Welcome to episode 39 of the Final Surge Podcast where we talk to head coach and co-founder of TeamMPI, Mark Sortino. Mark is a Level III Triathlon coach and has been published in publications such as US Triathlon Magazine, Triathlete Magazine and was a featured coach in Endurance Films TriMinds series. TeamMPI has triathlon plans available on Final Surge from all events from sprint through Ironman.
How did you get your start in endurance athletics?
How did you make the transition into triathlons?
That lead to you forming TeamMPI, can you tell us about your group?
How many coaches do you currently have on staff at TeamMPI?
You mentioned you are using Final Surge in your training, how are you using it?
We want to start out with some basic training and triathlon questions for those who are looking to do their first multisport event. For someone who is looking to get started with triathlons, maybe they are someone who has done a lot of running or swimming, what do you see as the most common mistakes made?
You have a wide variety of training plans available on Final Surge, everything from sprint up to Ironman training plans. Let's look at the basic first week for a beginner Olympic distance race plan. Before we talk about specifics, what type of base should a beginner have before they start training for their first triathlon?
Week one: the first day you have 30 minutes of swimming builds and 30 minutes of aerobic running with strides.
For the swim the 30 minutes is:
200 easy choice warmup mix
3x the following:
((100 easy, :30 RI
100 moderate, :30 RI
100 fast, 1min RI))
100 easy choice cooldown mix
***No paces to hit, just go with feel and intention.
For someone who is coming in without a swim background, how important is it to use perceived exertion on the swim?
After the swim, you have the 30 minutes of running. Should these be done back to back, does order matter or should they be separate so you are recovered?
Day two of week one is:
30 min swim active recovery and 30 minutes of bike base spinning
One thing I noticed on the swim is on the second day you have
150 warmup, build each 50
4x 50 - alternate easy/fast up, then 4x100 alternating and again 4x50 alternating hard and easy.
For someone who is coming from a run background, we don’t see a coach saying go hard two days in a row. How different is it training for the swim?
Then the bike is 30 minutes of staying in zones 1-2. Is all of your biking done in heart rate zones vs training paces?
Day three is a Fartlek run
- 10min EASY warm-up, building to Z2
- 15min of fartlek where you have 4 sprints at any type of distance (for 20 sec, 1min, stop sign to stop sign), but make sure you recover before each one.
Why and how often are you incorporating fartlek work into your workouts?
In week one you have some days that are just running or just bike, but every day of swimming has either bike or run. Is this a normal pattern for your triathlon training?
For the new triathlete, they get to the start line on race day and they are looking at several hundred people ahead of them waiting to get into the water. How do you prepare them for what will likely be a much rougher swim than what they practiced?
Looking at an Ironman plan. An Ironman is going to be a lot more time in the water and roads. Looking at one of the weeks for your ironman training you have a total of 3.5 hours running, 5.5 hours biking and just under 2.5 hours swimming. Do you try to keep each week proportional to the amount of time they will actually be spending doing the event on race day or do you focus on what they may need the most help with?
On days where you are doing either both swim run, swim bike or bike run, is it important that you do them in the order you will be doing them on race day, not important at all or should you switch it up?
Over the last few years, there have been a lot of technical advancements that make it easier to train, such as the availability of power meters and testing your heart rate variability. How important are these tools to your coaching?
Can you tell us how you are using HRV with your athletes to monitor the overall picture of what is going on with them?
We all live with our Google calendar, our day planners and our family calendar hanging on the fridge, and they all have the same thing. 7 day weeks, which is what we seem to focus on training around to are those 7 day weeks. You recently had a piece on your blog TeamMPI.com about changing the cycles up some. What do you recommend people consider when putting together a training cycle?
Team MPI has plans available on Final Surge from everything from the sprint up to the Ironman triathlons. I will leave the links in the show notes to those plans, but if someone wanted to reach out to you about coaching or other questions how could they best reach you.
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Final Surge 5 questions in under a minute
Favorite running or endurance book? - Born to Run
Current trainers you are wearing? - Newton
Favorite race? - Kona
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? - Shakology and Energy Lab Armor
Your favorite workout - Running a hard trail run, Bike short interval work, Swim long repeats.
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