August 2016 Update

                                    August 2016 Newsletter

Coach’s Corner: Top Questions Answered by our Coaches

I know that you gain fitness from the long slow runs.  I have been having to do run/walk intervals for a long time now because of issues with my knees.  My mileage isn’t going up, as it normally would for most people, however, my bike and swim distance is increasing.  Am I still able to gain fitness without my run mileage going up, even with the walking thrown in the mix?  I’m also having to avoid doing too much climbing on the bike because of the knees. (submitted by Bobbi Spargo)


Gabe Phillips:  Great Question.  The answer is really two fold (yes and no).  Your general level of fitness is obviously going up as you’ve seen increases in your bike and swim volume, however the run is a completely different animal when it comes to gains from just more running/walking.  Are strength sessions (depending on what you can handle with your knees) in your training plan? If not you are going to see a natural leveling off of gains in your everyday runs/walks (even with intervals) due to not much new muscular development.  This is a fine line (between weight lifting and endurance training) but you can marry the two in a very focused way to help overall endurance while increasing fitness and better run efficiency.  Here is an article for reference that explains a bit more than I can do here.

A lot of our athletes are doing heart rate training, but many of our members are not aware of its benefits.  Help us understand why understanding our heart rate zones can help us be better athletes?


Dawn Brooks: Heart Rate, measured in beats per minute, indicates the intensity of the physiological stress. This is the energy the whole body requires, not only to perform a certain task but also to keep the organs alive, control body temperature, and adjust to dehydration, fuel depletion, internal stresses like illness, fatigue, as well as environmental conditions like cold, heat, humidity, wind, etc. Heart Rate training zones should be defined based on body oxygenation, fuel utilization and lactate accumulation. Because it considers internal and external factors and the energy the body utilizes to deal with these conditions, it is a better measurement of Total Body Stress. When you look at the other means of gauging performance power meters, and “feel” they do not necessarily take all these factors into account. For instance: say you were riding up usury on a 90 degree humid morning after a bad night of sleep. If you are just gauging power you will notice that your wattage is lower than normal so what would you do? Push harder to get your wattage up. Now if the goal of your workout is to stress your body and push past your comfort, say a tempo workout, that is fine. But if the goal of your workout is to build your aerobic base then you are going to be pushing much harder than that workout was intended and possibly sabotaging the rest of your weekly workouts because of not being able to recover from that workout. It is also possible to be too comfortable at too low of intensity and your heart rate can tell you it is time to push! Even sometimes when you feel like you are going hard you are actually not going hard enough.

We are all talking about being “fat burning,” and many of us have taken the Primal/Paleo/No Carb approach.  When it comes to endurance training though, don’t we still need carbs?  How do we factor that in?  How do we continue to get the benefit of a high fat diet and be sure we don’t skip out on the necessary carbs?


Gabe Phillips: Yes and No. Its not all about Carbs – although it is critical to understand the role Carbs play in your daily nutrition, your training, and your racing strategies. Not one size fits all.  Primal / Paleo / Low-Carb / Atkins / Zone are all variations of a nutritional direction for each individual. It’s more about being fat adapted to allow the body to use Fat as the main source of energy for performance and everyday good health. Blood sugar control and cortisol level balance are key to being just an overall healthier individual and athlete. & Yes you still need carbs! But good carbs at the right times to manage overall health and performance.

I am a big proponent of managing carbs effectively. In order to find out how your body is processing carbs vs. fat while your active is to get a Metabolic Efficiency test to help determine at what level (Heart Rate) and where your body us burning the most fat based on your effort and then we can adjust the training to help assign levels at which we can build the body up to burning more fat efficiently and effectively and then start to add back carbs and properly time them so they are used to peak performance. We’ve been very effective over the past 8 months with Rosario and David in this regard and they can provide some insight to the group as well as to how they effectively manage it day to day as it is a lifestyle issue.

We talk a lot about consistency in training.  Why does it matter?  For a highly motivated person couldn’t one just train how he/she “feels?”


Dawn Brooks:  For the record I am a big believer in training on how you feel but WITH consistent training.  If you have a big race like a 70.3 or a 140.6 you have to establish some kind of consistency to your workouts in order to develop the required physical and mental skills needed to complete the race.  Even in marathon training it is important to run consistently each week.  There are so many things that you can learn from your training miles and can benefit you in the race such as, nutrition practice, hard mental days, flat tires, hills, etc.!  Another good reason is that you will have a gauge or something to go by to tell you how well you are doing or not doing.  If you are not training consistently it is impossible to tell if you are improving.

It’s hot……how do we make the Summer months work for us and benefit us in the long run?


Gabe Phillips: Hot & Humid, especially in our monsoon months of July and August. There are a number of strategies people employ in how to deal with the AZ heat. Some are proponents of heat acclimation training and some are heat avoiders. You really need to know your body and its tendencies towards how it deals with the heat. For instance, I am a better cold weather athlete – I prefer the cooler / cold temps and I perform better when cooler. So what do I do when summer comes – I plan for early morning (3:30a – 5am) rides and runs to stay out of the directly sunlight (better for my skin exposure as well) and avoid the overheating. When it’s hot and humid I limit my session in duration as well if I know I have to be out in the heat (let’s say a noon run at 108 degrees – will tailor it back to a slow Z2 run to avoid overheating) and let’s face it – if you don’t have a hydration strategy that included pre-hydration, intra-hydration & post hydration protocols based on your sweat rate then you are guessing – and 60-70% of the time when we guess we guess wrong – I don’t like those odds – so good rule of thumb is 10oz of pure water when you wake up pre-workout (whatever supplements your take / coffee maybe for some? – and I take at least 36/48oz (or program route stops at water fountains on canals etc so I can hydrate every 15-30 min) with me regardless of the distance run (more for bike as I usually will have much longer efforts on the bike and the heat exposure is longer). This is based on my sweat rate so this works for me and not everyone – if you don’t know your sweat rate – weigh yourself (best without garments) in the am post your pre-workout routine and then again after your efforts before you replace your hydration.  Here is a great baseline from Ironman that you can use to calculate yours.

Your standard sweat check procedure is:

1              Check your weight before and after training, and calculate weight loss.

2              Convert any weight loss to ounces or ml of fluid.

3              Check/measure the amount of fluid consumed during training.

4              Add the amount of fluid lost to the amount of fluid consumed to get total fluid losses.

5              Divide the total amount of fluid lost by the number of hours of training to get fluid losses per hour.


Example:  Workout: 90 minute bike workout at moderate intensity

Temperature:  65 degrees, low humidity, 300 feet above sea level

Weight before: 160 lb.

Weight after: 158 lb.

Fluid consumed:  30 ounces

1    Weight Loss: 160- 158 lb. = 2 lbs.

2    Convert to fluid loss: 2 lbs. = 32 ounces

3    Fluid consumed: 32 ounces consumed

 (2, 20 ounces bottles on bike, with 10 ounces remaining after ride)

1     Total fluid loss: 32 ounces lost + 30 ounces consumed = 60 ounces total

2    60 ounces fluid loss divided by 1.5 hours is 40 ounces per hour.



A triathlete has to be good at 4 disciplines:  Give us a training tip in all of them:


              GP: concentrate on developing a good breathing cadence for steady oxygen inflow.  This amongst everything is the hardest for people to adjust for form wise as there are very few drills that can help with this.

                DB: My favorite advice for the swim ever was to not waste energy on anger.  We all get kicked, hit, and swam over in a race and it does not help to get mad or angry at the people in the water next to you.  Save it for your race.



              GP: Fit is EVERYTHING-if you have never been professionally fit-you need to be.  Biomechanic efficiency is a critical factor on your muscle recruitment and endurance capability on the bike.

                DB: Study your race course.  Know if you have a hilly course or flat course and train accordingly.  If your course is flat you want to spend a lot of time practicing in the aero position.  If your course is hilly you might consider swapping out your cassette for a few more gears on the steeper hills.


              GP: Higher Cadence (180+ strides per minute) will effectively diminish overuse of the calf and legs and will reduce the potential for injury.

                DB: SHOES!  They make all the difference.  We are all built different and the right shoe can make or break our race.  Always go for a half size bigger to allow for swelling and have your running gait analyzed to know whether or not you need stability or not.


              GP: Find what works for your body- a Metabolic Assessment and Nutrition guide from your coach or registered nutritionist who is active in endurance sports is a great way to bolster and set yourself up for success!

                DB: Practice with your own nutrition and find what works best for you.  I would also recommend having a few training days with nutrition that is offered on your race.  Things can go wrong and you can lose nutrition.  It is important to know what is safe to supplement with in a pinch.    


Huge KUDDOS and Congrats are going out to our one and only Randy Mounts on becoming an IRONMAN for the 2nd time at IRONMAN Canada this past month!  Amazing job Randy!

We also had a bunch of members and coaches out there racing the Mountain Man Sprint Distance and IRONMAN 70.3 Vineman.  Congrats on your achievement and thanks for representing.


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!  Calling all members, we have a bunch of events on the calendar this year and it is so great to see you all racing, but we really need volunteers.  Please consider planning to volunteer at a few races over the year.  It is a great way to give back and to represent AZ TRI Club in a fantastic way.  Bring the whole family and make it a memory!

We really need volunteers for the Mountain Man Olympic and Half this month as well as the Tempe Tri happening next month!  Check Happening this Month section for dates!


This Month was another amazing month on the training front.  With so many meetups we had people all over the valley doing their thing and getting some miles in! 



What’s Happening This Month: Happy Summer!

All Month Long:  Check MEETUP.  We are adding new events and trainings every week and would love to see everyone out there.

8/14/2016- Mountain Man Olympic and Half IRONMAN-  Come up where its cooler and help us support our racing members.

8/27/2016- Beat the Heat ride to Payson!  This is an epic ride with an incredible group of athletes.  Our sponsors Bike Accident Attorney and Two Wheel Jones will be supporting and organizing this.  When you make it to the top the pancakes are to die for!

The Important Stuff

·       Be sure to register for all your races as an AzTriClub Member.  You bought the gear, now be sure you represent!  We really appreciate you associating with the club on all your race registrations!

·       Thank you again to everyone who purchased the new fantastic 2016 TRI Club gear.  We are looking forward to seeing it out on the courses!  If you missed your chance to purchase gear, let us know and we will keep you in the loop the next time we open the store!




1. August 27 Embrace the Heat Ride to Payson. There are very few spots left!!!

2. Night Mountain Bike Ride Aug 19!! Bring the whole family!!

3. Showdown at Usery Pass is Nov. 5 10am-6pm! Registration is now open! Endurance training on the trails! Whoop whoop! There will be fun for the whole family with racing for both kids and adults, food, beer tent, and more! Check it out on



Embrace the Heat Epic ride to Payson is happening again this year.  We are hosting with TWJ.  80 Miles, 8k of climbing and Pancakes at the top!  You don’t want to miss this ride!