Monday, January 30, 2012

Pro-Elite Altitude Training Camp #1: Denver, CO

                Training for the 2012 season is underway. This past week kicked off the first big volume training week of the year - which turned out to be my biggest volume week to date.  Coach Melissa Mantak headed up her first 8 day elite training camp of the year. While many pro triathletes head to Tuscon, Arizona or Australia at this time of year, we opted to stay close by and train where we are at.  Athletes stayed with both myself and Melissa all week, and came from the Denver/Boulder area, Santa Barbara CA, Boston, northern California, and Wisconsin.  Melissa is looking to grow these camps in the future and hopes to hold one every few months, either in the Denver area, possibly Colorado Springs and a few out of state. I know I would see huge benefits to taking part in such camps every several months. There are physical gains, but equally important are the mental gains and motivation you take with you after weeks like this.
         It's amazing how much easier it is to train all day when you have 8 others training alongside you.  Seriously amazing! A 33 hour training week is no problem with a group - it's a bit harder alone, and this is where discipline comes in.  I've come away with a few big conclusions. First, these weeks are similar to what many top pros are doing - week after week after week, not just one week. This is what it takes, for many, to succeed at the highest level. I say 'for many', since there are always outliers and those whose bodies react better to lower volume training. Secondly, camps like this can fill the void of a social scene which I feel like I had been craving lately, after hours of training per day solo.  I learned a lot more in the past 8 days than anticipated.  Each night we held dinner discussions on a variety of triathlon-related topics, and took turns leading discussions and sharing our personal experiences. Lots of great stuff came from everyone. No matter how much you know about the sport, there is ALWAYS a lot more to know. I shared my experiences with muscle cramping in the past, and co-led a discussion on nutrition with Kyle Visin. We also discussed the importance of choosing nutrition products like Powerbar products, with their "C2MAX" formula of a 2:1 ratio of glucose and fructose, rather than products without both.
                 My body feels great this week, after a 7 day period of about 32,000 meters of swimming, 61 miles of running, and 13 hours on the bike.  We lucked out with pretty good weather all week, other than two runs in the snow - one of which was a 12 miler at the Highline Canal that was pretty memorable - a run in which we took turns slipping on the ice since the thin layer of snow kept us from being able to determine our running surface. Dirt or ice, it all looks the same with a layer of snow over it. We all came back with some good laughs and bit of blood and bruises to leave us with some good visible memories.

Elite training camp #1 athletes:
Myself: Denver, CO 
Justin Daerr: Boulder, CO - 8:18 at Ironman FL last year and 2nd fastest Ironman time for an American in 2011. Justin is also a coach, and brought with him lots of great information on training, but more importantly true wisdom that only comes from years of experience in the sport. One topic he spoke on that stood out to me was this: We all signed up for triathlon training. We CHOSE this lifestyle. Don't complain, don't get people to feel sorry for us because we have to train all day, and don't act like training all day everyday is so hard. We GET to do it, and it's a privilege. We chose this!
Kyle Visin: Santa Barbara, CA - a friend of mine from California. Also a coach and 9:11 Ironman Kona finisher and top level amateur. I learned a lot from Kyle this week about the ins and outs of complex cycling analysis.
Mark Hillers: Boulder, CO - Mark moved from Texas to chase his dream of becoming a pro triathlete. He's also coached by Melissa. He has a great work ethic, and is never afraid to push the pace. I look forward to seeing him earn his pro license this season at the Ironman 70.3 distance.
Pamela Hutchison: Eureka, CA - Pam also is coached by Melissa, and is a hard working athlete balancing her job as a personal trainer while pursuing triathlon
Jackie Arendt: Wisconsin - Jackie is a Team Timex member and has finished in the top 3 overall/pro division at several Ironman events, including St. George and Louisville.
Jordan Jones: Golden, CO - Jordan came for about half the camp, as he had duties at work for his online ski shop Jordan is a good friend and former Riptide teammate of mine, a solid all around triathlete who proved last season he is a rising top level triathlete in the US. Solid swim-bike-runner as he qualified for the HyVee 5150 Championships, and looks to do so again in 2012.
Brett Nichols: Boston area, MA - Brett is a first year pro and a top swimmer. He lead the swim workouts all week, which made it nice to just sit in behind and push the pace following his lead. Great person and great athlete.

Most of the swimming was done at the University of Denver, the best 50m pool in the state. Cycling routes included Red Rocks area, Bear Creek Park, Lookout Mountain, Chatfield Reservoire/Deer Creek Canyon, and Melissa's house for trainer sessions.  Runs took place at Bear Creek park, Red Rocks amphitheater area, Washington Park, the Highline Canal, and streets surrounding Melissa's house.

The Workouts: (credit: stolen from the blog of Justin Daerr)
Day One: 30 minute easy run, 4 hour moderate ride with two tempo climbs of ~20-25 minutes of duration up Lookout Mountain. ~5K swim, short course yards, with a mixture of intensities.
Day Two: 13 mile run with the final 4K uphill (steep) towards the top of Red Rocks. 5K swim, Long Course, with some pulling. One hour recovery spin on the trainer.
Day Three: 5K swim, Long Course, challenging main set. 30 minute skills session with dynamic warm up and run drills followed by a 10K run on trails. Afternoon ride of nearly 2 hours at moderate, aerobic effort.
Day Four: 5K swim, Long Course, pulling and fast 50s. 10K run with a main set of 3x: 10 x 30on/30off. Afternoon trainer ride with threshold and vo2 main set (2 hours) with 7K tempo run off the bike
Day Five: 5K swim, Short Course Yards, technique focused. 2 hour ride up Lookout Mountain. 45 minute aerobic run off the bike.
Day Six: 5K swim, Long Course, Aerobic/strength with fast 50s. Afternoon brick workout: bike/run/bike/run/bike/run. Lasted about 3.5 hours with a lot of intensity.
Day Seven: Morning run, aerobic/longer, 90 minutes (about 12 miles) in the snow/ice. 4K swim, Short Course meters, aerobic with skills.
Day Eight: 3.5 hour ride with 50-60 minute tempo climb. 7K easy run in the afternoon.

Here are a few snapshots from the week:
Ice Baths post-training

underwater video camera swim analysis

More cold tubs

Running skills workshop at the track
On the bikes
The DU Pool

A well deserved lamb dinner at Melissa's house
The Training Room

Powerbar goods keeping us fueled!

Jackie did a great job keeping her blog updated throughout the week. If you're interested in reading more about the camp and day by day recaps, check out her blog at:

BIG thanks to my coach Melissa Mantak for putting on a great camp. Also thanks to Jason Kask for helping out all week. Jason is currently doing an apprenticeship program for USA Triathlon down in Colorado Springs. Also thanks to Jared & Ryan at Kompetitive Edge for helping out with some training supplies, and to Powerbar for keeping us fueled up. With various Powerbar athletes at camp, we were grateful to have access to the best training nutrition products out there.
Train hard!

1 comment:

Eleuterio Ignacio said...

Training for marathons takes a lot of hard work and can even make your whole body feels soar at the end of it. It would help if someone gave you the inspiration to stick to it despite these discomforts.
You could either find this team from within your group of family and friends. Another great choice would be to consult running groups that are filled with running enthusiasts who might be eager to start their next round of training. This way, you can be sure that they possess the ability and interest to take part in these running events.

training for a triathlon