Archive for the ‘Training Information’ Category

An Afternoon
with Dr. Jack Daniels
May 1, 2011
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

@ Human Performance Consulting Athletic Lab
1823 NW Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27513

  • Ingredients of Success
  • Principles of Training
  • Aerobic Profiles
  • Planning a Training Season

Dr. Jack Daniels has been called the “world’s best coach,” by Runner’s World magazine. He is currently the head coach of cross country and track at Brevard College in Brevard, NC. Dr. Daniels has been named the National Coach of the Year by the NCAA, which also honored him as the Division III Women’s Coach of the Century.

During his 35-year coaching career, Daniels has coached 30 individual NCAA Division III National Champions, eight NCAA championship teams, and 130 All-Americans. Daniels has also coached five Olympians in men’s and women’s distance events and two sub-2:10 marathoners. Among the runners he’s worked with are Jim Ryun, Alberto Salazar, and Joan Benoit Samuelson.

An accomplished author, he has written four books, the most recent being the 2nd edition of the popular Daniels’ Running Formula. He has also written more than 50 articles published in scientific journals and frequently contributes running stories to popular magazines.

Before Brevard, Daniels was the head distance running coach at the Centre for High Altitude Training at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Throughout his career he has been a featured speaker at coaches’ clinics, running camps and symposia.

One of his special interests is the effect of altitude on training and racing. In 1968, he served as the altitude consultant to the U.S. Olympic Track & Field team for the Mexico City Olympics.

Daniels came to coaching after achieving greatness as an athlete himself. In the modern pentathlon, he was a member of the Olympic silver and bronze medal teams in 1956 and 1960.

Registration: General Public: $50 until April 17 $75 after April 17 USA Triathlon Coaches (with 5 CEU credits): $75 until April 17 $100 after April 17 Seating is limited. Early Registrants will be eligible for a drawing for a free pair of shoes. (4 pairs to be given away courtesy of Raleigh Running Outfitters.)

Payment @ Payment @ or Jack Daniels Coaching Clinic Or mail check to: AA Elite Coaching Ltd. 77 Lily McCoy Lane, Pittsboro NC 27312 Include Name, Address, Email, Phone and USAT # if applicable.

For More Information: Contact Andrew Allden @ or 919-619-3426

Two fundamental concepts for improvement in endurance racing and training involve:

– Increasing your aerobic endurance

– Improving your lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR)

The first is accomplished by completing workouts involving aerobic exercises (swimming, biking, running, rowing, cross-country skiing, and so on) at an easy to moderate effort level.

Over time, your ability to continue the exercise will improve through phsyiological adaptations to the specific exercise.

For example, if you are currently untrained or out of shape, a 30 minute bike ride may be challenging and near the limit of your ability. If you go and ride 20-30 minutes three times per week for a few weeks, your body will adapt by; increasing blood flow to the muscles being used; increasing muscle size (hypertrophy) and strength; improving blood flow through a process called capillarization (tiny veins to the muscles); increased mitochondrial density (aerobic enzymes) in the muscles; and a few other geeky details.

All these result in the ability to use oxygen as the main exercise energy source more efficiently, meaning you can now ride longer and not be tired at 30 minutes.

The second, improving lactate threshold, is accomplished by completing easier training sessions like the above, plus including more challenging workouts that raise your heart rate.

Lactate threshold is the point in exercise where your body produces more blood lactate than it can reabsorb (and manage other lactate by-products – look up “hydrogen & lactate & exercise” if you want some exciting reading) on a continuous basis. Well trained athletes can usually continue exercise at just below lactate threshold for about an hour. Go over lactate threshold though, and that time drops to 5-6 minutes.

For most people, the lactate threshold is about 20 heart beats per minute above the steady aerobic threshold. Any aerobic exercise, generally speaking, will help both points go a bit higher. But there is a point of diminishing returns.

If you don’t also include workouts that challenge your system by going just below to above your current lactate threshold, you will not maximize your ability in short distance to long distance events. The secret or goal with lactate threshold training is to raise your threshold point to as close as possible to your maximum heart rate, and improve your ability to withstand that discomfort (if it was easy everyone would do it).

If you never do harder workouts, then your lactate threshold will always remain below your possible maximum lactate threshold. Raising your lactate threshold point, for the most part, will bring your steady aerobic threshold point up with it (as the 20 bpm relationship is fairly constant).

So. If you’re training for an Ironman, from a specificity standpoint you want to train that steady aerobic threshold because that is more or less your race pace. But. You should include some LT training as well to raise that point a bit higher.

If, you are training for a sprint or olympic distance race, from a specificity standpoint you want to work more on that 2nd threshold. But. You shoud include quite a bit of aerobic steady training as that provides your ‘foundation.’ Blah blah blah, how do I find my threshold and what are some workouts ideas!!?

Finding it: Warm up 15-20 minutes then 30 minutes “race effort”. As hard as you can go for 30 minutes. Take your heart rate average for the last 20 minutes. Bingo. = LTHR. Biking: 2 x 20 minutes just below lactate threshold with 5 minutes easy between 5 x 5 minutes at lactate threshold with 3 minutes easy in between 5 x 3 minutes over lactate threshold with 3-5 minutes easy in between 8 x 1 minute well over lactate threshold with 2-3 minutes easy between Running: 2 x 10 to 15 minutes (1 to 2 miles) just below threshold with 5 minutes easy between 4 or 5 x 4 minutes (800-1200m) at threshold with 2-3 minutes easy between 5 to 6 x 3 minutes (600-800m) over threshold with 3 minutes easy between 8 x 1 minute over threshold with 1 minute easy between *generally speaking, running causes more breakdown so total “hard” training volume should not be more than 10-15% of weekly mileage.Swimming: 4 x 400s just below threshold with 1-2 minute between each 12 to 16 x 100s at threshold with 10-15 seconds rest between each 8 x 50 over threshold with 30 seconds to 1 minute rest between each.

There are plenty of other workouts, but the theme here is: sub-threshold workouts take 10-25% interval rest at-threshold workouts take 50-75% interval rest over-threshold workouts take 100-200% interval rest. Advanced athletes can do more repetitions and/or take less rest; beginner athletes should do less repetitions and take more rest.

Marty Gaal, NSCA certified strength and conditioning specialist, is a USA Triathlon and USA Track and Field Coach. He works with amateur athletes spanning the range of athletic experience and age.


2011 Britfit Training camp

BritFit Training and Coaching (Jackie Miller) and Trijinx, LLC (Melinda Yelton) are inviting YOU to a training camp in the NC Mountains May 4 – May 8!!  Come train with folks who think just like you – that suffering (and laughing!) is the key to racing faster!

Coaches Jackie Miller and Melinda Yelton will host this training camp set within the beautiful NC Mountains.  Our base for camp will be at ZAP Fitness Training Center. Located just outside Blowing Rock NC, ZAP was built to provide a permanent training facility for its elite runners.  With easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Moses Cone Park, ZAP provides a lodge house with rooms, all meals, a cool creek for soaking tired legs and a hot tub for comfort and relaxation!

This is the PERFECT opportunity for quality spring training for triathletes planning on a half or full Ironman event in 2011.  Spots are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis and will fill fast!

    Check in late afternoon, Wednesday May 4th; concluding by 1pm, Sunday May 8th
    4 nights lodging at ZAP Fitness Center
    All meals from breakfast Thursday through breakfast Sunday
    Coach and SAG-supported bike rides of various distances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday
    Optional runs after the bike; group run Sunday
    Educational lecture from Zap Fitness Elite Running coach Pete Rea
    Cost is $425 for current BritFit and Trijinx clients; $500 for non-clients
    $100 deposit will hold your spot, remaining balance due by April 1st

Contact Jackie Miller at or Melinda Yelton at for reservations or for more information.

Any competitive running schedule is based on a few main premises.  Volume and intensity comprise the overall themes, while individualization for your age, experience, and goals make up the variables to work around.

However, the components of a good run training plan come down to four (and a half) key types of workouts:
•    fast/speed or intensity workouts done at or over lactate threshold effort
•    tempo or moderate hard workouts done at a sub-threshold effort
•    long runs at an aerobic pace
•    drills sessions

•    Core/strength training

Training zones/paces
There are two main methods to discovering your appropriate training paces.  The first is to use a running pace calculator like Jack Daniels VDOT method.  In this you take a recent race result and plug it into a calculator, which computes your training paces.  The VDOT method is very useful and find yours here.

The second method is to find your lactate threshold heart rate for running and then run based upon heart rate training zones.  Lactate threshold is the effort that a fit athlete can hold for roughly an hour.  Untrained athletes can’t hold this pace quite as long.  The easiest way to find LTHR is to run a 30 minute time trial, take the average of the last 20 minutes, and then use a calculator to discover HR zones.  There are other methods but this is the one we advocate.  A good HR calculator is here.

Note we are not affiliated with either linked site, they are just useful resources.

Fast workouts
Fast workouts are appropriate for all running distances up to the marathon.  These are also the most demanding.  An example speed workout (speed in this article is relative – we’re not talking about the 100 meter dash but 5k and above) would be 4 x 1200s at 5k pace with 200-400 meter jog recovery.  Another common set is 8 to 12 x 400s at 3k pace with 200 jog.  The number of repetitions and recovery intervals are adjusted for experience levels and current fitness.  Older athletes will almost always require more rest after an interval session than younger athletes.  That’s just nature.

Tempo runs
Tempo runs and tempo intervals are run at a sub-threshold effort.  These are not quite as demanding so they don’t require as much recovery post-workout.  All runners will benefit from tempo runs, but they are most useful for 10k and above distances.  A common workout is to warm up and then 20-30 minutes at tempo pace.  Another is to warm up and then run 4-6 x 1 mile with 1-2 minutes rest between each.  (Always cool down at least 5 minutes if not more). This is in heart rate zone 3 if you are using heart rate and the pace is slightly faster than Daniels marathon pace.  Daniels does not advocate running in this ‘grey’ zone, but many runners will run 10k to half-marathon at this pace, so it is a good idea to train at the pace you will race at.  This is the principle of specificity.

Long aerobic runs
Long easy to steady aerobic runs are intended to improve your aerobic ability.  Many motivated runners run too fast on these.  Your pace and effort should not be difficult.  The challenge of these is the duration.  Recreational 5k runners should build up to at least a 6-8 mile run, and marathoners will often go up to 22-24 miles in a pre-marathon build up.

Drills sessions
Running drills (like high knee drill, skips, bounds, and strides) and a number of plyometric exercises (like box jumps or jump rope) are all meant to improve your ability to minimize ground contact time – bounciness in other words.  Running consists of concentric and eccentric muscle contractions.  When you lift your leg to stride forward, your hamstrings shorten in a concentric muscle contraction.  When your foot lands, your quad muscles undergo an eccentric muscle contraction.  Essentially, with every step forward your muscles have to fight the downward force of gravity; your muscles briefly elongate while you exert force to begin the upward contraction to step forward again.  This eccentric contraction is why your quads are so sore after downhill runs.  These sessions are not overly taxing on the aerobic or anaerobic system but can result in a good deal of post-workout muscle soreness, especially in less experienced athletes.   You can view a few running drills here.

Core/strength training
Efficient movement patterns and power transfer are dependent on having a stable base to operate from.  If your legs are strong but your back/hip and trunk muscles are weak, a lot of the effort you put into running will dissipate through your body rather than transfer to the ground.  Some runners develop good core strength strictly through run training, but most of us can benefit from supplementary strength training.  Simple examples that you can do anywhere include planks, sit-ups, and bodyweight-only squats.

Generally speaking, most training mini-cycles (like a week) will include all of these in some shape or form, except in very early base building or transition (post race season).  Experienced runners might do a few drills within each training session.

Marathoners will also include a number of longish running sessions with several miles at goal marathon pace (MP).  This pace is not as fast as tempo but faster than easy/long.

Marty Gaal, CSCS, is a USA Triathlon coach and recently completed the USA track and field level 1 coaching clinic.  He has been a runner for twenty years.

Britfit’s Functional Strength Class

Starting January 4th this exclusive class will include all of the parameters of functional strength you need as an endurance and multi-sport athlete.

•    Eight one hour group sessions
•    Focusing on a progressive workout to improve your strength, stability, flexibility and neural proprioceptive skills.
•    Led by Jackie Miller, experienced Personal Trainer and Coach, this class will help you discover your weak link and improve areas of fitness you may have overlooked this past racing season.
•    This class will prepare you for the pre-season phase of your training. It will build your strength base, target your limiter. It will prepare you for heavier loads, both in the weights room and for the future force based cardio sessions.

Cost: $80 per person

Venue: One 2 One Fitness, 201 Shannon Oaks #120,
Cary, NC 27511

When: Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm

Registration is required for this so please call Jackie at 919-818-7096 or email at

Come on out and start the year off the right way, before racing comes around again !

Ironman Packing Checklist: The OCD Version (click to download)

Racing an Ironman Triathlon is a bit like an expedition to Everest.  It takes months of training and a LOT of stuff.  Deciding what to bring and actually assembling all this takes some serious thought and time..

The Ironman Packing Checklist is a very comprehensive assemblage of what to bring, where it goes and includes checklists to help you relax your mind and prepare for the big day.  The format is Excel so that you can edit and adjust for you.

Other great Ironman Resources from the DELTA Triathlon Content Library:

Selecting Your First Iron Distance Event by Todd Spain

Ironman Pacing by Marty Gaal

Training The Minds Eye by Rich Strauss

Train Your Head by Rich Strauss

Mental Focus for Ironman by Rich Strauss

Ironman Race Rehearsal by Todd Spain

Aero Helmets: The Best Place To Buy Speed by Todd Spain

How To Prevent Hyponatremia In Long Distance Events by Monique Ryan

“Search The Site” on the left for even more information

It’s time to start planning your 2011 season.  What are your goals?  What is your next big adventure?  Here are a few resources to help you:

The DELTA Triathlon Multisport Calendar is a mash up of nearly all events which will be important to you.  Presented by Inside-Out Sports, the hard work has been done for you so that you can view the event opportunities in one place.

Winter Triathlon Clinic

Running Seminar with RunningB Coaching

Know Thyself by Marty Gaal (Article)

Prioritization by Marty Gaal (Article)

Planning A Season by Marty Gaal (Article)

Join The IOSDT Triathlon Team (website)

Wisely Selecting Your First Ironman by Todd Spain (Article) presents
Two-Part Running Seminar focused on the
Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon

The first seminar will focus on training for the race, nutrition, and cold weather running.
The second seminar will focus on tapering for the race, race day strategy, and race day attire.

Dates:  Seminar I:  Monday, December 13th 7:00-8:30pm
Seminar II: Monday, February 28th, 7:00-8:30pm

Cost:   $15.00 per session, or $25.00 for both   (RunningB clients- $10.00 per session or $18.00 for both)
Cash or check accepted day of seminar

Please RSVP to by December 10th.

Place:  Suzy Nisbet’s home
203 Preston Oaks Lane; Cary

Please come and join us for light refreshments, door prizes, and fun!   Meet others who are training for the race and pick up some pointers from a veteran runner and coach.

Happy Training,

Brennan Liming

Yet another holiday season begins. Bring on the turkey and trimmings, pumpkin and pecan pies. With training season on the low down, it is not difficult to pack on the off season pounds. With a survival guide and a plan of action you don’t have to skip the traditions and feasts of this time in order to remain at a competing weight.

MAINTAIN CALORIC BALANCE: Eat more nutrient dense foods

Even if you are continuing a strength training regimen, cut out the use of sports nutrition energy bars, drinks and gels, which are formulated for endurance (such as endurox, accelerade, gu, etc). Be aware of caloric dense foods versus nutrient dense foods. In place of the bars, opt for fruits, vegetables and whole grains which are more nutrient dense as opposed to calorie dense bars and gels. Dense carbs that were important for glycogen restoration, such as power bagels, can be replaced with lighter, lower calorie whole grain breads, such as whole grain English muffins or whole wheat pasta and brown rice.

Metabolism is raised when you eat every 2 to 3 hours. Keep up with this philosophy even through the season. Do not save calories for a big festive meal. Have a snack such as an apple or a light meal such as a salad or soup before facing a huge buffet. Having a full stomach aids in appetite suppression.

Eating every few hours also means keeping portion size appropriate. You may have gotten used to eating larger portion sizes while training and old habits die hard. Remember, ½ cup cooked pasta, rice or potatoes is a realistic serving size for weight maintenance, whereas these portions may seem extremely tiny when you are faced with festive meals. Eat more fruits and vegetables (nutrient dense foods) to make up the difference.

Moderation and consideration are the keys to enjoying any holiday dinner, and you shouldn’t feel as though you have to deny yourself your favorite foods this year. Just watch what goes on your plate, and how it is cooked. Turkey, for example, is low in fat and high in protein. White meat eaten with out the skin provides a healthy delicious base for a holiday meal. Add some steamed vegetables and a small of sweet potato with a dash of cinnamon, and you have quite the feast. Of course, don’t deny yourself a sliver of pie, but be prepared to burn off those calories.

Jennifer Patzkowsky, MS, RD/LDN, is a competitive endurance athlete who provides nutritional counseling and meal planning to athletes and people interested in improving their health/fitness.  For more information on her services, please contact her at

By Gale Bernhardt

I completely agree that doing form drills to practice good swimming technique is critical to the process of becoming a faster swimmer. That written, you cannot expect that slow and purposeful drills will increase your sustained swimming speed if you never swim fast.

Certainly, a beginning swimmer can make significant gains in speed because they are starting with a baseline of limited to no fitness and skills; but after a few weeks, they will reach a speed plateau. They cannot improve their average speed for long swims. Even intermediate and advanced distance swimmers can hit a speed ceiling.

These more advanced swimmers can often be found churning out set after set of repeat 100s to 500s with very short rest intervals. These swimmers also like long and steady open water swims. Managing a certain level of discomfort for a long period makes them feel like they accomplished something in the workout.

But, what if you are stuck at your current speed and can’t seem to get faster?

One answer seems obvious: You need to swim faster in order to get faster. Swimming fast and experiencing a load of lactate is not a feeling long-distance swimmers or triathletes enjoy. They would rather swim 1,000 or 2,000 steady than swim six all-out, fast 50s—even if there is generous rest between each 50.

Speed It Up
Let’s save the fast 50 workouts for another column. For this column, I’ll have you sneak up on some speed with shorter efforts. These workouts come from Masters swim coach Scott Allen. He is a former USA Swimming staff member and helped Susan Von der Lippe qualify for the Olympic trials this year. As well as Olympians, he has coached many triathletes and age-group swimmers of all ages.

He believes, and I agree with him, that you need to swim fast early in the workout, before you have any accumulated fatigue. You need to begin with short distances and then build the distance of fast swimming over time, in a progression.

To get you started on the path to faster swimming, try to do one of the sets outlined in this column after your warm-up swim, but prior to the main set.

For all the sets, the 25s are on a swim interval that gives you around 15 seconds rest. The 50s and 100s are done on an interval that gives you 20 to 30 seconds rest. If you swim in a long course pool, get creative about modifying the workout to achieve the goals in the set.

Option 1
Repeat the following set two to three times:
2 x 25 Build speed throughout the 25
2 x 25 Swim half the distance as fast as you can, it doesn’t matter if it is first half or last half. Swim the other half easy.
1 x 25 All-out fast
1 x 50 Very relaxed and easy

Option 2
Repeat the following set two or three times:
1 x 25 Steady swimming
1 x 25 Build speed throughout the 25
1 x 25 Swim half the distance fast
1 x 25 Easy

Option 3
Repeat the following set two times. Wear fins for the entire set:
2 x 100 Do 25 kick, 25 swim, 25 kick, 25 swim
2 x 25 Kick fast
2 x 25 Swim fast—really fast
1 x 50 easy

Include one of these fast swimming segments between your warm-up and main set at least once, and preferably twice, per week for the next six to eight weeks. On your other swim days you can include form drills between the warm-up and the main set.

At the end of your experiment, answer this: did it gradually get easier to swim fast on the short sets? Were you able to swim faster in some of your longer sets too? Did you bump your overall speed? Think about your experience, and how it can impact your swim in future events.

Gale Bernhardt was the 2003 USA Triathlon Pan American Games and 2004 USA Triathlon Olympic coach for both the men’s and women’s teams. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale’s pre-built, easy-to-follow training plans. For more information, click here. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.

This article originally appeared on—your source for event information, training plans, expert advice, and everything you need to connect with the sport you love.