Training Weeks 10/28 and 11/4

This was NYC Marathon week. Very low volume with about 2-3miles of light running per day. The first half of the week was recovering and evaluating AthHalf. Everything post race felt great and I was very excited to race NYC. During my largest taper week, I focus on “Don’t stand when you can sit, don’t sit when you can lie down” when in taper. To keep me from going insane, I normally find a few good movies to watch or a puzzle to do. I think I nailed my taper and I was feeling fantastic going into the marathon. Check out my last post on the race breakdown to see how it all went.
OFF WEEEEEK!! I took a fantastic week off. I did one group run and one group ride. Both were fairly low efforts. The rest of the week was being a vegetable on the couch without thinking about intensity minutes, quality workouts, or fatigue. I really needed that week. Now it’s time to get back to training and weekly breakdowns will return. Follow me on Strava for daily updates on what I am doing. My first week back is the start of the Zwift Academy Tri Workouts. I will be using these workouts for the next two weeks to build back into full volume training. In December, I will be hitting the workouts one more time at full intensity. I am very excited to see what is ahead.

2019 NYC Marathon Race Recap

I have had a few days to digest the race and go over how I feel about it. Overall, I am very happy with the experience and grateful I was able to be a part of it. Many of the runners had to put in tons of work to get accepted into the race; raising several thousand dollars, running nine NYC races and volunteering at another, or running fast enough to qualify. Congratulations to all those runners. I was accepted with a lottery spot, so just being there was lucky. I still had expectations for my race and what I wanted to do. I will start with a short version of the race then break everything down into detail.

Short Version

This is my happy face.

I stayed with a friend on Staten Island the night before the race. That allowed me to wake up around 7am and basically walk to the start line. My only other marathon was the disaster of a race last year, so my start corral was Blue Wave 4 Corral E. There are only 4 waves total with corrals from A-F. I tried to sneak in to the corral with a friend for Orange Wave 1 Corral A so I could run with other people that had the same goal finish as me. Props to marathon security, you guys do a damn good job. Didn’t make it, so I ran with my assigned wave. From the cannon to about mile 4, I was running around thousands of people. I tried to be as polite as possible because I didn’t want to spoil anyone’s marathon experiences by hit-sticking them in the first 5k. That drained quite a bit of energy, but I was still on 3hour pace. Then around mile 5, I reached the back of Wave 3. I tried again to push through the crowds to the front of the wave, but at that point Waves 1-3 had formed a 20mile blob of 50,000 runners. I was incredibly frustrated. I wanted to break 3 hours and at mile 6 I knew I had no shot. Rough. The next couple miles were just negative energy, but eventually I looked around and saw how incredible this race is. Tens of thousands of runners and millions of spectators line the 26.2 miles of New York City on a brisk Sunday morning. Wow. The remaining 15miles were enjoyable. My heart rate was down to about 140bpm and I was feeling happy. I saw several friends along the route and really enjoyed the day from there. The weather was perfect, and the race was fantastic. I did not run my goal time, but I did run over an hour faster than last year.

Long, Detailed Version

What I do race eve:

  • Big meal early: I try and eat my biggest meal of the day around 3pm the day before a race. I don’t want to wake up with partially digested pasta dinner and feel bloated. Then to hold me through the night I have a smaller meal. This year I had a massive Chipotle bowl at 4pm. Delicious.
  • Dinner: Small and bland. I had a bowl of pasta with butter. I keep the meal bland to avoid overeating. I want my body resting, not digesting, all night. Oatmeal or rice works as well.
  • Stretching: Light stretches held for 2-3min. I try to hit all major muscle groups and see how everything is feeling. Use this as a body checklist. I keep the stretches to a 4 out of 10. I am not forcing anything, just falling into postures.
  • Chill: Get my mind off the race. Watch a movie, play some video games, or read a book. Try and move your focus away from the race since you have probably been thinking about it non-stop for the last 2 weeks. Try and focus on breathing long and deep only through the nose. Breathing through the mouth is a sign of tension and elevated stress.
  • Lay out clothes, pin bib, gram: set out everything you are going to race in the night before. Take a pic and post it to insta so everyone knows you are running. (make sure to put as few things in the photo as possible so people think you are a hardcore runner: shirt, shorts, shoes, bib. That’s it)

What I do race morning:

  • Try to wake up relaxed. Set your alarm earlier than you need to and allow yourself to wake up and breathe. Sit up, put the phone down and just relax.
  • Breakfast: I normally do a smoothie, half a bagel, and a banana about 3 hours before the start. This gives me 100+ grams of carbs without the feeling of being heavy. I also have a small coffee to get the digestion going…and…you know…yeah.
  • About 2 hours before the start of the race I will have another banana and a Red Bull. I don’t know if this is good to do or not, but I love how Red Bull makes me feel.
  • Know where to go: make sure you drove or walked your trip to the start of the race. Know where the parking is and try to remove as much stress as possible.

NYC Marathon Pre-Race:

We got there about 10min before the corrals closed. The plan was to have Alex walk in front of me and we both just act frazzled and run into the corral. That did not work out. Security was very seriously checking. So, I gave Alex a good luck hug and sent him on his way (congrats on the 2:59 dude!). He was Wave 1 and now I had to wait about 90min for Wave 4. I tried to sneaky sneak into Wave 1 again later just as they were closing the gates. Again, did not work. Waiting time. I found a mat a Wave 1 runner left and took a little nap. The announcers were very loud so there was no chance of missing anything. I stood up about 20min before the corral opened and did a few 50m jogs and strides. The corrals opened and I went straight to the front of mine. From there I tried to weave through corrals as much as I could before we got to the start line. I moved from E to near B but still had a ton of runners in front of me. I was near the 4:30 pace group at that point.

NYC Marathon Race:

Bang! The race starts with a 1 mile “uphill”. The start is at the bottom of a big ol’ bridge. The first mile was around 8:30 pace but most of that was sprinting between people then getting stopped by a large pack and repeat. The next mile was downhill on the other side of the bridge. From there, it was rolling bumps through Brooklyn. My pace was consistent and feeling good, but off my sub 3hour goal. I was still feeling strong, so I kept pushing it to try and pull the 1:30 half back. It was very difficult to politely cut through crowds. I decided around mile 10 to back off and just enjoy the race. I went through the halfway point around 1:36. That could be disappointing, but then I realized that was 2min faster than my 2018 half marathon PR. The rest of the race was high fives and small dance parties.

There was a moment just before mile 16, while running up and over the Queensboro Bridge, that really framed my 2019 NYC Marathon. In 2018, the bridge was a struggle. I was stopping every 100 yards to sit down. Every step over the bridge hurt. I was undertrained and in pain. This year, I jogged right up and over that bridge with a smile. No problem at all. I got to the high point of the bridge and paused for just a moment to take in the accomplishment. Every mile after that was emanating sheer positivity.

First Ave was a blast. You can see the next 2 miles ahead of you crowded with fans and runners. People are just having a good time. Then we crossed into the Bronx, which has had a reputation for being quiet. Not this year. Every second of the Bronx had music and parties. Whatever they did this year worked. That was a great experience. Fifth Ave was just as lively as first and the turn into Central Park was great. I saw my friends in the park for a sec and pushed through to the finish. I was tired and sore by the end of the race. If you jogged, ran, or walked, 26.2 miles is still a long damn distance.

Race nutrition was perfect this year. I had a GEndurance gel every 3.5 miles and made sure to finish my water bottle every hour. I didn’t feel thirsty or need to pee along the race. The next time I do NYC, I am going to qualify for it, start in the fast corral, and absolutely crush the race. I will be back. I don’t know when, but I’ll get there.

2019 Finish Line

NYC Marathon Post Race:

The walk from finish line to exiting the park is easily the worst part of the race. Everyone just wants to sit down but we were ushered like cattle for another mile or more to get the food bags and ponchos. I eventually got out of the park and got to my friends. We waited until everyone from the group was done and I headed back to Hoboken. I got dinner in Hoboken and immediately made up for 8+months of not drinking. The Monday hangover was much worse than the post marathon pain. I had a great weekend, but now it’s time to get back to work. Getting ready for the 2020 triathlon season. Big things are coming.

Training Week 10/21/2019

AthHalf 2019, around mile 7

Taper is finally here! The week was mostly low effort cycling with some run intensity. The week was capped with AthHalf, a local half marathon. Everything is coming together and I am pumped for the NYC Marathon. This week will be low volume and low intensity to go full rest before the marathon. This is the hardest part of training. I really want to put in more work, but the time for intensity is over. It’s time to trust my training and relax.

Monday: 6:30a Vin Yogaa 75min. If you are not doing yoga you need to start.
4:00p 16mi very easy ride. Just spin the legs and keep the heart rate low. Focus on all nose breathing.
6:00p Run. 1mi warm up, 1.5mi at MP, 1mi cool down. Great run, everything felt good at marathon pace.
Tuesday: 4:00p 20ish miles easy ride, same work as Monday. Keep the 1+ hour fitness without adding a large toll to the body.
6:30p 8×400 rest :90. Held 1:15 pretty easily on these. Maybe one of my best track sessions of all time. Everything felt fantastic.
Wednesday: 6:30a Hot Yoga Sesh
5:00p 27mi super easy ride. Keeping everything easy and fluid.
Thursday: 5:30a 2mi Run at marathon pace. It’s important to get sleep, but also make sure you are waking up early once or twice the week before a big race. Feeling good at 6am is very important for running a good race.
6:30p fun group run. The plan was running around 7:30/mi, ended up running at 6:55/mile. I wasn’t looking at my watch, just running and feeling good.
Friday: 6:30a Yoga. Then a full off day. Don’t stand when you can sit. Don’t sit when you can lie down.
Saturday: 9:00a 60mi group ride. I kept this ride very low effort, didn’t take aggressive pulls, and watched my nutrition. Cycling is an awesome way to keep the effort low while still going for longer time periods. 3 hour fitness is critical for a marathon.
Sunday: AthHalf 2019. I decided to run the local half marathon. I know this seems like a crazy thing to do 1 week from a marathon. This decision was based on weekly training volume. I know that I can recover from efforts like this because they are less than 15% of my regular volume. Don’t do this if you only put in 10hrs/week or less. I did not race the event either. The goal was to comfortably run the same speed I will for NYC.

1 week to NYC.

Goal Setting and Training Blocks

Here is my take on how to set goals for athletic performance and how to work your way toward that goal. A good goal is based on the “SMART” goal building format with an underlying “Why”. A SMART Goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. To set a time-based goal, you need experience in the race first. If you are running your first 5k or first marathon, your goal should be to finish. From there, you can build time-based goals. Check out the previous post on how to start a running program.


Specific: Use action words to say what you want to do. Who, What, Where.
Measurable: A specific number to work towards and a clear definition of accomplishment. Data!
Achievable: This defines how intense the goal is going to be and how to shape training blocks. The goal should be almost out of reach. This takes time to learn how to set goals that will be hard but not too hard.
Realistic/Relevant: Now evaluate what kind of time and commitment you can honestly put forth to achieve the goal. Is the training required to get there within your capability?
Timely: Deadline.

Good vs Bad Goals:

Faster 5k

Bad Goal: I want to run a faster 5k.
There is nothing here to work towards or build a training plan from. A goal like this means you probably run a couple of times per week with no structure.

Better Goal: I want to take 3min off my current 5k best.
Here we have a measurable goal. However, it’s hard to tell if this is achievable or if you have the time needed to get there and there’s no deadline.

Best Goal: My Current 5k PB is 21:05 and I normally run 4 times per week. On March 22nd, 2020, there is a local 5k and I want to run under 20min for the first time.We have a specific goal, to achieve on a specific date. We can build a training plan around this goal very easily and work towards it. It’s not too far out of reach and we have enough time in our current training calendar to work towards it.

First Marathon

Bad Goal: I want to run a marathon

Better Goal: I want to run the Chicago Marathon at some point

Best Goal: Today is December 12th and I won a lottery entry to the Chicago Marathon for October 11th, 2020. I want to finish the race.
We know how to enter, know the race date, and have plenty of time to build a training plan to work towards this goal. Although there isn’t a specific time, we do have a metric to measure success, “Finish”.

Why Set a Goal?

A good goal will drive your training plan until race day. Write the goal down on a sheet of paper and keep it next to your bed. On a cold, rainy Tuesday morning, you can look at your goal when you are about to hit the snooze. Keep a goal sheet in the car to remember why you don’t need fast food on the way home. Goals should be an accomplishment that take extra amounts of work. Completing the goal should lead to a healthier way of living, a new consistent activity level, and potentially a new group of friends or community to encourage you to your next goal.

Training Plans

I am not going to claim that I know everything about training plans. I still think beginners just need to get outside, run consistently, and enter a few short races to get an idea of their time commitment and race pace. After a year of consistent running and a few races, you can use a well-structured goal to build a training plan. The plans are highly individualized based on your goal. I am not going to say you need to do a certain amount of work at different zones or distances. Training plans should not go more than 4-6 weeks in the future. You are always developing and changing. A 12-20week program is a massive block to start. Instead, do a 4-week session, test yourself, and build the next 4-6-week session. The SMART Goal you built will guide your long-term training. There are several fundamentals that you should consider incorporating that are consistent in most training programs.

  • The Long Run/Ride:
    Regardless of the race you are training for, you need to train for the distance. If it’s your first 5k, first marathon, or Century Ride, you need to add long sessions to your training. The long session is relative to you. Maybe 3miles is a very long way to run for you, so start at a half mile and build by 10% each week. You should be able to run at least 85% of the race distance in training. The Long Run/Ride should be the slowest paced session of the week.
  • Benchmark Workouts:
    Also called “test sets”. This is a consistent workout you do once per month to see how your training is progressing. This is a great way to measure if you are over trained or on track for your goal. Use benchmark workouts to cap the ends of your training blocks. More about benchmark workouts below.
  • Race Pace Work:
    It’s important to feel what your race pace is. Do a warm up like the one you will do before your goal race. From there do intervals at race pace and recovery. This could be 1min at race pace, 1min recovery or 800m at race pace, 100m easy jog. The interval choices are up to you but try to keep the session to les than an hour of work. Then cool down.
  • Volume Training:
    Learn to love Zone 2. Best way to tell if you are in zone 2? Nose Breath. If you can breathe through your nose while working, you are probably in the volume building zone. This is very important to your training base. It’s not easy, boring work. Your volume is where you focus on form while running or position on the bike. Use this time to drill proper form. Eventually this will feel like recovery and prevent your body from being tight or over trained. Volume training should make up about 60-75% of your total training. I have always found it best to work dynamic stretching in right after a volume session.

Benchmark Workouts

This is the core of my training. I have been doing test sets since swimming in 8th Grade and hated every second of them. However, these are the best session every month. Think of them as mini races where you go all out. If you have 4 or 5 months between races, these sessions are even more important. A benchmark workout is normally an interval session at race pace. They are designed to bring confidence to your training and keep the fir going. Lionel Sanders, 2nd Place Ironman Kona 2017, has talked about benchmark workouts several times. In 2018 he had 3 workouts he wanted to hit to know he was ready for Kona: 1000-yard swim holding 1:12/100, 4x30min bike holding 380w, 4x5k run holding 16min. He probably started the runs at 1x5k holding 16 or maybe 2x5k holding 16:30. However you do it, each session should build on the previous session to show development over a 4week period. If you miss your goals, then it’s a perfect time to reevaluate your training. Maybe you need to add or remove some pieces.

Example 4-week Block for Running

Goal: My Current 5k PB is 21:05 and I normally run 4 times per week. On March 22nd, 2020, there is a local 5k and I want to run under 20min for the first time.

Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Session 4
Week 1 Volume:
1mi jog, 1 mi walk
4×400 RP CD
2mi easy
Long Run: 4mi
Week 2 1.5mi jog, 1 mi walk WU
2×800 RP CD
2.5mi easy
Long Run: 5mi
Week 3 2mi jog, 1mi walk WU
6×400 RP CD
2mi easy
Long Run: 6mi
Week 4 2.5 mi jog, 1mi walk WU
3×800 RP CD
2.5mi easy
Goal: Race Pace, short rest
  • NOTES:
  • CD = Cool Down. WU = Warm up. RP =Race Pace
  • Volume should be easy, don’t need to push it. Focus on good form, run with a partner and have them tell you if something looks out of balance or have them record 200m.
  • Long runs should be within 2:30/mi of your goal pace. In this case goal is 6:25/mi so long run should be no slower than 9:00/mi.
  • Race Pace 400m will be based on the 6:25 goal pace. 400 is a quarter of a mile so 6:25 divided by 4 is 1:35.5. Take enough rest to ensure each repetition is at or faster than 1:35.5. The 800 repeats should be the same with a goal of 3:11.
  • Benchmark: This is the best time to evaluate your 4-week block. Each 1k (about .6mi) should be under 4min. and with short rest (1:00 – 1:30). In 4 weeks, do 4x1k.
  • From here we can build the net 4-week block. Do you have time in the schedule to add volume? Did you hit the goal times for the race pace sections? Were you getting enough recovery to feel good during the race sessions? The next 4 weeks should build on top of this in both volume and speed.
  • Start and end training block by looking at the goal.

Training Week of 10/14/2019

The focus of the week was peaking the volume ahead of the two week taper push to NYC. I wanted to get in several sessions of 3+hours. Next week will be a dose of intensity and drop in volume, then a steady Half Marathon as some light race prep.

– 6:30am: Vin Yoga. Power yoga is great. It’s the best combo of recovery and body weight strength. Periods of long stretch holds moving into strength series.
– 8:30am: Zwift ride. Just wanted to get the legs moving and feeling good. Then went into a race. I absolutely love Zwift for getting me to push when I really don’t want to push.
– 4:00pm: Zwift ride part 2. This was a steady state effort before a run.
– 6:00pm: 5mi group run. Bike intensity was the focus for the day followed by a couple of easy sessions for volume with the heart rate hovering around 130bpm.

– 5:30am: WOW. What a garbage morning. There was rain, it was cold, the set was 2x2mi at tempo. I changed it to 4x1mi then only did 2×1 way slower than I should have. I am glad I got up and did the work, but I absolutely had the worst attitude about it all. Not a great session.
– 4:00pm: Ride 20mi. I got on the bike later in the day and forced myself to put out a quality session. I was really unhappy with just about everything I did in the morning so I needed a session to get back on track. Well done.

– 6:30am: Hot yoga. great part of the week. A little tight.
– 4:00pm: Run 4mi. Focus on form and having a good mental space. Felt a lot better than Tuesday morning.
– 4:30pm: Zwift session. 20mi interval sessions around 260w then a race to dig deep. Felt fantastic.

– 5:00am: 6×800 holding 2:40-2:45 @:90r. Much better than Tuesday morning. Definitely need some gloves, it’s cold weather running season.
– 4:00pm: Easy Zwift session followed by a race. Good chunk of volume.
– 6:30pm: Thursday night group run. We held a really solid pace around 7:15/mi. The run felt really strong.

– 12noon: 107mi ride. Weather was looking like garbage for Saturday so I went out with a group for a long ride. Threw down about 6hours of ride time, 7.5 hours overall. Awesome day on the bike. A few hard sessions, really crushing the pace, but mostly just time in the saddle. Kept nutrition as low as possible and avoided bonking.

– Mostly off. 30min ride to move the legs and get some blood flow

– Not a great day. Planned to do my last long run, 20mi. Instead it was a light job, testing every toilet in Athens. This was entirely self inflicted since I ate like garbage all weekend. Cleaning up the diet to avoid the second happening of that terrible Sunday morning.

2 weeks to NYC.

Training Week of 10/7/2019

Time to grind again. This was the first week of a four week block before NYC. Three steady build weeks then a 7 day taper to the race. I have done this kind of block a few time in High School and College with “Last Chance” meets or Conference and then the main focus, AZ States or NCAA Championships. This week was a bit rough with work so my schedule is all over the place, but focus was still on the run quality. First 50mile week in a while.

– 6am: 5mi bike ride to spin the legs. Had to do something before heading to work.
– 4:30pm: 15mi Ride. Easy roll on the bike around 18mph. Moving the legs. Hit a couple of sprint sections to get the heart rate up a bit.
– 6pm: 5mi Run. Plan was to do a steady run around 8:00/mi pace but the group was moving fast. Ended up going closer to 7:20/mi. Everything felt fine so I didn’t hold back.
– 8pm: Yoga. Moved the normal Monday yoga to the night since I had to get to work.
– 5:30am: 3x800m, 3x600m, 3x400m. (2:51, 2:48, 2:48) (2:03, 2:05, 2:08) (1: 18, 1:16, 1:11). These were one :90r with 2:00 between sets. Went hard knowing this was going to be the only work I could get in on Tuesday. Shooting for consistent 2:40/800m pace in the future.
– 6:30am: Yoga. This has been critial to keeping me fresh and ready to go through training.
– 4:30pm: ZWIFT IS HERE!! My Wahoo came in and I could not have been more excited. I got everything set up, hit a 30min interval session and a 20mi race. Wow. Everyone should be on Zwift. Fact.
– 5:30am: 2x2mi holding 6:00/mi pace. My runs are coming together and the 6min mile pace is starting to feel sustainable. Very excited for NYC.
– 4:30pm: Zwift intervals and then a flat race. Check out my Zwift Power profile or Strava for watt and interval breakdowns.
– 6:30am: Yoga
– 8:00am: 5mi tempo-ish run. Partner run through the hilly neighborhoods of east Athens. Average pace around 7:20/mi with a lot of work on cadence and form.
– 2:30pm: 13mi Zwift. I planned on my but my shifting is wonky. Learning how to adjust the bike from trainer to road is taking some time but I am getting there.
– 8am: 65mi group ride. The hills were alive with the sound of dumb crosswinds all day. The pace line was rolling quick and holding wheels were made harder by strong crosswinds. Still held to 21+mph and a solid group ride effort. I had 2x10min pulls focusing on consistent power output.
– 11am: 40min tempo run off the bike at 7:05/mi. Legs felt pretty good the whole time. Definitely felt the fatigue of the ride but was able to push the run pace.
– rest of day: sit on the couch and watch the pros race very very very very fast.
– 6:00am: 19mi run. Some effort with the group, some effort solo. Happy the group was a bit thin Sunday morning with everyone running Chicago. The pace was a little more reserved. I used the run to focus on stride length and form. My previous long runs have gotten sloppy, so the slow pace gave me enough energy to focus on everything.
– 4pm: Steady state ride to keep the legs moving after a pretty hard run and recovery. I like the zone 2 rides on Sunday to keep the legs from locking up. I had a race on Zwift planned but did not do it. Rest is good too.

3 weeks to NYC.

My Best Beginning Run Plan

5:05 Mile PR after 1 year of running

Get out and run! This is not going to be a grid of what workouts to hit and when because that is not important to start running. The most important things to focus on as someone new to running are consistency and longevity. Below, I’ll outline some of the best things I have learned in the last 2 years. This is what I did when I started and continue to do. I have a 5:05 Mile and 1:34 Half marathon after 1 year of consistent run training.

  1. Just Run
    • I have found it incredibly helpful to just get out and run. I started with a goal of 30min/4 times per week. By doing this, you will figure out what you have time for and what days work. I have seen plenty of people put 30min to an hour of work into building “The Perfect Training Plan” only to break it 2 days in because they don’t have enough time. Instead, they could have used that hour to run. When 30min is easy, try to build to 45min per run, 4-5 times per week. Maybe you need to wake up earlier, go out right after work, or skip your favorite TV show to get in the 4 runs each week. Just go out and run!
  2. Consistency
    • Figure out which days are the best for your runs and try to stick to those days. I know I won’t schedule anything for Monday or Thursday night because those are two of my run days. This helps my diet as well. My breakfast is normally better, and I will have a lighter lunch knowing I want to feel good for my run.
  3. Accountability
    • Find a group, post your runs on Instagram, or find a training partner. Groups are the best way to make sure you are running consistently. Most local running stores have a group run at least one day each week. Drop in and ask them. If they don’t maybe they would be interested in starting one. If there is not a local running group, look for a running partner. Convince a significant other they should run or find a coworker that has also talked about running. If neither of those options work, start posting about it on your social media. Some people might dismiss it, but you would be surprised how much support comes out of a simple “My first 5-mile run” post. You might even find a friend nearby who is looking for a run partner. Look at getting a Strava profile. This is an incredible account that tracks your runs and shows you runners in your community. This might also help finding run groups. If you love data, there are several Strava plugins you can get that really advance how much you can over analyze runs.
  4. Keep It Simple
    • There are so many plans out there with different style runs. Don’t worry about that when starting out. Back to the first point, just run. By running consistently, you will make so much progress in one year. A plan based on where you are now could be too slow or low volume after 3 or 4 weeks.
  5. Injury Prevention
    • Become a student of the sport. Don’t run through sharp pains. Figure out where the pain is and research what could be causing it. If you have the time to run, then you have the time to do a proper warm up and cool down. Do not sacrifice a warm up for additional miles. That would be like stepping over $100 to pick up a quarter. Find a good yoga studio or a yoga channel on YouTube. Commit to stretching for 20min per day. No reason to spend half of you week in pain from the running.
  6. What I Have Done
    • First 6 months: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 4-6 mile group run. Sunday Morning group long run. I built up a community that would call me out for not showing up and people that were training for the same distances I was.
    • Next 6 Months: Monday, Thursday group run. Tuesday speed work on the track with a group. Sunday Long run.
    • Now: Monday, Thursday group runs. Tuesday, Thursday morning Tempo runs with a group. Steady Saturday runs solo. Long group runs on Sunday.
    • These group runs introduced me to an awesome running community. I started out hating every step of the run but following these steps has changed that mindset entirely.

Most Important Step!! Have FUN. Keep the mood light and happy. Running should be enjoyable and stress relieving. Enjoy the process and don’t overthink it.

Training Week of 9/30/2019

First week post Augusta 70.3. The goal was to keep the heart rate between 100 and 140 for a large majority of the work. Just wanted to get a good feel for where my recovery is and how much work I can put in before the NYC Marathon.

– Morning: Sleep in. much needed after the race.
– Afternoon: Ski 5000 at a very easy effort (2:17/500m) then 1 hour of hot yoga. The Ski was to get the blood flowing before going to yoga. The goal of yoga was to move the body through a bunch of different poses and see how the body was responding. Felt good but definitely sore from the race.
– Morning: Sleep in again.
– Afternoon: 15mi high cadence ride. (90+rpm, but keep HR between 120-130bpm). Average speed was around 19mph. Overall, a pretty easy effort and prep for the rest of the week to pick up volume again.
– Morning: Ski 5×500 :30r (2:12/500m) then hot yoga. The SKi before hot yoga on Monday felt great so I wanted to try it again. This is something I will likely continue. Run 4 miles after yoga. A bit of a long morning but I had 3 good efforts in by 9am. The rest of the day was recovery focused.
– Afternoon: 30mi ride. Average speed around 19mph. Goal was to build up some time on the bike and flush out anything left over from Augusta. THe ride felt pretty good.
– Morning: Track workout. 2×800, 1xMile. I was still a bit mad at Augusta for being so hot but also mad at myself for not training in the heat. SO, before the end of summer in the south, I got in one last heat session.
– Afternoon: Ski 10×1:00 with 25 double unders in between. I got a new HR sensor and wanted to test it out. I will also be incorporating more jump rope into my training to help build ankle/calf strength and endurance. Plus, I love doing sets of double unders with the skierg. Ran 5miles with a group after the Ski. Legs are feeling pretty good.
– Morning: 4×750 Ski easy, hot yoga, run. Next week my schedule is a bit heavy with work, but after that this will be my typical Monday-Wednesday-Friday morning. I like doing Ski reps before heading into hot yoga. It’s like letting a nice steak coming to temp before blasting it on the grill. I get a much better session if I am a warmed up going in. The run after is an easy paced run to build time on the feet.
– Long Ride: 70 miles with the group around 20mph. Felt really strong on the bike today. Wind was out of control BUT IT WAS UNDER 80 DEGREES THE WHOLE WAY. Wow it feels good to be almost in fall.
– Run off the bike: 30min run off the bike around 7:15/mile pace. really happy with this effort 1 week after Augusta.
– Long Run: 18 miles. Feeling a lot more prepared for NYC. Progressed the run pace throughout. Glad the temp was down, definitely helped for a strong finish.
– Easy Ride: 24 miles. Super easy spin just to keep the legs moving and flush everything before bed. Pace was around 16mph and cadence was 80-90 most of the way. Felt pretty rough to start but got easy as the ride went on.

4 weeks to NYC.

Winter Training: 2019-2020

Improve Running

Starting with a 5-week block before the NYC Marathon, winter will be a heavy focus on improving run performance. The next month will be marathon prep with tempo and long runs. From November to April I will increase run volume and build every aspect of running. Augusta 70.3 was a big slap in the face for my running condition. My swim and bike were both top 10 or better in my AG and solid overall. My run dropped me several spots. My heart rate was jacked up the entire time and I struggled to hold a sub 8:00 mile pace.

My running volume will go from a 35mi/wk average to 45mi/wk. The main difference will be the training quality shift from cycling to running. In 2019, March to September was a quality focus on cycling with most running volume at a recovery pace. Winter training will be a flip on that.

Maintain Bike Fitness

I am very happy with how my cycling progressed over 2019 and don’t want to lose that fitness while training my running. Cycling volume per week will sit around 150mi but much less focus on intensity compared to the first half of the year. M-F will have a couple of 30mi ride with a few 10-20min intervals throughout. Saturdays will be a long group ride averaging 75mi at about 20mph. Sundays will be off.

Maintain Swim Fitness

Just like the bike, I want to keep swimming where it is. 90% of my swim volume is on the Concept 2 SkiErg. I have an extensive swim background and do not recommend you do this if you are new to swimming. The SkiErg sessions are all 20-40min staying around HR 130bpm to make sure my upper body strength and shoulder endurance doesn’t turn to hot trash.

Mobility and Stability

I will also add a few different sessions to my week at low heart rate stress that will focus on building mobility and stability. This will include yoga and weight training.

Sample Winter Training Week

Easy RideHot Yoga
Long Run
PMEasy RideSpeedwork
Easy Ride
Ride IntervalsEasyRunOffOffOff
  • Monday and Friday are the two “off” days per week. Just easy volume.
  • Saturday and Sunday are long day focused. Long Run Sunday will be on pretty tired legs.
  • SkiErg sessions are normally added before or after easy sessions.
  • Tuesday speedwork is track sessions with 30-60 min of work (not including rest) between 5k and half marathon pace
  • Tempo run distance will increase over 4 weeks then drop on the 5th week
  • The format is 3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 1 day off. I have found this to be the most work I can fit in to a week without exploding.
  • Easy sessions are EASY, no need to be a hero on a recovery run
  • Hard sessions are hard without emptying the tank. The two hardest training days are Thursday and Sunday, right before a rest day.

Augusta 70.3: Race Breakdown

My first Half Ironman is done! This is a write up of the race experience and some lessons learned. 8 months ago, I started the journey to train for a Half Ironman. I wrote down 2 goals on a white board. First, I want to finish top 200. Second, I want to go under 4hours 45min. I smashed the first goal and just barely missed the second one. I am very happy with how I raced.

The swim felt good. I am clearly not as good as I was in college, but my time was only 2min behind the fastest swim of the day. My bike goal was 2:30 which comes out to just over 22mph average. I did better than expected there and was glad there were a ton of people on the course to chase down and ride away from. There were a few choppy segments on the course but overall it was an awesome ride. The run started hot and ended hotter. On a perfect day, I think I could have run 1:35 or better. On this day, I ran 1:50. There was a bit of walking. There was a lot of soul crushing heat. I am thankful for all the fans and volunteers that had kind words and motivation for every athlete on the course. I will be back next year for round 2. I need to show that run course what’s up. My next 70.3 is Chattanooga in May.

For more hot takes, I broke the race down into Pre-Race, Swim, Bike, Run, and Post-Race.


I woke up at about 4:00am. The first bus to transition left around 4:45am and I wanted to double check my transition bag, get some food in, and move around a little bit. I liked getting to transition early, I had plenty of time to set up all my gear and so much space to do it. The bike racks started getting crowded around 6:15am. I got on the bus back to the swim start at 6:20am, put my bag in my car, and got a small jog in to get blood flowing. The swim start was chaotic, with the booming voice of the announcer reading the water temp, 3000 athletes trying to go to the bathroom one more time, and tons of supporters giving their final “good luck”. From 4:00am to 7:50am I consumed: 1 Liter of water, 1 plain bagel, 2 bananas, 2 GU Roctane, and 1 Red Bull.

Swim: 23:48

Should have peed one more time before the swim. The swim was a rolling start, beginning at 7:50am. I was probably within the first 20 people to get into the water. Goal was a 25:00 at an easy effort. The first 500m was moving a bit too quick so I backed off a little. Most of the athletes were swimming to the far left, almost hugging the buoys. I stuck to the right side, less traffic, I didn’t have to worry about the bridges, and it was a straight shot from the 5th yellow buoy to the final red buoy. I was very happy with how the swim came out. Transition to the bike was easy. Cap and goggles off, helmet on, ate a fun size snickers, grabbed my bike and jogged to the mount line.

Bike: 2:23:38

100% almost crashed out of the race in the first 30 seconds. I had a pretty good mount, started pedaling to break the elastic bands on my shoes, and got up to speed. I reached down to my right side to slip my foot in and at the same time, my left hand came off the bars. That jacked my adrenaline right up, had a quick recovery and went a bit slower to get the left foot in. My goal over the bike was to hold 18:30 per 7mi split. 8 splits at that pace is just under 2:30. The bike went exactly as expected. My nutrition plan for the bike was 1 GU Roctane at 7mi and every 14mi after, 24oz of liquid (half water, half body armor, 1 scoop of tailwind) every 50min, and 1 stick of a kit-kat every 15mi. I held that nutrition plan perfectly and felt very prepared for the run. Bike to Run transition was also smooth and easy. Helmet off, socks and shoes on, number belt on and go.

Run: 1:53:10

Hot. I got off the bike 5th in my division and 33rd overall. The goal was to hold 22min/5k, the sun had a different plan for me. The temperature was above 90 to start the run and only got hotter. My splits went: 22:01, 25:09, 27:31, 32:29. I think if the weather stayed below 85, I would have been able to hold the 22min/5k goal. I was backing off the pace every mile to try and bring the HR down, but it kept climbing from the heat. At one point I think I had 40lbs of ice in my tri kit. I am very happy with how the race ended up even though my run absolutely exploded. I finished 14th in the division and 103rd overall. Finish Time: 4:46


Bike check out did not open until 2:30 pm and I finished around 12:30pm. With 2 hours to kill, I hung out in the athlete area and ate close to my body weight in pizza, had a beer, and drank about half a gallon of water. There was a massage tent that I went to as well which was fantastic. After I ate, the next goal was cooling my body down. I made my way back to the hotel to use the pool for about 20min. Bike check opened shortly after and I want picked up everything. On the way home I made sure to stop every 20 miles to stand up and move a little bit. I felt pretty beat up on Monday, but the real muscle soreness came in hard Tuesday. I will take 1 more day nice and easy before I ramp up training ahead of the New York City Marathon in November.