8:23 am??Yesterday started with a swim in the Pacific. My first race is Escape from Alcatraz, exactly one week away, and the water will be cold. This was just a little preview of what’s to come in San Francisco.
10:43 am??We met Coach Paulo at Lake Miramar for a run workout. Upon arrival, we were told 30 minutes warm up, 10 km tempo, and 10 minutes cool down. We ended up with a sub 33:00 10k.
2:36 pm Lunch and lots of snacks ate up the couple of hours we had before heading out on a 2 hour cruise around Poway. Nothing crazy, just getting the work done.
5:21 pm Snack, change, and out the door to Rancho Penasquitos. 40 minute cruise run for me and Joe. Eric joined on his mountain bike for some active-recovering and GoPRO action. We often see the sunset from the trails (last night’s was the fifth day in a row), so it seems fitting that we now have a video documenting it.
I don’t often blog about my training days, because they are all pretty much the same thing. We swim; we bike; we run. Everyday is hard work, and each session is an opportunity to improve. Coach Paulo stresses being completely engaged in every interval, session, and the entire process. We all have big dreams in this sport, and it is with these dreams in mind that we face each challenge.
The Triathlon Squad is launching a fundraising drive this week. If you support the work we do everyday, and our commitments to fulfilling life long dreams, you should consider making a donation. Every little bit helps (e.g. $10 covers the costs for one swim lane for one hour). Please go to The Triathlon Squad’s website for further details.
Every week, twice a week, for the last four weeks we have gone to a climb called “Bandy Canyon” for some 5 minute intervals on the bike. The consensus among the Squad is that this workout sucks. What makes it so loathsome is that we have to keep our cadence below 60 rpm’s. At that cadence, it feels more like doing squats than riding a bike. This begs the question why don’t we just go to a gym for a “weight session” and do some squats? And the answer to that question is we are professional triathletes — we get paid to ride our bikes fast, not for having toned quads.
Since Coach Paulo had already made a couple videos of the other pieces to the money maker puzzle (i.e. swimming and running), it was time for a bike video. Below is a video from today’s Bandy Canyon hill repeats, where we work (play) hard.
Back in Poway and back to work with the Triathlon Squad! Here is a quick video Coach Paulo made from our hill repeats session today. The workout was 15 minute warm up, 12 x 30 seconds hill with a 1 minute jog down recovery, and 15 minute cool down. Lots of fun!
I posted these videos to my Facebook a couple of years ago after I first saw it at Flagstaff’s Orpheum Theatre as part of the Real Rock Tour. Since then, I have kind of rediscovered the man, the myth, the legend Ueli Steck a number of times, including tonight while perusing Youtube with Eric Lagerstrom.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Swiss Machine, check out these two videos. After watching these, you will be convinced that “more and more train” is the solution to all your problems.
That’s not the limit. I am just faster than the others, but that’s exactly not the point. I can do it much better.
Note the badass musical choice in this second film. Loyal RunPD followers will recognize it from here.
In my mind, Alistair Brownlee is the greatest triathlete competing today. His record at the highest level of the sport, ITU’s World Triathlon Series, is staggering: 12 wins out of 15 that he’s competed at. No other men have more than 3 wins. He was World Junior, U23, and Senior Champion, a feat that no one else has accomplished before. And then there is that Olympic Gold. He is certainly one of the most dominant athletes of any sport.
Gatorade UK followed Alistair and his brother Jonathan (Bronze medalist) as they prepared for the London Olympics. This video isn’t one of those training day videos like we’ve seen Specialized do with other triathletes (which are great too), but more of a series of interviews from different perspectives stating why they are the best in the world.??In this documentary, I think it shows it is a combination of three things.
They have the genetics. No one becomes the best at anything without having a certain level of talent. Alistair has said in the past that he thinks he’s actually pretty slow and doesn’t naturally possess that fast twitch that some of his competitors do, making him sound like just another clumsy endurance athlete. His “talent” lies in his capacity to train. Much like Galen Rupp’s “key to success lies in his ability to recover (via Steve Magness),” the Brownlee Boys are so good because they can handle more training.
I marvel at the capacity that they have for training and the focus that they’ve got on training… They do have to push themselves beyond what a normal person would push themselves through. But they actually quite enjoy doing that — that’s what they do.
That quote touches on the next point. They have a passion for their sport. The physical capacity to train means nothing if you can’t motivate yourself to push hard everyday. They like to swim, bike, run; they like to compete; they love to win, and that’s what they’ve spent their lives doing.
??When Alistair got injured, it wasn’t about “Oh I’m not going to be able to race in this race; I’m not going to be able to do that and I’m not going to be able to do that.” It was just purely a, “Oh, I just can’t go out and run.” And that’s what he loves doing, that’s how he relaxes, that’s how he de-stresses, that’s just what he loves doing.
Obviously obsessiveness can drive you to get up everyday and drive you to do that, but I think it can’t necessarily drive you to push that little bit further when you need to sometimes, and I think that’s when enjoyment and love for the sport take you that little bit further.
Finally, they have each other. They have the ultimate daily training environment in the world (in Northern England of all places…). To be the best, you have to surround yourself with the best.
I have had the advantage to train with the world’s best triathlete. I can see exactly what he did, exactly what he did the year before to become world champion, and exactly what he’s doing now. It’s a massive advantage because you’re learning from the best, you’re learning from the top of the sport, and you think, “you know, you’ve got to be right.”
As I move forward with my own triathlon career, I will aim to maximize those three things in an effort to see my full potential. Whether that is winning a sprint finish with one of the Brownlee brothers or simply standing on a podium at a Continental Cup race, only time will tell.
June 2015: This video used to be posted on Youtube. The video has since been removed. Here is a link to the video on Universal Sports.
Want more Brownlees?
The Brownlees co-authored a book called Swim, Bike, Run: Our Triathlon Story. In the book, Alistair and Jonathan recount their upbringing and how they got involved with triathlons. They also share some of their secrets that make them two of the best triathletes in the history of the sport. Buy it now on Amazon.
Last year I was invited to an 8-day camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as part of the Collegiate Recruitment Program. 2004 Olympian and CRP coordinator Barb Lindquist led the camp, teaching us the ins and outs of the ITU professional triathlon circuit.
Since this is a primarily a skills camp, athletes are not invited to return the following year. The idea is that you graduate from the camp and should now be implementing what you learned in real-life race situations, as I am doing in my first professional season.
For this year’s camp, USA Triathlon made a video narrated by Barb of all the activities they did. While I am not in this video, I thought it was worth sharing as it shows the same venues we used and similar exercises.