Periodisation is the key, the key to racing fast!

Cyclists, runners and triathletes are masters in training, training big volumes and sometimes training hard. Or training big volumes too hard? A lot can go wrong approaching your season. And after all, does it really is necesseary to go in ‘overuse’ all the time?

No, is the answer! Periodisation is the key to your season. I always refer to the ‘elastic-story’, which our athletes will know.
None of our athletes approaches his or her season without a ‘masterplan’, without this ‘masterplan’ no season or no long-term racing career will be good and no performance will be there.  Putting together a macrocycle with my athletes is something I do from the very first day we started coaching athletes. The holistic approach towards a full year with Resting period, racing period,… is part of the key.

I sometimes hear that topperforming athletes, even amateur (AG) athletes are training 20-30h/week for example in Ironman. Well is that true? And is that an approach in which you can put in enough variation and specific racepreparing impulses.

If we look at the graph underneath you can see a 13h AVG training on annual base is fairly enough to get qualified to Kona (Ironman Hawaii), take AG podium and put down a sub9 Ironman.

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If you approach training with a vision an AVG of 13h on annual basis is enough to race hard, also in Ironman racing!

 

Of course there’s no ‘general recipe’ for all athletes, every athlete has need to different impulses, volumes,…not everybody gets in full shap with 12h avg, some need more. The approach to your athlete/cyclist always is a personal approach with an eye for his history and future goals.

Variation, variation in volume, variation in impulses, variation in mentally loaded periods, variation in food,…variation that’s what you need to have during a whole year of training to peak at the right moments. Underneath you can see an annual graph of an amateur, full-time working triathlete who already qualified for Kona, won several du/triathlons and this year was 1st amateur on the duathlon world champs, 1st AG in Challenge Roth in 8h44 and won a Long distance duathlon in France. This athlete had an annual avg training volume of 15h, with no extreme peaks in volume. The athlete chooses not to go on training camp, but to spend vacation to racing and family.

These 3peaks are like hammers on the block in the end…

Hans jaar

Periodisation:  whether you are professional or amateur…all starts with a plan to be at your best at the right time!

 

The sauce on your spaghetti is not about the volume of the tomatoes, it’s about the spices…and some will get a very hot pepper from me!

Our athletes continue preparation towards 2018 and build smart…to perform better!
Tomorrow groupsession #2 is on, this will be a ‘reversathlon’ which we will enjoy till our first cramp of preparation!

Ciao

 

Jesse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprising results in cycling and duathlon!

A weekend full of surprises!
With races in Germany, Holland and Belgium this weekend would be full of lactic acid…the national championships Xduathlon were marked in our agenda. Tony (Elite) and Wim (Masters) started with ambitions. Unfortenately for Tony the race lasted only 20m, tackled in the start he fell and done was his race. His concurrents of last week all ended within top 10…not fun, but more to come upcoming months!
Wim from his side came into T2 in the battle for the podium and win in the master’s race. New in this technical discipline het lost a lot of time in the more technical part of the race and had to let go the podium. Finishing with a splendid 2nd run he shows in road-season they will have to take count of him…let’s see.
In the same race Wesley finished his first national champs in a positive way!

In Eschweiler (Germany – Half Marathon), Dendermonde (Bel – 10K) and Cadzand (Holland – Half Marathon) our triathletes showed themselves to be ready for tri-season. In Germany Jens got 4th overall and is improving towards a steady – strong athlete. To be followed in 2017. In Cadzand our athletes got the honour to fight the wind, 5Beaufort in the face made them ‘work’ towards the finishline!

Our cyclists are having a great start of the season and Anthony today put the cherry on the first month of racing already by winning in Doornik/Tournai after another race in the front! With the last kilometer solo he could ‘enjoy’ this victory a lot.

 

Anthony

 

In The Netherlands, the national duathlonseries were held in Hilversum, Jan competes in one of these topseries-teams this season, and could help his team to 6th overall place despite a litte search to his shoes in T2 in which he lost quite some time.
Adrian surprises again…by not only doing a good race, but even finishing 2nd in the open

race in Hilversum! Another podium for Adrian who slowly but surely is becoming a collector of metal!

A good and honest weekend, with honest and satisfying results!
#trainsmartperformbetter.com

Ironman world championships Hawaii 2016, A thriller till the last mile!

Kona, that’s where the magic happens. Many athletes dream about it and each year the race shows why! Kona creates heroes, Kona reveals the hero inside of people. For sure that wouldn’t be different this year! 4of our athletes qualified this season and were ready to step into a dream of suffering, racing and heroes!

One of our athletes, Dave, couldn’t race Kona this year because of birth of his 2kids. Fortunately he didn’t register because 2weeks after his qualifier he got hit by a car and broke a vertebra. This was followed by 6weeks lying in bed/couch. Let’s say the start of dreaming about his future adventure in Kona!

The three athletes who did qualify and race were Heather,Pierre and Sam.

 

All 3 of them were keen on doing their best result that day, but also to have fun in racing in the most densified Ironman in the world! Without Hawaii, triathlon didn’t even exist!

3 different agegroups also:

-Heather (Canada) AG  F45-49

-Pierre (Belgium) AG M35-39

-Sam (Belgium) AG M40-44

The swimming start always is and will be a bit of nervous and stressy. Because of the highly densified level; in Hawaii the swim is even more important than in other IMraces. Our athletes knew this and tried to get out of the water with a comfortable and fast swim.

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The swimstart with Sam, Pierre and Heather among thousands of athletes in Hawaii. Hopefully they won’t touch the mass-start in Kona. It’s thé image of the race!

 

Sam was the first one out of the water  in 1h05′, which meant his fastest swim in Hawaii on 7participations. Pierre was one of the few athletes who swam faster in Kona than in his qualifying race, while Heather as being a very good swimmer she tackled some extra meters during the swim in 1h06′. So all athletes were immediately in the game for a nice result after the swimcourse!

On the bike we noticed that our athletes moved up, Pierre constantly kept passing athletes (and pelotons) and moved up 400places during the bike course! Heather definitely looked for a comfortable bikeride dealing with the warmth and the wind. It’s not an advantage for the AG women to start around 1h later than the male pro’s. They get the largest part of the heat. This in fact, makes the race even more difficult to the AGwomen than the pro men.

People immediately messaged me that Sam was moving up quite hard, looking closer at that point we noticed that Sam was riding the same pace as…the main group of the Pro race. With splits as hard as Frodeno and Kienle he rode till 80km in the race. Immediately after seeing this I had a flashback to what happened 1year ago. Only this time we didn’t know his HR/powerdevice didn’t work. So he was forced to race at a ‘feeling’. That’s why on the bike we registered no HR’s. BUT we could get back the info of the powermeter after the race!

Today, looking at the registered info we see regularly parts of 400watts during 45″-1′ and even a block of 20′ in it at 335watts avg.  Those parts are parts where he needed to pass pelotons and lose them.

At least we know what’s needed to handle a bikecourse on the level of Sebastian Kienle, Jan Frodeno…but honestly, it’s a bit too much asked. He came off the bike with a 272NP which is +/-10% less than his best Ironman-splits. Starting hard in combination with warmth affects performance.

 

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The 4h25′ of Michael Weiss (Pro,Austria)  normalizing 318NP, Weiss is 5kg heavier than Sam. Calculate yourself the physical effort he was producing…

Of course in that first part of the bike course Sam is someone who needs to ride to the front, which is not always easy to race at a constant pace because of big peloton’s he needs to catch. This certainly wasn’t in the advantage of Pierre also, who came out of the water in position 1300 and had to chase many athletes getting more to the front.Despite all of this there was no panic in Sam his head and trying to get the effort down he slowed down preparing the run..knowing he had suffered already a bit. Meanwhile his girlfriend Cai texted me to know in what position he found himself when he would come off the bike.

 

 

Pierre only had a few km to go on the bike and Heather was doing a steady bikecourse! Pierre was even heading towards a sub10h on this tough racecourse. Most of all it was the heat of which I feared for Pierre, I knew if he came off the bike well he was capable to show us a good marathon in the end!

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Dividing work – family – sports isn’t always easy for AG athletes, as we can see Pierre handled this very well. An irregular working schedule needs to be efficient. Making the right choices at the right time is a key to success!

 

For Heather the race came early after a blocked nerve she needed to handle. A perfect preparation till 2,5weeks before the Ironman and then that nerve got blocked. It needed time to be raceready and we needed to cut short the running part and focus on what do was possible.

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Heather on the bike towards her Hawaiifinish!

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Heather suffered of blocked nerve and this made us made choices, choices to start in Hawaii in a good shape and still being capable of racing well! Fortunately she had a great summer before!

Sam came off the bike 11th (AG) and rode the 6th overall AG bikesplit (of the athletes who finished top 100…), despite his ‘saving energy mode’ in the last part of the bikecourse.

On the run he took off relaxed, but still felt the impact of racing slightly too hard in the beginning of the race. 8,5kilometers he needed to get the engine running and still passed the 21k mark at 4’26/km. If you run this pace you know you are running among the faster runners in Hawaii. We knew of last year that running sub 3h is difficult…as nobody went under 3h in 2015 (AG). So we could get the info that halfway he was definitely in the game for the podium and was the only athlete getting faster and faster at that point.

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Sam during his fast 3h05 marathon in Hawaii, which brought him to a 3rd spot

From the 21K mark, nobody in his AG ran faster. It was just a matter of time to move up in places! 6K before the finishline Sam was in fourth and gave it all (see HR). It was Cai who could give him the info to chase French athlete Mettier in 3rd position. With only 1,5miles to go Sam overtook 3rd position and didn’t let his go anymore. At the end Sam ran a negative split marathon in 3h05′ (4’23/km). Only 1 AG athlete was capable of going sub 3h01.

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Today Sam had no constant HR in the ironman, he went out of his comfortzone, chasing the podium and getting it at 1,5miles before the finishline! With all respect for his concurrents who made him race this way.

On the podium, again! This 3rd place on the Ironman Worlds feels great! An athlete in great shape who gets his 4th Ironman podium  within 18months. The cyclingsessions starting at 9pm and finishing at 2am in the morning were worth it ;-)!

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Happy 3rd in his AG and 59th overall – back on the podium in Kona! It was former PRO Jim Lubinski who took the win!

Ok, we knew there maybe was more in it, when the pacing on the bike went perfectly…but humans are no computers. And computers may sometimes not function when u want them to…(ahum some will laugh…).

Times: 1h05′-4h51-3h05

Pierre who already had a whole day of catching up people on the bike, did the same on the run. Once again he took back 400 athletes (1 each 100m) on the marathon. Running a 3h22′ marathon in Hawaii is great, he showed to everybody he belongs at this level and paced/raced his race alone. No drafting, no cards …just effort!

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Pierre finished the race in 10h07′ after moving up a whole day and finished with a 3h22′ marathon!

At that moment Heather was approaching halfway the marathon, she ran consistently…But still we crossed the fingers to hope the nerve didn’t get blocked again. It didn’t and she even moved up places during the run finishing just over 12h. A pity her swim didn’t came out, because she sure is capable swimming sub 55′ in Hawaii!

 

 

 

 

Those athletes became heroes yesterday, finishing world’s most magical triathlon and a podium on top!

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Oh and the drafting, it’s easy to solve if they want it. Use drones or helikopters for filming spots and longer moments and DSQ behind the screen to have a good point of view. Show the DSQ athletes their card at the beginning of the run and give them a 60′ penalty. Case closed 😉

Proud coach, it was a fun night!

Jesse

As a coach you must always look 2steps ahead…

Our athletes are now almost all approaching their 2016 season. Our cyclists have already some weeks of racing behind them, our triathletes already did some prep races and are now close in entering their first real game!

2016 began very well for our athletes, in the first 2 months  of the year 26 podium places were realised in road cycling, CX cycling, XC running, road running , triathlon and duathlon! It’s really crazy, you should think…well that’s nice if you realise this in a whole year. Well…that’s a misunderstanding. Those races were all won in global preparation towards our athletes real racing season.

The one thing that we can say is that we (athletes and coach) are on a good way towards a top 2016, but let’s talk about that in late december of this year.

Our triathletes are getting slightly more nervous for their season, a lot of (Half) Iron distances will be raced this year. Ironman South Africa (Sam-Cai-Pierre) will kick off triathlon season, that same day Ironman70.3 Florida and 111 Portocolom (Spain) will be battle scene for our athletes. From that point on Ironman’s 70.3 Nola, Lima, Mallorca ,… will follow soon. You never know the result of a race before the race, the only thing u can  answer is: “are you prepared well?” I can say our athletes who will race that day and later that period will be prepared well. They have put in the energy and let’s see what comes out. A first race of the season always is a question mark.

Afstand pr week

Training more and more volume is not the best approach towards competitive racing. Volume needs a balance with rest and the right intensity.

Past winter was a busy winter, a winter in which out athletes and myself have made time for evaluation and thinking forward and fast forward. Setting up a plan for each athlete is thé way to approach a good season, never think week by week, Never think month by month. But think from a global view and let that view fit in to an athlete’s life-work balance. On the groupsessions we noticed very determined athletes who will race very passionate. To our cyclists I always say, if you don’t know the feeling of going into the breakaway and just sit and wait…you will never win in style. To our triathletes I say, go out there with the knife between the teeth and use your strong points to be the best you. And never(!) drop out of race, it’s the finishline u need to chase…as fast as possible!

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Brooke winning Irondistance Vitoria-Gasteiz last year was one of the highlights in her career. As a coach you live up to these events with your athletes. Every athlete finishing an extraordinary race deserves the deepest respect!

 

I love looking forward and fast forward,

 

Jesse

Testing, some love seeing the numbers…but it’s about working with th numbers!

This period of the year, is definitely a period athletes need to plan a lactate test. Especially for  athletes doing a regular cycling/running/triseason (march-october) Because a test can give us a view into the way to approach the athletes’ body, shape and future (short and long term) goals.

Many athletes make the large mistake to hunt down certain numbers, they look at the maximum output and not below, they chase a high HR , pace or wattage at their max level. Well, let that be a very wrong approach (especially in mid-winter).If u don’t have experience and know-how in evaluating tests, please stay far away from it. You can only abuse at that moment…

As we speak, we are testing athletes very intense for over 8years now and many of these tests are in my database. From Pro cyclists, Pro triathletes, Amateur world champions in duathlon and triathlon to absolute beginners in these sports.

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For me as a coach, lactate testing also gives us a very nice view on an athletes’ macro-evolution (evolution during several years), or seasonal evolution. It can reassure us after a big block of training to look if we are ‘scoring’  around the same lactate profile as we did in earlier and SIMILAR training/racing periods. It can gives us the info to put the cherry on the big cake of training towards Championships. Or it can simply say: “Hey, that athlete really has work to do at certain points”.

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Never forget testing is done to work with, ‘just’testing is useless. Training healthy always has to be the number 1 priority! If you don’t train on a (short-long term) healthy way you shouldn’t even be training at all!

 

Click here to see one of our athletes suffer on a running test

Train Smart, perform better,

Jesse Van Nieuwenhuyse