Determining Your HR Zones- An Easy Self Test

Determining your Heart Rate Zones
An Easy Way to Self-Test
There are several ways to determine your Heart Rate Training Zones, some of which are more accurate than others. Testing in a lab where blood samples are drawn and measured for Lactic Acid is very accurate, but expensive. Subtracting your age from 220 (224 for women), or using the similar (Karvonen) formula is easy, but can be off by 15- 20%. And your maximum heart rate has nothing to do with determining your training zones. Your training zones are developed around your “Lactate Threshold”, or that point at which lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood at an increasing rate. Here’s a method for calculating your lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR) for cycling, running and swimming that is a self test and which is reasonably accurate.
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Ironman Training Primer

Ironman Training Primer
by Chuck Graziano, USAT Level II Certified Coach

©Copyright Chuck Graziano 2014

Congratulations on making the commitment to compete in an Ironman event. Training for and competing in an event of this distance will likely teach you things about yourself (and your perceived limitations) that you never knew. It’s a huge commitment and one that will take self discipline and sacrifice but in the end, crossing the finish line will be an emotional and exciting experience that little in life can match!
This brief paper is to give you a primer to the training that you’ll be engaged in and it will present some things that you may want to do between now and the initiation of your training plan. While many issues will be addressed within the context of your training plan, hopefully those issues addressed here will help you prepare for that training.
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Building Your Iron Business

Building a Business that’s Iron- Strong!
Ironman Training for Business Owners and CEO’s
By Chuck Graziano

In July 2010, I competed in my 12th Ironman® Triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike race, 26.2 mile run). In training for each event, it’s become more obvious to me how much those who succeed in business share with those who cross the finish line at Ironman®. Here’s what I mean:
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A January “To Do” List for Success

Notwithstanding New Year’s Resolutions, it’s tough to get off to the right start in January. Here are a few things I find bulletproof for ramping up training and getting stoked for the coming year. They’re simple and in some respects obvious when you look at them individually, but if each is an ingredient to a recipe, then the recipe produces motivation!

  • Develop Focus– What’s the point of training? A key race? A breakthrough in personal fitness or accomplishment? Write down the vision. Keep copies in key places (at your desk, in your car, with your workout bag, etc.). Personally, when I start my training year, what gives me motivation is to write down the splits that I want for my key “A” race. Any time I’m not “in the mood” to train, I look at them and remember what I’m working toward and how important it is to get out and get the training done!
  • Create the Road Map– This is likely your training plan. If you have a coach, one will be created for you. If you don’t, you will need to create one (Some background in how to develop a good training plan is recommended) or you can buy one online. You wouldn’t get in the car for your family vacation without first knowing where you were going, or what roads you were going to take to get there. Don’t try “just doing it” without your map!
  • Be Consistent– It’s hard, for everyone! Sometimes you’re just not in the mood. Sometimes it’s sickness, soreness, business or family commitments. And sometimes it’s just the “I don’t wanna’s”. Consistency in your training will pay off in big dividends.  Get out and do something. Even if you have to cut back on your planned training day, get yourself started and many times you’ll find that you feel better after your warm up and get the whole thing done! In any event, do your best not to post any “zeros” on your training log.
  • Maintain a Flexible Mentality– Don’t let the weather, your job or other variables destroy your plan. Keep options available. If the pool is closed for some reason, switch your training days around and do something else. If you can’t ride outside, ride on your trainer. If your boss schedules an early morning meeting, bring your running gear to work and get your run in during lunch (or immediately after work). Don’t let variables get in the way (A personal note: Nobody will ever know how many business meetings I’ve gone to with my cycling shorts under my suit!).
  • Have a Support Team– Few people (if any) can do “life” on their own. We all need a support team to help us through. When I ran my first marathon in 1978, I made a pact with a good friend that we’d call each other at any time we “didn’t wanna”. And we kept that pact. After speaking to each other for a few minutes, we’d get the kick in the butt that we needed. Develop your own support system with Family, training partners, co-workers and friends.
  • Visualize!- You have a vision that gets you excited and stoked for the season (if it doesn’t, you have the wrong vision). Spend some time visualizing your accomplishment. Close your eyes and experience being “in the zone” as you ride smoothly and effortlessly through the course. Feel the excitement of crossing the finish line. Re-live a “perfect day” of racing or training where you were totally in the zone and loving life.
  • Take Good Care– Your mental stamina will go a long way, but we all have to maintain our physical health as well. Adequate sleep, quality nutrition, scheduled quiet time and maintaining balance are all important factors. Eating junk and only getting a few hours sleep will not support you in your training! Maintaining a sense of balance between training, social/family commitments and career is crucial to your longevity in sport. The balancing point is different for everyone but rest assured, focusing only on, say, Ironman Training, may get you a successful finish, but you may have to rebuild your life after the race. The better you manage your nutrition, rest, training and life balance, the more you’ll be up to the task both physically and mentally. And you’ll be more likely to have a lifestyle that you can love for years to come.

As the adage goes, “the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts”. Take all of the above as part of the whole and use all of them to get you to the next level.

Chuck Graziano is the owner of Inspired Performance Multisport  and provides training and coaching to endurance athletes of all levels. He is a USA Triathlon level II certified coach, is certified by USA Cycling at level III, is a Training Peaks Level II Coach and is certified as a Level III Alpine Ski Coach. Chuck owned a franchise (The Alternative Board) for 8 years and provided executive coaching for owners, CEOs  and managing directors of small businesses in New Jersey. For further information, contact

What Do I Do Now

Now that the Season’s Winding Down!
By Chuck Graziano, USAT Certified Triathlon Coach

So the days are getting shorter, the mornings cooler, the weekends are wetter; all signs that the “racing season” is coming to its annual conclusion. We have all had varying results from extraordinary to disappointing, but the common thread most of us feel is the vacuum that’s created when our structured training is missing from our daily routine. So, what do we do now? How do we maintain the level of fitness we’ve achieved during the season? How do we fill the void created by the “missing schedule”? These are all natural feelings. In fact, someone coined an acronym to describe what ultra distance athletes go through- PIDS, or Post Ironman Depressive Syndrome.
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Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

The Who, What and How
The debate over strength training for endurance athletes has been around for decades. Certainly, for those whose sport focuses on aerobic efforts the importance of “pumping iron” is minimized. Or is it? The major drawbacks to strength training include the undesirable hypertrophy, or bulking up, which results in unwanted weight gain, and the investment of valuable training hours (and energy) at the expense of more sport specific training – running, riding and swimming.

Some advantages, however, outweigh the drawbacks. These include the increased performance potential that results from the additional strength, which, for example, translates to power on the bike, and the avoidance of nagging injuries through increased stability of the joints and the elimination of muscle imbalances. Due to these advantages, most contemporary coaches agree that incorporating a periodized strength training routine into an athlete’s annual training program will produce important benefits, while minimizing the potential drawbacks.
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Goal Setting For Optimal Results

For Inside Triathlon
Achieving Your Goal:
It’s more than a New Year’s Resolution!

To many people, goal setting is second nature but it is oftentimes is confused with the kind of thing that isn’t much more than a New Year’s Resolution. When it comes to training and racing, many athletes believe that goal setting is about selecting a target race and either hiring a coach or establishing a training plan to get there.

Goal setting for those who really want to accomplish their mission should be an entire structure onto which a training plan is overlaid. Most multisports athletes have lives outside of their training and racing involving careers, families, hobbies, mortgage payments and so forth. These other spheres of influence are the primary reason why accomplishing your goal requires more than a target race and a training plan. The structure, or plan, you set up is about how to maintain the balance in your life.
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Functional Threshold Test for Computrainer

If you train with a Computrainer (or other power measuring device), you’ll want to use that device as a tool for improved performance, not just to provide some nice numbers to look at (“ooh, I just rode at 15 watts more than I did last week!). One of the key performance indicators that you’ll need to determine is your Functional Threshold Power. This test can easily be performed on your own. The protocol for this test has been adapted from Allen and Cogan’s “Training and Racing with a Power Meter”.
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