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I'm just an average age-grouper / weekend warrior blogging about Ironman Triathlon Training and this complex puzzle of juggling life, having fun and reporting on my various feats of strength and endurance adventures!

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The 2017 Giro d’Italia will finish into Milan with a time trial pitting one of best time-trialists in the world in Tom Dumoulin against the master climber and current Maglia Rosa-wearer Nairo Quintana. The Giro, with its unrelenting mountains, is traditionally won by a climbing GC specialist, but over the past few seasons Dumoulin has risen to the climbing challenge while still retaining his expert ability against the clock.

This year’s edition suited Dumoulin more than in previous years with the inclusion of two pure time trial courses. In the first (stage 10), he proved his dominance and pulled on the Maglia Rosa by putting two minutes and 53 seconds into Quintana, but that course was almost 40 km and came after a rest day.

The final Stage is 10 km shorter at only 29.37 km — and comes after a brutal string of mountain stages.  With Quintana back in the lead, let’s examine the final stage and see what type of time gap Quintana will likely need to hold off a motivated Dumoulin.

Stage 21: Monza to Milano

The final stage in the Giro d’Italia is a 29.37 km race against the clock starting at the Autodromo Nazionale race track in Monza before traveling southwest into the heart of Milan. The course has a slightly negative gradient and long stretches of straight roads where a specialist can open up the throttle. The real question for Dumoulin will be if there are enough kilometers to make up the time he will need on Quintana.

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Because we won’t know how much time Dumoulin will need until tomorrow’s final stage in the mountains, we will instead analyze how much time Quintana will need going into the stage to retain the jersey.

To do that we have done some modeling using Best Bike Split’s Time Analysis feature to give some estimates for the two riders from the Stage 10 TT. Based on the results and some estimated CdA (aero data), we came up with the following estimated power values for the stage:

Stage 10 Power Estimates based on Finish Time

Rider
Time
Est. Power
Est. Watts/KG

Tom Dumoulin
50:37
425 Watts
6.06

Nairo Quintana
53:30
350 Watts
5.88

What is interesting to note here is that while Quintana’s estimated Watts/Kg is a bit lower than Dumoulin, even if he were to bring it up to 6.1 on this course he would gain 50 seconds if it were due to increased power or only 17 seconds if it were due to decreased weight. In a true time trial without much climbing and with similar aerodynamics between riders, it all comes down to FTP (Functional Threshold Power).

To run some “what if analysis” check out the Time Analysis Tool and try adjusting the drag, power and weight sliders.

Using the numbers above we can model out Stage 21 to see the differences between the two riders. Though the course is 10 km shorter, which at world class speeds would typically result in approximately a one to two percent power increase on fresh legs, we can expect riders will be hard pressed to get much of an increase due to the fatigue of multiple mountain stages. The following two images show the time difference that could be seen between the two riders:

Estimated Finish Time for Nairo Quintana

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Adjustments for Dumoulin’s Estimated Drag, Power, and Weight

05144-giro-d-italia-tt-analysis-can-quintana-hold-on-fig3

This course is perfectly setup for Dumoulin despite being 10 km shorter than Stage 10 (which had some uphill sections). Here he can take full advantage of his power disparity. If he can perform similarly power-wise to Stage 10 he could expect to put more than two minutes into Quintana. Because the course is primarily flat with a slight negative overall grade his additional weight has little to no impact and will actually help in some sections.

One major factor on the race that we haven’t discussed are wind conditions. While both riders will experience the same conditions, a prevailing strong tailwind will actually help Quintana as it should speed up both riders and narrow the time gap. The current forecast is for low slight head wind to crosswind.

05144-giro-d-italia-tt-analysis-can-quintana-hold-on-fig4

If the wind shifts to more of a direct head wind and increases in strength, Dumoulin could put even more time into Quintana. A quick wind analysis below shows the impact of a stronger 15 km/h head/tail wind along with the current forecasted weather:

Wind Conditions
Est. Dumoulin  Time
Est. Quintana Time
Difference

As Forecasted
34:48
37:03
2:15

Head Wind (15 km/h)
36:13
38:41
2:28

Tail Wind (15 km/h)
33:00
35:01
2:01

I believe Quintana needs to gain at least another two minutes in the penultimate stage tomorrow to feel safe, and even then a hard charging, determined Dumoulin might take back the Maglia Rosa on the final day!

View the BBS model for Stage 21 and try some adjustments in the Time Analysis tab to see how changing drag, power, and weight factors could change the race. We will update the forecasted weather right up to race time.

Interested in doing your own pre-race predictions? Try a free Best Bike Split demo and dial in your race preparation now.

The post Giro d’Italia TT Analysis: Can Quintana Hold On? appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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You have been preparing for your long-distance triathlon for years, and the big day is fast approaching. You are sharpening that knife in the final weeks leading up to race day with a dutiful recovery period, and you know that your nutrition during an IRONMAN taper is of utmost importance.

They key to successful IRONMAN taper is making sure these final few weeks are as productive as possible, while still giving yourself maximum rest. It is during this time that a very common question will arise, “Rick, what, if anything, should I do different with my nutrition in these final weeks?” And my answer is always the same for those individuals that I’m working with, “There is nothing that we are going to do different. You have been fueling your body properly for months on end and now we simply continue to fuel the body right in these final few weeks.”

What are some of the key nutritional components to focus on as race day approaches? Well, the key elements that we will discuss apply not only to the final few weeks leading into the race, but, this is how we want to be fueling our body every single day in order to achieve meaningful and sustainable performance results for a lifetime. Whether an individual’s goals revolve around body transformation, improved overall health and fitness and/or improved athletic performance, eating right and fueling the body right are going to be the keys to success.

Fueling Frequency and Timing

When it comes to fueling the body right, frequency and timing of our meals and snacks becomes a key component. Let’s keep it simple; no matter what time you wake up, no matter what time you work out, no matter what time you go to bed, let’s be sure to implement the following: Fuel your body right away upon awakening and then fuel your body every two and a half to three and a half hours thereafter—throughout the day.

Yes, I mean right away upon awakening; not 30 minutes after you wake up, not 60 minutes after. All too often, as race day approaches, individuals find themselves still carrying too much body fat and too much body weight, despite the super-high level of workout activity . And as a result, individuals may gravitate toward “cutting calories,” thinking that this will help them lose a few pounds pre-race. Needless to say, this is nothing shy of self-sabotage. We never want to follow any food fad or diet, especially with a big race fast approaching.

Don’t Eat Healthy, Eat Right

There is a huge difference between eating healthy versus eating right, as these are two completely different worlds. When individuals focus on eating healthy, they tend to miss the mark, big time.

For example, individuals may choose a handful of almonds for a snack. Or they may choose an apple or hummus and carrots as a snack. Are these examples healthy? Absolutely, but at the same time they are complete train wrecks when it comes to fueling the body properly. Notice the operative word in that sentence, fueling.

Always remember, feeding the body and fueling the body are completely different. We do not want to feed the body, rather, we always want to focus on fueling the body. Let’s use a car as an example. Gasoline and water are both liquids. So why can’t we just put water in the gas tank of our car? Well, we all know that water, albeit a liquid like gasoline, is not going to fuel our car. The human body works the same way.

Those snack examples above are simply water in the gas tank. They are feeding the body, but they are not fueling the body. Let’s look at the details. A handful of almonds has 340 calories and a whopping 71 percent fat …71 percent!

Often times the knee-jerk reaction is, “But Rick, it’s good fat!” I don’t care if it’s good fat or bad fat, this snack is 71 percent fat. With only 13 percent carbohydrate, this snack is nothing shy of water in the gas tank. Sure, it’s feeding the body, but it’s not fueling the body.

Fueling the Body Versus Just Feeding It

So how do we properly fuel the body? We do so by having the proper balance of carbohydrate-protein-fat at every meal/snack. Our goal, at every meal/snack is to have 50 to 65 percent of your calories from carbohydrate, 15 to 25 percent protein and between 15 and 25 percent fat. When we achieve this, we are fueling the body and brain for success. “The brain is dependent on sugar as its main fuel,” says Vera Novak, MD, PhD, and an HMS associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “It cannot be without it.”

And no, vegetables are not carbohydrates. Sure, while vegetables contain a few grams of carbohydrates, this does not make them a fuel/carbohydrate source. Vegetables are just that, vegetables. They are good for us and they provide the body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are not a fuel source. A slice of dense, whole grain bread has a few grams of protein, but that does not make this slice of bread a protein source; rather, this is a great example of a fuel/carbohydrate source.

Let’s examine a popular meal individuals gravitate toward because they want to eat healthy: 6oz grilled salmon plus one cup steamed vegetables. A healthy meal? Absolutely, but again, a complete train wreck in terms of properly fueling the body. This meal provides the body with 430 calories, 16-percent carbohydrate, 41-percent Protein and 44-percent Fat. Aside from this meal providing virtually no fuel for the body and brain, it’s far too high in protein and fat.

Let’s change the game. Let’s stop focusing on eating healthy and let’s focus on fueling the body right. Here’s how easy it is to change the game and take your nutrition to a completely new level. Watch how to easily reconstruct this meal so that we can properly fuel the body and avoid putting water in the gas tank: one cup cooked whole grain pasta, 3 oz grilled salmon, one half cup steamed vegetables. This meal now provides the body with the following high-octane fuel: 498 calories, 54-percent carbohydrate, 26-percent protein and 20-percent fat. Boom! Now we have a meal worth writing home about. This is how we fuel the body and brain (and not just feed the body).

A Note on the Low Carb Craze

In order to maximize and optimize performance and recovery, athletes need to continually load and reload muscle glycogen stores. This process cannot happen with a low-carbohydrate/high-protein diet. According to Ashley Chambers, M.S. and Len Kravitz, PhD, muscle glycogen is the primary fuel (followed by fat) used by the body during exercise.

Low muscle glycogen stores result in muscle fatigue and the body’s inability to complete high intensity exercise. The depletion of muscle glycogen is also a major contributing factor in acute muscle weakness and reduced force production.

Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise decreased glycogen stores, so the need for carbohydrates is high for all types of exercise during this energy phase. Renowned endurance nutrition expert Asker Jeukendrup, PhD, and Michael Gleeson, PhD mention that there is convincing evidence from numerous studies indicating that carbohydrate feeding during exercise of about 45 minutes or longer can improve endurance capacity and performance.

Workout Smart

If nerves start to set in as the race approaches, it’s not a problem. We just want to be sure to keep them in check. Often times this nervousness translates into, “I have not done enough volume and/or intensity.” And this is when the individual goes off-script and pops a number of workouts that are far too long and intense.

This is the time of the journey when more is not better; rather, smarter is better. It’s time to trust yourself, trust your training and trust your nutrition. You’ve done the work; the money is in the bank. Instead of trying to squeeze in one more workout, let’s focus on keeping the body fueled for success. Your best weapon at this point is to get to the race start well fueled and well rested, as this will set you up for the best success possible.

In summary, if you are ready to take your performance and recovery to new levels as your big race approaches, let’s focus on the three key components: fueling frequency, fueling timing and the balance of carbohydrate-protein-fat at every meal/snack. When we put these three components into motion, we then set the body up for the best success possible.

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What is self-confidence? Self-confidence is how strongly you believe in your ability to execute any skill or task on the course. Race-day confidence is crucial to every athlete’s success. Without a high level of confidence, you simply cannot perform at your best —or more importantly, you cannot perform with any level of consistency.

Confidence helps with your overall mental game and race-day strategy, helping you stay calm and composed. Confidence allows you to believe in yourself and perform. Confidence helps you trust in your training, so your overall mental game will be on point when and if the unexpected occurs during your race.

Confidence develops over many years as you practice and compete. It comes from past performances, success, training and careful preparation.

How Do Athletes Gain Confidence?

Athletes get confidence from different areas of their event. Here are a few examples of the common sources of athlete confidence:

Past success in races
A strong work ethic in training
Immediate performance feedback
Positive comments from others
Supportive people in your life
Quality training
Quality coaching
Belief in your own physical talents
Strong technique
Confidence in your conditioning
Your equipment
Your warm-up routine

The SELF in Self-Confidence

The number one way to take control of your own confidence is to be proactive (not reactive) before a race. Proactive confidence means fueling your belief by focusing on your strengths and talents. You want confidence to come from your belief, based on your experience and abilities, not from external sources such as coaches, other competitors or course conditions.

Ask yourself these questions to start building your pre-race confidence:

What are your strengths?
What have you accomplished?
What can you say about your training routine?
What can you say about your commitment or work ethic?
What can you say about your mental toughness?
What can you say about your fitness?

Use the answers to these questions to help you fuel your confidence just like you fuel your body before a race. Remind yourself of your talents, abilities and strengths instead of holding onto reasons to not perform well in the race.

Controlling Doubt and Other Confidence Killers

Besides using the benefit of proactive confidence, you’ll want to understand the top confidence killers and how they can affect you. Your biggest confidence killer is your own self-doubt. Doubt is the exact opposite of confidence. If you question or doubt your ability, you hurt confidence. So you want to be aware when you begin to doubt your ability. You’ll also want to know the other top confidence killers that might suppress your performance, including:

Making comparisons to competitors who you think are better
Being overly critical of your performance
Negative imagery prior to events
Worrying about what others think about your race
Setting unrealistic goals
Not committing a proper race plan
Not preparing properly- physically, mentally, equipment and nutrition
Not being in the moment

Recognize any of these confidence killers that you may be doing in your training or racing. Address each of them, one at a time, so you can keep a high level of confidence leading into any event.

Summary

At any time, you are either thinking positively about your performance or focusing on doubts that undermine your confidence. We suggest that you focus on the thoughts and feelings about your upcoming performance by using the idea of becoming more proactive with your confidence. Don’t wait until your performance feels good or you are hitting certain numbers, instead take the time to be proactive about fueling your confidence.

No one can help you feel confident but yourself—don’t rely on others, or compare yourself to others and use them as your barometer for success. Proactive confidence comes from positive self-talk, controlling the images in your mind, moving on from your mistakes, and quickly cutting off doubts, expectations and any other thoughts that may destroy your confidence going into your next event.

Stay on top of your game with our continuing series on the “6 Ways Athletes Sabotage Their Race Day Success.” Learn valuable mental skills, including how to successfully manage your race day expectations. Stay tuned for part four, where we will show you how not to be so results-driven with your training and racing.

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You are a busy coach who needs to work as efficiently as possible—each extra click is time lost. By providing you with an easy way to monitor and communicate with your athletes, you can spend less time clicking and more time doing what you love, which is helping your athletes achieve their dreams. With this in mind, we are pleased to announce your new Home view, the place for busy coaches to review their athletes and quickly determine, “Who needs my attention?”

What is Home view?

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With all you have on your plate day-to-day, from planning for athletes, analyzing their data, or even just your general communication with them … sometimes things slip through the cracks.

Compliance at a glance

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Quickly see which of your athletes have completed their workouts successfully, which athletes have or haven’t uploaded data (or if the data was off target) based on the colored compliance dots. You can also get an idea of who needs workouts planned in the upcoming days by viewing the light grey dots (darker grey means there is a workout planned).

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To dive in deeper to an individual athlete’s status, simply click their name to expand details, including their next event, their upcoming goals, and their current fitness, fatigue and form. To access an athlete’s workout calendar, simply click on the calendar icon at the top right.

In this expanded view there is also a place for your own private athlete notes (visible only to you). For example, if you need to make note of an athlete’s travel status, or if a particular workout calls to attention the need for more work in a certain area, you now have a simple way to record this for your own future reference.

Alerts

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In order to help your athletes achieve their goals, you need to know how they are handling their training load, and whether or not they are improving. In the new Home view you can receive alerts when an athlete records a negative metric or sets a new threshold. Clicking on the alert will launch the appropriate action, such as applying the new threshold or viewing when the metric was logged.

Activity feed

05134-coach-home-notification-feed

View the recent activity for a group of athletes, or a selected athlete, then use the icons at the top right of the activity feed to filter by uploaded and/or changed workouts, logged metrics or recent comments.

Less time clicking, more time coaching

In conclusion, with the new Home view, it is easier than ever to keep track of all of your athletes in the most efficient way possible. You can easily see who needs your attention, how your athletes are progressing—and which athlete just reached a new milestone on the way to their next event. With Home view, you now have more time to do what you love—help athletes reach their goals.

Try the coach home now!

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Olympic distance simulation workouts and “big days” provide practice with race execution, offer fitness benefits and give you a very good idea of just how ready you are for race day.

Olympic distance simulation workouts should incorporate race-specific elements related to the event’s conditions: terrain, duration, intensity, fueling and hydration. The more specific you can make the details for these training days, the better off you’ll be.

The Strategy

An Olympic distance triathlon tests both your endurance and speed, so you need workouts that will allow you to work on both.

The workouts offered here can be done as stand alone sessions, or combine them for one big day of training. For best results, I recommend a big day of training to gauge overall race preparedness.

You can do one about eight weeks out from race day, and then another one four weeks out. Use the first session to inform any tweaks you want to make before the second session. Then, use the second session to dial in the details for your best race.

If you do this as a big day of training, make sure to set up a mock transition area before you start. Keep it as realistic as possible to race day as you can save valuable time by prepping for a speedy transition.

The Swim: Descending Open Water Sets

For these workouts it is best to find some open water in order to best simulate race conditions. However, if you don’t have access to open water you can do this workout in the pool too. Try adding in some laps without touching the wall to simulate open water, and also practice your sighting skills.

Swim easy for 10 minutes to warm up and acclimate to the water, just as you might on race day.

After you’ve warmed up, you will swim three sets, each one is five to seven minutes in duration. In between each set, tread water lightly for about 30 seconds before starting the next one. To begin the first set, start on the shoreline if your race has a beach start, or in the water if your race has an in-water start.

Remember: stay specific to race details!

Descending Open Water Set

Set #1

Take 20 to 30 hard strokes, and then settle into a race effort for the remaining duration. Most of us feel that spike of energy in the opening minutes of the swim, so the hard strokes will help you learn how to manage the surge and settle into race effort before you burn too many matches and fade off of race effort.

Set #2

Begin at race effort for about a minute, and then insert two to three intervals of  20 to 30 hard strokes, settling back into race effort for 20-30 strokes in between. After the third set, finish out the duration at race effort.  This set will mimic the various surges that may happen throughout the swim, such as when you need to get out of a congested spot, throttle after a turn buoy, or speed up to stay on the feet of a swimmer ahead of you.

Set #3

Begin at race effort, and then gradually increase your effort for a total of seven minutes of swimming. This set helps you prepare for a strong finish to the swim.

To advance this workout, you can either:

Increase the interval durations by one to two minutes.
Add an additional interval that is similar in style to the second set. For example, 10 hard strokes followed by 10 easy strokes of swimming for a total of five minutes.

The Bike: Surges & Settle

For an Olympic distance triathlon, your best option is to practice running strong off the bike, and the best way to do this is with a brick workout. Ride 25 miles, followed by a 10K run at anywhere from 80 to 100 percent of FTP (85 to 95 percent lactate threshold heart rate), depending on the relationship between your bike and run strength, and your experience with the distance and the intensity.

However, within an Olympic race, there will be times when you have to surge your effort in an effort to pass, to catch up or to climb. This workout combines those changing elements, while bringing you back to your base race effort.

If you are doing this session as a standalone effort, then take the time to warm up for 15 minutes. If you are doing this session as part of a big day of training, then after the swim, take five minutes to get into a rhythm on the bike before moving into the main sets. If you plan to do a flying mount on race day—make sure to practice it!

Bike Surge Set

3 to 4 times through of:  

10 minutes at race-specific effort. Make sure that the effort you expend is sustainable across all of the intervals. You can gradually add effort to each interval, but don’t fade by the last set.
At the top of minutes two, five and eight, add in a 20-second sprint, then come back to race effort
Five minutes easy spin at 50 percent of FTP

If you are doing this as a stand alone session, add a little more easy spinning to cool down. If doing this as a big day, then get ready to run immediately after the end of the last interval.

The Run: 10K Tempo Efforts

An Olympic triathlon 10K run is a mostly tempo effort that can descend closer into a threshold effort in the final miles. For this session, you will work at your estimated race effort, with short recoveries. This will give you a very good sense of what pace is sustainable come race day.

10K Tempo Effort Set

4 to 6 x 1 mile at a 10K pace/effort (For the first big day of training, I recommend starting with 4 x 1 miles)
90 to 120 seconds recovery (walk) in between each mile

At the end of these workouts, take note of what worked, what you want to change, and how you want to modify the strategy for race day. Adapt future training sessions to better dial in how you will approach the day and make sure to work on any limiters you uncovered in these sessions.

When it comes time to start, know that you did the work, and believe that you are ready. Good luck!

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