It’s so good to be home on the Sunshine Coast well for a little bit as I’m off to Malaysia in a few weeks to present at the Institute of Sport there. Looking forward to that but I’m soaking up being back home in this awesome sunny coast weather.

Anyway today I’m getting back into the Friday QnA that has been absent of late and I have included the promised video showing the exercises I discussed yesterday. (see below).

 Q: Hi Kristian,

I had a great day at Kona – by great I mean I loved it, & I was happy with my time, particularly in light of the conditions.

My main weakness though seemed to be downhills! Not for going tentatively either, just that people seemed to cruise past. I’ve been training in hills, so climbing seems to be a strength, passing other athletes, including men. However, it seems a bit counter-productive to use all that energy climbing well only to be passed on the downhill!

What tips/training sessions do you recommend to go faster downhill??

Thanks,
Kate.

A: Hi Kate and congrats on your Kona race. 11th in 30-34  and 10:32 is very solid on a hard Kona day so it looks like the TS Ironman Blueprint worked well again. I guessing you’re talking about descending Hawi.

This poses a decent problem and even Pete Jacobs had this issue riding a 54 tooth big chain ring while others were using a 55 tooth meant that he got dropped slightly but had to work hard at a super high cadence of 120rpm.

I had this problem my last time there as I was on a 650c bike (being that I’m a short ass 😉 so smaller wheels even though I had a big gear on the front (54 Q-Ring) I still couldn’t spin a high enough rpm. This is something I have thought about especially for when I go back to Kona.

So there is a couple of answers. I’m assuming you have a regular 53 tooth front chain ring. You might want to look at getting a 54 tooth one which means you can push a bigger gear. However you’ll also need to TRAIN pushing a much higher cadence then I usually recommend for when you’re descending hills. A lot of athletes ‘coast’ when going downhill but if you’re are gunning for personal bests or age group positions you need to be able to keep pushing the effort. So this just needs to be trained.

Q: Hi Kristian, I have some certain pace times that I’d like to achieve for my IM Marathon split. Should I be focused on my Garmin and ensuring I hit the splits on my efforts?

Thanks
Tom

A: Hi Tom, here’s what I do and I recommend my athletes do. I also have a goal split and in reality by the time you’re running that pace in the race it’s going to be around what I call Mod-Hard effort or think comfortably uncomfortable. You can hold it, but it’s not really that comfortable. So in training you need to be spending a significant time at your goal pace but also FASTER than your goal pace and of course you need to run SLOW as well… On the progressive paced sets it’s all about early pacing so you can push when it counts.

I’ll use PJ as an example again. How many athletes run way to fast in the opening km’s because that is when they feel good and they think (wrongly) that now is the place to make up time. Even a few seconds per km quicker than normal can kill your chances of a great run split.

PJ who had been the fastest runner the previous 2 times in Kona went out as we know 2nd off the bike but his first 3 miles were slower than what he averaged for the rest of the run. That takes guts and discipline but it’s well worth it and well worth practicing in training.

I also recommend my athletes to not look at pace all the time. Make the screen show stopwatch only so you can know when to do efforts but have no pace on and learn to FEEL the correct pacing.

Finally have patience and take time to get your goal split to a point where it even becomes moderate in a training run. Then come race day.. as long as you have not neglected your swim training and of course your bike you should be better placed to hold it.

Q: Hi Kristian,

I have a busy job, a young family and am training for Ironman Melbourne. How do I maintain energy levels?

Thanks
Scott

A: Hey Scott,

Many potential answers to that question without knowing all circumstances. However I understand it’s a tough task with big work load, young kids and maintaining training but it’s not impossible. Just discipline.

The first and best thing (which I admit to struggle with but when I get right consistently I feel a million bucks) is early to bed early to rise. Simple concept that works and it works because the most valuable sleep hours are the pre midnight ones. It has to be scheduled though and be made a life rule for it to work but that is the number one thing that will help with energy among a ton of other positive things.

Next is nutrition which is another whole can of worms. I did a really interesting interview with who I’d consider the authority on true gluten free yesterday and will be sharing that next week. There is a lot to be said about vitamin and mineral deficiencies and muscle breakdown due to food not absorbing which will affect energy.

Specifically low levels of VitD… but if your diet is flu of grains, and highly refined foods you will feel like you have no energy (funny when those are the things we have been told give us the energy) more on that next week.

Not drinking enough water is another biggie. We tend to let ourselves get too dehydrated and then drink too much coffee to wake ourselves up. A couple of black coffees can be beneficial for you but too many and you’ll feel more lethargic.

Well that wraps up this weeks QnA … if you have any specific questions please let me know by replying to this email.

Finally I promised a video showing the time poor version of developing a strong core. I call this my core run workout finisher (I’m stealing workout finisher from my buddy Mike Whitfield). I had to get Charlotte to film and Mack wasn’t so happy at time.. Sorry about that 🙂

Oh and I mentioned my friends “Fix my Shoulder Pain” product. His 50% off (it’s only $20) sale ends tonight and those that send me the receipt will get what I do as a pre swim session warm up that keeps my shoulders healthy. It’s a bunch of videos showing specific exercises from working tissue quality, joint lubrication, muscle prep and activation.