A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thoughts - March 8 - Weight Training!!!

There's nothing better than a sunny morning day to wake up to!

Let me try to explain in detail about my weight training program that I'm on.

I would like to caution you first that weight training can impede your triathlon or ultra training if done the wrong way or if timed wrong. If you do include weight training, it needs to be done as soon as you start your training for the next season, not late in your training season with one of your big races only weeks away.

Remember that proper training in the pre-season progresses from general all-around training to race specific training as the season nears. You certainly do not want to include weight training in the specific end of this cycle. That is, unless your big triathlon or ultra race includes a weight training segment (I don't think dumbbell curls while on the bicycle is a good idea anyway).

So it has to start early. For me, the weight training started last December. It includes all the major muscle groups (traps, abs, quads, bis, tris, back, lats, pecs, hammys), and some core exercises.

My weight training is a modified form of the training that Mark Allen did when he was winning Ironman Hawaii 20 years ago. It is the training plan that I feel gets the most bang for my buck, and it definitely works wonders.

In all phases, I do 2 gym sessions per week.

The first 2 week segment is the "start up phase". Basically, it's 2 sets of 10 reps of light weights to prime the body for what is ahead. This is to avoid that initial soreness that results when going to the gym after a long time off.

The next 12 week segment is the "build phase". These are usually done 3 sets of 12 reps of each major muscle group. During this phase, weights are incrementally added to each exercise when they feel easy to do. Usually, this happens a lot in the first 4 weeks of this phase, but it starts to taper off until a plateau is reached at around the tenth to twelfth week.

This is where I am now.

The next 4 week segment is the real tough "power phase". To keep it simple, 20-25% more weight is added to each exercise, and I just blast through 3 sets of 8 reps (or to exhaustion, whichever comes first). There is a punch-drunk feeling when I leave the gym, so I try to make sure that any important swim, bike, or run workouts are steered clear of these gym sessions.

Yikes! No, you shouldn't get this big if you train right.

Oh, and I definitely have that yearning for a big slab of meat after these sessions. It's strange, but the appetite is huge during this 4 week period.

After the 4 week power phase, I go into the last "sharpening phase". This segment is only 3 weeks long. The weights are brought back down to the same at the end of the build period. Only 2 sets are done, but at 15 reps each. This should tone up the muscles, and give it that finishing touch.

If everything is done right, the strength gains for triathlon and ultra races are enormous!

As for the type of exercise, I tend to mix it up a bit. Here are some examples of exercises I do for each muscle set. I pick one exercise from each muscle group per session:

Pecs: Pulley Flies, Dumbbell Flies

Back: Back Extensions, Lower Back Seated Row

Abs: Incline Abdominal Crunches, Ab Crunches on the Machine

Bis: Preacher Curls, Dumbbell Curls

Hammys: Pulley Deadlift, One Legged Cable Kickback

Tris: Triceps Pushdowns, Two-Arm Triceps Extension with Dumbbells

Lats: Lat Pulldown, Two Arm Dumbbell Pullovers

Traps: Barbell Shrugs, Dumbbell Shrugs

Quads: Hack Squats, Plate Loaded Leg Press

Delts: Upright Rows, Upright Dumbbell Press

Core: Wobble Board Exercises, Plyo Ball Exercises

There are more exercises, but these are the main ones. It takes me basically 1 hour in the gym to do, so it's pretty easy to fit in my early season workout. regimen. The weight training this year ends in April, well before the summer racing season starts. At that point, the pre-season training gets more specific, so weight training is phased out while more swimming, cycling, and running are phased in.

With the new found strength, I would be ready to kick some butt in these 3 disciplines!

That's about it. If you have any questions, let me know.

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