Training Triathlon as One Sport with Three Disciplines, with Melanie McQuaid and Whitney Garcia

We delve into both the nuances of triathlon and how training for that sport relates to endurance training and cycling generally.

Melanie McQuaid Fast Talk Podcast

Swim, bike, run. For our guests today, putting these disciplines together represents a good day’s work. Of course, we’re talking about triathlon. And while Fast Talk has always been primarily about cycling, we know we have many triathlete listeners. In addition, many of the physiological concepts that apply to triathletes also pertain to cyclists and other endurance athletes. So, in episode 99, we delve into both the nuances of triathlon and how training for that sport relates to endurance training and cycling generally.

We ask: Should triathlon be seen as three sports, or one? What are the most common training mistakes that triathletes make? What are the best ways to manage three different disciplines? And what can cyclists learn from how triathletes train? Our primary guest is Melanie McQuaid, the first person to win the XTERRA world championship three times. She is now a triathlon coach in Canada, and she joins us on Fast Talk to get specific and scientific about training three sports. We’re also joined by former pro triathlete Whitney Garcia. Because of her path to the sport, and her ability to reflect on it now as a retired athlete, Whitney offers insight into the training do’s and don’ts with great clarity. Now, let’s make you fast!

Primary Guest Melanie McQuaid: Three-time XTERRA world champion and elite triathlete
Secondary Guest Whitney Garcia: Former elite IronMan triathlete; three-time winner of the Vineman triathlon

Coach Trevor Connor and Melanie McQuaid out on a training ride in Canada.
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  2. Caritá, R. A. C., Caputo, F., Greco, C. C., & Denadai, B. S. (2013). Aptidão aeróbia e amplitude dos domínios de intensidade de exercício no ciclismo. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte, 19, 271-274.
  3. Chapman, A. R., Vicenzino, B., Blanch, P., & Hodges, P. W. (2008). Patterns of leg muscle recruitment vary between novice and highly trained cyclists. J Electromyogr Kinesiol, 18(3), 359-371. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2005.12.007
  4. Coffey, V. G., & Hawley, J. A. (2007). The molecular bases of training adaptation. Sports Med, 37(9), 737- 763. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200737090-00001
  5. Hewson, D. J., & Hopkins, W. G. (1996). Specificity of training and its relation to the performance of distance runners. Int J Sports Med, 17(3), 199-204. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-972832
  6. Issurin, V. B. (2013). Training transfer: scientific background and insights for practical application. Sports Med, 43(8), 675-694. doi: 10.1007/s40279-013-0049-6
  7. Laursen, P. B. (2010). Training for intense exercise performance: high-intensity or high-volume training? Scand J Med Sci Sports, 20 Suppl 2, 1-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01184.x
  8. Tanaka, H. (1994). Effects of cross-training. Transfer of training effects on VO2max between cycling, running and swimming. Sports Med, 18(5), 330-339. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199418050-00005

Episode Transcript



Welcome to Fast Talk, developer news podcast and everything you need to know to ride like a press.


Chris Case  00:08

Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk. I’m your host, Chris case, swim, bike run three words, Trevor, I can do two of these things. Well, I would say the third has actually caused or nearly caused my death a few times. For a guest today, however, putting these disciplines together represents a good day’s work. I’m talking about triathlon, of course. And while Fast Talk has always been primarily about cycling, we know we have some triathlete listeners out there many In fact, in addition, many of the physiological concepts that apply to triathletes also pertain to cyclists and other endurance athletes. So in Episode 99, we delve into both the nuances of triathlon and how training for the sport relates to endurance training and cycling. Generally, a few years ago, I


Trevor Connor  00:59

actually worked with a triathlete who came to me with their training plan, and she was trying to do all three sports every day. And because of the transitions, because having to get to the swimming pool, put on cycling clothes, put on running clothing, I think she was spending 20 minutes at each discipline and then an hour of changing and change your location, sell his travel on three separate sports, where you have to train each independently. In addition to that, what are common trading mistakes that triathletes make it? What are the best ways to manage all of this? Certainly the let’s do three and spend most of our time in the change room is probably not the best approach. Yep. And I’m really excited about this because our guest today is an old friend of mine, Melanie McQuaid, we trained together back in the day at the National Center in Canada under hoo Chang and Mary, who I think is one of the best coaches around. Melanie is still up in Victoria still training hard coach and a lot of really high level triathletes. Melanie is the first three time winner of the xterra World Championships, which is a form of triathlon that involves mountain biking instead of riding out in the road. So we’re really excited to have her on the show.


Chris Case  02:15

That’s awesome. We’re also joined today by my friend and a former pro triathlete Whitney Garcia, because of her interesting path into the sport, and her ability to reflect on it now as a retired professional when he offers insights into the training do’s and don’ts with what I’d say is incredible clarity. Before we actually get into the episode, a few little notes I have for you guys, I’d like to remind everyone that we have launched off course with Grant halki, as he likes to say it is the podcast about when the racing ends and life begins. We’re also very excited about the third podcast in the growing Fast Talk Labs network. One of our favorite coaches, Colby Pierce will launch cycling in alignment in the coming weeks. So stay tuned.


Trevor Connor  03:03

It’s something we’re really excited to announce. This is something fairly recent is we have our first performance training camp at the end of April. And it looks like Dr. Steven Siler is going to fly out here for the week and join us for the camp. Yes, that’s going to include he’s going to give a presentation that’s going to be open to the public, which we’re really excited about. And then he’s gonna come and ride with us. Oh, this is like going and rapping with Jay.


Chris Case  03:30

Now that I would like to see actually more than you hanging out with Dr. Seiler you up on stage with Jay Z.


Trevor Connor  03:36

Well, that would be horrifying. At least I can ride with Dr. sila.


Chris Case  03:42

And with that, let’s make you fast.


Chris Case  03:52

Well, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show. Melanie McQuaid. Thank you for joining us today.



Nice. This is so cool. And so happy to hang out with some smart cycling people and talk about, you know, trading in general, is really cool. Thanks for having me.


Trevor Connor  04:07

So I’ve told this story before on the show, but I want to tell it again, because when I think of the five or six really good lessons that I learned from very experienced cyclist are the years this is one of the male and I’ve actually told pretty well every athlete I’ve ever coached this story. This goes back I think it was 2006 You and I were out doing repeats on a hill just outside of Victoria called Willis point. So it goes back a bit. I’m sure I got this a little bit wrong. Remember, it’s slightly a little bit wrong. But basically, when we finished the intervals you and I were riding back and you just looked at me when Trevor I effin suck. And it wasn’t a woe is me. What’s going on? It wasn’t a looking for sympathy. It was just you had done the repeats. We’re in the middle of March. And you weren’t where you wanted to be. And you could see that and you just kind of accepted. This is where I’m at right now, this is where I was supposed to be. They’re not the same thing. I remember you telling me later you went home and you looked at your your season. And you actually adjusted it, as I remember, you’ve decided to start racing a little bit later, extend your, your training and your base a little bit longer. And that was one of the years I believe you won worlds. And I think some of that was due to having that moment where you said, I’ve got to accept where I’m at. And it’s not where I want to be, and then figure out how to get to where you want it to be. Do you remember that?



That’s very true in 2006, I did come come into that season. And I did have to push some things back. And I didn’t really start rolling until much later in the year. But when I did start rolling, I was rolling really well that season. So and yeah, I did make quite a few changes to a variety of things I was doing that year. So yeah, that’s funny that you remember that? Yeah, is I mean, I think it’s really hard. Winning World Championships back to back is difficult, because you come on one season, and you’re not the same athlete year after year. So you can’t just keep doing the same thing over and over again, once you’ve had a lot of success, sometimes it’s hard, because you’re kind of like, I don’t know, like, I don’t know, if you like party too hard, because you’ve like achieve some success. Or if it’s, it’s more of the, the there’s a letdown in that, you know, achieving goals is really just a way to like, encourage yourself to stay motivated and live this this driven and purposeful lifestyle. And once you’ve achieved a goal, sometimes you you’re lost for a little bit, and you’re living this, like, not purposeful and kind of you’re like scrambling about trying to find the next thing that is gonna inspire you. And I think that was part of that is like winning in 2005. And then coming into 2006, when, you know, a lot of this series is the same and the races are the same. And it just takes a little bit to find out why you’re doing something and and sometimes you have to figure out why you’re doing something when it’s not working, too. So the training did have to change a lot for me to continue to improve year over year in 2006. So yeah, it’s interesting that you, you, you point that out. And I would say the one thing that I have become less and less afraid of as I continue to try to find ways to become better as an athlete, as I’ve continued in sport, is I am completely unafraid of massive amounts of change. And some people are really adverse to that. And I’m like, sometimes you you really do need to scrap it all and, and do something different. Because at the end of the day, it may be that what you’re doing right now works for you right now. And it won’t work for you later. Or maybe it’s not working because you aren’t inspired. And so just doing anything else will change things. And yeah, and so I’ve definitely had quite a few moments over my career where it’s been like, Okay, this isn’t working, let’s do



something totally different.


Trevor Connor  08:25

I’ve always used that story to say, self awareness is so important, you can’t improve, you can’t be successful. If you think you’re one place and you’re another place even if you don’t like where you’re at. As long as you recognize where you’re at you, you can then set yourself on the right course. But I love that too. That part of that is also you need to be willing to accept change and just say what I’m doing right now isn’t working. So let’s adjust it.



Yes. I think what you’re saying about your athletes is is really true. And I see a lot of like, especially age group athletes, they don’t they they want to do training that’s for where they’re they want to get to you don’t want to do training for where they are right now. And so and you that’s that’s just like the kiss of death is this is trying to do something that you’re not ready to do. And I tell all athletes all the time that it’s my favorite saying is it’s probably someone else’s, but you have to do the training to do the training to do the training, but he never really stopped like just sort of progressing to something else. And you always have to train to be able to train and and yeah, like So what you’re saying is exactly right. I’m pretty good. I don’t it once you’ve been training for long enough you you have a really good idea where you’re at, for better for worse. You Yeah, you do, like figure out okay, um, you know, the moment that you start rolling, I think that’s, that’s a valuable thing. Like to, to be able to recognize that. And


Chris Case  09:55

so on Fast Talk, we primarily focus on cycling and cyclists in the training there of. But let’s let’s step back for a minute and get really basic here. Mel, can you give us a quick overview of that very simple question what is triathlon everything from types and lengths of races to the the unique challenges of those races?



Okay, so triathlon is only swimming, biking, and running any other combination or in any other order is not a triathlon. So we’ll stick to events that have a swim first, and then a bike. And then a run. Sprint triathlon is a 750 meter swim, a 20 kilometer bike and a five k run, that there’s also a race distance called like a super sprint that’s being introduced for the Olympics in a team format. And it’s even shorter than that. But we’ll just like ignore that for a while because there’s not really races that your general per participant could go do of that. So there is a shorter if relay, but whatever. And then the standard distance, which used to be called quote, unquote, Olympic distance is 1500 meter swim a 40 k bike and a 10 k run. And that that race distance can have the bike being draft legal, which is in a standard distance Olympic type race that athletes are allowed to ride on each other’s wheel, for instance. And then that race could also be at like the multi sport World Championships, non drafting at that length where athletes cannot have to ride 12 meters apart. And then the next distance up is a half Ironman distance and 1900 meter swim, a 90 k bike and a 21 k run, I’m gonna just talk in like metric because it’s just easier will like translate miles afters fine. And then an ethyl Iron Man race is a 3.8 k swim, 180 kilometer bike and 42.2 kilometer run. And both of those events are not drafting where the riders neat are meant to be 12 meters apart. And there are penalties for riding on each other’s wheel


Chris Case  12:11

where the 12 meter thing come from, that seems like a very arbitrary number,



I don’t know. And actually, it is somewhat arbitrary because like it when you go to Europe, sometimes they make it like seven meters. And Australia has like a slightly different distance. And then there’s a new tripod, like the challenge format at some of their championship races are making it 20 meters because obviously 12 meters is still drafting, and it’s from the front of one guy’s wheel to like the front of the other. So it’s kind of like you can imagine it’s like the hash tag the hash in a road plus a space. That’s that’s approximately how far you’re supposed to be. And there’s still like a certain amount of drafting, like available, even if you’re like properly spaced like that. But it I don’t know, I honestly couldn’t tell you where these rules are born from. That’s just the rules as I understand them for them racist. Sure. And then there’s like different other rules about like when I don’t want to get into Ironman racing rules, because it’s very complicated. It’s different for amateurs than it is for professionals. There’s also a trap on where it’s approximately the standard distance. So it’s a 1500 meter swim, and then the bike is mountain biking. And that’s called exterra, or cross cross triathlon. And that bike portion is more based on time than actual distance, because obviously train will dictate how long course takes. So it’s a little looser, but let’s say it’s somewhere between 30 and 40. k, that bike, and then the run is about 10 kilometers, and usually is a combination of like trails and dirt. And potentially there might be some road sections, but it’s more like a trail run. So that’s like the off road version of triathlon. One of the major brands of that is x Tara. And then the IQ also does their own version of a world championships and some European and North American championships of that style of race too. So those are this the triathlons that I know some are most are on summer on road bikes, some are on time trial bikes, and some are on mountain bikes. But triathlon in general is kind of encompassed by


Chris Case  14:17

those versions of discipline. I’m sitting here and I’m a cyclist, and I also occasionally go for a run. And I have been in a pool and I’ve gone for some swims. Does that make me a triathlete? I don’t think so. I don’t think it does. And, and I think your philosophy is that we shouldn’t think about this or the sport of triathlon as three separate sports combined. It’s one sport is Is that true? And how does that affect how you train for any or all of these different disciplines?



If you think about what the objective is Often it’s getting from start of the swim to the end of the bike or the end of the run the fastest. And so ultimately, it’s a three sport Time Trial across all three disciplines with two transitions in the middle that are unique, technical aspects of this sport in general that need to be practiced and figured out. If you are a swimmer, you’re you’re never going to get out and get on a bike. And if you’re, if you’re a cyclist, you’re never going to start the bike having done like a whole bunch of swimming and then be planning to get off the bike and start running. And if you’re a runner, you’re very often not going to start your run after having like a significant amount of time doing a variety of other exercises. So being a triathlete is being able to swim bike and run consecutively the fastest you can and so what you need to do to be able to do that is really specific to that to whatever the discipline of of triathlon that you want to do, using your your strengths and minimizing your weaknesses to the best of your ability in executing that time trial. And I think that it’s really easy to to think okay, well I need to work on my bike and then just, like, either look to information or like cycling Coach K, how could I ride my bike better and it’s a mistake to to isolate one portion of triathlon and and look to somebody who doesn’t understand the significance of swimming before you start biking, for example. Because it matters, like it just it matters, how you’re starting that bike and it the specific strengths that you need for each discipline of triathlon are very specific. And so the the, the closer you get to your race, the more you want to be training specifically for what you’re going to be doing. If we just take cycling, for instance, a cycling coach would look at, let’s say, a time trial lesson, and would be working at a certain amount of sort of speed endurance for time trellised. And whereas for the triathlete that’s potentially time trawling the same distance, they’re really there. They really need to be working more on like strength endurance, because the bike is just setting them up to run fast. Does Does that make sense? You know, so like what you’re trying to do, even if the distance is the same in the sport seems like it’s kind of the same and the bike looks the same. What you’re trying to do is not the same.


Trevor Connor  17:33

We want to hear the way another triathlete handles training three separate disciplines as one sport, listen to Whitney Garcia, who is the first place pro woman at the vineman iron distance trap on answer this question with Chris.


Chris Case  17:47

So do you see triathlon as three different sports that you string together? Or did you treat it as a single sport with three disciplines?



when I, when I first started, I didn’t know how to do that just treat it as one sport, I didn’t realize it was like that, it could be like that. And that that would be a strength of mine. So when I first began, it was like piecing together three different sports, two of which I had some significant background in and just thinking they just all go one after the other than, but as I developed in my skills, and later on, but coaching, I really did see it as one sport with three aspects. And that was my strength, it was to be strong in the combination, and not try to bank on the fact that like, I could run really fast at the end, or I could get out in front of the swim. And I tried to hold it. For me it was a combination, the beauty of the combination together.


Trevor Connor  18:42

Yeah. So to take that to training, where you have the mindset that if I’m doing x hours per week on the bike, that means I also need to get x hours running and I need to get x hours swimming. Did you did you play that game of I need to get equal time and all three events and training or did you really kind of look at the week as you maybe some weeks you’re riding more, so maybe some weeks you’re running more, but it’s it’s more how you you look at the big picture.



So again, some I think my some of my answers are gonna follow the same, same pattern of when I first started, I did this and then I developed as an ad, right. Sure. And and in later got a very good coach. So that helped with a ton of things. Just putting things together because at first Yeah. You don’t really know. I didn’t really know. And at that time in college, it’s like, you just you think there’s three sports? Yeah, I kind of need to divide it up almost equally. It certainly makes sense. Especially later, when you look at the ratio of the races, especially long races, that makes a lot more sense for sprint races. It’s like you just kind of need to be fit and you can do and do all of


Chris Case  19:51

them. Sure it’s



fine. Yeah. But when you start to try to get more specific in your performance, and you start to do longer. Things it really does matter that you don’t spend equal to snow you spending equal time swimming as you do biking. That’s right. That’s a waste of time. Yeah, even if you love swimming. So at first I did kind of just fit things into my schedule. Like, yeah, I think I’ll swim three times a week, I can do that before class. Or after after college even it was like, I could do that before work. And then I could run twice a week, I would really kind of build it around. What was a practical schedule for my life?


Chris Case  20:25

Yeah, not so much adding it in wherever you could. Yeah. building it out from there.



Yes, yes. Yeah. It really wasn’t based on like a skill that I had about strategy, not for quite some time. And then I turned that over to a coach, really, and I learned from that as I went, but I never had the innate ability to stretch. And so when you started working with the coach, how did things evolve? When I hired a coach started working with a coach, that was in 2010. So I’d raced lots of years trained in race lots of years on my own learning as I went and getting advice from other people. But when I did work with a legit coach, he basically dissected all of my why, like, this works for me. And I’m really like, I just like to do a lot of aerobic. And he inserted a ton of intervals, which made a huge difference in my performance, it really did. And that was, that was fun to watch. It was super uncomfortable to in practice, in part, of course, physically, uncomfortable intervals are hard, right? They push you to your max so that you get better and you change your baseline. But it was hard for me to just not do like a block of hours and instead do hard efforts with lots of rest. That was not my mindset, like this is an endurance sport. Plus, I love just going for long miles. And he but I realized I had gotten into like a comfortable groove pattern Yeah, pattern. And so he really dissected that. And I started doing intervals in every all three of the disciplines which made a big difference, especially my biking, huh. That is actually when I learned that biking was my strength. So I told you that it was my strength and mine was the whole package. But if I were to pick one, as a like a female cyclist, that part is like I was significantly better than a lot of my female peers, at least at the level I was racing, you know. So he really helped me capitalize on that and the intervals were like the game changer.


Chris Case  22:20

Okay, now back to coach Connor to possibly dispel the training myth about equal time for all disciplines in triathlon.


Trevor Connor  22:30

Having coached a few triathletes, certainly not at the level, you’ve been coaching, certainly not the number you’ve been coaching. But one of the biggest mistakes I see triathletes make is this notion that it is three sports. So I have to put equal time equal dedication into all three sports. And I particularly remember example of an athlete who came to me she was training about eight to nine hours per week, and was working with a coach who was trying to have her do at least two sports every day, often three sports every day. And with the time that she had, I sat down, looked at her schedule and did the quick math and showed her she was spending more time in the change room and transitions and she was actually training. And I remember when we were at the center, and we were training together, you know, particularly in the winter, you were pretty much doing everything that we were doing is just cyclists. And then you would just do a quick run afterwards and a quick swim, but it seems like you are actually spending most your time during the base season on the bike.



Where do we start with this? I think I think everybody season needs to start with like fairly general training. And then as you get closer and closer to what your actual event date is, you get more and more specific to like, what that race like requirement is and no matter what discipline like what if you’re going to go and do an Ironman that has like pretty much 100% strength endurance that you do, like leading into that race if you’re doing a sprint race, then maybe you might be working a little bit more on like speed endurance to like because it’s a faster race, right, but as you like, draw the lens further and further away from it. You’re just trying to work on like, capacity for everything right and for if we like talk specifically about me, I have like a really high capacity for cycling. So obviously it’s really easy for me to build an engine like riding my bike because I just I can ride my bike a lot. And so it’s it’s just it’s just an easy and happy place for me to build just fitness. That fitness absolutely translates to to running because you know, you’re kind of using your leg muscles for both sports and very often you will see like, in the offseason, a cyclist can come to like a trail race and perform really well without any specific run training. Now the reason that that is is is that a trail race is more of a strength endurance type run and if it’s hilly ticular you’re using more your cycling muscles, and they have this ginormous engine that can just drive their legs for a relatively short period of time, like this race that I have in mind locally, is like an aka trip, like trail race. And so we would see guys like Rob Britton, who’s like not a runner, like he’s a cyclist, and he would come in and like, he’d be, right, I don’t know if he’s won it, or whether he’d like be a lot of like fast Road Runners, right, like runners that are fast runners, because he just has this engine. Certainly, if we took that race, and we put it on the road, and we made that a flat race on pavement, where there was like very little variation in which muscles he was using, he would not have the lay speed, so the specific training that you need for running his leg speed, and he wouldn’t have the impact resistance. So like a harder surface, like he probably slowed down a lot more as the race went, because he doesn’t have like speed and the impact of the race would would hurt him to things that he has no training for. But he would still be pretty good for a while because he has this massive engine. And so when you come into traveling, like that engine, determines pretty much everything. So we you have to like build this big block of aerobic fitness no matter what distance you’re doing. So I’m sorry, even if you do like a short distance race, you don’t spend all your time working on speed, because none of that fast work is going to result in anything, if you don’t have a big enough, a robot capacity to sort of manage the recovery from each one of these like massive efforts that you’re going to put in like aerobic fitness, trumps everything no matter what distance because triathlon is aerobic in all three, even that the shortest of short distances, if you if so this is a long way of saying like, no matter what distance you’re training, you need to start with like a lot of capacity work because that determines what your potential is, whether it’s swimming, biking, or running. biking does help your running quite a bit. And and I sort of got a little bit into some of the things that are specific to running that need to be addressed for a traffic. So you can’t just ride your bike and things like specific strength and impact resistance that you need for running. And then swimming is kind of like a little different, because you’re actually using your arms and your laps more. And you actually have to do all this sort of building mitochondria and aerobic fitness stuff for your arms as well. And that’s why doing a lot of swimming actually helps overall for



for for triathletes, because you get all of the benefits of aerobic capacity from swimming, even though you’re not using your legs, and you’re actually making your arms fit. And a mistake that a lot of triathletes make is they don’t swim enough because they’re like, Oh, I suck at swimming, and I don’t like swimming and all these things. So they just never swim enough to actually make their arms fit. And then all of a sudden, that that the beginning leg of the race costs you everything, right, because you I I like I had the pleasure of doing like a relay at like an Iron Man race before. And everybody beat me in the first hundred meters. But it started with like the 20 to 30 men or something like that, because I have this racing sort of like in that it was a really but so everyone’s faster than me for the first hundred, right and then there’s a wall of bodies in front of me that I have to then swim over and swim away. Because in that first hundred meters that they sprinted, they just might completely the blue, you know, and then all of a sudden, they’re like, they still that 1800 meters to swim when they’re dead already. And then they and then they’re not, then you get on your bike and you underperform on the bike because you just killed yourself in the first hundred meters of the swim. And then predictably, you have nothing left for the run. So that’s a long way of saying that’s doing a lot of swimming is really beneficial overall in a capacity in the capacity phase of building your season. It actually translates to to the other sports in terms of your like sort of cardiovascular fitness, biking and running, running, they work together to build each other but they don’t do anything for your swimming. Because you it’s different arms. So this is just me like on a campaign to say you need to swim more than you think. It does.



Does that make sense?


Trevor Connor  29:24

It does and I’ve actually directly had this experience with you back in 2006. At one of the training camps, we had some bad weather so who Shang put us in the pool and I was in the lane beside you. And at one point I finally just went I am swimming a lap with Mel and absolutely buried myself I managed to keep up with you. Then I drowned and you did like another 20 laps at that pace. I was completely done. took everything I had to do a lap at your just standard training. This is easy pace.



Well, I mean we didn’t even get into the fact that Like some of the technical aspects of like swimming, biking, running, there’s, there’s technique to all three, but swimming is the one where you have zero proprioception when you’re bobbing around in the water. So, so getting coaching for, like, what you’re trying to do when you’re swimming is like is crucial. It really does help you to, you know, kind of harness the water if you don’t really know what you’re trying to do, and you and you haven’t had a good coach tell you what you’re trying to do. It can be really frustrating trying to swim and and certainly, like the the big thing about a cycling like you that’s trying to swim is that you you have these really tight and short hip flexors that mean that you can’t actually achieve the body position that you need for swimming because they need to be long, you need to be long and stretched out and most cyclists kind of like are a little bit you know, sort of bent at the hips, they have a really hard time straightening and like pushing their hips forward and and that just need to drag legs along the bottom, which just doesn’t help any. So yeah, I cyclists, I having been a cyclist who came to triathlon, I can feel everyone’s pain and trying to learn how to be a good swimmer. But all I can say is there’s hope if you get good coaching on your technique, because you can be fast.


Trevor Connor  31:16

A lot of what you’re getting out here, especially when you talk about traveling being a single sport is there is a crossover effect. There are ways in which training one sport works the others. And actually, I’m going to quickly reference two studies and then let you take it meld. One is a study in the exercise and sports science and came out of Brazil. I can’t pronounce any of these names. Try give it a try, Trevor, you’re gonna embarrass me. Yet I this elite author is Renato. Press sido. Korea kurita.


Chris Case  31:54

Oh, yes. Excellent.


Trevor Connor  31:56

And he’s gonna buy a plane ticket just to come and smack me across it.



I really hope so I


Trevor Connor  32:02

want to see that. But his study was very interesting, cuz he looked at he didn’t look at Kenmare if you looked at swimming or not. But he definitely looked at cyclists and runners, and showed that at lower intensities. When you’re talking about what we would call the kind of that base endurance, there is a big crossover factor more of what he was talking about is, it’s not sports specific. So if you’re doing that lower intensity, big volume training, you can do it on the bike, you can do it on the run, it’s not going to really differentiate and that’s what you’re talking about Mel’s, you come from a cycling background. So getting that big volume base work, very comfortable for you on on the bike. But he does go on to say at the higher intensities. That’s where it gets specific. And there was another study that basically said the same thing and looked at the crossover effects. This is a 1994 study by Dr. Tanaka at a believer, not Knoxville, Tennessee. And he kind of said the same thing that there is a big crossover effect. Certainly, you saw the biggest transfer from running to the other two sports. The next biggest was from cycling to running and swimming. He actually said there there’s not very much transfer from swimming to running and cycling because swimming is so technique focused. But he said a similar thing that he talked about central and peripheral condition. Remember, there’s a study for 1994. Back when central is kind of the code word for bass training. And peripheral is more code word for the high intensity work. And said the same thing that when you’re talking about central conditioning, it’s really you can train it in almost any sport, once you get to that peripheral that that higher intensity, when you start looking a little more at technique, then you need to be sports specific. And I get the sense of that’s a lot of what you are getting at when you were talking about how you train and now you train your athletes. Is that is that accurate? Yeah.



So I guess there’s two things one is one is like just a robot capacity, right? So that’s kind of like heart and lungs and being able to take in and process oxygen, right. So that’s just breathing hard and having like a range of capacity that you can sort of perform work. And when you’re swimming, swimming and running tend to be more tend to have a little bit more of a an efficiency component, whereas cycling gets more like in a force production sort of way. So like power is more of an issue with with cycling. So if I if I break it down in this way, cycling and running are all about driving pretty much vertical force, right? So with cycling, it’s like kind of like pushing down on the pedals running as the Pushing force into the ground, which gives you energy back, which gives you that bounce off the ground. And that running economy. So cycling and running are all about like driving force from your like hips through your lower legs, swimming, obviously, you do not drive force through your lower legs. And so therefore, it would not, like train you at all for that. And yet it would give you this this, like oxygen processing capacity. So you get swimmers that come from a swimming background that that have the capacity from doing like, enormous hours of swimming. So they’ll they’ll be the amount of time that a swimmer can put in the water without breaking down is is huge. If they have like good enough technique and strong shoulders. What I’ve seen we do get some swimmers like that come into trap on that have like incredible capacity, and they just have to build their like, for lack of a better word, their chassis, right like they come in with this giant engine in like a you know, a Hyundai pony chassis. And then they need as soon as they make that into like a Porsche chassis, then all of a sudden, they’ve harnessed this aerobics system, and they’re fast. But then when when we look at how this one thing transfers to the other, like strength training, cycling and running, if you’re training this vertical force, like force into the ground in a meaningful and effective way, all of it gets better weightlifting, improves your cycling, improves your running, because ultimately what you’re doing is you’re pushing force down.


Trevor Connor  36:34

That’s actually so there was a another study by Dr. Isn’t there that was not gonna bring up but but he brought that up that the strength training actually promotes or AIDS economy running and unsettling.



Yeah. Sometimes, like, what what you’ll have is, yeah, what I like about strength training is it helps people understand directional control, when you’re doing like a deadlift with a hex bar, like understanding what direction you’re trying to push that force is important because you like, you’ve probably seen some beginner cyclists that just don’t really understand like, where the like how to pedal hard and like, there’s, there’s obviously nuances in the pedal pedal stroke to ensure you get back to like, the most powerful parts of your pedal stroke as quickly and efficiently as possible. So an experienced cyclist uses kind of both legs in a really subtle way in order to like, get to where they get the most power, but they get to the place where they get the most power. And with running, especially like a lot of people just misunderstand that running is pushing forces ground. A lot of people that come from cycling, think that runners are lifting their knees up, right, they’re like using these tiny little hip flexors to run better when really, you’re using your like, glutes to like get your leg down to the ground, I’m understanding that sort of thing is important. And once you have that, then you’re cycling and running really start to help each other a lot more. Because you you understand what the what you’re actually trying to accomplish. And what makes you go faster. Yeah, the better people are at pushing force into the ground, the faster they go, and the more the transfer is effective. And it’s funny, because you can see there’s a runner that has recently come into rusty was running, right? And he’s just like, he was like an elite level runner. And now he’s like, Canada’s best road cyclist, right. So there’s somebody who’s running has transferred to cycling beautifully. And all of the engine development that he did as a runner, is now helping him as a cyclist. And I’m sure he’s capable of way more training than he would have been if he didn’t have that running background. I just think that’s just a perfect example of how running makes you a good cyclist cycling makes you good, a good runner.


Chris Case  38:59

And it’s interesting, you’d bring up Mike Woods as an example, we’ve spoken with him and his coach in the past Polo sub Donna. And his coach believes that his running background actually makes him one of the world’s best at really steep climbs because he gets out of the saddle. And it becomes much more of a running type motion and driving through the pedal stroke in a run the way a runner would stride. And he believes that is key to his ability to climb these really steep pitches with the world’s best which you saw at Worlds a few years ago where he was on the podium. So it’s it’s a great way of explaining how these two sports can complement each other.


Trevor Connor  39:47

This has been my experience working with triathletes. The other important thing to remember here if you are training for triathlon is don’t get into that mindset of Oh my God, I’ve ridden my bike the last two, three Three days I haven’t run and losing all my run fitness, that there is this crossover, there is this effect. And yes, that time you’re spending on the bike is helping you running likewise, that time you’re spending running is helping your bike. And that time that you’re spending in the pool, if you’re like me, you’re drowning.


Chris Case  40:17

But that doesn’t help anything


Trevor Connor  40:19

precision. But the point being there is a crossover. So it isn’t a if you’re training one thing, you’re not training the other and oh my god, you’re losing your run fitness don’t. That’s what I loved about Melanie, you’re saying this isn’t three sports, this is actually one spring?



Well, and I don’t I don’t want to like say that you’re wrong and saying that because you’re not wrong in saying that. But when what if we like back it up to our talking about some of the specific requirements of running, there’s, in order to run really well, you, you have to have really stiff tendons and you have to have a lot of neurological engagement with the ground. And that comes from like foot strike. So having your feet hit the ground, for lack of a better word. Now there’s a lot of in that ground. So that that determines like how fast your feet bounce back up off the ground when you’re pushing force into it. And this is really specific to runnings which you don’t necessarily need as much for writing. But in order to get that you kind of have to train it frequently, because it’s a neurological thing that requires constant reminder of your nervous system in order to, to optimize it. And so athletes can can, can develop this neurological engagement of the ground by running more frequently. So So running more often, but not necessarily for a really long time. helps to improve this ground contact time which is which is key to running efficiency, you want your feet to bounce up off the ground as fast as possible. In order to train that you have to train your legs to come off the ground as fast as possible. So you get that from like running more often. running fast, like really fast things like you know, 10 seconds Sprint’s type fast, skipping, doing plyometrics all of those things like train your body to like, bounce off the ground, it’s almost like Kate like you can train your cadence for cycling, but you don’t actually need to use a lot of force to do that, you can just get on the rollers at like, you know, 90 watts and like just spin your legs as fast as possible. And then that way you can train your speed for cycling, separate from like force and power, like and power and stuff, right, you can isolate all those things. With running, you don’t really get that opportunity unless you can run on like an ultra G or like a, you know, a treadmill that takes the weight off your body. So most of the time, you have to run a session that like is kind of fast or has some sort of element of fast in order to train this specific and important element of economy. And so maybe you’re interrupting and saying, Well actually, you want to run more frequently or as frequently as is as possible in order to like keep reinforcing this like engagement with the ground. But you can do with like, you know, 10 minute runs off the bike, you can do it by sitting before you do a weights, weights workout, you can do it by doing some plyometrics when you do your strength training, so like, as long as you have an eye on how often you are working on this. You can do it you don’t necessarily have to run every day, but you have to keep an eye on on on how often you’re you’re reinforcing ground contact,


Trevor Connor  43:34

I’m really glad you actually went down that role, because I agree with you completely that there is that specificity, which does need to be trained within each of these events and actually study that I found absolutely fascinating. And I can’t remember the name of it. But we’ll post these these references. They did a muscle contraction study of triathletes compared to cyclists. So when we’re talking about co contraction, that’s when you have antagonist muscles contracting at the same time. So classic example is think of, you’re trying to do a bicep curl, but while you’re lifting your triceps are also contract and that’s going to limit how much you can lift. If you can get your to try stuff to just relax, you’re gonna be able to lift more on a bike. co contraction is actually a major factor. And it’s one of the things when you do all that neuromuscular training, it’s one of those things you’re trying to reduce. So in this study they took at a national level cyclists and compare them to Ironman triathletes, and they did that because the Ironman triathletes were spending as much time on the bike as these dedicated cyclists. And what they found was there was the cyclists were showing that they were pure cyclists, they were doing a lot of neuromuscular training. So they you saw quite low levels of CO contraction. The triathletes were their co contraction was significantly higher. on par with amateur cyclists. So the the conclusion of this study was these triathletes were missing out on a huge opportunity to improve by just working on that neuromuscular side. And as you’re saying, That goes for all three sports.



Well, and I think there’s so so it’d be just interesting to know what level the athletes were in that study, like, were these elite Ironman athletes, or were they like, age group type Ironman athletes? Do? You know?


Trevor Connor  45:32

That is a good question, if you give me a second that actually was finding it while we were talking? And I’ll just,



I’ll get it. Because,



Yes, for sure, like in like for Ironman Triathlon, you’re doing like, a whole bunch of hours to get ready to time trial for 180 kilometers. So So certainly, like the volume of training is, is super high the same way it would be for like, you know, train cyclists. But again, we get back to like, triathlon is a sport. And so it’s not a bike race in the middle of like a swim in a run. And, specifically, the the bike portion of an Ironman Triathlon is all about fueling light, it’s all about how efficient Can you how fast you go, while you are not burning carbs, right, so you’re not burning gas. And the whole time you’re, you’re, you’re basically cruising, it’s like you’re a cruising altitude in an airplane, and they don’t want to use too much gas, right, they’re going to go exactly the speed that they don’t have to like, turn on the afterburners or whatever. And the whole time, what you’re doing is you’re trying to take fuel in. So two things, one is your gut is not going to be able to absorb all the all these calories if you’re going too hard for absorption. And if you’re going to the point where you’re burning carbs, you’re not going to last for like an elite is like eight or nine hours, right. And essentially, what you’re doing is you’re trying to get yourself to the start of the marathon with as much as you can, because once you start running a marathon, you no longer can take in fuel to you, then you’re in the point where you’re going to start running out of gas, right, because you can’t take in carbs at the same rate that you can on the bike. So in order to run fast, you have to start that marathon, as topped up as you can be, so that you can then run out of gas at the finish line. So when when you’re trying to ride like that, it’s all about strength endurance, because you do not want to be in any zone above what your like, upper aerobic threshold would be, you want to be like, like an elite, Ironman athlete is just into zone three, like most age groupers are down in zone two to make sure that they’re not burning carbs, basically. So you would and in order to keep your heart rate down as well, which also helps you to save like your heart and lungs to drive your legs on the run. You write at a really low cadence rate, because you’re actually more efficient and you and your heart rate stays lower if you ride it a low cadence. So training for Ironman as a an elite triathlete is about riding around a 70 to 80 RPM, pushing like a huge amount of force, without a lot of speed, there’s like zero point in doing anything at high cadence because that’s just going to drive your heart rate up. And that’s going to like that’s another muscle that’s going to demand glucose and cost you energy. So in in from an efficiency standpoint, you actually want to be at a very low, you want to be at the lowest heart rate that you can still be going really fast. You want to be like using your like muscular system to get you through the bike so that you can turn and use your heart and lungs to drive your your marathon.



And, and in that way, yeah, you lose like a crap ton of leg speed and you don’t have much of a sprint if you’ve been training like that for somewhere between eight and 12 weeks. But that doesn’t mean that like an elite athlete wouldn’t then go and go, Okay, well, I have no leg speed and I in order to get like capacity so that that number whatever you write in an Iron Man, to get that higher, you have to go back, like in your more preparatory phase, like weeks out have like a specific RMF phase. And work on that capacity. Like not only do the lower intensity lower than Iron Man pace, you know, base like zone to stuff and then you’d also want to do stuff that’s like really high end capacity or neuromuscular stuff and work on getting leg speed back feedback because you don’t want 70 to 80 RPM to suddenly start feeling like like a fast cadence right? If you if if your max can 80 then 70 is gonna feel pretty hard whereas like if you go and like push that capacity out to both ends of the spectrum, then you can come back and be like super efficient at 80 rpm. Do you know what I mean? So that’s the difference between like the bike is is a preparatory you want to be you can absolutely lose the race on the in an Iron Man. If you’re not fighting And if you’re super fast at it, particularly in the last 40 kilometers or so, you could probably win on the bike if you have a strong enough run, but the bike is all about setting up for the run, it’s you get off the bike, and it’s done. You want it not to have cost you I think. And so that’s a totally different kettle of fish than doing 180 k stage at the Tour de France where there’s a lot of micro steam jet finishing first, so you have to have a massive sprint for the finish or you have to be able to get in the brake and steam the brake. All of these capacities are 100% useless in our man, like maybe they’re good like in training before as I was saying in terms of like moving, moving the your capacity on the edges of what your specific requirement is. But in triathlon, you have to be really clear on what you’re trying to do when you’re racing.


Trevor Connor  50:55

So I actually found this study while we were talking. And I, I’m sitting here looking at the introduction, I have this couple sentences highlighted, that are virtually saying the exact same thing you’re saying goes the running and triathlon as an oxygen cost seven to 8%, higher than isolated running. So during a triathlon race, there is a decrease in economy. And the success of triathletes depends on how economical they are, therefore is important for triathletes to have a good cycling technique sets, since it may also affect their running. So it’s saying the same thing is that the the cycling can have a big impact on how you perform in the run later on and really hurt the economy as you’re saying.



For sure, for sure. I find it interesting that he’s talking so so when he’s talking about technique, I think that this technique, there’s there’s a variety ways to look at that, right. So I think a really good like an elite level cyclist is really, like has better pedaling efficiency among a larger range of different cadences. Whereas a less experienced cyclist or triathlete would probably lose their efficiency around their pedal stroke, you know, at a at a lower cadence. So like a good a good way to highlight this is if you if you send someone to go right up hill at a lower qeynos they kind of have more control of like what their pedal stroke is like. And that control is lost at a lower cadence in like a beginner cyclist or triathlete versus like a more advanced cyclist or triathlete. And then along that continuum, like different different riders have a natural cadence at which they are the most efficient. And that’s a very unique and individual thing, depending on a background. And so like, I think that life I just take myself I’ve tried a variety of different cadences in triathlon, and I’ve had some really great rides when I was riding more at like 90 to 95 rpm. And now in Ironman I have like, really, I really started running a lot better when I dropped that all the way down to 80. And so does that mean I’m not efficient at 90? No, but I get like, I can, essentially I can hold a higher watts, which ultimately, I’m still going going faster, regardless of what my cadence is, because power is power, right? at a lower rate at like a lower cadence. And so, so figuring out what that number is, is individual. But certainly, I think what he’s talking about in terms of technique, I think that’s part of it is like figuring out how you pedal best rate in order to be as efficient as possible. So you can go as fast as possible while still having something saved up for like this enormous challenge that like the marathon is like the race, right? Like, I don’t know how many marathons you guys have run, but it’s a long ass way.


Trevor Connor  54:12

You could have written the studies, I’m looking at the methods and one of the paragraphs starts for different cadences. 6075 90 and 105. were randomly assigned to each participant. So they were exploring exactly what you were talking about as well.



I have athletes coaching that right now might be at 65. Because really, that’s where they are the most efficient. And what happens is you just have to, I think like let’s say we’re in this this interviews in January, right? So this time of year is a good time to start testing and trying like like different kinases, right, like so. Because there’s no there’s no doubt that in order to really access like super high power, like if you want to get neuromuscular power and you’re you’re only going to have so much force right so in order To have high power, you need to apply some speed to that force. So if your maximum cadence capacity is like 70 RPM, you’re probably never gonna get anywhere near like, you know, like 900 watts or anything like that, which would be useful to have that just coordination to be able to push that much power, even if it’s for a short period of time. Because that coordination and that and that fiber recruitment sort of like eventually translates to a higher manageable wattage or zone. So I do want athletes to keep trying on on like, at higher cadence to them, they’re, they’re comfortable at at the present time. But then as you get into your like, specific phase, everyone’s going to be efficient at that moment in time, at their, at their cadence, and whatever that is, is up to them. And, and certainly, like, if you’re an athlete, that is going to ride an armada at 100 RPM, you can probably apply enough force for or not hundred RPM, 100 watts, I’m just coming up with round numbers here, like let’s say you’re a beginner, you’re going to push 100 watts for 180 k, then probably like something like 60 RPM is going to be plenty, because you don’t need as much force for 100 watts. But if you’re like an elite professional man, and you’re going to hold 300 watts, the amount of force that’s required for 300 watts is quite a bit higher. So if you could manage like something like 85 or 90 RPM, the amount of force in that power equation is less, and so you’re probably going to be more efficient at a higher cadence, the higher the average watts that you’re going to hold. And so again, it comes down to an individual, what combination of force and speed is going to give you your what your sustainable power number is in that and different athletes have different combinations that is best for for them. But in general, like, the lower the watts, the lower the cadence is probably fine. And that’s what you see in beginners is that they tend to go to lower cadences because they’re more efficient, number one, because they’re more beginners, and they have less watts. And so that all of that together equates to like their efficient number. And then the more elite, the athlete, probably, the higher the cadence and the higher power.


Chris Case  57:22

Since this is such a critical aspect here. Do you have a protocol that you recommend to people to find that number,



let’s say like, you’re gonna do a full Ironman, there’s, there’s somewhere between eight and 12 weeks that you’re getting ready for that Ironman, and you’re specifically doing workouts to determine what is your sustainable, like, pace, okay, so pace is like a combination of things. So in that block, you’ll start to do long intervals that are at a pace that you’ll determine by the time you get to the race is your arm and pace, and then I like I do a lot of work, well, we’ll go like slightly over, we’ll kind of go more like half Ironman pace, and then like a little bit slower than Ironman pace to sort of like drill down to what that middle range is actually going to be on race day. And you and you find pretty quickly when you do repeats that are like between 20 and 30 minutes long, like what what do you arrive at? You know, so, so training specifically for exactly what you’re going to do, gives you a good idea of like, what you can do exactly and, and, and will do intervals like more in this this phase that are like higher aerobics zones, where we’re athletes, like, you’ll find that sometimes you might, I might ask an athlete to start at 100 RPM for like, at this time of year just to practice doing that. And then once they get tired or, or it could be the opposite, like they want to start at 100 rpm and I’d rather the interval be more something to do with strength endurance. And so I asked them to write it like 60 RPM, which they find really hard. And then they want to increase their cadence as the set goes. So I think just experience with like, specifically talking, I think if you just specifically talk about cadence, and you experiment at different ends of spectrum with cadence, athletes will start to find like, Okay, well actually, this is kind of where I default to most of the time. And I think a lot of times this is a lot easier to figure out when you’re doing intervals like on the train or where you’re on starting and stopping because it’s hard to go by average cadence when you’re outside unless you like take all the zeros out and stuff like that. I think I think just for specific intervals that different efforts, equating different cadences to what that effort felt like does help athletes learn what their what,



what works best for them.


Chris Case  59:56

Now that we have a better sense of pacing and how to determine what yours should be Let’s get back to Whitney who’s got a training curveball for us. There is a fourth leg to the triathlon that you also need to prepare for.


Trevor Connor  1:00:08

Any quick thoughts on because I know this is a complex question, but let’s let’s do the 5000 over a foot overview between training for an Ironman versus training for an Olympic or even a sprint triathlon. Hmm, what would be the big differences in the training? Well,



your hours are going to be incredibly different.



I mean, I mentioned



I mentioned earlier that if you’re in pretty good shape, most people could do a sprint unless you have like a real an issue that you couldn’t run or something. Right. So if you’re in good shape, you can do a sprint. And I don’t mean to belittle Okay, that’s just like for recreational purposes here. This like people who race Sprint’s are incredible and Olympic as well, because for Olympic years, there are are there redlining redlining the whole time. And it’s incredible to me, that I’m not built for that, like my strength is long, long, steady, even with my intervals. So the volume of training is different. You do besides besides intervals that make a difference in your, in your ability to have like a high level of aerobic capacity for the duration of a long race, you still need you still do need hours of time, like especially on in the saddle, you need some hours of just riding and being used to being having a be a mental grind. Also, because that’s a huge part of long distance triathlon for me, and I would, I think that’s probably pretty common that other other endurance triathletes would agree that the fourth leg of the triathlon is the whole time and it’s mental, like, that’s a huge piece of it. Because there Oh, it’s inevitable, throughout a race that takes eight to 12 hours are eight to 17 is that would be the cut off of an Iron Man, that you’re going to have ups and downs not only physically but mentally. So that’s, that’s another big difference between a sprint or an Olympic into a Iron Man, for sure Half Ironman, that kind of it’s kind of that middle ground of you probably will have some ups and downs. But for an Ironman distance, it’s like inevitable and you have to embrace that. And to me, it’s kind of the beauty of it too, because when you let something goes terribly wrong, and especially if that has to do with your hydration or your nutrition, you will have a very pretty probably a pretty low, pretty low point at some point, but you will probably come out of it. Especially hope so yeah, of course you hope. And if you’ve trained your mental ness about it, your like mental power about it, that is super powerful to help you get through it. So


Chris Case  1:02:37

yeah, given that you are a self described, athlete built for these distances for these endurance grinds, what is it about your innate constitution? or What did you and or what did you learn by doing them that made you good at that were their mental tricks were their mindset. Things you did to help you get through those low points.



physiologically, you certainly can be born with more or less certain muscle fibers that that predispose you to being better at a sprint or better at a at a long distance event. So I imagine I have more of those white fibers that predispose me to being better at endurance. It’s not to say that you can’t train the other part of it, but then I think it’s a lot of personality to for me anyway, I mean,


Chris Case  1:03:35

personality, this like,



like a tenaciousness of I like a challenge and I don’t want to give up and it’s a those are good qualities. They also can be detrimental qualities, I mean, you take anything to an extreme and an Ironman Triathlon is an extreme and the training for an Ironman triathlon. The lifestyle that surrounds that is an extreme. I honestly, I’ve met a lot of really great people, and amazing athletes, long distance endurance, Iron Men and women. But none of them are really like reasonable in the training realm, okay,


Chris Case  1:04:10

I’m glad I didn’t say I’m glad you said that. Because, yeah,



it’s, we usually just look at the sport and you look what it takes. And and there’s, there’s strength in it, and you take it to an extreme and there’s some detriment in that. But I would say part of my personality is like, I don’t want to, I don’t want to give up and it’s, I embrace the challenge of not giving up on something, especially physically and mentally. Like that combination. It just, I found it in triathlon. And I think that’s why in college when I sort of like found this, like, there’s this thing, this sport that feels me in this way. I don’t just kind of snowballed, and I’ve heard other people’s stories that are similar.


Trevor Connor  1:04:48

We all hopefully by now know a lot about training on the bases and for cycling. It’s a matter of fact, we recently discussed that in Episode 90 with two fellow Canadians. Andrew Randall and Steve Neil at the cycling But how does bases and training work for triathletes? Let’s hear what Melanie has to say.


Chris Case  1:05:09

Well, let’s dive into the practical side here and talk about the season as a whole training principles getting from the general base training season to the more specific race portion of a season. What is your general philosophy here Mel on on the season,



planning a season for a triathlete is the same as for a cyclist you you look at when the key races that they want to perform at occur. And then you basically count back from those races to determine how much time you spend in each sort of block getting ready to be ready on that day. And so I think that no matter what you want, somewhere between, like, you know, maybe nine weeks to maybe 12 weeks for an Iron Man to have specific training, leading into the race. And then before you get into this specific training, then you kind of have a, you’ll have a block of sort of special training to get ready to be really specific, and then you’ll have a block of like more foundation training to just which is just general training to train so so there’s the training train, and then there’s the Okay, what are the specific things that we’d like to have in place, before we get really specific with what we want to do. And then let’s get really specific. And so for like sprint person, their specific training would include a lot more speed endurance, because they’re trying to go fast. And on the opposite end of the spectrum of that, an Iron Man athlete would want to do more strength endurance to get ready for an Ironman, so potentially, they would do a little bit more speed in their sort of special phase. But both the sprint and the Ironman athlete together, would be doing a similar type of capacity work in their general training, where they’re just trying to, like, build the biggest possible engine they can.


Chris Case  1:06:59

So So as a classically periodized type of scenario that you’re describing,



it is, but I think that a lot of people always look at periodization, as you know, long and slow to push the the, you know, push the ceiling up to get fast. Whereas, like, what I would say is that, um, you know, it’s like, a lot of robeck, but your neuromuscular stuff would happen sort of in the beginning phase, like where you’re pushing the, the, the other end of the spectrum out. So it’d be like through really high speed stuff in the in the foundation phase for triathletes, that would also be the phase that you’d kind of address more technical stuff like technique. And then the special phase depends on what your distances right, so like a, like an Iron Man athlete in their special phase would do speed work. A sprint athlete would probably do more of a classic, get faster periodization because they would then do all this like kind of maybe more strength endurance in their special phase to get ready to more specific to going faster. Does that make sense?


Trevor Connor  1:08:09

Define for our listeners exactly what you mean by speed work.



Let’s let’s just talk about running for Ironman. So when you’re running an Ironman marathon, it’s actually not that fast to pace no matter how fast like, I mean, the best men rush to 39 marathons, but that’s like, entirely pedestrian from a women’s marathon perspective, it’s quite a slow marathon. So what what this specific requirement of an Ironman marathon is his strength, not slowing down, right, so so in that phase, you’re doing a lot of like, a robotic work and stuff to get really strong so that you can resist fatigue. But in order to be ready to resist fatigue at a faster pace, you actually have to improve your speed potential for that. So like, so the Ironman athlete might do, depending on who the athlete is, and and you know, each person is individual, but I’m just going to give a generalization of what I think in this regard. So that person would probably work on their five k pace, right, because the fastest maybe five, maybe it’s 10, whatever the athlete is, but they’re working on going faster, over a much shorter distance so that their speed potential is much higher when they go into their fatigue resistance training face, for lack of a better description, right. Whereas a sprint athlete, their specific phase is all going to be about running the fastest five K, they can off the bike. And so really, that’s going to come down to how fast they can run when they’re tired. So still is still fatigue resistance, but five k off a 20 k bike is a lot different than 42 kilometers off 180 k bike and so that sprint athlete is probably going to do a lot of specific work where they ride really hard and then run really hard. They’ll probably do a lot of brick work where they get used to running quite fast on with cycling specific fatigue in their legs. And so in order to get to that they might run more mileage in their special phase where they they kind of work more on their strength endurance, they might do more of the hills that are useful for Iron Man. But they would do it in the opposite case where their preparation would be more strength focused in order for them to go faster. Whereas like an Iron Man athlete would be more speed focused in order to go slower.


Trevor Connor  1:10:32

I have not worked with Iron Man triathletes I’ve worked with with shorter descent triathletes, where it is exactly as you described. So I’m fascinated by the fact that you have these Ironman athletes who are actually doing some some speed very early on. Yeah. And what do you think of the base, or they just be going slow? And I remember, you know, we had a couple Ironman at the center knew I always used to laugh when we get to March or April, and they talk about going out and doing their intervals and be like, yeah, I’m doing three by 60 minutes today. It was it was nothing shortened and hard.



Yeah. And that’s a good way to get really slow. So if we, if we look at Iron Man, from like a bike perspective, you want to be able to hold like, make no mistake, riding at an elite level in the Ironman is really hard. Like how much there’s not a lot of difference between how hard you can ride for like two and a half hours versus like how hard you can ride for like just under five hours. It’s like it’s, it’s a it’s a very intense effort for a really long time. So like when you kind of haven’t done an Ironman and you imagine that you kind of think oh, they’re just riding around like eating snacks for like five hours. But really, you’re kind of it’s, it’s a very uncomfortable pace like it like for instance, like when I’m racing an Ironman, there’s no way I could choose something like, I’m still going hard enough that I couldn’t chew a bar, some people might be able to, I have no idea I’d probably like, like my heart rate still in like the 165 to 165 to 170 range, like I would race like I would race like 185 or something like that, for a shorter distance race, my max heart rate is probably closer to 198. So I have quite high heart rates, but it’s still like, it’s a high aerobic effort for a really long time. So if you only ever do intervals that are really, really long, that effort feels really hard. Like you actually have to have a range coming into it in order to like not make that effort. feel hard. And so you have to be able to do stuff that’s quite a bit higher than what that paces so. So certainly, like you want to set yourself up with like some some of what I was talking about, like those recruitment intervals where you’re just doing like 10 or 20 seconds, where you’re really like smashing it like or one minute, like one minute with seven minutes. Rest were How hard can you go for a minute, that that would be like a typical January effort, okay, let’s recruit as many fibers as possible. Running I have my athletes do strides all the time, it’s like 20 seconds up a hill where you just sprint as hard as you can. because it teaches your body to like, bring in a bunch of fibers. And then the next phase would be, okay, let’s start working on like, higher end threshold stuff that that, that being able to suffer with our heart rate really high. Because we don’t actually do that, in our mind, we suffer with our heart rate really low. And so doing stuff that that broadens this range of capacity so that you can slow down and it feels easy. But that’s essentially like the, how I would organize the year for an Ironman athlete, whereas like you can, for an athlete that needs to do sprint triathlon, they’re racing is really high intensity. And so you don’t want to burn out that neurological system and do too much sort of do to work really early, because then they’ll have nothing left for re season. So for them, it’s kind of better to push the threshold up from the bottom and work a lot more on their like sort of strength endurance and, and lower intensity stuff so that they get pretty fast by feeling strong. And then you just like sprinkle a little bit of speed on top of it and then let the racing take care of itself because the races are fast and the races are specific training for their their racing, Iron Man, you can rehearse that race before you go to the race. Like you just get ready and you just do it and then you recover for a month. So there’s no there’s no rehearsal for our man you just or you just do it all on one day, whereas sprint triathlons you can do over and over again and have and get fit from racing.


Trevor Connor  1:14:45

I’ve just tried to visualize a picture what you’re saying and I get some of that if you’re doing a 10 hour event. And the fastest you’ve ever gone and training is the pace you’re doing that 10 hour event at but you’re gonna be 20 minutes into the race and go, I’m not gonna drive an hour, how can I do another nine hours of this? Where it’s what you’re saying, if you train your body to handle the higher speed, you go into and say, This hurts, but I can go faster right now I’m just focused on what i can i can the pace I can go for the length of this event, which is a very long event. Does that make sense?



Yeah, yeah, it’s just just like, it’s, it’s pushing your your zones out, like giving yourself the largest window of capacity that you can possibly have. So that you have some range within to like speed up and slow down. And that’s especially important if you go to an Iron Man, that is hilly, right, like where you can’t keep it super controlled, like it’s not going to be exactly your watts for the whole time that you have to kind of go over and under. To go over a hill, you know, things like that, like you, you have to have that rage. And if you only ever train one speed, then you’re you have no range and and you like racecourses that are rolling or hilly will will kill you because you’ll be out of your zone. And you won’t have any capacity for dealing with riding outside of your zone. Because you haven’t done any upper, upper end aerobic work at all. One of the things that I often think about and I’ve heard people talk about quite a bit in relation to training for triathlon is the susceptibility of triathletes to overtraining trying to fit all of this stuff in in a given day in a given week, trying to do too much.


Chris Case  1:16:39

What do you tell the athletes you work with? About this particular subject? How do you prevent them from doing too much? I’m sure it’s a big topic.



Yeah, it’s it’s really difficult because there’s no question like, like, even though there is a lot of carryover from one sport to the other, it still is really time consuming to to train for three sports and and there’s always kind of more that you would want to do. So I think you have to block the Well, first off, your training has to be progressive, right. So you want to start at a manageable level of training, and come up with with a framework for a week that fits in with like how much time you have in your life, and how much time you have like to recover for this trough and stuff. And then you want to slowly layer your your training on based on what how much time that you have, where you kind of progress how stressful that training is, does that make sense to like, first you start, okay, I have this amount of time. And I’m going to put this much time just training, easy for everything. And then over time, I’m going to like put a little bit more of different kinds of intensity into this framework of amount of training I have, because you want your training always to be progressive. So you want to be able to do more work over time, and like leading up to when you’re ready to race. But in general you want to be you want to just first start with doing as much aerobic work as you can. So what I see being the biggest problem with triathletes is that they a try to do too much intense work. And then because they don’t actually have capacity for the amount of work that they’re doing. Overall, the intensity is what kills them. Whereas like, if they just consistently did more work and took most of that intensity out, they’d still be better on race day because that intensity is not specific to their event. So it’s more like it’s an overtraining from the, they’re just out of balance with how much intensity they do versus the number of hours that they do theirs. In triathlon, it, you first need to balance sort of the amount of time you spend on each sport based on the amount of time you’re going to spend on that sport on race day. And commonly what I see is running as the most time efficient, and so people want to run a lot more, but they don’t want to run easy more, they want to do a lot of fast running. And then they don’t want to riding is inconvenient and takes more time. So they want to do less riding, and then they kind of ride their bike a little bit less intense. So they they do too much running relative to how much riding they’re doing. And then a lot of times they just skip the swimming altogether because it’s really immediate. So then everything gets out of balance, whereas they’d be better off to like do no intensity whatsoever and fill as many minutes as they have balancing all three sports getting just time in each sport for a while. And then once that becomes manageable, then they sprinkle in a little bit of appropriate intensity into So each of the sorts to work on whatever they need to work on, in terms of like, whether it’s like neuromuscular, neuromuscular engagement for riding, or maybe they need to work on their leg speed for running or whatever. But that should always be secondary with just getting enough easy hours of all three in per week.


Trevor Connor  1:20:21

Part of the reason I really talked to the triathletes I work with about this whole crossover effect is going with Chris and about the concerns of recovery is I’ve seen several athletes who get really focused on each sport is different, I have to train each sport. And they start doing things like Well, yeah, for example, Chris, and I really, really push this concept of polarized training and say, to interval sessions per week is about appropriate, and then they take that and go, Okay, so two interval sessions cycling, but then I need to interval sessions running. And I need 200 l sessions swimming. And then they’re doing six interval sessions in a week between the three events. And that suddenly becomes too much training and they start pushing themselves towards being overtrained. And that’s why I like to say you have to look at it all this together. And you do need the intensity. But it might not be equal across all sports. And that can vary from week to week. But it might be one week, you do an interval session. On the bike, you do an interval session running and you don’t do any intensity in the pool, you just swim. And maybe the next week, it’s a little bit different.



Yeah, and I think that sometimes looking at things from like a seven day perspective is a mistake. Because you don’t need to hit these energy systems for even, like if you were just a just running, you don’t need a long run every single week. So one thing that I like when creative way of managing a set work week that I’ve used with some athletes that I have is that we we focus on a capacity for each sport on a week. And most of the time, most, I haven’t been able to convince anyone to like focus a week on swim capacity. So I just make them come to my like training camps. And then I give them like a mini block of just swimming, but they’re open to it for like cycling and running. And so when when we do that, I generally put the run week before the cycling week, because cycling has this neurological component where if you’re tired, you just don’t get as the same level of engagement from your nervous system. So we started with the week being like more of a run focus week where we still have quite a bit of writing built into that week, but the frequency of the run Sessions is really high. And and in that week, we would probably be able to fit in to run specific, more intensity weeks and like that intensity ranges from like, like in January, it would be just like maybe a set of strides and a set of like long Hill repeats or something like that, like about a couple days apart, maybe like three days apart. And so that week, they would actually have a higher volume of running built into that week, because they have a bit more time. And then the following week, I’d like generally you can ride fairly well, even if your legs are kind of tired. And and it’s not as technical a sport from that perspective. So then the second week would be our riding week. And in that week, they would have like, extra bike workouts and the run workouts would kind of shift into the background where they might be only about 20 or 30 minutes, like frequency sessions, you might have one longer aerobic run session, depending on the athlete sit in there sitting in there, but they would use them both weekend days as riding days. And they would just because in January in particular, and from a capacity perspective, you want to ride more, they would then do two back to back quite long rides on that week. And then that way, they get like quite a bit more ride over a week, running kind of goes in the background at a time when they’re probably going to need to adapt to like a longer running week. So it kind of works. And then we might do a three to anywhere from three to five days of refreshing like whatever they need to be ready to go again, we’d have a balanced weekend, and then we do it again. And so we shift back and forth the focus of each capacity from one week to the next. And do like it’s it’s it’s like block periodization in that we do blocks of like, sort of focus. But I don’t think it works to like stop writing and just focus on your running for a month because then your writing is so far behind and it’s so important to the overall race. It just makes no sense to work on one one aspect of triathlon at a time because everything has to progress together. Whereas in this way, you’re still hitting. So like on our balanced week like we’ve we’ve done a run week we’ve done a bike week and then our balanced week. We then get back and we and we get like a decent long run that week within like the last week and we also get a long ride still in that week. So we don’t get too far away from any of those sports but we just shift the focus kind of back and forth and into time that is kind of more manageable for for athletes,


Trevor Connor  1:25:19

I seem to remember you doing like I remember we’d have the the big training camps that who Shang would put on for that week you were mostly a cyclists like we’d finish the ride and you you would put on the running shoes and maybe go for a very short run or hop in the pool really quickly. But you were you were doing 80% cycling that week. But then the next week, we barely see you at all and I’m guessing at that point, you’re probably spending a lot more time in the pool on with the running shoes on



throw my entire career I would, I benefited from one week a month where I went over distance for riding and and the we the years that I didn’t do as well in Iron Man, I wasn’t getting those really big hits of volume on the bike. And and if I learned anything last year like that, I could probably do those really big hits of volume on the bike probably even more often than I have been doing and and I just think you just there’s no substitute for aerobic fitness and on the bike in the pool are two really easy ways to build a lot of aerobic fitness with really low risk of injury. And then running trying to build your existence and impact resistance, like how strong your legs are for so that you don’t slow down and that last 10 k the marathon is really important. But ultimately, it’s a lot forward for is a lot more dangerous, right to run more time. Like you have to be a pretty, you have to be a pretty efficient runner, who’s really strong in order to start hitting higher mileage with your with your running. And for most, like for most age group triathletes, it’s a much safer prospect to put that time in on the bike and let your running like slowly come up over time because if you overdo it running, it’s pretty easy to end up injured. And ultimately your riding determines how fast you run anyway, so there’s no downside to more time on the bike.


Trevor Connor  1:27:25

Now that we know so much about the physical aspects of triathlon training, how do you build the mental strength side to overcome the challenges of competing in an Ironman Triathlon?


Chris Case  1:27:36

You reach a low point in the middle of the cycling leg of an Ironman and you know, you have many hours left. Did you have a mantra? Or did you just say, I actually this is a low point, but this is what I made for and that was what got you through it



more. So your second thought, and I like that actually, because I I didn’t really have a mantra so to speak. It was more like I knew that would that it would happen. And actually hopefully you don’t hit your low point during this during the bike share. There can be certainly the point areas of disk discomfort and tiredness fatigue. But the low points usually come during the marathon like that is just you know, that’s coming.


Chris Case  1:28:19

What was your strategy for dealing with these three sports and combining them into quote, one sport in triathlon.



So when I would begin the race, knowing that the swim was the shortest part of a long day, the swim only the very beginning, I became kind of nervous because yes, you’re nervous to just get the thing started. And the mass starts are never a favorite of mine. But I am a swimmer, I that was my first sport, and I’m pretty comfortable swimming in general. So you kind of for me, it was like not even a big thing. Just get started and swim, get through it and get onto the bike. And then when you’re on the bike, the main thing is making sure you’re very regular with your nutrition that is so key because your run will suffer immensely. Your whole race will but your run at the end will be like terrible if you haven’t fueled and hydrated properly. So my coach had helped me with a ton with that feeling properly during the race. And you don’t feel like eating and you don’t base it and you don’t base this stuff on feelings. you base it on your training, you base your actions on your training. So it’s it’s fueling and hydrating at regular intervals. And that also kind of carries you through the hours of the bike and when you have lower points. You probably you need to eat again. Like eating is really really important. So consistently so then you hopefully you’re set up for when you when you start the marathon, you are not at all, like lacking calories and hydration. It’s almost as if


Chris Case  1:29:46

and correct me if I’m wrong. The race doesn’t really start until the marathon and what you’re trying to do is get to the run as fast as you can without fatiguing yourself or running out of the nutrition that you need to get to that point is that you



could say it that way, I’m sure there would be. There’s probably awful triathletes and coaches who would who would give you a whole nother, like, way of saying that or sure another, another paradigm about that. But honestly, for me, I’ll speak to my experience, yes, it was setting myself up well, during the time that I could, which was mostly the bike, that’s when you can eat and drink, you can’t when you’re swimming, and you that’s too early on. So the long stretch of the bike is like your, your platform for your end performance. And you know, that’s that’s saying of like, the adventure doesn’t start until it’s like past your comfort zone, or like your, you know, your there’s some there’s this point of when you’re past your comfort, that’s when that’s when like the good stuff starts like the real meaningful stuff. Well, it’s kind of true interest on when you’re definitely going to be at the end of your comfort zone at some point will likely be during the run if it’s earlier than that. It’s a little early because you


Chris Case  1:30:53

got a lot, a lot of hours a lot of suffering a



lot of suffering to do. So you hope that your your comfort zone and like later and that you’ve set yourself up well during that middle part. But yeah, there’s there’s definitely those strategy about the bike and if you get far enough ahead, and then you can look at various various athletes that do have a stronger skill in cycling than they do running or those those because you don’t always win a race in the in the run doesn’t always come down to that at all right? You I would be hard pressed to think of a race like I’ve heard about that was one in the swim. Like if we could get that four out in the beginning. I don’t think that’s I don’t think that’s


Chris Case  1:31:37

a cyclists we haven’t forgotten about you. Let’s finish up this episode by getting back to the bike and Melanie’s words of wisdom. What have you learned as a triathlete and as a coach of triathletes that you say to yourself, man, I, if I had done this differently, when I was just a cyclist, so to speak, that would have made all the difference.



So I think I was talking really early in our conversation about this, this force production and directing force, sort of that whole concept. And if if I had done, if I could go back to my cycling career, and I had, if I was going to do this over, I think that skipping a phase of maximum strength work in the gym, before your season is like probably the biggest mistake every single cyclist could make. So you are better off to not ride your bike and go to the gym, and work on vertical force production. Before you start riding your bike, over and over like time and time again, like that strength, not only does it like balance out your your body, and make your you know, your hips and your lower back. And that kind of stuff stronger to support you while you’re pedaling. But year over year, if you’re not working to build strength, you are losing strength. So I did not prioritize and manage and periodized my strength training properly when I was a cyclist. And I think that I that’s number one, I think that every cyclist needs to have that if you’re a 40 Plus or a 50 plus year old male cyclist in particular. You if you don’t do that you are just like losing skeletal muscle year over year at a rate that you you won’t. Like even if you do strength work on your bike, you’re not even gonna get close to keeping track of it, because that’s the biggest part of the male aging processes this like lower lower limb muscle loss. So just fighting you have to be in the gym. So number one. Number two, there, you I think you’re either a sprinter or you’re not, right, like you’re either you either have that sort of like fast twitch and that sort of coordination or you don’t you can kind of get a little bit better if you train it, but really people are born with it or not. And so just knowing that, if you know that right away, and you you can tell that you’re kind of good at sprinting, you want to get better, you just have a talent, right? And then you just need to make sure that you get to the sprint as fast as you can, because you’ve already got that talent. If if like you’re not a sprinter, then I wish I had spent more time building a base of like specific strength, and then putting a cherry on top of it with the intensity. I think that in when I was racing, I always thought it was the really high intensity that was going to make me was going to make me really strong when really it was the strength that made me strong enough to recover from high intensity. So I think I think there’s a long way of saying that in your base phase of training. It’s not easy base. It’s strength base and so I’m being disciplined with this. Only you want to stay in zone two, but you also want to do a lot of work that sort of like under load. So like, you know, lower cadence stuff, big hill stuff like steep hill stuff, like a variety of cadences and grades to like, make your body strong in all sorts of ways. And then keeping in touch with that speed with a little bit of like really short stuff. But that sort of cake that you bake of strength, allows you to quickly respond to like some high intensity stuff and then race Well, I think when I was racing, I didn’t, I did too much of the, like, really hard work and not enough of the strength work. And coming from triathlon, I realized how fast I am just being strong on the bike. Whereas I did way more fast stuff before and I was it wasn’t a strong, it does that make sense? Like how I’m describing that.


Trevor Connor  1:35:57

I couldn’t have said it any better. And I agree 100% I am such a fan of the weight room. You know, I have my own experience with this where I had my two years in 2015 and 16 where I didn’t go into the weight room and I’ve always said those are the only two years I’ve ever felt old on the bike. And and I brought that back I brought the the weights back, it’s taken me three years to get anywhere close to what I used to be able to lift, because that’s how quickly you lose it if you if you stop it. But having that doing the strength work on the bike, I couldn’t agree with you more.



Yeah, I think even now like I’ve like I still ride with these 25 year old kids and I just started training. I just the beginning of January took a really long break because I did like three imams last year. And and I came back to training in three weeks. I’m pretty strong right now. But like I don’t have a lot of no high end, I really haven’t done anything high end in three months. It’s always surprising to me now like how like if somebody like attacks, you know, goes really fast or Sprint’s up a hill or whatever. Of course, there’s nothing there because I don’t have any of that capacity right now. But, yeah, if everyone’s just going kind of hard, I’m really quite comfortable. And so if if you look at it from a like from a holistic season perspective, from a triathlete, you just need to be really strong. And then you can absorb pretty much anything else you throw yourself and just being patient with that strong face and pushing it as long as you can. Without worrying that you’re not. It’s not all together at once. Because the speed stuff, it establishes itself really quite fast if you are already strong and fit. And so I think just from a perspective, I know that when I go into that phase that I was describing, where I start to work on being fast, rather than just general capacity, it only takes me a couple weeks of going pretty fast to be fast. And even last year, I did like some I did a five k off of that this strength phase where I didn’t do a single workout that was anything even related to like five k pace, and I ran the fastest five k of my life at 45 years old, it translates to pretty darn fast if I had been doing some fast work would have been faster. Yes. But it just goes to show that you don’t need to do as much of that really fast work as you think to be fast, because strong, generally is pretty fast. And that that applies to running. And that applies to cycling. And particularly like if I if I look at athletes that are training for like mountain biking, like mountain biking would be like the Iron Man of of disciplines because it’s so much strength that you’re just you’re grinding off that bike most of the time, but then you also need to have like explosive power. But generally that explosive power comes under load. So it does come down to force production. And I just think that this this, this concept of really building a robust strong body is really important to athletes that train for that.


Chris Case  1:39:14

Alright, Mel, so you’re on the clock, you’ve got 60 seconds, we want you to give all the listeners at home your bullet points for this episode. Basically we’re asking you to take everything you’ve learned in your entire career your entire life, your entire coaching career, boil it down into 6060 seconds for us take it away.



Okay, okay. So, first you want to sit you want to figure out what specifically you need to be able to do at your, the triathlon that you’re trying to train for. You need to count back and figure out how much time you have to get ready for that specific triathlon. And then you need to prioritize being as strong as you can and as technically proficient as you can, in the in each of the sports that you You are doing like swimming, biking and running. And you need to balance the disciplines according to which ones help each other and which ones don’t. And don’t neglect your swimming


Chris Case  1:40:19

something that was very, very simple.



Well, at the end of the day traveling is simple is swimming, biking and running. And so it’s just making sure that you are as efficient as possible at putting those three sports together. You know, we


Chris Case  1:40:33

didn’t talk once about how do you get your cycling shoes off the fastest to get your running shoes on? That’s that could be the hardest part right?


Trevor Connor  1:40:40

You know, the last triathlon? I did, I was like four minutes in each. In each transition. I was like putting on knee warmers, taking them off doing arm warmers, of


Chris Case  1:40:50

course you will


Trevor Connor  1:40:51

everybody’s like frantically ripping Jews off into



the picnic basket, getting your drinks, having a sandwich,


Chris Case  1:41:00

showering in the chat, and Excellent. Well, Trevor, what do you got for your 62nd? Take homes? First of all,


Trevor Connor  1:41:09

as I said, Mel and I trained at the same center for many years, and I learned a ton from her while I was there. And was it 10 years later, I’m still learning a lot from you. You have a lot of wisdom to share. And this was appreciated. In terms of anything else I have to offer for my 60 seconds I’m actually going to go a different direction than I thought. Because Chris’s final question was, is there anything that cyclists can take away from this? And the immediate thought that I had was actually most of what we talked about cyclists could take away from this, this was a triathlon conversation, there was some triathlons, specific conversations. But what I really appreciate about this whole podcast is Mel, you are talking about fundamental principles of training that really apply whether you’re a cyclist triathlete, or whatever endurance sport, you’re you’re involved in, that I think anybody can take away from this.



Yeah, for sure. Because you just you just like substitute the word spreads on the track, or like 20 minute time trial or like, super long granfondo into into that equation for like sprint, Olympic or Iron Man. And you and some of the principles that I’m describing would would apply to like specific cycling training to so yeah, and the reason that there’s carryover from cycling to running is that training is training and stress is stress. And your body only knows that you’re applying stress to it and to adapt. And so I think a lot of the ideas I have for forgetting triathletes ready I don’t I don’t vary that very much. Like except for the fact that the athletes that I coach, they’re just cycling just by their bikes. Right. I still think those principles apply for for cycling. So yeah, I think I hope it can be useful to to cyclists as well and certainly like Cycling is where I came from. And triathlon is what I learned and so I think I know that I applied a lot of what I learned from cycling to how I approached getting ready for triathlon.


Trevor Connor  1:43:11

Good instead of better Chris you got one minute



are you doing future now?


Chris Case  1:43:18

No, I’m barely a cyclist right now. I’m more of a runner. I’m actually I don’t know what I am. This is


Trevor Connor  1:43:25

a phenomenal cyclist. He’s a phenomenal runner. I don’t know if he’s ever been in a pool.


Chris Case  1:43:30

I’ve been in the ocean putting it together. I don’t like chlorine. I don’t like I when I when I swim. It has to involve waves and and surf and stuff like that. So unfortunately, I would die before I got to the other two disciplines I would I’m I’m I’m skinny and not built for water really. My one minute is very very short. Don’t Drown.


Trevor Connor  1:43:55

Chris Chris has one minute as if you see him in the pool the trap long called the lifeguard


Chris Case  1:43:59

yes call the lifeguard get the get those rings that they toss into the pool so you can grab on to it quickly. That was another episode of Fast Talk. As always, we’d love your feedback. Email us at fast doc at Fast Talk Labs comm or call 719800 to 112 and leave us a wonderful voicemail. Subscribe Fast Talk on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Play, or wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts Be sure to leave us a rating and review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual for Melanie McQuaid Whitney Garcia and Trevor Connor. I’m Chris case. Thanks for listening.