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    Blog — Elite Athlete

    TABATA Revisited - for Advanced Athletes

    After my last blog about Tabata training I had some great questions come up, so I thought it would be beneficial to share those here:

    After one session I was barely sweating.

    As mentioned in the earlier blog, the initial study was conducted in a physiology lab (e.g. controlled setting).  The groups were given a specific exercise to complete, with the results showing the group completing the Tabata sessions gaining a significant increase in both aerobic and anaerobic capacity.  Note that the study was conducted over a six week period of time.  With that, I doubt any of the elite athletes broke a sweat on the first day.  What I do believe is that each athlete in that group learned how to push his or her body further with each session, as I think it is difficult to work at 170% capacity on the first try.  So, I recommend doing the Tabata method five times/week for six weeks.  That is the only way to know if it works for you.

    It was difficult to change gears on my bike for the 10 second rest.

    This one is simple.  Don’t change gears, as 10 seconds goes so quickly one doesn’t really have time to do so.  Rather than changing gears, just relax.  As soon as the 10 second period is up get out of the saddle for the first 5-7 seconds of each 20 second ALL OUT.

    If one session at a time is good, is two or three better?

    I cannot find anything stating if the groups were sequestered or not.  Given the study was conducted over a six week period of time let’s make the assumption they were not.  With that, who is to say the group using the Tabata method in the controlled setting didn’t work out more than the recommended time.  No one really knows, but again, I recommend completing this Tabata method in the same manner as Dr. Tabata had his study group complete it. 

    I also understand a lot of athletes (myself included) like mileage.  I simply enjoy being outside, so 100-115 km of running a week is something I enjoy doing.  So, if you are a mileage junky like I am try doubling or tripling the sessions.  However, realize the only thing that will definitely occur is muscle fatigue.  With that, you may not see similar gains in anaerobic and aerobic capacity as the controlled study group saw, as you may not be able to sustain the 170% capacity.

    If you choose to do more the workouts should look something like this:

    Double (5 minute warm-up and cool-down periods, so each session will be completed in 20 minutes):

    • 5 minute easy spin – high cadence
    • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
    • 2 minute easy spin – high cadence
    • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
    • 5 minute easy spin – high cadence

    Triple (5 minute warm-up and cool-down periods, so each session will be completed in 25 minutes):

    • 5 minute easy spin – high cadence
    • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
    • 2 minute easy spin – high cadence
    • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
    • 2 minute easy spin – high cadence
    • Tabata session (AKA – 4 minutes of hell) - 20 seconds ALL OUT BIG CHAIN RING, 10 seconds recovery x 8 = 4 minutes
    • 5 minute easy spin – high cadence

    Have fun!



    Trevor Wurtele's Ironman Nutrition Plan

    Trevor Wurtele is a professional triathlete from Vernon, BC. Trevor, his wife Heather, and their cat Manah, are fixtures on the triathlon circuit. In 2012 Trevor won Ironman New Orleans 70.3. Trevor is a sponsored First Endurance athlete. Here is his nutrition plan:

    Pre race meals:

    During the week of an important race, mainly a full distance Ironman I’ll limit gluten in my diet.  I don’t have an adverse reaction to gluten, but I have no doubt it helps limit any digestive tract inflammation that could potentially cause some issues on race day.

    The day before a big race I’m not overly picky about what I eat during the day.  Lots of carbohydrate – gluten free pancakes if I can are great for lunch.  Loaded with nut butters, honey, jam, syrup, berries. For dinner I’ve been eating the same thing for the past 4 years:

    Mashed yams, potatoes, and carrots.  Side of well cooked fish, or chicken.  Some cooked spinach. Humus as side for some flavor.  I’m not shy about the butter and salt on those mashed yams either. This is my feel good race meal.  I always look forward to it.

    Throughout the day I’ll also drink at least a couple bottles of Ultragen.  I dilute the recommended two scoops into a larger (24oz) than recommended bottle as well.  If the race is looking to be extremely hot I’ll also take a few salt pills, and make sure to drink EFS drink during the day.

    Morning Breakfast:

    I’ve changed this numerous times over the past couple years. This one works great on a cooler morning.  Sometimes on hot days I just can’t bring myself to eat warm food.  
-Gluten free, blueberry pancakes with cinnamon honey, almond butter, maple syrup
-Bottle of Ultragen – 2 scoops in a 24oz bottle
-Coffee

    Pre Swim:
-150 calories of liquid shot followed with water 20min before start.

    On the bike:
-Plan of 400 calories per hour, at least.  I divide my calories up into 400 calorie bottles/gel flasks so I know I HAVE to take 1 per hour. Keeping in mind I weight 165 lbs and put out almost 1000 kj every hour during an Ironman bike leg.

    -Start the day with 3 x 24 oz bottles with 400 calories (200 EFS drink and 200 CarboPro to keep the sweetness down)
-2 x Liquid Shot flasks of 400 calories in my back pockets. 
-1 x single serve gel just in case I need a change or extra calories
-5 on course waters (~750ml each)…more if it’s hot.  Whenever I’ve had a good Ironman run, I’ve always peed at least twice on the bike and consumed my entire load of calories.

    On the run:

    -Water in my UltrAspire run belt that I refill at aid stations. Sometimes I put a bit of on course energy drink in there for a bit of flavour change.
-2 x liquid shot flasks of 400 calories each. Aim to finish one of them by 13 miles, but I have consumed a full flask by mile 11. Pick up my second flask at special needs and aim to finish that by mile 22 or 23. I only drink water at the aid stations.  My best Ironman run is 2:51 but calculate everything off 3 hours…so around 300 per hour on the run.  In general this is high, even though, as mentioned, I weigh 165lbs.  You need to practice this kind of calorie intake in training.
-Plan to take a salt pill every few miles. I adjust this intake based on the temperature of the day. 
-Also have a TUMS at mile 11 and mile 19. I just take a couple as insurance.  Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t.  But they do taste GOOD.
-I used to drink coke during the last bit of an Ironman.  I now do whatever I can to stay off it.  It does not do good things for my stomach.  I will however, grab coke in the last few miles if I need it.