Here we are after 4 complete weeks in Krabi for our first Team TBB training camp. We actually only have 1 week to go, after that we hop on a plane to China for Ironman China. It has been a great experience…culturally and for triathlon. My blogs have kind of been cultural so far.
But, I got a set of questions from a friend and fellow athlete that would make a good blog:
“I’ve been reading your blog. You don’t talk much about the other athletes. What is it like to train with the other pros? Does it make you push harder than you normally would? Are you still using your Quarq or does everyone use the exact same equipment? Are you seeing how the others conduct themselves…food, habits, ect and changing some of yours to match?”
Actually, TeamTBB training camp is kind of like the movie “Fight Club”. The first rule of Fight Club is that you DO NOT talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is that you DO NOT talk about Fight Club. To some extent I would say that is true. But, Sutto mentioned before we came out to camp that is was not going to be 100% triathlon training or the same type of training that we will do at home. It is meant to allow him, as a coach, to see us work and operate and find out what our strengths and weaknesses are. And, he definitely has an eye and mind for that. So, regarding the training…it is somewhat like I have blogged at brandonmarsh.com before. It really comes down to hard work. Yeah, some sessions are not like any I have done before, but in the end you work hard. And a good part of being successful as an athlete is to believe in your program…sometimes I think that athletes would do better even if they stick with a “bad” training program and believe in it rather than changing up theirs all the time!!
Here we go one at a time:
1. What is it like to train with the other pros and does it make you push harder? We have only had close to a full squad here for a little over a week as people come in and out. For the most part we swim as a group even though we may use different equipment on the same sets. The boys usually train together and then girls might train together. Some athletes have done workouts on their own for a lot of the camp.
Training with other athletes will make you push harder, but at the same time, there are times when we are given instructions to NOT go hard or hit a certain pace, etc. One of the best things that comes from training with other athletes is that once you do the workouts with others, you know what you are capable of doing and can do it on your own. The other main benefit to having other athletes to train with is the accountability factor. If you are running with the guys at 6:30am, then you know that they are going to be there waiting on you…so no sleeping in.
2. Am I still using my Quarq (powermeter) or do we all use the same equipment? We use a fair amount of sponsored equipment…bikes, shoes, handlebars, saddles, helmets, speedsuits, race wheels eventually. But, some folks use different components. And, regarding the sponsored equipment, obviously some athletes run in different shoes or ride in a different style of shoes of the same brank. We also will had some choice of which race wheelset to ride, so some will be on deeper or shallower wheels or clinchers instead of tubulars.
I did not bring my powermeter for a couple of reasons. The main one was not wanting to deal with downloading, watching numbers, etc and the fact that the Garmin is expensive, and I did not want to lose it. The second reason is that historically Doc has not had athletes use them. It can be argued both ways depending on the thoughts, but in some respects in a pro race…especially 70.3…it does not matter what the powermeter says on race day, you have to be with the front guys. And, I knew that I was going to be so tired at times that I would not want to know what power I was NOT putting out…I just focused on the effort for that workout.
3. Have I changed some of my habits to match the other athletes like food, other habits, etc.? The main thing that I have tried to look at are the way that our more successful teammates conduct themselves since several of them have been professional, or full time, athletes for a few years and have done well. They tend to approach workouts as a job in that they start the first one pretty early, get to them on time, and make them count. And, we are typically done by about 530 or so in the evening. Making them count does not mean they are all “hard”. The hardest workouts have been the easy rides because sometimes I would just rather not ride than spin around for 1.5 hours, but in this case it is helping the legs recover for the next session.
Regarding diet and food. It seems that Coke is the preferred long ride fuel for many of my teammates. That is one habit that I have not tried to adopt. But, definitely, we have been eating a little differently than at home since our training volume is more and we are away from some of the conveniences of home…no protein smoothies here or almond milk. But, we have tried to continue to eat “real” foods and minimize the junk food. Diet is quite individual, and Doc has made recommendations based on individual body comp, etc. But, no diet has not really changed much other than the fact that we are in a different country so have adapted that way.
So, quite long here at 1002 words according to wordpress, but there you go…some training specific questions. I will post a few pictures again in the next couple of days.