felog.net

The trials and tribulations of an elite level age-group triathlete.

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You're doing it wrong, you need to go with __________.

Barefoot
Forefoot
Midfoot
Minimalist
Maximalist
Zero Drop
Less is More
More is More
Quality over Quantity
Paleo
Primal
Vegan

The list goes on, it's very dogmatic and there are hoards proselytizing their 'religion'.

I'm sure all of my problems could easily be solved if I just converted to forefoot running and went to some Crossfit classes but only if I convert to a Paleo diet.   Or maybe I could just take a sensible approach by identifying my strengths/weaknesses and applying a specific approach that isn't a one size fits all solution.

If I look at the above list, I can pull off almost everything on it and I have some contradicting overlap.  For example, I race Ironman in racing flats but I run trails in big comfy shoes.  I will also mix up my training across the season and across the years which might lean toward the More is More approach (read:  volume) but then change to Quality over Quantity (read:  more intensity).

Hands down, 2013 was my best season for Ironman and yet my training log shows the least amount of hours but volume was replaced by intensity.  If you isolate that one year, one could argue that it's obvious that a Quality over Quantity approach is superior.  

One 'could' argue it but I believe that one would be incorrect.  

Factoring in the prior years, I would point to the fact that I had built a large engine and I'd become more durable.  I would also add that attempts to add intensity prior to 2013 were met with minor injuries.

Going back to my comment of identifying strengths and weaknesses --

Prior to 2013, my strength was my ability to string together large blocks of easy training.
Post 2013, my strength became durability even when coupled with intensity.

Having no religion allows one to look at all of them to pick and choose the best parts at the appropriate times.

I've used volume when it provided results and I avoided intensity because it frequently harmed me.  Continuing to look down the avenue of intensity though, I eventually found that I could do it safely and it was fortunate timing because I was beginning to see diminishing returns from volume.

With shoes, I'm constantly trying new ones.  For a long time, I stayed in the shoes that kept the plantar fasciitis away.  But somewhere along the way, I built up enough durability that I didn't need that type of shoe.  I started racing in racing flats and then I eventually started training in whatever I wanted.  When I first started trail running, I used my road shoes.  It seemed to work well until I decided to race a trail race in racing flats.  I got hurt and I stopped doing that.

As far as diet, I like meat so that pretty much rules out vegetarian and vegan.  I did try Paleo for a while but it made me fat, slow and tired.  I went back to my boring diet of something that probably resembles the food pyramid except mine has a little bit of chocolate and cookies at the top of the pyramid and a ton of coffee and wine at the bottom.  Recently I talked with someone regarding the Paleo approach and it was suggested that I didn't give it enough time and that I also need to workout frequently in a depleted state.  

The general idea of this diet, as far as I can tell, is that you teach the body to rely more on fat as a fuel source.  As someone who seems to be tied to a bottle with calories which I liken to a baby to its bottle, I wouldn’t mind the body burning a little more fat instead of me sucking on the nipple of an Ultimate Direction bottle.  And that isn't some sort of sponsor plug, the nipple really is similar to that which you would see on a baby bottle.  (Gimme my ba-ba!)

Lately I've been running with some very successful ultra dudes and dudettes who seem to be able to run a zillion miles on one gel.  I'm willing to visit and revisit any and all options, including Paleo, because my only loyalty is to increased performance.

So that's me and if you isolate 2013 down to the basics:

1.  Intensity over volume.
2.  Weekly volume of 10,000 yards in the pool, 150-200 miles on the bike and 25-45 miles of running.
3.  Do almost all of your rides on the trainer.
4.  Caloric intake of 400 calories an hour while racing.
5.  And the really critical piece -- you need 12cm of saddle to arm pad drop along with 165mm cranks.

I'm pretty sure that's the winning formula.  :\

In all seriousness though -- you can't say THIS is the approach for everyone.  

I'm in my 8th year of racing Ironman and with respect to each of the disciplines, I have zero problems covering the distance individually or as a whole.  For someone just entering the sport, their biggest limiter is likely to be the distance.  That's just the tip of the iceberg and there's really no point in going down the list to address the faults with the rest of the 'winning' formula points.

I feel like there needs to be something for you to walk away with -- a consolation prize.  How about some points I believe to be true across the board:

1.  Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.
2.  Eat real food.
3.  Wear running shoes that don't hurt your feet or your body parts.
4.  Look at the results instead of the process -- does the process work for athletes like you?
5.  Be willing to try, and revisit, something different.
6.  Keep an open mind.