Triathlon Success: The Three Ingredients Needed to Start a Fire: Oxygen, Heat, and Fuel

a triathlon hat on a rail
December 15, 2016

Mike Ricci


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**WARNING:** If you are not serious about getting faster, you may find the following content boring.

Instead of the usual drivel about me going on about some new way to get faster, I decided to tell you about some real-life improvements we have seen this year at D3 Multisport. I could talk about the newest heart rate training rage or the newest feature that I can use on my Ergomo Power meter, etc., but let’s get down to the facts and see what all this training really does when you APPLY it! That’s the point, right? I write a bunch of stuff, you follow it, and voilà, you are faster. Sounds simple, so let’s see if that’s true.

At D3, we think that there are 3 basic things that have to happen in order to get faster:

1. Having the right training plan!
2. Following the plan; be consistent with your training.
3. Executing the plan on race day.

If you follow 2 out of 3, chances for success are pretty low. If you follow 1 out of 3 then your chances are even lower. If you follow 3 for 3, your chances are very good; maybe not 100%, but better than 90%.

With that being said, here are some RESULTS from this race season:

**Kathleen Steffe:** In her first Half Ironman, she raced to a 5:03. No big deal you say, right? Well, she’s forty-five and has two small children on top of that. How many 35 yr old MEN would have liked to have gone 5:03 in their first Half Iron? Exactly. Oh and to top it off, she was injured until March with a torn plantar that she injured at Boulder Peak in 2006. So almost eight months of zero running and she cranks out a 1:50 run split. How many workouts do you think she misses week in and week out? Try zero.

**Matt Given:** In 2006, in his first IM on the relatively flat IMAZ course, Matt raced to a 10:57. Not bad for a first-time IM racer. His run suffered with a 4:00 marathon. We trained Matt for a marathon this past winter. He was flying by January and putting up some nice mileage. In Lake Placid, he ran a 3:26 on his way to 10:31 overall. That’s a pretty good improvement right? Why did he improve so much? He executed the plan on race day, just as he had in AZ. He backed off the bike and ran to his ability. This winter we’ll work on his bike. ;-) How well do you think Matt executed his race plan? Absolutely ON THE MONEY.

**Beth Merkle:** Last year Beth finished the 5430 Long Course (half iron distance) in 5:25, and this year she was able to improve 15 minutes. Beth follows the plan, week in and week out. Nice going Beth!

**Bob Trautwine:** Bob took 27 minutes off his Half Ironman time this season – from 5:21 to 4:54. Once again, Bob has been a long time D3 athlete and he knows that if he follows his training plan, he’ll get the results he wants on race day.

**Rich Kylberg:** Rich was your average age grouper in the 45-49 AG in 2006. Rich works hard, has fun, trains a bit, and races to a 5:42 HIM in 2006. He decides to get serious in 2007, calls me up and we work together for a few months. At Boulder Peak Olympic, Rich improves his time from last year by fifteen minutes. No big deal, right? At the 5430 Long Course, he races to a 5:12 on a 90F + day. That’s a THIRTY-minute improvement folks! Nice work Rich! How many workouts has Rich missed since February? Maybe ONE. MAYBE. He probably made it up at 11 PM on a Friday night.

**Ali Winslow:** Ali is already an accomplished triathlete, USAT Level II Coach, Personal trainer, Mom, and business owner. She consistently races in the Elite wave and does very well. We worked together this summer and she races to a THIRTY-minute PR at the Half Ironman distance. Do you think she executed her race day strategy? ;-)

**David Pollard:** Dave is a business owner and has been racing triathlons for a few years. He has done the Redman Triathlon a couple of times but wanted to step up his training. We have been working together since January, and Dave goes out to IMAZ and puts up a 90 (!) minute PR with an 11:15 race. Dave trains and races with power, followed the plan, and didn’t miss a workout. Commitment to the plan is what drives Dave’s success. That and the absolute desire to do his best.

**Michelle Brost:** Last year 5:55 HIM time at Chisago Lakes Triathlon, and this year she improved to 5:23 – THIRTY+ minute improvement! Execution, commitment, and basically doing whatever it takes to get it done. You can read more here from Michelle: [](

**Simply Stu:** A PR in the Half Ironman – from 6:02 to 5:35 at High Cliff Triathlon. Another huge improvement over the Half IM distance. Stu does NOT miss a workout. Ever. More here: [](

**Iron Wil:** Tracy went from a 7:45 HIM to a 7:04 this season! Check out more here: [](

**Chris Sweet:** 6-minute PR at the Half Iron distance down to 4:23! More here: [](

**Bolder in Boulder:** 13-minute PR at the 5430 Long Course! You can read more here: [](

**Dave Perry:** Coach Amy helped Dave to a 52 (!) minute PR this year in the half ironman distance – 6:48:17!

**John Lapehn:** While working with Coach Amy and at the age of 50 John took 20 minutes off his HIM PR – going 4:39, finishing 2nd in his AG at Gulf Coast, and 4th at Eagleman, qualifying for the World Champs 70.3.

**Kim Nickel:** Coach AJ helped Kim took 30 minutes off his previous best at the 5430 LC – from 5:20 to 4:50! It's good to see guys get faster when they have newborns!

**Craig McSavaney:** Having known Craig for a few years now and having seen some of his friends have great success with D3, he hired Coach AJ and dropped 20 minutes on his 5430 LC time!

So, how do all these people keep improving and taking big chunks of time out of their PRs? They follow step #1

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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