2 hour long run along the river Rhone the next morning.

Race Recap from Coach Susie Langley:

Well done Mirjam (right) and team!

Mirjam Weerd ventured out for one final lung busting sprint race on Saturday, before heading back to her island home the next day. It was a strong fourth place finish in the teams race for Mirjam’s team TTW Ladies at the Eredivisie Triathlon Series held near Rotterdam. The race was turned into a duathlon due to water quality issues.., but Mirjam took it all in her stride and will be able to make up for this with lots of beautiful ocean swim in Curacau this week when she returns. Happy to see Mirjam returning home with renewed vigour!

Race Recap from Coach Irene Coletto:

Improving day-by-day, well done Fabio

Fabio Vassena raced a fast Sprint distance Triathlon at Lecco – Italy. 1h 10’ 31’’his time, which was 36th M40-44 of 99 competitor. This guy is improving day by day. I’m proud of you because you’re doing everything with love and smile. Great race Fabio!!

Race Recap from Coach Christian Nitschke:

Always good to win a training race 😉 Well done Stephan.

Stephan Meinecke did the Genf Triathlon as a training race in his Ironman Hamburg preparation. He could show a very even performance in all three disciplines and could not only once again win the 45-54 agegroup, he also placed 7th overall. With his time he would have won the 35-44 agegroup as well. Just athletes who were at least 14 years younger than Stephan were in front of him. We have worked on several points since Challenge Venice to enable Stephan to show his strength on the bike in an Ironman as well. So far this season Stephan won his agegroup in three out of four races. 4 weeks to go to Ironman Hamburg where he will be stronger then ever before!

Making great progress all round resulted in a 10 min improvement for Borris!

Borris Jung was racing the Churfranken Triathlon Olympic distance, a race where he has been last year as well. He could improve in all three disciplines compared to last year and move up the ranks. Unfortunately he ended up in 4th position in his agegroup at the end. But I think looking at a 10min improvement compared to last year is something to be proud of.

Andre Möller did a 2,5km open water swim last Sunday. It was the northern German championships and he had a very good performance placing 2nd overall. We now need to translate his very good swim fitness into triathlon were he still struggles a bit with the fast mass start.

Congratulations to all our athletes competing this weekend. online triathlon coaches are available to help improve your performance here.

Avoiding the Grey Zone

As athletes in the Northern Hemisphere move into spring and better weather, some are in a rush to add more intensity and volume to their training, as they prepare for their race season. This is a quick way to increase risk of injury, sickness, and fatigue affecting consistent training. Especially when goal races are many months away, and the season may now stretch all the way to October for some, or longer with options of overseas races.

Triathlon is a sport of strength endurance, which benefits from consistent training, day after day, week after week. Of course, the goal is to swim faster, bike stronger, and run faster, but many athletes try to rush this process. Steady and measured preparation is required for optimal performance. During the early phases of training many athletes ask “this isn’t enough – when is the real training going to start?”, sometimes adding 30 minutes to 1 hour longer than the prescribed training, or adding extra intervals to workouts.

While interval training is a powerful tool if used correctly, personally I don’t believe interval training or training fast is necessarily how athletes get injured. I believe athletes get injured and sick from doing too much training at medium intensity, in the grey zone, especially with run training. Going harder than they should on their endurance workouts.

Athletes also increase their risk of injury and sickness when trying to maintain a year-round training diet of 4+km swims, 100+km bikes, and 25+km runs, especially when these workouts are at race or close to race pace. My advice to these athletes is to ‘slow down to speed up’, or ‘Hurry Slowly’. These athletes may also be worried about making sure they can compete at a certain speed or pace, that their endurance workouts negatively impact the remainder of their training week. When you’re doing an endurance swim, bike, or run, you really shouldn’t feel as though you need to make too much of an effort. Power, HR, or Pace should be generally less than 70% of threshold pace, or in layman terms at a pace you can easily maintain a conversation.

If you are in awe of how fast the best Marathon runners can run, what’s equally amazing is how slow they run their slow runs. These athletes will generally complete their long or easy runs at a pace some 2 minutes per km (3 minutes per mile) slower than their race pace. Athletes running 42km in a race at ~3:10 per km (5:06 min/mile), are running their slow runs at ~5min/km (8:10 min/mile). What if you try to run your easy runs 2 minutes per km slower than your race pace? Many of us are close to walking, right? I’m not necessarily advising you to walk, but to consider the effort level difference for those Marathoners between their training and race paces. That’s truly a pace that they can run “all-day” and not exert much effort.

I also encourage you to try doing some workouts without electronics, or ‘by feel’. No GPS, no powermeter. Training this way lets you start to understand your body and not always rely on the gadgets that don’t know how you’re feeling on a certain day. If you need a gadget to hold you back from going too hard on certain workouts (e.g. long runs!), then you need more practice in listening to your body. You don’t do it often enough or understand what it means to train in a certain area, namely endurance. If you must record the numbers from your workout, tape over your device or put it in your pocket so you can still have the data after the workout, but don’t use it during every workout.

Should you miss a workout or day of training, remember we live in the real world with jobs, careers, study, family and friends. Don’t strive to compensate for days missed in training by trying to ‘catch up’ workouts, or adding more time to others. Simply move on, and back onto your training schedule. One day missed can save a week or month missed due to injury or sickness.

If Spring is on its way in your region, enjoy the nicer weather and planned bigger workouts, but please ‘hurry slowly’.  Avoiding the grey zone is the quickest way to improve your triathlon performance.

Carson Christen is a Sports Scientist and Trisutto Coach based in Germany
Join Carson at the Mallorca Training Camp, on April 15. online triathlon coaches are available to help improve your performance here.

The Race Weight Debate

The Race Weight Debate

We are now well into 2017, with a few races completed and some big events on the horizon, many athletes are training hard and starting to increase their training volume. With key races getting closer I have started having athletes approach me to debate “Race Weight”.

Making now a good time to talk about proper triathlon nutrition practice. As Coach Brett says in his article from 2014, ‘Race Weight is very important, but it isn’t something that should run your life based on the latest and greatest diet!’ With all the information out there today, you can’t go anywhere without seeing conflicting information on whether or not you should be Gluten Free, Ketotic, or Carb-Heavy. What seems to be the common occurrence in athletes is they aren’t getting enough fuel to properly execute their training and races. Your body has enough energy stored up as muscle Glycogen to fuel approximately 2 hours of hard effort. I’ve had athletes come to me saying they didn’t have enough energy for that 1 hour endurance ride, or 40-min endurance run. As soon as I see this trend in an athlete, I immediately ask what were they eating the previous 5 days? The general result is…. Not enough carbohydrate, fat and especially protein! Many athletes are effectively starving themselves of energy.

The numbers
Athletes are being told they need to be light weight in order to be fast, this is true only to a certain extent. If you get so light that your muscles have no energy or force, you will fail in training and on race day. Middle distance and long distance racing are strength, not speed sports. General guidelines for highly active athletes are 1.2-1.4g/kg (4 kcal/g) Protein, and anywhere from 25-30% calories (9 kcal/g) from Fat. For a 55kg Female, this would be at least 66g (264kcal) of protein per day. For a 75kg male, that is at least 90g/kg (360kcal). Calculate it yourself, where do you stand? In times of heavy training before a race, you can bet that your body needs upwards of 1.4g/kg or so protein. With fat, if you are eating 2500kcal/day, you need 69-89g (~625-750 kcal) of fat, or for 3500kcal, 97-116g (~875-1050kcal). Look at those numbers! Way higher than I bet many think they need. When athletes start restricting calories, fat and protein are generally the two macro-nutrients that suffer, with this often comes low energy, decreased training benefit, sickness, or injury.

Ok, so away from all the numbers. For short races such as a Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon, you can get away with being a bit lighter and using that low weight to be “faster”. As soon as you move to the long course races, it become essential that you maintain your strength, over speed. Find out how many calories you need per hour when training, and make sure that you’re getting enough to fuel your body. When you’re looking at losing weight, try for no more than 1kg (2lb) per week, you need to have the energy to keep going, day after day, and hour after hour on race day.

“You’ll find that you race better in an Ironman with a little too much (weight) than a little too less.” – Coach Brett Sutton.

Don’t shy away from that cheesecake or chocolate when you’re training hard! Make sure you reward, don’t starve yourself! If you enjoy Reeses Peanut Butter Cups or Snickers, then go ahead and eat them, especially if you are training hard or during a race! Find out what works for you, and don’t change it! You’re out there trying to achieve a personal best, please, don’t skip on the essential fuels. If you are practicing Gluten Free, Vegetarian, or Ketotic Diets, then by all means do so it if it makes you feel better, but don’t do it because “they” told you it’s better. Everyone is different and what works for one athlete will not necessarily work for another.

The KISS Principle applies to diet. If you struggle to read the name or number of ingredients, you probably should pass on it. Also, enjoy the foods that make you happy, some more in moderation than others. A maintainable diet in moderation, is the best path to success and consistency.

Click here for an additional blog on the athlete weight debate.
AMERICAN COLLEGE of SPORTS MEDICINE. “Nutrition and Athletic Performance.”Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 32.12 (2000): 2130-2145.

Carson Christen is a Sports Scientist and Trisutto Coach based in Germany
Join Carson at the Sursee Training Camp, Switzerland on March 25. online triathlon coaches are available to help improve your performance here.