Monday, February 13, 2012

Tri4Him Team Mate Kirk Nelson's notes on the off season

Hey Guys - I just wanted to share my Tri4Him Team Mates blog post. I am also fortunate enough to be working with Tri4Him as a coach using the TriDot Training system, and I am currently working with a number of athletes all seeing the same results as below. If you have any questions or interest after reading below , please shoot me an email at

Here's Kirks Post -

a quick update on training the past ~7 weeks.

I took 6 whole weeks off from training following Rev3 South Carolina (10/14) through Thanksgiving. I started up the week after Thanksgiving with Tri4Him head/founder, Jeff Booher.

I have had a few coaches over the years, but was self-coached for most of 2009, all of 2010, and all of 2011. I knew I was interested in working with a coach beginning 2012, but wanted to make sure of the fit before moving ahead. Upon being accepted to the Tri4Him Elite Team, and following several phone visits with Jeff, it was obvious we were VERY like-minded and that his coaching style and methodology would serve me well.

With a family (new baby girl Selah last Feb 2011 and stepson Austin), and coaching athletes, I have a difficult time finding 30+ hours to train each week. As a self-coached athlete, I also struggle with disciplining myself while training -- basically going hard enough when it's time to go hard, going easy enough when it's time to go easy, and stopping training sessions before major fatigue sets in, esp when training for long course. With a coach and a plan, I don't feel the need to swim/bike/run farther and/or faster. Just do the work, recover well, and repeat. Get super tired? Then take a day off and jump back on the track.

Jeff developed the TriDot System, a unique way of measuring training intensities. In addition, he has developed a very smart and effective way of measuring weekly training workloads, basically the stress applied during a week's worth of training. Simply put, workload = intensity x duration. Essentially, you can work up to a long-course worthy workload, without putting in big volume. For example, on just ~20 hours a week, I have a sustained, weekly training load that exceeds many of my 25-30 hour training weeks I put myself through as a self-coached, long course athlete over the past few years.

I'm doing quality (z3 - z5 intensity) 6 days a week spread over 8-10 training sessions (out of 15 total sessions).

Each week, we ratchet up the workload bit by bit, without adding big volume numbers.

The Result?

Time Trial performances on par with my career bests, and it's only January!

Compared to 2011 season Peak fitnesses within each discipline:

Swimming threshold pace 4 sec/100 yards faster
Bike threshold equal to 2011 season best
Run threshold pace 20 sec/mile faster

Thanks to Jeff and Tri4Him for the guidance thus far. Here's to an amazing 2012 season!

If you're looking for simple, yet solid science behind your training program, getting a very high return on your training-time investment, and top-notch guidance along the way, consider working with a Tri4Him coach. I am thrilled to be a part of such a talented coaching staff!

Running for HIM

p.s. Charity, Selah, and I will be at the International Christian Triathlon Network (ICTN) camp this January 27-29, in Tucson. Consider joining us for fellowship, training, sunshine, and fun

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Way overdue Updates - Part 1

The Update…
Well, this so well overdue, so to catch you up on all that I have been up to I thought I would divide it into 3 Parts ( so that I don’t write one novel ) and then hopefully get you all up to date and keep the blog updated from here on out. These next 3 posts will be factual and then lessons learnt, additional thoughts will follow on posts after that (there were many, as you can imagine)

Part 1 – The end of my 2011 Season
Part 2 – My first trip home to South Africa as a triathlete
Part 3 – My first race of 2012 – South Africa 70.3 Race Report

Part 1 – The end of my 2011 Season ( Post Vineman 70.3 In July )

Boulder 70.3

After Vineman 70.3, I had Boulder 70.3 just 3 weeks later. This was the first time I ever raced at altitude as well as the first time I had ever raced two 70.3’s in a 3 week time frame. Needless to say, it was far from my best effort. Actually, it was the worst I had ever felt in a race and specifically on the bike. Boulder has a lot of downhill and is known for fast bike times, so I had my hopes high for a great bike and was of course disappointed when the first 10 min my legs were feeling like bricks and I was struggling to turn the pedals over. The run was unfortunately no better, and since I had over fueled on Gels on the bike ( hoping to get the extra energy I was lacking ) I came off the bike with stomach cramps ( which is a first ). I struggled the first of a 2 loop course and the 2nd loop decided to take in some coke. Why didn’t I do this sooner? Immediately the cramps started to subside and I was feeling better. Because I had run so slowly the first loop with the cramps, I was able to negative split the run and finish the strongest I had yet to do in a race. One positive I will take away.

To sum up , I think I came 9th but came away pretty disappointed with how bad I had felt, especially after a great race in Vineman just 3 weeks earlier, and knew I had to make some changes when I got home. But not until after I had indulged in an undeserved Truffle burger with truffle fries which was probably the best burger I had ever had. The Last awesome thing about my Boulder race which has me looking forward to returning is that I had the best homestay in Lauren Greenfield. We got along like old friends, cycled the course for my pre race day warm up and even made plans for her to come and visit Steve and I in Austin. Doesn’t happen often so got to mention it when it does. Onward….

Austin Tri – Olympic Distance

The Austin Tri put on by Jack and Adams and High Five events was next on the calendar just 3 weeks after Boulder. As I said, after Boulder I decided to make a few changes (eating and recovering better, and being consistent with my day to day training is the just of it) and that definitely paid off in those short 3 weeks. Despite hearing the day before the race that I had gotten a roll down spot and qualified for the Vegas 70.3 World Champs in a week’s time, I decided to still go ahead and race the Austin Tri just a short 6 days prior to Vegas. And glad I did - I had a great race, placing 4th overall in a pretty competitive Elite field. Besides coming out of the water quite a ways back from the leaders and in about 10th place, I was able to have the fastest bike of the day and cycle myself into 5th place, which I was stoked about since I have really been focusing on holding back during the 40k bike as to leave something for the run. Thankfully, holding back did pay off and I ran myself into 4th place with a 39min 10k and a PR for the Olympic Distance. Next…

Vegas 70.3 World Champs

So I had raced the Austin Tri on Monday and Vegas 70.3 was on Sunday. That whole week was filled with easy workouts since and I felt great, especially coming off a confidence boosting Austin race. I honestly didn’t think too much about racing and was just so grateful that I was getting the opportunity to be on the start line. I was going into this race to just enjoy myself to the max , and learn as much as I could about the course for next year, cause facing reality, I was not at the same level as those top gals I was racing against. Not yet . I was after all the last of the 30 to qualify and be on the start line. So with that being said my first goal was to have fun and give it my all, my 2nd small goal was to not finish no 30.

In Short – I had so much joy that whole day while racing that I ended up having a great race. The big victory of the day was that for the first time in racing a 70.3, I was actually able to swim on some feet and came out with a group of girls in the swim. This was huge for me because I then got to get a feel for what it was like to cycle with girls around me instead of completely alone. This proved to be a great motivation and advantage since it keeps you honest with your effort on the bike as well as bring out my competitive nature. I was able to move up a couple spots coming off the bike and found myself starting the run with Lesley Patterson in 19th spot.

The run course is basically 2 loops of 3 miles down hill, then 3 miles up. I was able to hold my position for the first loop of the run but then started fading on the uphill on the 2nd loop. I got passed by a few gals but was able to keep them in my sight hoping that I could use the last bit of downhill to the finish line to kick it in and maybe claim a spot back. Unfortunately, cramping in the legs stopped that plan and so the last mile downhill turned into a “shuffle and keep moving forwards” which I kept on telling myself. Of course there were many scripture versus and comments thrown my way from the spectators since I was sporting my Tri4Him kit, and the last part of the race I found myself feeding off that more than anything. All in all – I finished 23rd and was super happy with my effort.

Little did I know at the time, but that was going to be the last race of the season for me. My first full year as a pro finished on a high note. More to come…..

Pics Below - No Race would be complete without some post race treats ! ( yes, that was a trip to my first Vegas Buffet )