Category Archives: Training Related, the Science, etc

How to Decipher the bike workouts (with an addendum for the run)

Folks – if you do not understand this post after reading, please ask your questions at/before a group workout IF you can make it one. Find a ride leader, and have us help you understand the drills DURING the ride. Teaching via showing is a very easy and effective way to make sure you “Get it”. So please do come if you can – it is much more fun to teach in person!  You may also make it a priority to attend the cycling technique clinic which we host 5 times each year in our Arlington, Maryland, and Loudon County/Reston/Herndon programs.

However this should get you started – the following is a breakdown of how to read the bike workouts for the week (an example) and an overview of the common drills you will see on your schedule. At the bottom is a cut and paste about “why we do drills” and how they help you. Some of this subject (“speed” training) is also covered in the heart rate training clinic.

1. How to read/decipher a workout (Example – Bike 35′ w/u (Z2), 3 x 3′ hill repeats Z5a/b, W/D): 35′ Warmup in Zone 2. Find a hill that takes you three minutes (or more) to climb. You will ride 3 minutues in Z5 a/b (start in A, end in B). Turnaround and coast down to the bottom of the hill, rest, repeat. Warm down. If no Vo2Max Test has been achieved – use perceived exertion to determine your zone. Zone 2 is 4-5 words between breaths. Zone 4 is 1-2 words between breaths. Zone 5a/b – a hard effort you can sustain for the 3 minute interval – it is not all out – you have to sustain the effort for 3-4 minutes. Continue reading How to Decipher the bike workouts (with an addendum for the run)

Coach Tony Stocker’s Pace Based Running FAQ for the Team Z Group Triathlon Training Program

Team Z Pace Based Training Frequently Asked Questions – by Coach Tony Stocker


What is pace-based training?

Simply, it is using pre-defined running paces rather than pre-defined heart rate ranges to control exercise intensity during workouts.

How does it differ from heart rate training?

Other than what one uses to determine exercise intensity and how that determination is made, i.e. what type of testing is done, they are very similar in operation. If you are used to using heart rate to control your run training, setting alarms on a Garmin for instance, then it’s a relatively simple matter to change your alarms to be paces instead of heart rates. One advantage of pace based training is that even with a simple watch you would be able to determine your pace if you have a known distance, such as on a track or mile markers on a trail. Still a tool like a Garmin which can provide real-time, or nearly so, pace data is more advantageous since you don’t have to wait a mile, or even quarter of a mile, to find out that you’re going faster or slower than a workout calls for you to do. Instead of “I’m running Z2 so my heart rate should be between 140-150bpm” your workouts become “I’m running LRP so my pace should be between 09:30-09:50 min/mi.”

Which is better? Continue reading Coach Tony Stocker’s Pace Based Running FAQ for the Team Z Group Triathlon Training Program

Triathlon Transition Notes (Packing for Triathlon, Setting up a Transition Area, Executing the Transitions)

Athlete Question:  Coach Ed, can you offer any guidance about what to use for a transition bag and/or how to pack for T1 and T2, at least at a general level?  I realize we will customize it to our needs, but what are the best practices and lessons learned?

Z:  When you have the chance – please try to attend one of our upcoming race strategy, rules, and transition clinics. Trust me – It is much easier to review this in person with you. BUT the info below will help I’m certain. Below are some reminders, and IF you did not attend the clinic, we would probably start with having you review the slides from the presentation (in clinics file on the team z yahoo group).


What is In this email:

A.  General Tips on packing for a Triathlon

B.  Sample Check List

C.  Text from “old” transition Clinic Document (the presentation is newer)


A.  General Tips on packing

What goes in YOUR bag depends on the length of the race, the weather, and any special needs you might have that others don’t consider.  It always pays to be over prepared, ALWAYS.  As you gain experience, you will start to carry less and less gear with you to races.  That’s a promise. Continue reading Triathlon Transition Notes (Packing for Triathlon, Setting up a Transition Area, Executing the Transitions)

Team Z takes on the Fat Bet – Triathlon Fitness Across Washington, D.C. Area

From “Granny”

I just checked Fatbet to see if I had time to lose any more weight. Turns out the challenge ended three weeks ago. 


It’s a bit late, I know, but congratulations to all of the participants. It was a long winter’s fight for sure. Whether we posted only once or twice, persisted through a hundred ups and downs or dropped weight like a stone, we all toed the line. And for that we can be proud.

I am curious, though. What was the relationship between rate of weight loss and number of workouts per week? Did those  zigs and zags on some charts reflect irregular workout schedules, nutritional stumbles or both? And what about those who stopped posting? Did they stop losing?

I did. And after much reflection, I decided I stopped losing because February sucked.

Wait, that’s not right. I stopped losing because JANUARY sucked. I started gaining because not only did February totally suck, it brought with it aisles and aisles of little foil-covered chocolate hearts. And which I felt absolutely awful for eating. Until I read one of the promises. “Remind yourself that it’s okay not to be perfect.” Awww. It understands. No dieter is perfect. Another said, “Curl up and take a cat nap!” Who knew confectionery could be so wise? The third read, “It’s OK to not do it at all.” 

Say again? 
“It’s OK to not do it at all.”  Wait. I don’t have to ride in minus 20 degree windchill? “Nope. Swim at Zero dark frikkin early?
 “Uh-uh. Get a couple of miles in on a treadmill?
 “Nope. Not at all!” And it’s OK? “Yep. It’s OK!” Oh I loved these chocolates!! A couple of weeks after that bag was emptied and gone, I found a red foil wrapper tucked in the pocket of my jeans. Smoothing it out on the top of the washer, I read it once again. “It’s OK not to do it all.” Wait. What? “It’s OK not to do it all.” Did it just say –

“It’s OK not to do IT ALL.


Anyone up for another Fatbet?