• How fast do I lose fitness during the holiday break?
  • Tracking swim improvement
  • Beat lower back pain
  • What’s a good IRONMAN time?
  • Train indoors with intention


With the Holidays upon us, can we take a break without losing our fitness?

While it’s always healthy to back off and enjoy the season, science indicates that you don’t want to be idle for too long.

Dr. Edward Coyle’s definitive research shows that, after just 2 weeks of inactivity, a highly trained athlete can experience a 7% decline in VO2 Max.  Blood volume decreases, which lowers oxygen carrying capacity.  Mitochondrial density thins, lactate threshold drops and our ability to oxidize fat diminishes.

(Makes you want to go for a run, doesn’t it?)

If your current circumstances are interrupting your preferred training routine, then try these 3 time-efficient workouts to help stave off detraining.  Not only will they help to maintain your aerobic and anaerobic fitness, but they’ll also alleviate stress so that you can be more present with your friends and family.


One of the most common ailments reported by triathletes is low back pain.

Countless hours cycling and running can stress the spine and result in inflammation and chronic discomfort.

If this sounds familiar, then coach Nate Helming wants you to focus on 3 areas: core strength, glute engagement and hip mobility.

He provides a clear explanation of the impact that your core, glutes and hips have on your lower back.  He also suggests a handful of bodyweight exercises that will strengthen key muscles and improve range of motion that will alleviate nagging back pain.


Even if you live in a snowy climate, the winter months can be a productive time to build cycling fitnessif you approach indoor training with a plan.

Top coach Adam D’Agostino recommends 3 phases to your winter indoor season, and he starts with 3-4 weeks of aerobic base building to fortify your aerobic fitness and muscular endurance.

Phase 2 covers the next 4 weeks and introduces tempo and sub-threshold work.  These sessions raise your sustained effort, build strength and tax the aerobic system.

Phase 3 injects more speed into your workouts with a blend of LT and anaerobic intervals.

Learn more about the benefits of this deliberate structure for your indoor season, and get some proven sample workouts for each phase of training.


Whether you’re new to the sport or are a seasoned veteran, it’s always useful to understand what constitutes a “good” triathlon time.  Having a sense for performance standards within your age group can guide your training effort and help you set challenging but attainable goals.

In his analysis of thousands of race results, coach Russell Cox clarifies what it means to be a fast triathlete at any age.

For full-distance IRONMAN racing across all age groups, the global average finish time for women is 13:16; and for men it’s 12:27. That seems within the reach of most TriathlonWire readers.  However, to qualify for Kona, you typically need to be in the top 1% of your age group.  That’s fast.

You can review more details on full-distance standards, plus similar data for 70.3 and Olympic distance racing, then check out this well-researched article.


As triathletes we measure improvement in swim performance in two ways: faster splits (of course), and increased efficiency (i.e., using less energy for the same speed).

Both are important.  It does us no good if we arrive at T1 sooner but are completely knackered once we get there.

To track progress, we should regularly perform test sets.  In this article Kevin McKinnon describes how the Mercury Rising Tri Club does it.  Their method includes a monthly 400m time trial, as well as longer zone 2 intervals to audit heart rate.

Remove the guesswork with scheduled marker sets, and you’ll be able to fine-tune your swim workouts to deliver faster race performances.


  • Relentless
    After capturing gold medals in 2 consecutive Olympic Games and racking up multiple world titles, Alistair Brownlee set out to discover the traits that transform winners into dominant champions.  His book Relentless: Secrets of the Sporting Elite profiles the best athletes in a number of sports to reveal that their winning ways rely on much more than just talent.
  • 4x4x48
    In an era of increasingly extreme endurance projects, Global Triathlon Network’s Mark Threfall tackled the Goggins Challenge. This test, made famous by former Navy SEAL and serial record setter David Goggins, requires participants to run 4 miles every 4 hours, 12 times. What’s so hard about 48 miles in 48 hours? Watch this video to find out… and then ask yourself: could you do it?
  • Round-the-World Triathlon
    Let’s hear it for Jonas Deichmann. During a span of 429 days he swam 284 miles, biked 13,000 and ran 3,100. Total distance?  Over 27,000 km through 18 countries… which is about 120 full-distance IRONMANs