Thursday, October 08, 2009

Ask Coach Chris

And now we return to our regularly scheduled blog. Another in a series of tri-training Q&A called, "Ask Coach Kris" in which we get to propound our most bedeviling training questions to the big giant brain that is Kris Swarthout of SCS Multisport. This time we have two questions from blog readers.

First a question from Fe-Lady, an experienced, uber-fit, 57 year old Ironman finisher.

Dear Coach Kris:

I have missed a couple (just a couple!) of longer workouts (bike/run specifically) due to illness. Should I try to make that up during a rest week, or just continue with the program I have and call it a loss?

Thanks Coach!

Iron Lady,

I would ask what is the distance of your main goal race and how far are you out from that race? I will assume it is an Ironman (old detective skills still flow through my veins). As a rule I say missed workouts should never be made up. By trying to make up those missed workouts during a recovery week you can throw off the balance of your program. Since the key workouts are what you would have been recovering from, I would recommend repeating the workouts on your rest weekend at 70% of the volume and 100% of the original intensity prescribed. Be sure to recover well and think about getting a post workout massage to aid in recovery.

You were wise to skip the workouts due to illness. They would not have helped you and they could have drawn out your illness recovery time. Good luck!

Coach Kris

From Iron KT in the Woodlands, an experienced triathlete who came to triathlon through competitive swimming, and who finished her first Ironman (Wisconsin) last year:

Dear Coach Kris:

Why do you think my heart rate rises drastically when I run (average 178 bpm), when it stays reasonable (average 140 bpm) when I swim and bike (assume I am exerting the same output for all 3 sports)? Actually, I'm probably going [comparatively] slower when I run (9 - 10 min. miles) vs swimming and biking.

Thanks. I am so frustrated by this issue! I had to stop my run yesterday after 1 mile because I couldn't sustain my hr.

Thank you!


HR rates vary between sports , i.e. your zone 3 for running will not be the same as your biking zone 3. Normally the levels are 5-10 beats per minute different. I would recommend having your zones checked by a professional exercise physiologist.

They should run VO2 max test on you while you are running and biking. By doing this you will know for sure if your zones are correct. If you have done this with one of the two sports, then I would suggest returning to the person who tested you and doing the test on the other sport. If you compare the results and you still find a wide swing in your HR rates, I would seek the advice of your doctor to rule out any cardiovascular issues.

If you have acquired your HR zones by using the old 220 minus your age, you should know that scale has a rate of error of +/- of 20 beats per minute. The error balance should be enough of a reason to convince you to seek out professional testing.

If you wish to field test your threshold HR try this simple field test. Begin your workout at an easy pace, warming up for 10 minutes, then proceed to slowly increase your effort monitoring your HR and your breathing. Make a note when you begin to audibly breath (breathing loudly). Your threshold will be around 3-5 beats below that point. If you are doing this test on a bike trainer, increase the effort by increasing your gear ratio while holding a consistent cadence. For running, gradually increase speed and incline on a treadmill. Have someone with you who can listen with a non-partial ear. I hope this helps!

Coach Kris

If you have a question for the guru triathlete coach to the stars, feel free to e-mail me or leave it in the comments. Better yet, if you are thinking about where to get coaching next season for a big race or because you want to improve, hit the links for Coach Kris or SCS Multisport in the side bar.

Now, GET OUT THERE AND TRAIN!!!!. Make every day count.


SingletrackJenny (formerly known as IronJenny) said...

I would always listen to Coach Kris!!!

Trishie said...

thanks for the q&a !