The Three Year Plan: Year One Objectives

150 150 Rich Strauss


In the first installment of this series, we introduced you to our Three Year Plan and described the lifecycle of the typical age group long course triathlete. Below we share with you the Year 1 objectives we have for our new athletes:

Objective #1: Learn How to Train Like a Vet

One of the hallmarks of the Endurance Nation Team Coaching Method is how much we encourage you to become a better self-coached athlete, fully capable of making your own decisions in real time, as you absorb all of our resources, and participate in discussions with the coaches and team.

You will very quickly begin to “train like a vet,” by learning and putting into practice the following cornerstones of effective endurance training:

Be Adaptable: Never Follow the Training Plan into a Brick Wall

The days of you relying on a $$$ coach to tell you want to do, and do all of the thinking for you, are gone. The days of purchasing, or download for free, a generic training plan and following it without any support or feedback, are gone.

By learning the lessons below, and through unlimited interaction with the coaches and team, you’ll use our training plans as a guide, not as scripture, adjusting them on the fly to the changing conditions and circumstances you feel right now, today.

The Vet asks herself these questions when adapting the training plan:

  • What are my key workouts this week, as a function of my personal strengths, weaknesses, and the individual workouts scheduled in the training week to address these?
  • How will what I’m about to do right now affect my ability to properly execute these key workouts downstream?
  • What changes, if any, do I need to make to my plan today in order to keep the proper execution of these key workouts on track?

This is how Vets train — they are smart, in tune with their bodies, flexible, adaptable, and seek help when they need it.

Focus on Return on Investment

You are a busy, real world age grouper with limited time and money resources. Our job, and yours by extension, is to be a Time Investment Manager — where and how should I invest my time to achieve my goals on race day?

The Vet asks herself these questions when making any training or purchasing decision:

  • What is my return on race day, for every training and admin minute and dollar spent?
  • Can I achieve the same or better results by spending or allocating my limited time and money resources differently?

The Vet doesn’t just do it the way it’s always been done. The Vet considers the costs, returns, and alternatives to every decision she makes.

Work is Speed Entering the Body

Your current fitness is a #6 (make it up), the functional expression of which is your ability to run a 10k in 48 minutes and ride your bike at 18mph for one hour (again, making this up). We take that 48 minute 10k, and 18mph one hour bike, and have you train at paces, speeds, and watts (if you have power) that are at some fraction of these baseline values.

Over time, your body adapts, you’re able to go faster, and your fitness increases from a #6 to a #7.5. What’s important is this:

Increased fitness is nothing more than the functional expression of your body’s ability to do more work — to move your body down the road or through the water faster and farther.

The Vet:

  • Understands that, for the real world age group triathlete, training volume and frequency are relatively fixed.
  • Understands that manipulating the intensity of these relatively fixed frequency and volume sessions is the most time efficient way to train.
  • Focuses on the work performed, and therefore the training stress imparted, during the session, rather than simply punching the clock at a training zone.
  • Seeks to train with the objective metrics of speed, power, and pace whenever possible, as these are direct measurements of work performed → the very thing they are training to improve.

Objective #2: Get the Basic Gear

Your gear is a reflection of many factors — your finances, your experience, your race goals…even your addiction to things made of carbon. Below is our list of smart, high return on investment purchases we encourage (not require!) our athletes to consider purchasing in their first year on the Team.

The Swim

Quality, one-on-one swim technique instruction with a local coach who:

  1. Understands how to instruct the adult onset swimmer.
  2. Has access to underwater video and will use it to provide you with a detailed breakdown of your stroke.
  3. Will then prescribe for you a protocol of drills to practice before your next follow up session.

The Bike

Purchase a Bicycle Computer / Power Meter / Heart Rate Monitor:

  • Baseline — You must have a heart rate monitor, ideal if it connects via ANT+ to your computer.
  • Level 1 (Minimum) — You want a computer that gives you speed, distance, and cadence.
  • Level 2 (Preferred) — You want a power meter on your bicycle so you can train and race to your true potential. We _strongly_ recommend you buy a power meter over a new bike, or consider it a long-term investment in your athletic future.
  • Level 3 (Bonus) — Having GPS info related to your ride is great for Strava, but also to be able to map out and ride in new areas, etc.

Get a Proper Bike Fit — find a local professional that others have referred you to, or use our sponsor TTBikeFit who has fitted hundreds of your teammates online and in his studio.

The Run

Purchase a Watch / GPS / Heart Rate Monitor:

  • Baseline — You must have a heart rate monitor, ideal if it connects via ANT+ to your computer.
  • Level 1 (Minimum) — You want a watch that gives you speed and splits.
  • Level 2 (Preferred) — Upgrade to a GPS enabled watch, which will give you distance and speed, as well as upload that data to the web or a training log.

Objective #3: Pick Your Races Like a Vet

We teach our athletes how to choose their races according to these simple principles:

  1. The right “A” race for you (the ) to do is the one you can train the best for,given how this date and geographic location of the race lines up with your personal, work, family, and lifestyle commitments. For example, Ironman Texas, an historically hot race in May, means very different things for an athlete in Maine vs an athlete in Miami with regards to the time of year and weather of the event.
  2. Having selected the best A-race for you, your next task is to select a schedule of complementary races and training events that:
    1. Keep your training volume as low as possible for as long as possible, so that we can (1) focus you on making yourself much faster and (2) conserve your head and Spousal Approval Units (SAUs) to be spent closer to your A-race.
    2. Give you short term goals to focus on. That is, up until about 8-12wks from your A-race, you are not training “for” your A-race. Rather, you are training for a series of shorter, fun events that provide you with effective short term motivation. Successful completion of long term goals (your A-race) is then a function of the successful completion of smaller, shorter term goals.

Objective #4: Race Like a Vet

The Vet understands that training and race day performance, while related, are separate contributors to achieving their goals. That is…

Race Day is About Execution, Not Fitness

All you’ve done, through months and months of training, is build a fitness vehicle. Race day is then a driving test: are you able to drive that vehicle intelligently and efficiently to a finishing time commensurate with your fitness? The race is full of very fit people…who are very poor drivers.  You must be fit AND smart.

The Coaches have nearly 30 Ironman finishes between them, and countless Half Ironman and other events. They’ve coached thousands of finishers, of all distances and abilities.

The Team has had over 1000 Ironman finishes each year since 2010. That’s thousands of race rehearsal plans, race plans, race reports, data, and learning points about what does and does not work on race day — everything from pacing to nutrition to bike setup to managing heat, weather, what tires to use, and much, much more.

And so the Coaches and Team have created proven processes for applying their fitness to the race efficiently and intelligently, in order to achieve results. And Year One is about you learning and applying this race execution system to your race, to race like a vet.

Year One Conclusion

In your first year on the Team, you’ll learn how to train like an athlete with much more experience than you. You’ll do this by learning the lessons that the Coaches and Team have created for you. You’ll then bring your fitness to the race and execute with the collective ninja skills of thousands and thousands of races.

Go here to continue to Year Two of the Three Year Plan

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