Friday, January 17, 2014

Israman: It's Just A Thing - Top 10 Tips For Racing Israman Triathlon

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 of this special series of articles from Israman triathlon in Eliat, Israel, I'd highly recommend you go and read them, especially if you want to impress your friends with interesting tidbits about this part of the world, or get your mouth watering over Mediterranean cuisine.

In this article, I'm going to get into the nitty-gritty of the Israman triathlon itself. If you've every thought about doing this race, or want a sneak peek into what one of the hardest Half Ironman and Ironman triathlons on the face of the planet is like, then keep reading. 

Or if you just want to find out how to stand on a bike for 20 miles, make your feet bleed and pound downhills until your quads are weeping, you can also keep reading. Below are my top 10 tips for racing Israman triathlon.

1. Make A Mantra

You're going to experience a few tough moments during the race. The air temperature and water is a little chilly on race morning. It's still dark out when you start swimming. The first 20K of the bike is nearly all steep climbing. T1 is in a different place than T2, which means you climb and climb on the bike...but never get the dessert: descending. There's a lot of wind. You bike and run in exposed desert.

So when you get into this kind of sticky situation, it always helps to have a mantra. My mantra was "It's Just A Thing." I don't remember where I first heard that phrase, but I think it may have been Mark Divine of SEALFIT. So when my teeth were chattering at the swim start: it's just a thing. When I realized a mile into the 56 mile bike that my borrowed bike seat post was too short and I'd be spending the majority of the bike ride standing: it's just a thing. When I looked down at my watch and saw that the first 40K of the bike took nearly 2 hours because of the brutal climbing: it's just a thing. And when the skin got scraped off the bottom of my feet from 8K of steep downhill running: it's just a thing.

2. Pack Like You're Bipolar.

Israman is cold in the morning. Then you climb into the mountains, where headwinds and crosswinds and elevation drop the temperature even further. Then you finish with a run that starts in the cold mountains but ends in the hot desert along the Red Sea. So bring gloves, arm warmers, leg warmers (unless you have hairy legs like me) and a coat or wind jacket. Sunscreen and chapstick are not bad ideas either. I used none of the items just listed and probably should have.

3. Don't Speedo It

If you show up in your swimsuit, skinsuit, speedsuit, speedo, banana hammock, budgy smuggler, ballbushka, or any other form of skimpy swimwear, be prepared to shiver hard. This race is wetsuit legal. So bring your wetsuit. No need for a neoprene cap or anything like that, and the water is crystal clear and smooth to boot. But it is a bit chilly due to the early 6:15-6:30am-ish race start.

4. Get Ready To Climb

As I've alluded to earlier, you ride from the Red Sea straight up into the mountains. The race opens with nearly 20km of climbing with an elevation gain of 700m, and a total elevation during the race of over 3000m (that's for the Iron distance and the Half is more than half that). As last year and this year's winner Petr Vabrousek reported on Slowtwitch:

"Everyone knows the climbs are tough - 10,000 feet of elevation gain matches the toughest tests in the sport," he said. "But today the desert side winds were brutal. Today there were times when I was riding hard but felt I was standing still. Another factor that makes this race so hard is the bike to run transition is still at 600 meters of elevation. So you don't get the advantage of a long downhill to finish the bike."

That 600 meters downhill starts the run and that declivity takes place over 10 precipitous kilometers. "When you start the run on such a speed downhill, you trash your legs," he said. "People may think that is easy, but with my 80 kilograms weight, my quads are screaming. My feet are screaming. Once I hit the flat, your speed is gone and all you have left is will. Usually I race in very light shoes, but here I ran in my heavy training shoes to absorb the punishment."

5. Don't Watch The Clock

Just face it - you're going to be slower than you expect during the bike ride. A lot slower. For example, 40K of a ride usually takes me about an hour and in this race, it was nearly double that. So don't watch your clock or you'll be disappointed in yourself. A power meter would be fine, but consider keeping the clock off or putting a bit of electrical tape on it. 

Then just ride and pay attention to the topography and your gearing, and don't let your time get you down. I think my bike split was about 3 hours and 30 minutes - a good hour longer than my usual Half-Ironman bike split - and you can chalk much of that up to the pure difficulty of the bike course. Every time you think you're done climbing, there's simply another hill!

6. Practice Running Downhill

Like I mentioned earlier: you're going to run downhill at Israman. A lot. And it's steep. The first 10K or so of the entire half-marathon and marathon are straight down a road carved into the side of a mountain. 

Your quads are going to take a beating from the constant "braking" you have to do during a downhill run, so send them some warnings in your training. Run steep downhills. Do some hard pounding with a treadmill at 0.0 incline. Strengthen the quads just a bit with some squats, lunges, and even leg extension machine at the gym. Your body will thank you later. And by all means, come prepared with the proper downhill running gear, which brings me to my next point...

7. Choose Your Shoes Wisely

I wore my usual shoe choice: my minimalist Skora racing flats with elastic shoe laces. These are great for speed, but don't offer much in the way of cushioning or tightness. So once I began pounding the downhill, it took about 5K for the bottom of both my heels to get rubbed raw as my feet slide around in my shoes. So I ended up walking and even running backwards for the next 5K.

A better shoe choice would be a slightly more cushioned shoe, and then non-elastic shoelaces that allow for a tigher lace-up. Just sayin'. The picture below shows my awesome, yet inappropriate, shoes.

8. It's Only Over When It's Over

So once you finish the chilly open water swim in the Red Sea, the steep climb into the mountains above Eliat, and the intense downhill running, that last part of the run should be a breeze, right? Not quite. It's only over when it's over - and the final sections of the run include flat but heat-exposed pavement pounding along the promenade that lines the Red Sea. It's beautiful, but by the this point you're physically and mentally beat up, and leg turnover is hard to maintain. 

I recommend you pull out my second trick once you get here: count your steps. I counted to 100 over and over again, trying to ignore the stabbing pains in both feet with each step.

9. Don't Forget Your Flag

Finally...the finish line! Keep your eyes open if you're an early finisher, because once you reach the finish line chute, there's a guy with a bucket of little flags that represent each country. Take the time to stop and grab the tiny flag so you can carry it proudly across the finish line.

Warning: even a tiny flag feels very heavy at the end of Israman!

Yes, that's a nice greasy napkin.
10. Think Beyond Baklava

For those of you who had watering mouths reading my previous description of Mediterranean cuisine...

And for those of you concerned that Hummus, Falafel and Baklava may not hit the spot after several hours of racing in the desert...

Take heart.

Thanks to my gracious host for the trip (Vibe Israel) I was able to punish a gluten-free hamburger with the works: ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and pickles. Thank you for that, America. And of course, there was some nice Italian gelato to wash it all down.

Bon appetit, and leave your questions, comments and feedback about the Israman triathlon below. I promise to answer any of your questions about race preparation, aid stations, fueling, course logistics, or anything else. Just promise me you'll think about racing this one - it's well worth the trip!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Poomergency! Poomergency! Thailand Triathlon Adventure 2013

Well, appropriately enough - and I hope you appreciate the vivid imagery - I am typing this blog post while lightly perched upon my toilet at home in America.

Yes, I have finally made it home from the three week Thailand Triathlon Adventure 2013. Barely. And I must still be within 10 feet of a toilet at all times. I'm dead serious.

They actually had to re-seat me to be next to the bathrooms on the plane to accommodate my clock-work like mid-flight poo-mergencies.

So what the crap happened?

Although this entire trip was the epic adventure of a lifetime (just wait till you see the killer photos below), just 2 days prior to the flight home I was struck (inconveniently, 2K into the run portion of the Half Ironman triathlon) by the liquid poopies from the depths of hell. Big time.

As a matter of fact, for the first time ever during a race, I actually pooped my pants.

Shat my chamois.

Soiled my spandex.

Whatever you'd like to call it.

And we're not talking "tire streaks" or "liquid toots" here. I full on exploded in my pants. Like, they were full, and then spilling out onto my legs and into my shoes.

At one point, my entire lower body was covered in "mud" and I had to run back behind the house of some old Thai dude to hose myself off so I could at least cross the finish line without appearing to be a giant crap-covered Timex advertisement crossing the finish line.

According to the docs at the medical clinic, at some point during the week I acquired some kind of opportunistic bacteria that was likely from the lagoon water in which we swam during the first triathlon of the week.

If it's any consolation, it wasn't just me that came down with this malady. I spoke with dozens of others who were struck by the same puke-a-rama, flu-like symptoms and flaming liquid poo that makes you scream with pain, clench your teeth, grab hard onto the nearest solid object so that you don't get blown away, and wonder how you're still alive when it's all over. Think Dumb and Dumber, but for skinny people in spandex.

My personal malady decided to strike during the actual race, just a bit before I hopped onto a plane to head home. Thanks, little poopie bacteria. I needed that. Much, much appreciated, especially with the 9 hour layover in Seoul.

So...that being said, how was the actual RACE, which I know everyone comes here to read about?

It was good, but I'm so freaking exhausted from clenching my sphincter and hatching baby bacteria, I'm going to to give you the bullet points, and then some really good pics below. As usual, leave your questions, comments or feedback below:

-Thanyapura Triathlon Camp. This absolutely rocked. Thanyapura resort rivals any of the best Olympic training centers I've seen here in the US, and I was very stoked to be able to teach a camp there, accompanied by the likes of pro triathletes Jurgen Zack and Tamsin Lewis, and featuring lectures, workshops, bike fits, swim videos, and much more. For just a taste, listen to a sample lecture from the camp here (and definitely stay tuned for me to be doing more camps at this resort).

-Laguna Phuket Triathlon, the race that I consider to be a destination event and the best race on the face of the planet was great, mostly. Swam hard, biked hard, and went through the majority of the race poised to repeat as the overall age group champion until I lost the pack of lead riders and a flat tire derailed my speed for the last 3 miles. I went into the run at a 5 minute deficit to the leader. Rallied for a top 20 finish anyways. Good to know I had the fitness to take it thought, despite my new mass gain protocol.

-Experimented with new nutrition, since I'm not in ketosis right now. Used the very cool new "Infinit-E" solution from Millennium Sports, combined with their CRE-O2 creatine I'm using for my muscle mass gain and their Athlytes capsules to prevent any clumping. 300 calories per hour. Great stack, and the Infinit-E tastes good and burns clean. I'm a fan. As usual, I also ate 10 Master Amino Pattern, an X2Performance and a packet TianChi before the race. I used the same fuel solution for both races. Too bad most of it wound up in my pants for that second race. But nonetheless, this mix worked very well and was something I have been wanting to experiment with as an alternative to Superstarch, since I love to "guinea-pig" new fuel mixes.

Here's the full description for you nitty-gritty nutritionists out there:
INFINIT-E™ is an incredibly versatile and effective fueling product. Comprised of four ideal carbohydrate sources, natural betaine (an osmolyte) and l-taurine, INFINIT-E™ provides optimal, balanced energy and cellular protection against exercise induced free radicals and environmental stressors.* INFINIT-E™ has low osmolality aiding rapid absorption and won't cause digestive issues. INFINIT-E™ contains ZERO artificial ingredients and is banned substance free! 
GLUCIDEX® is a high grade, high molecular weight, long chain glucose polymer (complex carbohydrate) derived from NON-GMO potato. Glucidex® is a fast carb with high bioavailbility for rapid absorption and muscle glycogen synthesis.* It has low osmolality and provides an ideal source of calories without exceeding osmotic balance.* Glucidex® potato maltodextrin has high solubility and a very clean taste with a low measure of sweetness. It is NON-GMO making it a preferred choice over typical corn based maltodextrin products. Glucidex® is GRAS! 
CLUSTER DEXTRIN® (Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin) is a new type of dextrin that is produced from amylopectin via a cyclization process. Cluster Dextrin® is a high molecular weight carbohydrate with almost no affect on osmotic pressure. This means it speeds gastric emptying leading to faster absorption and driving nutrient and energy replenishment.* Cluster Dextrin® is NON-GMO and is GRAS. 
PALATINOSE™ (isomaltulose) is a low-glycemic (32) and low-insulinemic disaccharide (glucose & fructose) with enzymatically rearranged molecular bonds. We've added Palatinose™ to INFINIT-E™ because it is the only functional carbohydrate which is fully digestible yet slowly released. It provides a sustained energy release because is hydrolyzed and absorbed four to five times more slowly than sucrose due to the stronger binding of its glucose and fructose components. In this way it supplies glucose as fuel for body and brain at a time when the digestion and absorption of pure glucose has long been finished. For muscles and brain this means a constant stream of energy over a longer period of time compared to quickly absorbed carbohydrates. Furthermore, the addition of Palatinose™ allowed us to create a specific carbohydrate release profile by combining Palatinose™ with Glucidex®, Cluster Dextrin® and Trehalose®. Palatinose™ is GRAS!
TREHA® TREHALOSE is sometimes referred to as "mushroom sugar" because it is found in significant amounts in certain mushrooms and fungi, but the compound also appears in yeast, seeds, algae and in succulents ("resurrection plants" - desert plants that survive long periods of drought yet spring to life when provided moisture). Trehalose® is a multi-functional disaccharide (consisting of two glucose molecules) that when metabolized releases both molecules translating into quick energy. Trehalose does not produce the rapid spike in blood glucose seen with sucrose and other sugars because enzyme that digests Trehalose® is found primarily in the small intestine, which means it is not fully metabolized until 2 or 3 hours after digestion. This slow release process further bolsters INFINIT-E™'s sustained energy profile allowing clean, balanced glycogen replenishment.
INFINIT-E™ incorporates Natural Betaine Anhydrous. Derived from sugar beets natural betaine is an osmolyte which has been suggested to provide cellular support against environmental and exercise induced stressors such as dehydration and high temperatures.* Betaine is suggested to promote strength, power and endurance and is a methyl donor helping supporting the liver and cardiovascular system.
While L-TAURINE is often referred to as the second most abundant amino acid in muscle, some muscle biologists have determined that L-Taurine, (not glutamine), is the most voluminous amino acid contained in striated type 2 muscle fiber. L-Taurine is essential to cardiac function and increases muscle cell volume. For an athlete this seems important because expanded muscle cells boost hydration resulting in accelerated rates of protein synthesis. Additionally, supplementation with l-taurine has been shown to prevent oxidative stress induced by exercise. L-Taurine was included in INFINIT-E™ for its affect on cardiovascular support, cell hydration and oxidative stress quenching.
-Challenge Half-Ironman. This race used to be a Half Ironman operated by the World Triathlon Corporation at "Phuket 70.3", but both it and Laguna Phuket Triathlon are now run by Challenge as the Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest. I led the entire age-grouper field during the bike, came out of T2 in second place poised to beat my overall age-grouper 2nd place finish last year, then wound up jogging and pooping for 2 hours. Bummer.

-Managing bacterial issues. I went into Thailand equipped with activated charcoal, oil of oregano, goldenseal/echinacea tincture, high-grade probiotics and nascent iodine. With this potent natural mix of protectants, I've never had issues before. But apparently I swallowed a mouthful of something that even the best stuff couldn't protect me from. My taxi driver on the way to the airport informed me that all the wastewater from all the resorts in the area actually runs into the lagoon that we swam in. So it's possible that I could have simply swallowed a little Thai turd. Gross.

Beginning today, I'm rebooting my entire body with a Gut Cleanse Pack for 30 days. I want that slate wiped damn clean. Before I got on the plane, I also went into the Thanyapura Triathlon Resort for a Myer's Cocktail and high dose Vitamin C injection to try to boost my immune system and rehydrate my body. I think if I hadn't gone through any of these measures I'd be very bad off, but as of now, am simply a bit...regular. In a liquid sort of way.

Look for a future "special podcast" in which I address overseas health issues like this in a more detailed format, but in the meantime, leave your questions, comments and feedback below...


...also tell me, if you wanted me to arrange ONE triathlon adventure for you to go to anywhere in the world as the next big Ben Greenfield triathlon adventure where would YOU want it to be? Thailand? Pucon? Dubai? Norway? Somewhere else?

Let me know! And here's the pics (which include some absolutely HEARTWARMING photos of the kid's triathlon at Thanyapura):

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Exactly How I'm Going To Pack Solid, Strong, Powerful Mass Onto My Skinny Triathlon Body This Winter.

What does it take to build solid power and size for a skinny, 175 pound endurance athlete like me? The photo above is me competing in a 70.3 triathlon at about 190 pounds (I won overall age grouper at that race), and I actually don't mind that slightly more muscular look. After all, I'm not a professional triathlete who needs to stay razor thin 24-7, 365 days a year.

Among both guys and girls, the concept of gaining lean body mass or getting more curvaceous gets talked about a lot, but few have seemed to unlock the secrets of doing it without getting hurt or sick or overtrained. However, in the past few decades, a guy named Dan John, author of several bestselling books on weight training, has emerged as a real leading expert mass gain.

I've quoted Dan many times before in my podcasts, and now it's time for me to actually man-up and use a 12 week variation of his short (and simple) mass gain e-book: "Mass Made Simple".

So I'm setting aside twelve weeks this winter, preparing to eat way more food than I usually eat, and entering the world of attaining body mass - with Dan's program as my guide. Here are the basic principles I'll be following:

1. You must get stronger, and you need to do two things to get stronger: add weight and do more reps. The answer has never been lift light weights for high reps, or lift heavy weights for few reps. The answer remains: Lift heavy weights for high reps.

2. The second part of the formula is that you need to do some serious squatting, which not only makes you hella strong, but also results in a potent release of strength and mass building hormones. One secret of mass gain among the bodybuilding crowd (in which I used to compete) was that to overcome small arms, small chest or any other lack of size was simply to load the body up by squatting more.

3. Finally, the third part of Dan's formula is to spend more time "on the bar" (not to be confused with "at the bar"). For this, Dan is referring to the almighty barbell. And the single best way to get more time with a bar in your hands is to use something he calls "complexes". Complexes are simply a series of barbell exercises performed back-to-back without ever putting the bar down. You perform all the reps on one exercise before moving to the next. This is much harder than it sounds. Your heart rate goes through the roof. Your muscles burn like hell. You cry and whimper. And then you do it again.

So the trick to gaining mass in Dan's program is to put these three elements together - heavy weights at high reps, squatting and complexes - and then of course, actually surviving the workouts and recovering properly.

To achieve these three objectives, there are also three primary elements to Dan's "Mass Made Simple" book:

Element #1: A toughness-inducing mass strength program that begins each workout - namely the bench press and the one arm overhead press.

Element #2: A lung-sucking, full-body-burning barbell complex comprised of six separate exercises - inserted in the middle of each workout.

Element #3: High rep squats (used as a leg crushing "finisher" to each workout)

Now I have to admit, although I'm doing Dan's entire 6 week program this winter, taking a week to recover, then doing the entire 6 week program one more time, I'm adding a few components so that I stay fit enough to throw down a triathlon at the drop of the hat.

This includes:

-one added, hardcore "power swim" each weekend (40-60 minutes in the water)

-one added, hardcore "Sufferfest" bike each week, along with riding my bike to the gym for each workout

-two short runs, tennis or basketball games each week to maintain running speed.

And of course, my usual biohacks, including things like daily cold thermogenesis, morning Core Foundation routines, and elevation training tricks. I put the entire plan on TrainingPeaks (my software and workout logging weapon of choice) including the nutrition I'll be using, supplements, and each detailed daily workout.

So if you care to join me on my journey, in which myself and everyone who joins me will be posting before/after photos on the BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook page - and getting way cool prizes for the best mass gain results - then simply...

 --> here to grab my 100% done-for-you Simple Mass Gain Plan for Triathletes and Skinny Endurance Athletes. <--

P.S. Dan recommends you focus on getting as lean as you possibly can before entering this program. I recommend you detox and clean your body before entering this program. So you may want to also consider doing an "adrenal reboot" and using 4-12 weeks of my Adrenal Recovery Plan before jumping in.

P.P.S. If you get the "Mass Made Simple"e-book to review it and to accompany the TrainingPeaks triathlon-tweaked verison of the program I wrote, then be forewarned - Dan John recommends Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches. I don't. I instead recommend following my personal nutrition recommendations.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My "Minimalist Training" Build-Up to Ironman Hawaii World Championships

Want a sneak peek into exactly what I'm doing for my "minimalist" triathlon protocol before Ironman Hawaii on October 12? 

Here's what the last month of training looks like (and click here to see exactly how I qualified, what I eat/drink, etc.):

Sep 2, Mon: Bike 3 miles to the YMCA, swim 30 minutes of 200m repeats, 20 minute easy treadmill run for recovery, bike home.

Sep 3, Tue: Ride Elliptigo to YMCA, do 5x5 heavy lift (squat, deadlift, overhead press, clean), 30 minutes sauna.

Sep 4, Wed: Travel to wilderness survival camp. Day off. No phone or computer access.

Sep 5, Thu: Wilderness survival camp. No phone or computer access.

Sep 6, Fri: Wilderness survival camp. No phone or computer access.

Sep 7: Sat: Wilderness survival camp. No phone or computer access.

Sep 8, Sun: Wilderness survival camp. No phone or computer access.

Sep 9, Mon: Home for one day. Hike with family.

Sep 10, Tue: Fly to London to speak at Global Triathlon Conference. Day off.

Sep 11, Wed: 1 hr lift/bike/run high intensity interval training in hotel gym.

Sep 12, Thu: 1 hr lift/bike/run high intensity interval training in hotel gym.

Sep 13, Fri: 1 hr lift/bike/run high intensity interval training in hotel gym.

Sep 15, Sun: 1 hr lift/bike/run high intensity interval training in hotel gym. Fly home.

Sep 16: Mon: Easy Elliptigo ride on the trail by my house. 30 minutes sauna if time.

Sep 17, Tue: Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 30 minute swim "skills & drills", 20-30 minute sprint workout on treadmill.

Sep 18, Wed: Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 30 minutes lift, 30 minutes sauna if time.

Sep 19, Thu: Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 30 minute swim "sprint" workout, 20-30 minute tempo workout on treadmill.

Sep 20, Fri: 30 minutes kettlebell/mace/clubbell workout. Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 30 steady hypoxic swim, 30 minutes sauna.

Sep 21, Sat: Long ride. 80-100 miles.

Sep 22, Sun: 90 minute hilly run. 

Sep 23, Mon: Recovery day. Yoga. Possibly hot yoga.

Sep 24, Tue: Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 30 minute swim "skills & drills", quick sprint workout on treadmill.

Sep 25, Wed: Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 30 minutes lift, 30 minutes sauna if time.

Sep 26, Thu: Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 30 minute swim "sprint" workout, 20-30 minute tempo workout on treadmill.

Sep 27, Fri: 30 minutes kettlebell/mace/clubbell workout. Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 30 steady hypoxic swim, 30 minutes sauna.

Sep 28, Sat: Sufferfest Blender ride.

Sep 29, Sun: 90 minute hilly run. 

Sep 30, Mon: Recovery day. Yoga. Possibly hot yoga.

Oct 1, Tue: Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 20 minute swim skills, 20 minute treadmill run, 30 minutes sauna.

Oct 2, Wed: Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 20 minute swim sprints, 20 minute lift, 30 minute sauna.

Oct 3, Thu: Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 20 minute swim sprints, 20 minute treadmill run, 30 minute sauna.

Oct 4, Fri: Hard 1 hour swim. 30 minutes sauna. Lift if time.

Oct 5, Sat: 60 minute run. 30 minute swim skills workout.

Oct 7, Mon: Bike 3 miles to YMCA, 20 minute swim skills, 20 minute treadmill run, 30 minutes sauna.

Oct 8, Tue: Travel to Hawaii, day off.

Oct 9, Wed: Bike to pier, quick swim. Short treadmill run at hotel. Mobility work.

Oct 10, Thu: Bike to pier, quick swim. Mobility work.

Oct 11, Fri: Bike to pier, quick swim. Mobility work.

Oct 12, Sat: Race Day!

Questions, comments or feedback? Leave them below. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

An Insider Sneak Peek Into My Last Month of "Minimalist" Triathlon Training Before An Ironman Triathlon

Want a sneak peek into exactly what I'm doing for my "minimalist" triathlon protocol before Ironman Canada on August 25? 

Here's what the last month of training looks like:

7/21, Sun: 3 hour bike ride up Mt. Spokane (1 hour to base, ~30 minute climb, descend, 1 hour home). Ironman pace.
7/22, Mon: 90 minute run with 3x10 minute Zone 3-4 hill repeats.
7/23, Tue: Bike to pool (2.5 miles away from house), 40-60 minute swim as 500-800m repeats.
7/24, Wed: Bike to gym (2.5 miles away from house), 30 minute heavy lift.
7/25, Thu: Bike to river (1 mile away from house) for 30 minutes of swim/run repeats.
7/26, Fri: Bike to gym, 30 minute lighter lift with core/balance.
7/27, Sat: 90 minutes Sufferfest blender on bike with 30 run off bike.
7/28, Sun: 90 run on treadmill as 5 easy, 3 hard, 5 easy, 6 hard, 5 easy, 1 very hard repeats.
7/29, Mon: Off
7/30, Tue: Elliptigo to pool for swim
7/31, Wed: Bike to gym, 30 minute heavy lift.
8/1, Thu: Bike to river for 30 minutes of swim/run repeats.
8/2, Fri: Elliptigo to gym, 30 minute lighter lift with core/balance.
8/4, Sun: Off. Lots of foam roller/mobility work.
8/6, Tue: Easy recovery swim in river. Yoga.
8/7, Wed: Bike to gym, 30 minute heavy lift.
8/8, Thu: Off day with easy swim drills.
8/9, Fri: Bike to river for 30 minutes of swim/run repeats.
8/10, Sat: Olympic Distance Triathlon.
8/11, Sun: Easy recovery bike 60 minutes, easy recovery swim drills.
8/12, Mon: 1 hour hard upriver swim
8/13, Tue: Bike to gym, 30 minute heavy lift.
8/14, Wed: OFF, travel to Atlanta.
8/15, Thu: Ancestral Health Symposium, minimal training (short lift, short run).
8/16, Fri: Ancestral Health Symposium, minimal training (short swim, short bike).
8/17, Sat: Ancestral Health Symposium, minimal training (short lift, short run).
8/18, Sun: Ancestral Health Symposium, minimal training (short swim/bike/run).
8/19, Mon: Bike to pool, 1 hour swim drills/feel for water.
8/20, Tue: Bike to gym, easy body weight lift.
8/21, Wed: OFF, travel to Whistler.
8/22, Thu: Swim/bike/run short repeats, mobility work.
8/23, Fri: OFF, mobility work.
8/24, Sat: Swim/bike/run short repeats, mobility work.
8/25, Sun: RACE.

Only thing that doesn't appear above are the "underground training tactics", like isometric holds after bike rides, cold thermogenesis, some electrical stimulation, etc. Leave your questions or comments below and I'll be happy to reply!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ironman Japan 70.3: The Official "Ask Me Anything You Want" Article.

A few days ago, on the BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook page, I posted this:
***This is the official "Ask Me Anything About Ironman Japan 70.3" thread.*** You ask, and I'll answer in the race report I'm writing on this Sunday. Pacing, fueling, pre-race, post-race...whatever you'd like to know, comment below, and feel free to share!

And you had some great questions. 

So let's jump right into this non-run-of-the-mill race report (and for a more comprehensive discussion of the Japan 70.3 logistics and nutrition, listen to last week's  06/08/2013 "Naked Truth" phone app episode with Jessa, which we recorded after downing a post-race bottle of cold sake)...


Dom Leste With the changes you made, how did your HRV & other biomarkers during the week & post race compare to wildflower?

As I reported here, leading up to and after Wildflower my cortisol hormone was out of control, and my heart rate variability, an important measurement of my nervous system health and overall training "readiness" was dropping.

So in the 5 weeks, separating Wildflower and Japan, I incorporating deep breathing and meditation, and also added a complete recovery day with "yoga only" (during which I also popped Master Amino Pattern like it was going out of style).

In addition, I started eating more. Like just "not being hungry ever". I don't weigh myself so I have no clue if I gained weight, but I wanted to send a message to my body that it didn't need to be catabolic and stressed. Thanks to Dave Asprey, a big part of that "eating more" was just more MCT oil and butter mixed into smoothies and stuff like that.

Anyways, my weekly Talking20 blood measurements still aren't in, so I have no clue what happened there. But my morning heart rate variability measurements went up significantly. So there's that. 


Arik Riehl What are the major changes you have to make in order to compete at a event where there is significant time differences?

Since Wildflower?

I ran less (two runs per week, one 90 minute hard run and one 30 minute sprint/skills run).

Played tennis less.

Sat more (i.e. took more breaks from my standing workstation).

Ate more (see above).

So my body was way more recovered going into this race.

I also changed to rhythmic breathing and nasal breathing, based on two books:

I used this new form of breathing all during the race and it helped a bunch. I think it's why I PR'd in the half marathon.

Then of course remember Japan 70.3 is a different course - flat and fast.

Finally, I held a new kind of running flask and I think it made me run faster. No joke. Scroll down to bottom of this post and check out the MyList. It is called a "Vapor".


Andrew Gowans Damm that is a fast run. Congrats! Q's - how did carb reduction effect your training in the first few weeks? Did you notice increased Hr and RPE during that time? If so, how long before you started to feel good / normal in training? What is your training 60/90 min long tempo run pace?

I was already on a "low carb diet".

So I switched to a ketogenic diet, which means I wasn't "cycling carbs" back in on the weekend. I talk about that here.

But it really is a moot point because I used my Metron ketone breath testing tubes during this trip and I wasn't in ketosis at all in the 2 days leading up to Japan. Too much travel and rice, and due to a shipping delay, I wasn't able to bring along my planned supply of MCT oil, coconut oil and butter. So ketosis kind of went to crap.

Like, race morning breakfast was a bowl of white rice.

But I still used only 200-250 calories per hour DURING race (of UCAN + MAPX2Performance). So I was still tapping into primarily fatty acids during the event.

Also, I have no clue what my normal running pace is. I run based on feel and breathing and here's why.  (But I still recommend the athletes I coach to use HR monitors/GPS for the important runs so I can see what's going on with them as their coach).


Steven Hall Why do you often understate your training volume?

I don't understate my volume, Steven.  People think you have to train a bunch to be fast.

Read this.

I use that "Ancestral Athlete" approach I describe in that link I just gave you. I go "balls out" when I train, then I recover really well. That's it. There's nothing magical about it.

If I wanted to go pro, and get really fast, I'd amp up training volume and switch to an 80/20 approach. But I don't have the time or desire to do that. I get ADD if I ride my bike longer than 2 hours or run for longer than 90 minutes so I avoid that as much as I can.


N=1 Lifestyle You going to stay ketogenic with your fueling for this race or keep your regular fueling strategy and get back to the ketogenic diet after the fact?

Well, see above. Plan was to stay ketogenic, but it didn't happen. It's damn hard to do when you're traveling, that's for sure. I'm back into ketosis now, mostly with Bulletproof Coffee, keto kale shakes and very little carb.

Like today I'll have this for breakfast.

Then go to church. Then have a sardine salad for lunch. Take a nap. 10 mile trail run at a fast pace. Can of coconut milk. Frisbee golf with kids. Liver, sauerkraut and roasted eggplant for dinner, along with lots of butter.


Bradley Odom Would love to see you power numbers during the race, as well as mile splits on run. Thanks!

LOL. So would I. But I don't track any of that stuff. Bad me. I'm more qualitative than most people think. But part of what makes me happy about this sport is unplugging and just not having computers and phones and stuff around while I'm racing.

I did wear my fancy Timex Run Trainer. But I just had the chronograph function going and that was it.


Dan Ordoins N=1 Lifestyle. Same question. Ben Love to here more of YOUR thoughts on Keto for performance and PPP pathway.

I think it will be another year before I can realize full benefits of ketosis. Listen to this Jack Kruse podcast to hear more about why. Body takes awhile to be able to fully tap into PPP.

Also, based on what I described earlier, I have yet to do a full race in "ketosis". Ironman Canada will ultimately be the first "true test", but that's just the way the chips fall. I have a big training weekend planned in Canada July 5-7, so I'll keep folks posted on how that goes over on the Facebook page.


Finally, I've decided to make a "MyList" for you of all the gear and nutrition that I use for a race like this. Check it out below - I hope you find it helpful! If you have more questions, comments and feedback, leave them below!