Significant improvement in your race performance requires training that is counter-intuitive for most triathletes. They are trapped in the Power-Stamina Paradox and will never realize their performance potential until they escape the mindset and training habits that undermine their progress. In this episode, we explain the paradox and how you can escape it's crippling effect on your training and race-day performance.
TriDot Podcast .10
Escaping the Power-Stamina Paradox
This is the TriDot Podcast. TriDot uses your training data and genetic profile combined with predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to optimize your training, giving you better results in less time with fewer injuries. Our podcast is here to educate, inspire, and entertain. We'll talk all things triathlon with expert coaches and special guests. Join the conversation and let's improve together.
Andrew: Welcome to the podcast. I am super excited about today's show as we are exploring the power-stamina paradox. First up joining me today is TriDot Founder and CEO Jeff. Jeff is the chief architect behind TriDot’s insight optimization technology that powers TriDot training. He's a multiple Ironman finisher who has coached dozens of professional triathletes and national champions as well as literally hundreds of age groupers two podiums and PRs since he began coaching triathlon in 2003. Jeff, welcome to the podcast.
Jeff Booher: Hey, Andrew. Yeah, I'm just so excited to be here. This is gonna be a great podcast.
Andrew: And next up, and I have to point out this is our first podcast episode with Jeff and Jeff. It's going to be wild, y'all.
Jeff Raines: It promises to be something special.
Andrew: It's going to be something special because next up is coach Jeff Raines. Now Jeff has a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology and was a successful D1 Collegiate Runner. He's qualified for the Boston Marathon multiple times and has raced over 120 triathlons from competitive sprints to full distance Ironman's. Jeff has been coaching runners and triathletes since 2009, and we're excited to have him Jeff and Jeff, welcome to the podcast.
Jeff Raines: Hey, with two great minds and two great Jeff's combined, I think this is-- we're gonna have a blast here. This is gonna be great.
Andrew: It's gonna be like thing one and thing two but Jeff one and Jeff two. Yeah, I can't wait. Well, who am I? I am Andrew, the average triathlete, voice of the people and the captain of the middle of the pack. Today, we're going to warm up by talking about the joys of those nice bright, shiny race medals that we earn every single race. Then we'll head to our main set conversation about power and stamina. And then we'll cool down by giving you guys a few quick podcast updates. It's going to be a great one. Let's get to it.
Time to warm up. Let's get moving.
Andrew: Guys, any race worth doing hands out nice shiny medals at the finish line, and growing your hardware collection over the years of racing is part of the fun. So, today's warm up question is this. What medal in your finisher medal collection is your favorite? Jeff.
Jeff Booher: Jeff?
Jeff Raines: Me, you? Oh, you insist.
Jeff Booher: I’ll let Jeff go first.
Andrew: How nice of you, Jeff.
Jeff Raines: Wait, I'm confused.
Andrew: Jeff Raines, Jeff Raines go first.
Jeff Raines: We can tend to collect a lot of medals and they kind of just hang on the wall. They're great, they're cool, they're fun to collect, but I really like ones that I can actually use. Some I have seen are belt buckles, some are bottle openers, as well as these medals. But one of mine that I use almost daily, it's a tree trunk or a slice of a tree trunk, it's like a coaster. And the race, name and place and all that is engraved in the wood.
Andrew: How very rustic of them. That's very on trend, right?
Jeff Raines: Yes, I use it every day. It's on my deck in my backyard, on my picnic table, and I use it all the time. And I think about that race and how I did and it's not just collecting dust on the wall in my garage hanging with some other medals. So, I thought that was unique and I always remember that one.
Andrew: Yeah, I have a cousin named Brandon, shout out to him, who does not do triathlon but does ultra running, ultra marathons, 50 mile races, 100 mile races, one of those just crazy people that does those. And his medals are always like that, they're always really eclectic. They're never like actual metal medal. They're always made out of wood or they're always like a weird belt buckle. They're always-- So, that's interesting that you have a triathlon medal that is made out of wood like that because I haven't seen that yet, so that's super cool. So, Jeff number one, Jeff Booher, what is your favorite medal?
Jeff Raines: Why is he one, huh? Okay.
Andrew: He's the Founder of TriDot, Jeff. He was the Jeff before the other Jeff.
Jeff Raines: Fine.
Jeff Booher: Well, like what Jeff was talking about with that functional approach, I didn't really think of it when I was pondering this the last few minutes until he started talking. The first thing that came to mind for me was an Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2007 medal. And it's kind of what it represented in that race. I know a lot of people have overcome a lot of things and had great experiences, but that race was special to me. It was my first Ironman race. And leading up to it, it's probably three months out I wrecked on a bike. I was training with some training buddies and I clipped the wheel in front of me. We're going like super fast on this highway, it's really busy and so we're trying to go as fast as we could just to get off this highway, off the shoulder. And I clipped the wheel, I went down hard, they drugged me off the highway while cars were coming, that kind of freaky thing. I cracked a little bit the frame of my top tube and not being that smart, I went ahead and rode the rest away back, [Andrew: Of course, you did] and got in the car and shut the door with my left hand on the left side and realize I had, the pain was a broken rib. And I went to the hospital and all that kind of stuff. I had a broken rib and so I wasn’t able to run for a period of time. So, I had three-four weeks--
Andrew: This has turned into a war story with Jeff Booher.
Jeff Booher: Yeah. So, I was not able, I was doubtful. Here's my first Ironman and training with four or five really good friends and then I'm months away, not able to train at all, can't have the impact and all. And so it was literally kind of week when I started running again only got up to about 18 or 16 miles was my longest run before the Ironman event. And so it's kind of that no go if I do this run today if I can do this long run you know with modest pain I'll do it. Otherwise-- So, I did it and I got to finish but it was kind of just a special first one and special that I overcame all that, and then all the drama and the fear of-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: ...overcoming all that or you wouldn't have that medal.
Jeff Booher: Correct.
Andrew: It's almost a little bit extra dose of having to earn it.
Jeff Booher: Yeah, so it was cool, it was a fun race, a beautiful course, all that, so very special. My family got to go with me and so it's a family vacation and really cool. So, that's very special.
Andrew: No, that is super cool. I'm kind of taking the Jeff Raines approach on mine because I thought about going with my first half Ironman medal because I thought that would be super cool. I'm currently training for Ironman, Texas. And so they've released that medal and it's going to be it's the 10th edition of Ironman, Texas. So, it's like a special, extra big, extra Texassy belt buckle medal. So, I'm really excited to get that. So, once I get that, you know Lord willing, if I finish Ironman Texas I'll be really pumped to have that one. But in the meantime, my favorite one that kind of like you Jeff gets used on a weekly basis in the Harley household, we do not have a bottle opener in our house. And so when we need to open a bottle, the only bottle opener we have is my medal for Tri Key West. And if you know Key West, the Florida Keys culture, it is so fitting that they would have a bottle cap opening medal. That is a string of islands that is known to party. And so in our house, whether we have guests over, whatever we have, if we need to open a bottle like me and my wife have to walk into the study and grab that medal. And it's a little triathlon medal with a ribbon still on it that opens up all the bottles in the Harley household. So, I gotta give that one a shout out. It’s the only one that's actually functional in the collection.
On to the main set. Going in 3, 2, 1.
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When we think of an athlete who has power, the first people that come to mind are the weightlifter, the NFL linebacker, the heavyweight boxer, the home run hitter, or even the track sprinter. When we think of stamina, we think of the marathon runner, the mountain climber, the Tour de France champion, or maybe on the team sport, the soccer midfielder. What we forget is that in most instances, an athlete needs both to succeed. Now, as triathletes, we often hear and read about fitness terms like force, power, strength, speed, stamina, and endurance. Now, can you guys kind of walk me through some of these terms and why our focus today is on power and stamina, Jeff?
Jeff Raines: I think a lot of these terms can reiterate aspects of other of these terms. A lot of these fall into sub-categories, I should say. And I think a lot of these terms are misconceptionalized. I would narrow all these down and into kind of an anaerobic focused and an aerobic focused, so to speak. But in almost all sports, we need healthy aspects of both of these. And so power versus stamina are kind of the two, what we're focusing on. And we're focusing on those because I would even say that endurance is a subcategory of stamina. Power, our strength force all kind of falls into that power category. And I think some of these aspects that people misconceptionalize is differentiating endurance versus stamina, strength versus power.
Andrew: Because as an athlete, we hear some of those words and I mean, to me, on the surface, endurance and stamina seem like the same thing. Power and force seem like very similar concepts of strength. And so it's why is power and stamina, the ones that in our training plan, we're really focused on those two words?
Jeff Raines: Yeah. I mean, you first of all, essentially everyone has endurance. We can go walk for prolonged periods of time in our neighborhood, and that is endurance. So, we're able to resist fatigue at a given effort and what that effort entails, is your sports specific goal. Are you racing or are you just going on a long walk? And so sustaining prolonged efforts at certain percentages of that endurance is stamina. So, stamina has a duration in mind, it has a goal, it has a specific outcome.
Andrew: So, endurance is kind of a vague version of stamina?
Jeff Raines: Exactly. It's a more precise, definite goal-specific aspect. And there's a toleration aspect, a grit factor involved, and kind of understanding, pacing and all sorts of aspects. But a good way to kind of illustrate this is let's just say a four-minute mile, four laps on a track, one minute mile per lap. The four minute--
Andrew: That sounds painful.
Jeff Raines: The four minute mile barrier, right, Roger Bannister broke that back in the 50s.
Andrew: Jeff, what's your best mile time?
Jeff Raines: Oh, gosh. 4:16. But let's talk about Roger. So, Roger Bannister was the first to break the four minute mile. And he ran essentially 60 seconds per lap to do that. Well, someone could argue, well, I can run one lap in 60 seconds. Great. I can do one hard effort in 60 seconds, but can I repeat that four times in a row without stopping and maintaining that? And so that's what's hard and that's where that stamina aspect really differentiates between endurance. So, that's just kind of an example of what we're going to dive into.
Andrew: You’re able to build stamina for a specific goal in mind?
Jeff Raines: Exactly. And so we're triathletes, we're racing, we have time limits cut-offs, and so just simply focusing on an endurance aspect is not enough. And so we can hone in much deeper and focus on the stamina aspect of that. And then there's kind of the same avenues as far as that anaerobic and power and strength aspect which we're going to dive into.
Jeff Booher: Yeah, I think it's, I saw an article come out a couple weeks ago about LSU top-ranked football team, and the Wall Street Journal had an article about them-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: You watch them, Jeff? They're good, Jeff.
Jeff Booher: They are pretty darn good, yes.
Andrew: By the time this comes out, they might even be national champions.
Jeff Booher: That's correct and they beat my Aggies so that was tough, but we beat them last year in seven overtimes.
Jeff Raines: That was then, Jeff, this is now.
Jeff Booher: Yeah, but you know even in a sport like that that's highly explosive, the article was about some equipment where they are not only measuring how much strength-- how much weight the guys were lifting in the weight room, how powerful they were, but how quickly they moved it. So, it's that forceful, explosive strength-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: So, are they benching 200 pounds, it was how--
Jeff Booher: 400...quick
Andrew: Oh, my God. How quickly are they putting up those 400 pounds?
Jeff Booher: Yes, so it’s that explosive. So, there are different purposes for those different things. So, it's a combination of the actual work being done, the force being produced, but over what time period it’s being produced. And so in triathlon, ours is specific as well, when we have these different strengths. To go run a marathon, you have to be strong. So, how is that not strength? I mean, that is strength too. And you sustained something-- everything's relative. For a sprinter, running a mile is endurance. For us, a 5K, three miles, is a sprint triathlon. So, it's all relative. So, focusing in on these specific words we use for triathlons and triathlons specific, we're talking about power, which is right, your anaerobic threshold, your ventilatory threshold, so functional threshold, so this is one number and it’s specific to a time period, a duration. And at the same thing, your stamina, that needs to be specific to the athlete in a specific duration. Based on that athlete for us as triathletes.
Andrew: So, as triathletes talking about that duration since the duration is so important when we're talking about these terms; what would you say is the standard duration used for kind of distinguishing between power and stamina? And can you kind of give us a context for them as triathletes?
Jeff Booher: Sure. So, this is Jeff, for our listeners, Jeff Boober. There's some standards out there, a lot of people use some generic standards for time period, especially with functional threshold FTP, power, and we're going to use a lot of bike analogies because you have a power meter and is very clear, it's a little easier and more straightforward than a pace in the pool or a pace on a run. But the same principle applies for all of this in the power-stamina paradox. But you have a threshold and that's a measure of kind of where is that anaerobic threshold, your ventilatory threshold, your lactate threshold; all of those things happen about the same spot. There are different measures of getting to about the same area and then based on what your measure is, all of your training is a percent of that, or relative to that. So, that's kind of your long tent pole or your basis. So, for one, that's typically like a cyclist will say what is your all at one hour time trial? So, if you're going to as hard as you can go one hour, that's your time trial. So, it's a little different for the swim, you're not gonna swim for an hour and determine your threshold, and you're not gonna run for an hour. So, those are modified times, and so we modify that standard used everywhere for our athletes. So, there's a difference by discipline for what those time periods are to determine what test and what amount of power you hold, what intensity you hold for that time period.
Andrew: Back to your point for the swim and run, if you're swimming for an hour or running for an hour, that's no longer a threshold activity like it is on a bike. That is now an endurance activity.
Jeff Booher: Correct, it’s different. And so there's the difference by swim, bike, and run. And so we use different time periods to measure your FTP based on the discipline but also your fitness level. So, even on the bike, if someone's very new to the bike, they may not be able to go ride for an hour.
Andrew: I couldn't when I first started.
Jeff Booher: It becomes an endurance even from scratch, first day, even first few weeks, that’s an endurance effort or some people can't run a 5K. And so no matter if it’s their best 5K it’s still an endurance, it’s not their threshold, it’s not from a physiological standpoint, it’s not their threshold. And so we're able to look at those and use a modified version of that to determine what their functional threshold is. And then they ease into some of those standard durations for that evaluation of their FTP. And for stamina, this is, it's different in what you train for. So, there's overall endurance, there's you can measure volume and a bunch of different ways to measure someone's air quotes, endurance, that vague term. But we choose to use the word stamina to be very specific for the race distance that you're training for. So, if you're training for an Ironman, your stamina is the duration that you're going to hold a particular intensity level is very different than someone training for a half. So, you're going to train a different level of stamina, a different duration is going to be your key variable when you're training for a different race. And that's based on your ability, your body composition, your age, a whole bunch of different things.
Andrew: So, I think triathlon typically is thought of as an endurance sport, right? I mean, and that goes back to Ironman was almost popularized by back in the day when all of a sudden worldwide of sports throws it up as this wacky crazy, look, look at all these crazy people doing this long thing on the island of Hawaii. And people see it on TV and it becomes like this big phenomenon. But even then, it was pitched as look at this crazy endurance sport. Look at this crazy endurance challenge and that's what made it marketable as a television program. And so to this day, people have this notion that triathlon is an endurance sport. So, as such, do we need to be training for power or mainly just for that stamina, like you said, to be able to hold a certain amount of our ability for the duration we're looking at?
Jeff Booher: That's where the paradox kind of gets started, is understanding the relationship between. So, some of the big mistakes of a lot of beginners is that they think, okay and I had that first impression remembering as a kid, the Wide World of Sports and Julie Moss, all those, this is an epic endurance thing. So, they think I'm gonna have to ride 112 miles. So, I need to go out there and start riding as long as I can and get that ability to do the distance and to keep doing it harder and harder and get that time down. So, I need to go ride 112 miles, and then ride it over and over, or maybe not the whole, but a long ways. I need to have these long rides and keep pushing myself to do that long ride, faster and faster and faster.
Andrew: And they're just getting more efficient at being inefficient, so to speak.
Jeff Booher: Right, right. And they're not improving, they’re plateauing. The intermediates and faster people do the same thing.
Jeff Raines: Yeah, I've seen that a lot. A lot of athletes will come to me and they'll say hey, I want to break five hours in a half Ironman, can you coach me to that? Or what I also see is a lot of elites, even upper age groups, they have a specific goal in mind. They want to break five hours or six hours on that Ironman bike split and so they train all year at goal paces. But maybe the race is nine months away and they’re training efforts that they would have to hold in nine months from now to have a given specific gold time split finish. I mean-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: And so knowing that's the goal and knowing it's that far away, there's different things you can do now to get yourself ready for that goal.
Jeff Raines: Yeah. And well, maybe they're overtraining now because they're training at maybe-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: For a pace they’re not ready for.
Jeff Raines: Yeah, either they're not ready for it, maybe it's unrealistic, or maybe it is realistic but not until 6, 8, 9 months from now. And so training and goal efforts, I just-- I see that a lot.
Jeff Booher: Yeah, pushing the distance or pushing the power over and over and over trying to get better is not the best way to do it, it’s very ineffective. And so a lot of them will plateau and overtrain, it's just very, very inefficient. So, the first thing to realize is, is the relationship between that functional threshold power, we’ll just keep calling it power, but it's at your FTP, and stamina. So, for your body that know how far you're going, so the distance is irrelevant. It's the time that you're going to hold that effort for.
Andrew: Which longtime listeners to the podcast will remember John Mayfield has taught us that before that the body doesn't know how far it's gone, it just knows how long it's worked.
Jeff Booher: Right. Tell me how hard to work and how long you need to sustain it, and that's your target power. So, when you're working stamina, that's what we determine. We determine, okay, how far does this athlete need to go? How fast will they be able to do it? So, what power do they need or what pace do they need to sustain to be able to accomplish that goal? We train them to that standard or to that stamina value. So, stamina is always a percent of your FTP. So, your functional threshold power, that's your anaerobic threshold, that's what you can sustain aerobically over a long period of time or for an hour, whatever that threshold values. And so your stamina will always be a percent of that. And so there's some power curves and where you can look like from 67% for longer races, maybe a particular Ironman event or half Ironman, like Ironman you might be 73-75% depending on how long that bike split is. So, that-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: So like my bike split’s going to be six and a half hours where for Jeff Raines, a bike splits going to be five and a half hours and so we've got--
Jeff Booher: Yeah, but when you're working and when you're training, if you're only training the stamina, and there's only a narrow window that that can be, let's say your power, your FTP is 300, and say your goal target pace is 2:10, 70%. So, you have this 2:10 goal and maybe there is a narrow range of what that can be. You can't ever train above that certain level. There's a certain cap there because it's a percent of your FTP. So, like if you're 300 you could never do six hours at 300. You know, there's this diminishing, that value goes down and it can't be higher. And so as long as you're training long and trying to go 2:10, if you go out there and keep doing it, then that's very ineffective because you train your body differently.
Andrew: All your body is learning how to do is to arrive at that pace.
Jeff Booher: Right, and you're pushing it. And the training that it takes, think about how a 800 meter runner or a short distance runner, a miler how they train, they train very different than a marathon runner. So, there's these abilities, one that's going to push that long tent pole higher, as the long tent pole goes higher, now 70% of that becomes more. And so you have two strategies, you can either increase that. In 70, let's say your, you train really, really well, get super efficient, you're 72%. Well, great, that's 2:16, you've increased six watts, would it be better to train your threshold and get that threshold to 330, and now do 70% of that? It's a much bigger increase and so that's proportional. So, you have two ways, you can either try to increase this limited small range of 70% or 75% of wherever you are based on your distance, or you can increase your FTP itself, which not only increase your FTP, but then all of those proportional possible power targets that are for longer durations. And so when you train for both of those, the longer distance stamina work, you have to train long to do that. You gotta train long to develop that stamina. But to train the power side, you train much, much shorter, much, much more forcefully, but your body can only absorb so much training. And so there's this trade off, the more you do of the long distance riding, these long rides higher volume, the harder it is to increase your threshold. And it's likewise, the more you don't do those things, then the more you can achieve the threshold. And so you need to focus on what you’re training and you need to focus during your season and as you plan your training to get the most ROI out of-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: It's almost like for the athlete if you're working on just your stamina and you're saying, like the mistake you talked about. Okay, I've got this Ironman coming up. I have this half Ironman coming up, I need to be able to ride that long, run that long and you work towards that duration, you haven't increased your speed, you haven’t increased what you’re capable of.
Jeff Booher: You’re done, that's a finite, yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. But if you work on your power and build your power as well in conjunction with that statement, now you can go faster for that long.
Jeff Booher: Correct.
Jeff Raines: Exactly. I mean, it's as simple as knowing that that stamina aspect is always limited, right? You can only hold certain percentages of that for a certain given duration. It's limited and I find that so many athletes spend so much time trying to develop that. Can I hold one more percent? And they train all year at that, when maybe if you spend a little bit more time focusing on that power threshold, that's unlimited.
Jeff Booher: And he's being polite. There's no maybe.
Jeff Raines: Yeah. I mean, that is unlimited, unlimited potential for increasing the threshold.
Jeff Booher: Yeah, so there's huge trade-offs between trying to train long, when you're training long the closer your race gets-- when your race gets closer, you have to train long because you have to finish that distance. So, you don't have an option other than to be training up toward that duration, 5, 6, 7 hours, whatever your bike split or your run split is, you have to do it when it gets close to the race. But other times you don't have to do it, necessarily. So, how do you optimize that time? So, that trade-off is very significant unless you're a sprinter or an Olympic distance athlete, as it’s not as much for them.
Andrew: So, what's the difference for people training for a sprint and an Olympic compared to training for a half and a full?
Jeff Booher: Well, for sure, for a sprint and Olympic, it might depend on the particular athlete’s ability, but it's about the duration, your body doesn't know how long. So, when you're training for sprint or Olympic races, the stamina you're training for is under an hour. And so the same work that you're taking on to increase your functional threshold is the same target intensity as your threshold.
Andrew: At that point, the power and stamina training are one in the same.
Jeff Booher: They're aligned, correct. So, you're not giving up one to go five hours, you don't have to go five hours. Your long rides are an hour 30 or two hours maybe. And so that's well, both race distance and your threshold are under that same cap. So, you're not having to give up one to get the other, so they're very aligned there. So, especially for age groupers, it affects age groupers a lot more.
Andrew: So, it affects age groupers, more than it affects pros. Is there a difference at that point?
Jeff Booher: Yeah, it does. Because again, it's the duration and the distance. So, a lot-- if you think of pro athletes, they're able to train longer more of the season for a number of reasons. They're younger, they almost always have better body composition, they're going to recover better. And then think back to that distance. So, a pro training for a 70.3 is probably doing-- can do the same durations for their long bikes and long runs as an age grouper training for an Olympic. See, so they're doing those same times, and even it depends where in the spectrum you are as an age grouper. But the pros training for fulls can be shorter training than some age groupers training for halves.
Andrew: Because they're going to go eight hours at a full and a lot of age groupers will go eight hours at a half.
Jeff Booher: Yeah, is 6:30 I mean, so it's up there and the impact. So, the pro that’s training for eight-nine hour race is younger, recovering faster doing all the things that makes them much easier suited to do that. The race they’re training for might have the same long sessions as an age grouper who's much older, may not have the same background in running, worse body composition. So, it's more wear and tear on the joint, but they're doing that same time period. So, a pro is much more able to continue to be able to improve their functional threshold while they are doing some of that longer racing, but it's still focused there. Yeah.
Jeff Raines: I was just gonna say I mean, I think we've established that so many people focus too much on the stamina aspect, whether it's too early in the season or they just started training and they think they need to cover this long distance.
Andrew: I mean I see it all the time where athletes on TriDot’s forums or even on TriDot to coaches they'll ask like, “Hey, I sign up for an Ironman. I noticed that my training program doesn't have me running 26.2 miles, how am I going to be ready on race day to run that marathon if I haven't run that marathon in training?”
Jeff Raines: Yeah, and I get it that you're anxious, you're excited. It's a new distance.
Andrew: You want to know that you can do that distance.
Jeff Raines: I've done some half Ironman's but now I want to do my full and I want to get out there and I want to do a 90 mile ride, I want an 80 mile ride. But I think we've established that people focus maybe too much on stamina maybe too early in their season. But I think it's good to point out and understand that increasing stamina does not super effectively increase power in a direct relationship, right, or that power potential, there's a ceiling. But increasing power first and being a little bit patient on the stamina can increase stamina, and it does increases that potential. And so there's a patience aspect, there's a timing of the season aspect that we all have to take note of and have a plan for.
Jeff Booher: And that first thing is that understanding of there's a difference, there's trade-offs. If you're training to be a marathoner, you can't be also training to be a sprinter. If you're training for a sprint, you can’t also be training for long. They’re different energy systems, even within the same athlete. You're still developing two skills, two abilities within your body. One that's to produce higher FTP, the other is to take a percent of that FTP and go long with it. So, even though you're training for a full Ironman, or a 70.3, or whatever that is, you're still training two diverse abilities at the same time. So, how do you do that? Do you do them at the same time? Do you stagger them? How do you sequence them? That becomes the question.
Andrew: That was literally like my next follow up was like okay, so for the athletes, okay, cool. I get this, that make sense. Like how do I effectively train both of those-- [crosstalk]
Jeff Raines: Or do I maintain one and try to build the other like, yeah, how does it work? It's confusing.
Jeff Booher: Yeah. So, that essentially is the paradox and when-- Because, okay, an athlete, you're the athlete, I need to cover 112 miles on the bike and a marathon [crosstalk]
Andrew: I want to cover it as quickly as I can.
Jeff Booher: As quickly as I can, so that's truth. Absolutely. So, I need to increase my stamina to do that, right. But when I get out there and I start training these long sessions, I hit a ceiling. And I can't increase my-- and the ceiling is created by my FTP because I'm only going to be able to do, depending on your duration 72% of that. I can only do 72% cuz I'm going six and a half hours. So, maybe I get 73. But that's not a meaningful increase, so how do I get faster? Because when I'm going long, I can't be increasing my FTP as much because now I'm dead and I'm recovering all that I can possibly do to absorb this training is spent on these long sessions and I'm taking three days to recover. So, I can’t also go out and turn these very highly intense workouts at the same time. So, now I can't create the-- increase my FTP so then now the percent doesn’t change so I can't get any faster. And then, you know, overtrained plateau. So, that's the paradox right there.
Jeff Raines: Yeah. And I think that we touched on this, but I just want to say one quick thing here is, so many people focus on, like Jeff said, being able to hold 73 instead of 72%. And maybe that'll give you five extra minutes of, let's say, time off your Ironman bike split. So, now you're going to go 5:55 instead of six hours on the bike, but if you increase that tent pole first, right, so now we increase the threshold, five watts, 10 watts. Now, can we hold 69% but it gives us 15 minutes improvement through the stamina aspect of that. And so there's a cat and mouse game you play, but there's even a better way to establish all of that.
Andrew: So, in that cat and mouse game, getting that kind of, trying to escape this paradox and figure out the best way to train both of these, to do what you said, to raise that tent pole to raise where we're capable of holding. With power and stamina, obviously both having importance to the triathlete, how do we consider both in our season planning, and how do we balance training both of these throughout the season to make sure we can go long as fast as possible?
Jeff Booher: So, again, this is Jeff. I'd like to hit this from a couple different angles. I think first that's like a quintessential example of using technology, and in our software it's multi-objective optimization. So, you have multiple objectives, you want to do two so where does one, you know, the pros and cons when you evaluate the net effect of those, where does it make sense to shift focus from one thing to another thing? How long do you do one? And we have that-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: As an athlete, is it day to day, is it I do a long session one day and I focused power the next day? [crosstalk] Is it week to week? Is it month to month?
Jeff Booher: Doing it DIY training, that's what you do.
Andrew: That's absolutely what you do.
Jeff Booher: So, you take a block-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: I'm gonna go for a long run on the weekend and then you maybe do a faster, shorter interval stuff in the middle of the week and you're just kind of guessing.
Jeff Booher: Yeah. And people doing that and how far ahead should you start doing your long rides? When should you start ramping those up? When is that trade off of how long can you stay in that FTP building period where you're increasing that and you're not really worried about going long? You have an hour and a half long bike, hour 10 maybe long run, when do you need to start ramping up? How quickly can you ramp up the long run, and what emphasis and how much left do you have over from that long stamina build an increase can you do to continue to build or maintain your threshold? So, there's a lot that goes into it. Your DNA goes into that, your performance level, your body composition, how long you've been doing the sport--
Andrew: This is why we’re calling it a paradox. It's giving me a headache already.
Jeff Booher: So, all of this stuff, it's hard to know and people just go out and do template or this kind of training, what they hear everybody doing.
Andrew: Or they say oh, I'm 10 weeks out. I'm supposed to have ridden 80 miles at this point in my ride.
Jeff Booher: Yeah. Supposed to, says who? That's where-- [crosstalk ] Yeah. And then the default is always not to train less, it’s to train more. If your friends are saying they're training more than you, then there's this pressure, I need to train more, I don't want to be unprepared. But they end up under preparing because they didn't raise their long tent pole, they didn't increase that as long as they could have.
Andrew: They might have trained more, but they didn't train smarter.
Jeff Booher: Correct. And for the incremental volume, what they're doing, one is they're gonna have burnout from doing these long sessions that they didn't need to do, they're not going to have the performance because they could have increased the threshold. But they only kept hitting that ceiling on the stamina and the volume, they're gonna have more overuse injuries, training-related injuries because they're doing all this repetitive volume at a much sooner period, longer period.
Jeff Raines: Yeah. So, how do we implement this?
Andrew: So, how do we do it? How do we do it, Jeff, how do we train both of these systems to the most effective way possible?
Jeff Raines: That's the million dollar question.
Andrew: What’s the balance?
Jeff Raines: Luckily for me, my TriDot tells me when all of this stuff happens, which is really cool, but I think we've all kind of heard the anecdotal saying fast before far, maybe strong before long.
Andrew: We need a TriDot t-shirt line and that needs to be one of the t-shirts.
Jeff Raines: Yes.
Andrew: That and you said earlier you keep referencing grit factor every time you’re on. We need a grit factor t-shirt with Jeff Raines’ face on it.
Jeff Raines: Yeah. And you can quote Jeff on that. Sorry. So, this fast before far scenario, so it is key early in the season to establish this developmental power. We call it the developmental phase but we're developing our thresholds, we're raising our thresholds. We're doing a little bit more intensity quality sessions earlier in the season because we want to raise our threshold, our power because remember, it's untapped potential, there's no ceiling. So, we want to establish those thresholds and build upon that early the first half, even maybe longer of the season. Again, depending on sports-specific goals and all of that good stuff. But we want to establish that fast before far, that strong before long. So, what is our strong? How strong are we? Let's develop that, get that as high and as efficient as possible, so later on that we can add safe stamina behind that. And then when we add volume, we're not adding junk miles because a lot of people rush the stamina phase, they don't have the strength to support those long sessions and so later on it's promoting injury, it's promoting burnout, it's promoting--
Andrew: So, really what you're saying is the approach isn't even so much of trying to build them both at the same time, the approach is trying to build the strength first, trying to raise that big tent pole, and then later on closer to race day, that's when you start working in the stamina, is that right?
Jeff Raines: Exactly. And you could even look at it this way. If your A race is nine months away, who wants to sit down and do three-four hour workouts? And so it's almost great timing in the season, you may not see more than an hour, hour and 15 minute workout ever in that developmental preseason, whatever phase you want to call it, because we're focusing on those higher intensities, and so we're doing shorter sessions with more intensity. So, later on, as we get closer to the race, that's when you'll see those longer sessions.
Jeff Booher: To that point, when you are racing long, as your race gets closer, you have to train long, and so you don't have the opportunity. So, you need to really focus on your functional threshold. And so you really need to capitalize on that time, when you're not racing and it’s months and months out, that's when you can spend that time increasing your threshold. So, a lot of times we talk, that's a key focus in the preseason for sure because you're not racing at that time. And it even impacts, some people do marathons during that time and that's detrimental to your overall race development [Oh, wow] because they're running long and they're not able to increase their pace. And their mechanics get worse, there’s a whole bunch of different reasons we can get into.
Andrew: So, when I start going long, it really, really starts affecting your ability to push your power?
Jeff Booher: Absolutely. Part of our, this may be a little tangent but it's kind of fun. We do analysis our preseason projects we run every year, we've been doing it for eight years. And we'll look at the different things and see how different people, they come in and start training. And as the race gets closer, how do they fall off? And we noticed that for those that don't use TriDot, when they get closer to their race, and they're racing for a full, their run actually gets slower as that race gets closer. So, their threshold comes down, gets slow. But they don't perceive it because they're running longer and don't have that focus, they’re not measuring-- [crosstalk]-- No, they don't recognize it is happening. So, they're not thinking about threshold on the run, they're just thinking about how fast did you do, you know, I ran 13 miles and I ran 16 miles, now I ran 18 miles and I ran 20 miles.
Andrew: They’re checking off their boxes
Jeff Booher: So, clearly, I'm clearly running 21 miles and I wasn't two months ago so I’m faster. But that percent when we're comparing the two numbers, that percent’s actually coming down. If they'd have been able to sustain that threshold pace on the run their threshold pace and maintain whatever percent of that 70 percent as they go longer, they're seeing this ability to go longer, but that person's going - from 70. It’s not the percentage that’s dropping, 70, 69, 68, 67, 66 is there a threshold that's dropping, and they're still able to hold that 70 but that whole number is going down. And so there's a lot of things that we do that’s built in to the training. So, some of them is in your long runs, you're doing threshold efforts, like 90 minutes in to your long run, or marathon repeats in that back end of that session. So, you're able to maintain that workload or maintain that skill of running faster during that time. So, during the periods of the preseason, when you're not racing, you're not doing these long sessions, you have the capacity to focus more, develop more substantially your threshold, you're doing it. But you're also when you are going longer, your distances aren't quite as long but you're baking in that higher threshold effort. Another thing is within the-- there's not these arbitrary time periods when people use templates or non TriDot things, they're periodizing a lot of people will be familiar with - make the distinction here, we're not just talking about strictly reverse periodization where you have the intensity and then you go long later. So, there was a classical where it went high volume and then volume comes down and then you increase the intensity later as you race. That was a classical, we've been doing it for-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: A lot of people have seen that, a lot of people have heard of that.
Jeff Booher: Yeah. And so I mean, for 15 years we've been doing reverse periodization, but it's much more than that. In the last five or six it’s really becoming more popular for people to start doing that more. But to not treat that periodization in a unified I guess, way with all the disciplines. So, it should be disciplined independent. When you start your build up for one discipline, it’s not the same time you start it for another, and it's not the same, it depends on your ability. So, if we miss-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: Between the swim, the bike and the run, you don't have to start, you don’t approach them all the same.
Jeff Booher: Correct. For older, heavier, slower, athletes they may start way earlier on the run because there's more risk of injury than someone else who's faster. And they may have a very long day on the run. A pro might have two hours, 45 minutes.
Jeff Raines: And keeping that individual in mind, if they were to go out and do a three-hour long run, that individual is going to see those diminishing returns that we were talking about. And so instead of doing a three hour run, they might do an hour 50 or 2:10 with some quality sets inside of that keeping them safe, but still building that for that race. Yes.
Jeff Booher: Yep, absolutely. And then to see those things done, and then there's strategic staggering within so that you're hitting these high points intermittently. So, when you're hitting your peak, run volume shouldn't be the same time you're hitting your peak bike volume. Sometimes it can't be avoided, but you’re optimizing when you're doing those, when do you lower the volume so that you're not hitting all the peak things at once, and so you're able to absorb as much of that as possible.
Jeff Raines: I think a lot of people, they, they say, okay, I'm 12 weeks out, and they start trying to do what Jeff was just saying for all three disciplines at the same time.
Andrew: They want to see themselves, they're 12 weeks out, they're nervous, they want to see themselves do the distance at all three disciplines.
Jeff Raines: Yeah, it's time to ramp up, let's go on, I’m three months out.
Jeff Booher: Miles, miles, miles.
Jeff Raines: Let’s go swim 4K in open water, let's go do a century ride, and let's do an 18 mile long run.
Jeff Booher: Yeah, they hurt themselves. So, they're not absorbing the training. They're beating themselves down and not letting themselves build back up through the recovery. They're doing it in all disciplines are not staggering on it, they feel like they're doing more because they've done more than the longer distances. So, I was able to do this week what I hadn't been able to do before it. Look how good my training is going because they don't have the metrics to watch what's actually going on, and they don't have a benchmark. They don't, it's not like you're on these virtual trainers on the bike where you have this pacer, here's what your potential is. They're ahead and you’re falling back-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: And some of them get to race day with little injuries and wonder why.
Jeff Booher: Right. Or, and they don't know what their performance is, they don't know what their potential is. So, there's just a whole lot of things that we can do and then there's some practical things, of course, that the athlete can do with the understanding and making choices that allow the technology to do what we're talking about here with the optimization.
Andrew: So, let's talk about some of those athlete’s choices because when we're planning our season, and we're starting to put races on the calendar, we've talked about, okay, the distance that you're racing matters. It affects the durations that you need to train for. So, talk me through, Jeff Raines. I keep just saying Jeff and you guys look at me like who's supposed to talk. So, Jeff Raines talk me through whether we're choosing a sprint race or an Olympic race or whether we're preparing for an Ironman event; how does the race we're preparing for affect our ability to balance these two and training?
Jeff Raines: The biggest thing that TriDot does, I say the biggest because which one is the biggest? That's an understatement. But TriDot knows the individual and TriDot trains you at percentages of the time that you're going to spend on race day in each discipline. There's not a given exact mileage perspective there. But TriDot, we've talked about the normalization that TriDot does on other podcasts, but TriDot normalizes your assessments, it knows the weather and conditions that we should do the assessment, so it gives you much more established and correct zones to train in. But at the same time, TriDot knows the exact race you’re training for, the projected historic weather on race day, the elevation gains and profiles of the bike and run. And so knowing a projected time that you're going to spend on your exact race day, we can then prescribe distances or durations, I should say times based off a percentage of what you're going to spend on race day. And so this optimized plan knowing you and you only is very, very cool. Now, what TriDot also does is it knows your thresholds, it knows your FTP and there's some cool sport age and just some really cool other metrics that are going on. But how does TriDot optimize this plan? I mean it knows who you are, where you're at in your season, and it tries to, if you're a better cyclist than you are a runner, let's say TriDot will kind of let's say secretly try to make you a better runner inside of the plan while still following the season.
Jeff Booher: Yeah, and it knows your physiological abilities with your DNA, your body composition, your age, it knows where do you have the biggest potential. So, it's not a matter and I know on a different podcast we can cover the TriDot on that scale and why that matters. But just because you perceive one being higher than the other, a bike or run based on your weight, you know, on one you’re load-bearing and you might be carrying your body weight, the other one you're not. And so even though your bike may be better, you may still have more potential to improve on the bike than the run.
Andrew: Wow, and I haven't realized it.
Jeff Booher: So, it’s a counter intuitive thing and by how much and what, what do you need? What lever do you need to pull? And we can cover this in another-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: You only have so much time for each sport.
Jeff Booher: Right. So, are you throwing extra volume at it, extra frequency, longer sessions, more intensity, more intensity workload over a week or in a particular session and optimizing that? And so knowing what your potential is to increasing those helps to dictate how much emphasis you put on where and when do you start ramping up.
Jeff Raines: And short course versus long course, and then TriDot focuses on stamina when you have to, all right. And it knows what race distance and what race you're doing. And so TriDot-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: So, the reason for that. I just want to clarify because again, this is some really heady stuff. So, I'm trying to ask as Andrew the average triathlete and pull out the nuggets I'm getting. And so the reason TriDot doesn't dive into stamina until it has to is because once you dive in the stamina, that really prohibits your ability to build power. And building power is the key to getting faster. And so if I'm getting ready for a sprint or an Olympic, and I don't really have to dive into stamina work to get ready for that sprint or Olympic because it's already below my threshold, TriDot’s not going to take me into those crazy long sessions.
Jeff Booher: Right. And there is, I want to make sure we're not saying you only do high-intensity stuff, threshold stuff, there is a balance. And so throughout even when you're strictly focused on increasing your FTP, there is a lot of zone two work in there, a lot of active recovery. I mean, there is that natural balance-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: All throughout my week. Yeah, absolutely.
Jeff Booher: Yeah, all the time. So, but it’s how much of that other intensity can you take that's zone four, five and six? How much of that can you do? And as soon as you start dialing up those long sessions, those are so stressful, that you have to start backing off on other things. And again, it's differently based on age and health and performance level and all of those things. But yeah, there's that trade off that occurs and knowing precisely where it is.
Andrew: I remember just personally when I was adding Ironman, Texas to my race plan, I was kind of I was thinking about doing a fall half Ironman and I was looking at okay, if I plug in this November Fall half Ironman versus December fall half Ironman, I was seeing that it was-- TriDot was delaying the start of my race preparation phase by a month. And I was kind of worried about that. I was like, oh, no. I wanted to start my race preparation phases as early as possible. But you're saying really, that almost-- it's almost a good thing if TriDot can give you an extra month of developing your power before it starts that phase, that's a good thing.
Jeff Booher: And you're knowing when you, that's another aspect is we know what's on your schedule. Software knows what's on your schedule and it's going to work the most effective, effective plan, efficient plan from now until that race day. So, if there's no races between now and your Ironman, Texas, then that's going to be the most optimal way to train for that race. Every other races you put in there can potentially hinder your performance as you're building toward that or help it or be a non-factor. If you did a sprint race, it’s going to have a negligible impact on your training for an Ironman. Well, I say that if you make that sprint an A race and you taper - well, that's going to-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: For people who race all season long and make every race an A race?
Jeff Booher: That's going to wreck it because you're saying this is my priority over this. So, you're making some value judgments and that's not performance-based valuation.
Jeff Raines: Yeah, I think people tend to stay in that race, build stamina phase too many months out of the year, I see it. What's the difference between a B and a C race? I think everyone or a lot of people tend to just throw them all into the B race category. And so find your sport-specific goal. Are you just trying to complete these distances and you want to race four or five times throughout the year? Do you want to do really well in one and mediocre in all the others? And so that's what you have to take into account, priority and then how much time are you going to spend developing that power before the stamina?
Jeff Booher: So, the benefit of using or putting a C race is you think I'm not going to taper as much. I'm not gonna have as much recovery afterwards when you're doing these different races. But if you continue your training for your primary race, then those races are going to have less negative impact overall. So, imagine training a whole season and if every third week, you're going to have an extra taper and recovery, and a taper and recovery, and a taper in recovery.
Andrew: When are you building your power over that?
Jeff Booher: Yeah. And over the long haul, that's going to have an impact on you getting to that destination at the end. So, it’d be much, much better to de-emphasize those first ones. And while you may not be as tapered or as ready for that one race, you're going to have more improvement. So, when you get to be that third to fourth, that fifth race of the season, you're going to be performing better even when you're not tapered because you've increased your fitness. So, you're 95% of your best fitness untapered is way better than it was because you haven't had five interruptions leading up to that one.
Andrew: So, given that, given kind of what we were just talking about, tell me how much of a benefit is there in correctly developing power and stamina in our season? What are some of the ways, the tangible ways athletes can apply this knowledge to getting faster?
Jeff Booher: To me, it starts with that first awareness of understanding what's going on because some people come in, and they expect something. They expect I should be going really long, like, my Ironman is 12 weeks out and I'm not racing over-- I'm not riding over four hours. I'm not running two hours and some of that misconception because they're just used to following the templates.
Andrew: They think those-- Yeah, they think that's the important sessions.
Jeff Booher: They’re not based on that. And we've had questions and they'll come and train and they have a race for four weeks out or four months out. And they'll ask a question, when does my Ironman training start? Like it's already started. You’re racing right now so you're preparing for your race right now. So, if you're in that phase of the season, to where you don't have to increase your stamina yet, you're not building up, you're able to increase your threshold during that time and need to stay there and don't cheat. It’s not cheating, it's cannibalizing your training. Don't cannibalize your training by going longer than you're supposed to go. Focus on that threshold, get as fast as you can. So, think about those two things that you're doing at different times of the season. So, when you can get kind of that more race prep phase, we just distinguish the two phases, you're always prepping for a race, and you're always developing.
So, don't let the development phase or race prep phase throw, you’re always being developed, and you're always preparing for a race, no matter what is this, it’s just a little bit different focus. And it's not pure, because we're handling different disciplines different. So, you could be already building up work and stamina toward the end of a development phase. Absolutely. And even one race prep phase can be preparing you for the following race also if that race is longer, more substantial distances. So, if you think about your race prep phase as you get closer to your race, you're increasing the percent of that FTP that you're able to hold. So, you're increasing your ability time relative to the FTP, okay, so that's the ceiling. So, if you have enough FTP, you're going to increase if you're maybe 75, you're going to try to work from 73, 74, 75 to cover that entire distance. So, I need to hold that 75% for this three hour half, and you're working up to that three hours or that 3:30, or whatever your time is. So, that's what's happening as your race gets closer. But think about what's happening during your development phase, when that stamina build is not going on, you're increasing your threshold. When you increase your threshold, you're shortening your race.
Andrew: That ceiling is going up.
Jeff Booher: Yes, so--think about just the time. Your ceiling is going up so you're able to hold a higher power so-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: But the time you're going to spend on course is going down.
Jeff Booher: Correct. So, you can either choose, I want to get to the 75% and to cover this race distance for three and a half hours. Or you can say I don't want it, I'm prioritizing, increasing my FTP, so that percent goes higher. So, I'm going to spend this time increasing my FTP. So, now my race isn’t three and a half hours anymore, it’s 3:10.
Andrew: So, the amount of stamina you need to develop goes down.
Jeff Booher: So, the amount, right. So, you can stay in that zone developing the FTP longer because now you don't have to develop it for three hours, you only have to develop it for 3:10 so it takes you a week less [Mind-blowing] or two weeks less, whatever it is.
Jeff Raines: Yeah. So, how do you get faster, right? We've established that, right? You build your power threshold first and then stamina later on. But I would take it a step further and just say that be smart when you plan your season. We've touched a little bit on that as well but a big example that I just want to throw out real quick and that I see a lot is okay, I'm training for an Ironman. I gotta do a half Ironman in there somewhere, right? So, four weeks out six weeks, eight weeks out of my full do I do a half? I mean--
Andrew: Week before.
Jeff Booher: Oh, gosh. Good luck with that, Andrew. So, what I would say and what I would recommend is that we established a priority. There's an A, B, even C race priority. We know that we want to be a little bit precise and how we prescribe those and then what priority we give those. But you also got to think that hey will a five-hour bike ride with a 40 minute run off be much more beneficial for me for my Ironman than doing a standalone half Ironman in six hours or whatever? And so, yes, I understand that it's good that you want to shake off the cobwebs, you want to practice transitions, do a couple swims in that wetsuit, I get it. But throwing in a lot of just sprint Olympics, and even a half in there is not required. It's not necessarily necessary either. So, just really get with a coach and plan that out, plan that season out smart.
Jeff Booher: Yep, I'd say for sure a lot of athletes want to do half on the way to a full and you need to do it way out in advance. And the best way to do that is fine when your long sessions are going to be about the same distance as the half. If you're working from your current two hour long ride to a six hour long ride, and your half is going to be a two and a half or 2:45; find about the week where it's about 2:45 or three hours, the duration your trainig was supposed to be anyway. But if you're going to do that half race when you're supposed to be riding five hours, then you're not going to get the stamina work that you need to. And it’s not only you're going to miss that workout, you're gonna have a little bit of a taper before it and then you're going to have a recovery after it.
Andrew: So, it's really a detriment at that point.
Jeff Booher: It can be wiping two weeks.
Jeff Raines: And I even will encourage some of my athletes to do a relay. They're itching to race, they've been training all year, they want to do something fun and they want to do a half Ironman. Go to a relay and do the bike portion let's say--
Andrew: Jeff Raines is trying to talk me into doing a Galveston relay.
Jeff Booher: And then jump off and keep riding and get your volume for the day.
Jeff Raines: There you go.
Jeff Booher: And then if you want to just knock the cobwebs off and do a race then go do a shorter race and don't taper it off for it, just go do it and then get off and get your volume. Don't taper, don't-- you'll be fine. If you're training and you have the volume to do a full or half, you can do a sprint or Olympic.
Andrew: Make it that session for the day.
Jeff Booher: So, I'd say one other example. So, we've talked about a lot of beginners, intermediates, and kind of a lot of the examples, honestly, they're not beginner examples. The things that we're seeing people ask, [crosstalk] are questions on training they're seeing elsewhere. They're asking their friends, they’re veterans, they're not first-timers, they're in it several years. Just an example of benefit here [Yeah, please do] using a professional triathlete that I coached for a number of years. Nick Waninger, he had never run a marathon, never run more than three hours for a long run ever is doing 70.3s and we made a conscious decision to keep him doing 70.3s and for him, he's smoking fast. All right. So, he's you know, four hour time range for the halves and--
Andrew: Smoking fast is accurate. Yep, that works.
Jeff Booher: Yeah. And so we're doing that kind of work and consciously not racing long, even at that level, even though he could and pros do and they continue getting faster like the reasons that we talked about before. But for a couple of years, just got his threshold way up there in all disciplines, and then he went and did his first full Ironman race.
Jeff Raines: Having never done a marathon.
Jeff Booher: Having never done a marathon, never run more than three hours, never done a full at all, ever. And we decided to do it actually because he started coaching with us, it’s a number of years ago. And so we come and get this, a lot of people come out and say I want to train for an Ironman. And they'll look at the coaches and well, have you done an Ironman? If you haven't done an Ironman then you don't know how to coach me, which is completely false.
Andrew: Yeah, totally, totally a fallacy.
Jeff Booher: But it's perception. And so he says, hey we're going to do it. Let's just do it to check it off, just so it's a non-issue. Next year, you start coaching, blah, blah, blah. And so I think we made the decision to do Ironman, Arizona that he did, and we made the decision in late September. So, we had about two and a half months to build stamina. And he went his first-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: Which for most people, they hear that and they're like what? Only two and a half months?
Jeff Booher: Right. And so he’s along for the halves, he’s going three, three hours, 3:10, 3:15 for his long bikes, and he's running an hour 30, hour 45 maybe.
Jeff Raines: He's so developed though that-- [crosstalk]
Jeff Booher: Right. So, we got that threshold down, we shortened his race, the first his debut Ironman, he did an 8:30. So, yeah, and his full or his half he got down to 3:50. So, focusing on that even at that level, so it's immensely more important and more significant for age groupers to adhere to this advice and to do this to optimize their training when it comes to this power, escaping the power-stamina paradox. It's counter intuitive when you understand, it makes sense and light bulbs go off and you go, okay, I'm gonna trust that, but you just got to do it.
Andrew: Working on that power so far in advance for so many years had him on course for less time.
Jeff Booher: Yeah. And this is 2013 maybe before-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: Before going around eight hours was the norm for a pro, yeah.
Jeff Booher: Correct and I could be wrong. I think that race was the first time someone went under eight hours. I'm not-- I think so for a full.
Andrew: So, if he started building his stamina, way long-- six months out, he would not have had the power that he had to sustain those-- [crosstalk]
Jeff Booher: Correct. And it’s not just the six months, it’s the years before, it’s volume, that consistently pushing that threshold up. So, at every level for age groupers is even more significant because their long sessions are even longer. Everything is exaggerated for the age grouper. For age groupers at every level, older is so much more important.
Andrew: Well guys, we covered a lot today and I want to be timely for our listeners. So, just with this episode being so jam-packed full of just heady, heady stuff, let's do this. Tell me very, very quickly on our way toward the cool down, what are the key takeaways about the power stamina paradox, and how does it impact the athletes listening right now?
Jeff Booher: So, I'll just kind of hit through Jeff you can [Bring it home] reiterate if-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: Jeff’s gonna kick it off and Jeff's gonna knock it down.
Jeff Booher: So, kind of logically going through this, so first, power and stamina are both important and they're unique to the individual athlete. They're unique based on the actual power, the effort level, and the duration, what time duration that's measured for is specific to you. So, you have to have those fundamental definitions clarified scope for that particular athlete. And then also it's in Nexus impossible to meaningfully improve both of them at the same time when they're misaligned. If they're both sprint, Olympic for a fast person, great, they’re aligned. But if they're not aligned, long and threshold are very big time differences, you can't improve them both at the same time.
Andrew: You gotta build that power first.
Jeff Raines: Correct, that's the second. So, increasing the power does not or it does increase your stamina potential and then you can come back and develop the stamina. So, the increase is in the stamina though, they don't increase your power potential or your power. So, your power can actually decline while you're producing stamina. So, then TriDot optimizes the how, and when athletes focus on power versus stamina in that development to maximize your performance on race day. So, athletes first need to understand the power-stamina paradox itself and understand how it's different than what you may have seen elsewhere, what people not using optimized training templates, it's just different you go and then when you understand this, so you have to understand it first so that you can buy into what you're doing and commit to your training and not see a lot of people cannibalize their training, they do all this extra thinking that they need to, and not wanting to come up short on race day, and they undermine their own training. And then they need to make smart training choices based on that, on race selection, on race timing, prioritization of those races during-- [crosstalk]
Andrew: Not letting the tapers for some races impact your more important races.
Jeff Booher: Correct. Exactly. And so that brings it full circle, kind of the realities of physiology, how it impacts the objectives, the paradox itself, optimization, use the technology and then make decisions that don't undermine the very system that you're using to optimize your training.
Jeff Raines: Yeah, and I mean to kind of bring us home, we know there's a paradox because the industry has changed, it always changes. But five-plus years ago, arguably all this stuff is kind of now flip-flopping in an essence. And so now we understand there's a paradox, but now we also understand how to implement that. So, we understand it, we've escaped it and so making those smart decisions applying all of this which again, TriDot does all this for you. So, just follow the plan that it's doing for you. But that is how you get faster.
Andrew: I feel like mentally I've just come out of one of those escape room challenges.
Great set everyone. Let's cool down.
Andrew: Well, that was a ton of stuff in the main set today. So, I'm going to keep the cool down short, sweet, and simple. This is episode number 10 for us here at the TriDot Podcast and we are having a great time making these and we really hope you all are finding the content fun and beneficial. So, far, the response from the triathlon community has been so encouraging and I've heard such quality feedback from a lot of you, our listeners via email, Facebook, and even in person out at the races. So, before we close today, I just wanted to give you all a few quick exciting updates from the podcast team.
Update number one, I've heard from a lot of you in regards to topics that you're interested in hearing our coaches talk about. As we move into the new year, we have a lot of great shows lined up where we hope to hit topics about swimming, biking, running, fitness, tri equipment, racing strategy, and kind of the mental grit factor kind of topics that it takes to get through race day, but specifically, really quickly, I wanted to mention nutrition. We all know race day and training nutrition is a huge part of living the tri life, and a lot of you have asked about nutrition topics. Now, this has always been on our radar but we did not want to rush into those topics without having the right person to talk us through all of our nutrition questions. We have formed a great world relationship with an expert in the field with a Ph.D. in sports nutrition. So, know that nutrition-based topics will be in our regular rotation really, really soon. We already have a few recording dates scheduled. And I cannot wait personally, to get to ask nutrition questions and get that content to you guys.
Update number two, we are starting to add transcriptions to all of our podcast episodes. This will be a great way for our tri friends who might be hearing impaired or just anyone who prefers to read their content instead of listening to it. Plus all, those times that you want to go back and hear what our wonderful coaches have to say about a topic instead of clicking back through the episode trying to find that particular fact or tip, you'll be able to reference the transcript and find it so much easier. We already have these being made for our 2019 episodes, and will shortly have transcripts already available the day each new episode drops.
Well, that's it for today, folks, I want to thank TriDot’s Jeff Booher and Jeff Raines for explaining the nuances of building our power and stamina. Shout out to TRITATS for partnering with us on today's episode. Head to TriTats.com so that you can show up for your next race already styling like a pro. If you have any tri questions or topics you want to hear us talk about, shoot me an email at Podcast@TriDot.com or head to TriDot.com/podcast for more TriDot Podcast content. We'll do it again soon. Until then, happy training.
Thanks for joining us. Make sure to subscribe and share the TriDot Podcast with your triathlon crew. For more great Tri content and community, connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Ready to optimize your training? Head to TriDot.com and start your free trial today. TriDot, the obvious and automatic choice for triathlon training.