EPC Swim Speed

EPC Tips – Hone Your Speed in the Pool

Hone your speed in the pool to prepare for race day starts with this swim session…

With the majority of the training focus in the later part of the season on ‘race pace’ efforts, be sure to include small amounts of speed work to maintain the top-end. This swim does just that with some fast 50’s on a lot of rest in the main set.

WARM-UP:
300-600 easy, mixed stroke
4-8x 50 kick w/o fins (25 fast/25 easy)
4-6x 50 (25 skull/25 swim fast)

MAIN SET:
6-8x 50 @ FAST!, 0:30 rests
4x 50 one arm swim drill (25 right/25 left)
4-6x 50 @ FASTER!!, 1:00 rests
4x 50 one arm swim drill (25 right/25 left)
2-4x 50 @ FASTEST!!!, 1:30 rests
100 easy

STRENGTH SET:
4-8x 100 pull, moderate, :15 rests

WARM-DOWN:
100-200 easy, choice

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout our XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!

EPC Uphill Intervals

EPC Tips – Uphill/Downhill Tempo Intervals

This is a great session to include in your build up towards a hilly race; trail running and XTERRA triathlons are a no brainer, but training your legs to run fast downhill is also important for road running and triathlons. The strength, stability, agility and body awareness are critical factors to being able to run fast downhill. Often the downhill segments come late in the race when you’re fatigued, and it’s easy to give up time on the descents if you’re not used to letting it go when the run heads down the mountain.

This is a favorite session of mine to build the strength and confidence to be able to run downhill fast. I use this session with our XTERRA athletes prepping for the hilly courses at Beaver Creek, Ogden, and Maui. The session includes uphill intervals to build the “push-off strength” (concentric) required for going uphill, along with downhill intervals to build the “landing strength” (eccentric) as you ‘catch’ yourself with every step as you control your ‘fall’ down the hillside. Be sure to ease into these sessions as they can leave you surprisingly sore the next day as the extra pounding and quadricep strength required on the downhill is not something most runners train at speed very often. The grade of the hill should be moderate to steep, with decent footing, so you can safely run fast downhill. Too steep or too rocky/rooty and you can’t run down fast enough for the intended training effect.

Uphill/Downhill Tempo Intervals:

Warm-up:

  • Dynamic drills
  • 10:00 easy running
  • 4x 0:20 strides

Main Set:

  • 6:00-12:00 uphill run at ‘race pace’ effort
  • 1:00-3:00 rest at the top
  • 4:00-8:00 downhill run at ‘race pace’ effort
  • 1:00-3:00 rest at the bottom
  • repeat 2-4 times

Warm-down:

  • 5:00-10:00 easy running
  • 5:00 walk

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout our XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!

EPC Tips Recovery Ride

EPC Tips – The “Recovery Ride”

The “Recovery Ride,” an important but often neglected training session.

Late summer is often a time of intense training blocks as athletes put their final touches on their training programs as they approach their final “A priority” events of the year. Along with intense training sessions also comes the need for very easy training (recovery sessions). In order to be able to go hard on your hard days you need to go easy on your easy days. These easy days, often referred to as “active recovery”, give your body a chance to heal, repair damage, and grow stronger. It’s crucial to take these easy days as seriously as your hard days if you really want to see improvement in your fitness.

The “recovery ride” is the quintessential active recovery session. Here’s how to do it PRO style.

  • Put on the sharpest kit you have (the more ‘white’ the better)
  • Jump on your road bike and cruise through/around town in a small gear with a high cadence
  • Resist the urge to ‘race’ your fellow bike path competitors that are passing you
  • At the turnaround point of your ride, stop for a cappuccino & muffin at your favorite coffee spot
  • Spin home

Total time should be 60-90 minutes and you should feel fresher and more energized upon return than when you departed. In all seriousness, make these rides EASY and fun. Just enough effort to get the blood moving, but slow enough that casual commuters are leaving you in their dust. These easy days will allow you to recover more quickly and ready yourself for more hard work in the days that follow.

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout his XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!

swim_workout_beginners

EPC Tips – Swim Technique Workout

Try this big descending workout in the pool for technique work, endurance, and intensity all wrapped into one…

This workout was introduced to me recently at my masters swim group, and it’s become a personal favorite in short time. It’s built around sets of 4x100s with the intervals starting out very long (easy) and gradually descending to faster and faster intervals as you go, until you can go no more. Choose your starting interval to allow you to be able to swim very easily and have 15-20 seconds rest at the wall; this should be roughly 30-40 seconds over your tempo swim pace (say you’re tempo pace is 1:30 per 100, then start this set with a 2:10 interval). From here you will shorten the interval by 0:05 every 4x100s as follows…

4×100 @ 2:10
4×100 @ 2:05
4×100 @ 2:00
4×100 @ 1:55
4×100 @ 1:50
4×100 @ 1:45…

repeat this pattern until you can no longer make the interval time (you know you’re there when you’re basically doing an ‘open turn’, looking at the clock and going into your next 100).

Once you can no longer make the interval, grab your paddles to help you ‘keep up’ and make the next set of 4×100. When you need more help to make the interval, slip your fins on and get in a final round (or two) of 4×100. Your final 4×100 is basically ends up as a straight 400 with everything you’ve got left.  Finish with some warm-down laps.

This is great workout as it starts out super easy and gets progressively harder and harder and harder and harder…

A great strategy to employ through this workout is to use the first few rounds of 4x100s as your easy warm-up and take the time to focus on your technique, by over extending and maximizing distance per stroke. Then as the intervals get a little tighter, focus on being smooth and picking up your stroke rate to achieve your goal time. As the intervals begin to get more challenging to make then you focus on going hard and bringing the power. Once you ‘don the gear’, it’s go-time to swim as hard as you can! This is a great workout to do in a group as well. The slower swimmers can see how long they can hang with the faster swimmers and really use them to help push themselves to new levels of discomfort. If you’re short on time, start the session with a faster interval so you can get into the fast stuff more quickly; if you have the time then start at a slower interval and you can get more yardage in overall. When I do this workout I typically get in 9-10 rounds so around 4000m of swimming. Good stuff!

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout his XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!

EPC Run Repeats

EPC Tips – Power Up Your Run Repeats

Power up your run with these longer hill repeats…

Longer than Vo2 intervals and shorter than typical tempo intervals, these mid-length hill intervals work well in developing running strength and mental fortitude. This is a great ‘base building’ session that prepares you for race specific training later on in your program.

WARM-UP:
5:00 dynamic warm-up
5-10:00 easy run

MAIN SET:
4-6x 6:00 hills at race pace effort, 1:00-2:00 walk/jog recoveries

You can gradually lengthen the work intervals over subsequent weeks, keeping the total work to around 25-40 minutes.

If you don’t have longer hills in your area, you can do these on the treadmill at 6-8% incline.

If you have really big hills in your area, you can do these as you climb a 30+ minute hill, with the walk/jog recovery intervals continuing up the hill before repeating.

WARM-DOWN:
5:00+ easy run
5:00 walk

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout his XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!

AL-Bike2-980x523

EPC Tips – Mid-Summer Threshold Training on the Bike

More threshold training on the bike…

It’s mid-summer and a time most athletes are beginning their specific build-up towards the Fall championship races. Along with the endurance training to coincide with your race distance, you’ll likely want to spend some quality training time at your lactate threshold to improve your sustainable race day power output. For most athletes, lactate threshold is that ‘comfortably hard’ (becoming uncomfortable with longer intervals) effort with an RPE of around 8 out of 10. The classic ‘zone 4′ in heart rate training and 95-105% of your functional threshold power (FTP) for the ‘techie’ athletes in the group.

Depending on your fitness levels and goals, most athletes will want to spend about 30-60 minutes at this effort level within a workout. You can divvy up the work into fairly small or fairly large segments (intervals) to make the work more tolerable. A great strategy is to start with shorter intervals and work up to longer ones as the weeks go by. An example might be 6x 5:00 the first week, 5x 8:00 the second week, and 4×12:00 the third week. Rest should typically be 1/4 to 1/2 of the interval length, although allow for longer rests depending on workout design. If you do these as hill repeats you simply turn around and ride back down the hill for recovery, if on a long continuos road or trainer, you can pedal easily for the recovery time between intervals.

The following is a ‘standard’ session in my training regimen…

Being an off-road athlete, I like doing these on my mountain bike on a local climb that takes approximately 10:00 minutes to climb and 10:00 to loop back down and around to the start again.

WARM-UP:
10:00 easy ride to the trails.
15:00 building effort to get HR up and ready to go.

MAIN SET:  Done in descending time (ascending effort) by starting out a slightly under LT effort for the first one, lower end of LT for #2, upper end for #3, and a little above for #4  (if I’m feeling good!).

~ 10:30 @ 290 watts
10:00 easy looping around

~ 10:00 @ 300 watts
10:00 easy looping around

~ 9:30 @ 310 watts
10:00 easy looping around

~ 9:00 @ 320 watts  (this one at 320w doesn’t always happen, but that’s the goal)

WARM-DOWN: 20:00 Easy ride home

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout his XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!

Swim Start

EPC Tips – Race Pace Swimming with Threshold Swim Set

DIAL IN YOUR RACE PACE SWIMMING WITH THIS ‘BREAD N BUTTER’ THRESHOLD SWIM SET…

No better way to prepare for race day swimming than to train at your goal race pace. With this set you swim 1500 meters at your race pace broken into small manageable sets of 100s on very short rests, broken up with easy 100s to allow you catch your breath and maintain focus. Here’s how it works:

Determine your race pace swimming pace per 100.

Round down, if needed, to get to an even number on zero or five for the pace clock. (ex. 1oo pace is 1:42/100, round down to 1:40)

Then add five seconds to the pace to give you 5 seconds rests per 100 for the ‘race pace’ swimming, and add 30 seconds to your race pace to allow for recovery on the ‘easy’ 100s.

Example: let’s say you swim 1500m in 25:00. That is 1:40 per 100m. Your ‘race pace’ interval is on 1:45 (1:40 + 0:05) and your ‘easy’ interval is on 2:10 (1:40 + 0:30).

This example if for an Olympic distance swim. You can easily increase the number of ‘race pace’ segments up to whatever race distance you are training for (and slow down the interval for the decrease in ‘race pace’ as you swim longer).

The 5×100 ‘race pace’ and 4×100 ‘race pace’ segments are the toughest, once past those you gain confidence with the shorter segments as you progress. Then you finish the last one as an ‘all out’ effort with everything you have left. This set will help you build confidence your race pace swimming as well as build some endurance and strength for race day swimming

WARM-UP:
300 easy
200 build
100 easy

MAIN SET:
5×100 race pace @ race pace + 0:05
100 easy @ race pace + 0:30
4×100 race pace @ race pace + 0:05
100 easy @ race pace + 0:30
3×100 race pace @ race pace + 0:05
100 easy @ race pace + 0:30
2×100 race pace @ race pace + 0:05
100 easy @ race pace + 0:30
1×100 ALL OUT!

WARM DOWN:
200 easy

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout his XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!

Nationals Downhill Running

EPC Tips – Downhill Running Intervals

If you’re racing a hilly course, don’t forget to include some downhill running intervals in your schedule.

Downhill running requires a different kind of strength than what we think of when we think hill strength; eccentric vs. concentric muscular contractions. Most endurance athletes include some form of ‘hill repeats’ in their training schedule, typically performed as hard uphill, easy downhill. A surprise to many is how muscularly fatiguing extended downhills can be in their race!

Don’t get caught off guard and lose valuable time in your next hilly race, by incorporating some fast downhill running in your program.

Here is a favorite of mine when preparing for the hilly XTERRA races of the Mountain Championships, USA Championships, and World Championship (for more XTERRA USA & World Champs training ideas click HERE)…

WARM-UP:
– 5:00 dynamic warm-up drills
– 5:00 easy running
– 5:00 building effort

MAIN SET: Performed on a 1 mile off-road hill climb, gaining about 600 feet elevation. If you don’t have large hills to run, you can run multiple shorter repeats.

2-4 rounds of:
– Run uphill hard (appx. 10:00)
– Rest 1:00 at the top
– Run downhill fast!  (appx. 6:00)
– Rest 1:00 at the bottom

Repeat

Goal is to maintain pace (interval times remain similar without dropping off more than 15-20 seconds from the first rep). If paces drop, you likely ran too fast on the first one.

WARM-DOWN:
– 10:00 easy run
– 5:00 walk
– Total time is 60-90 minutes.

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. You can find this workout, and others like it for the swim, bike and run, by joining his Group Coaching programs for 2014.

Josiah Middaugh

EPC Tips – Include Longer Rides Mid-Season

Include some longer rides in your mid-season program to maintain your aerobic base for late-season success.

Typically off-season and early season training includes plenty of longer endurance based riding in most people’s programs as they begin to build up for the upcoming race season. Then once fully immersed in the race season, the longer endurance based sessions often get put on the back burner as racers focus on shorter high intensity training sessions. As a result your aerobic endurance gradually erodes as your race season progresses. Over the course of a long race season you may find yourself lacking the endurance needed for your end-of-season races. To prevent this loss of endurance from occurring, be sure to include some longer aerobic sessions within your race season training program.

A favorite strategy of mine is to find a weekend where you can get away for 2-3 back to back long rides.

This mini-block of endurance riding can really give you a boost to help maintain, or even improve, your endurance and strength on the bike. Here’s how to implement…

  • This works best the week after a race, or toward the end of a ‘recovery week’. Take the first several days of the week to recover and rest from your race effort.
  • Map out routes to ride. It works best if the ride is different from your regular riding routes.
  • Think BIG! The idea is to really challenge yourself with distance and elevation gain, two or even three days in a row.
  • Try planning an ‘overnighter’ where you ride to a far away destination town, stay the night in a hotel, and ride home the next day. This works with a small backpack for extra clothes (or have some meet you at your destination).
  • Gather some friends to ride with (for safety and enjoyment).
  • Enjoy the ride! With no intervals or specific objectives, other than getting from point A to point B and back again, you can simply ride. Ride a comfortable pace all day just cruise.

Implementing these mini-blocks of big riding in the middle of your race season will help preserve your aerobic endurance as well as give you something fun to look forward to other than racing. If your racing season is really long, you should consider implementing a dedicated endurance training block after a mid-season break (see previous post) to ensure you rebuild your base for the second half of your season.

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout his XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!