trust the process

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March 21, 2024

Champions Corner: Conversations with Six-Time National Champion, Coach Jim Hallberg

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Coach Jim Hallberg shares his journey in endurance sports, from starting in cross-country and track to transitioning to triathlon. He discusses the importance of patience and progression in training, as well as the key workouts he uses to prepare for national championships. Jim also emphasizes the role of strength training in improving performance and preventing injuries. He highlights the significance of focusing on large muscle groups and engaging the posterior chain. Overall, Jim's experience and coaching philosophy emphasize the importance of consistency, efficiency, and discipline in training for endurance sports.


00:00 Introduction and Background

01:18 Starting in Endurance Sports

07:12 Winning National Titles

10:07 Going Pro

13:17 Patience and Progression in Training

20:11 Importance of Strength Training

25:26 Training Zones and Variations

27:43 Strength for Running off the Bike


Hi, Coach Mike Ricci here with D3 Multisport Podcast. And today I have Coach Jim Hallberg on with me. Jim is a six time national champion. He has been coaching for 20 years, cross country, triathlon, cycling, all of it. He's really renowned and coaches and athletes are, all love him. Nothing to say about good things about Jim. He always gets everybody to push a little bit further than they think they can. He gets a lot out of them.

Jim Hallberg (00:41.814)
Yeah, thank you, Mike. Yeah, I was actually gonna say, it's a faster masters. We came up with a faster masters.

Mike (00:46.561)
Oh, Faster Master, I even like that better. Faster Master, I love that even better. Yeah, yeah. These aren't nacho eating guys sitting on the couch, right? They're out there crushing it.

Jim Hallberg (00:53.518)
That's right. Well, and they're, yeah, it's great. Cause they're all age group guys, you know, have the very business oriented, have families, very busy, but they make it work and they get out and they follow the plan and they see the progression. And, you know, even 50 years old, that athletes coming to me and say, you know, I'm still PRing. So it's huge.

Mike (01:18.413)
Yeah, that's awesome. So all high achievers, right? Every aspect of their life, that's awesome. So let's rewind a little bit. Let's just talk about, you know, where you started with all this. I know you've cycled a little bit in college, but you did some stuff even before college, right? You did some endurance sports stuff. So just, yeah, I mean, I know you grew up in Colorado and let's just start there, like where you, you know, started to kind of get the, I'm not gonna call it an addiction, but the,

Jim Hallberg (01:21.591)

Mike (01:47.473)
attraction to endurance sports.

Jim Hallberg (01:51.39)
Yeah, I guess to kick it off way back in the day, if you wanted to get around, you had to do it on your own, you know, biking to friends house. And I had a job when I was 13 and it was eight miles out to the golf course. And I know it was catting all day and I, you didn't carry bags. You ran the course. So it was a seven mile course. You had to run the course and then you biked home. And, you know, it took me a few years to recognize that maybe that has something to do with.

just creating a little bit of engine there. I didn't start running until my junior year of high school. I started with track and then they took me into cross-country. Went to college, walked on. I didn't think I'd be good enough to run and I went to Fort Lewis College in Durango. One of my roommates was in cross-country. It's like, I would come out and join us.

And it was, it was great. I'm so glad I did it because it changed my life. And he also said, Hey, you need to do the local triathlon. And literally I really didn't even know what a triathlon was. And, uh, and no, no. I said, uh, you know, I don't know how to swim. And he said, learn. And I says, well, I don't really have a bike. He said, borrow. And, uh, it was, it was great. So sign up for. What's that? Yeah.

Mike (03:01.849)
Had you swum before or did you know how to swim? Well.

Mike (03:13.753)
So it's learn, borrow, run, right? Learn, borrow, run. Yeah.

Jim Hallberg (03:19.11)
So I took this class and the first day we did a timed 500. I'm not kidding you, I was basketball shorts, no goggles. I didn't even think about goggles. I think it took me 25 minutes to do a 500 and the Alaska state champion was five lanes over and he did his in like four and a half minutes or something. And so that was in January and the first race was in April.

And I just went every night to the pool. I got, I'm like, I got to figure this out. I got to figure this out. And, you know, our race was an 800. And I think at that time I did like, you know, 11 or 12 minutes, which is a huge improvement from 25 for 500. So, and I did, April, May, June, so four months, three months. Yeah.

Mike (04:10.101)
How many weeks later was this?

Mike (04:15.297)
Okay, that's a good amount of time, sure.

Jim Hallberg (04:18.506)
And so I did the race and I took second in the little local triathlon and I was like, oh man, this is something that I felt like I could do after college. Because as a runner, you can always do 5Ks, 10Ks, you can run the rest of your life, right? But this was a whole new element of something to do. And I felt like I was, in college standards, I was maybe mediocre.

Mike (04:33.713)

Jim Hallberg (04:48.638)
I was okay at Fort Lewis, but mediocre as a collegiate athlete.

Mike (04:54.169)
What kind of pace were you running for the 8k or the 10k? Yeah.

Jim Hallberg (04:56.586)
Yeah, 520 pace was about 515, 520 pace is about the best I was. Oh yeah. Yeah. But you know, when you're running against CU and Adams and Western and they're, these guys are running 450 for, for 10K, you know. Yeah. I'm in the back. You know, I'm just trying to.

Mike (05:03.801)
But this is at altitude as well, right? Yeah.

Mike (05:14.701)
Right, you feel like you're out of the race right from the get-go. Yeah, yeah. Did you ever drop down to sea level during college and race? No, you never traveled. Okay, okay.

Jim Hallberg (05:23.338)
No, no, we never had to. No, no, New Mexico, but that was 6,800 feet. You know, if you go to Albuquerque. So yeah, it was all.

Mike (05:30.061)
Yeah. When I was in college, our regionals, we raced in Western Pennsylvania. We raced, Adam State came out to do the race. And there were like 10 guys at the front of the race and they were just gone. Like you were just like, I guess that's the winning group.

Jim Hallberg (05:40.434)
Oh yeah.

Jim Hallberg (05:47.818)
Yeah, yeah. And in a blessing that I didn't try to run, they were our neighboring colleges on each side, and it was a blessing I didn't go try to run at those colleges because I would have never been able to participate. And so I went to a lower level college and as far as cross country goes, and I'm glad I did because I got to race every race, you know, and...

Mike (06:02.615)

Mike (06:14.838)
Yeah, yeah.

Jim Hallberg (06:16.926)
You know, I had a good time and I learned a lot, but that's, that's the start of the triathlon career. And then come to find out my, my aunt was working from Mavic wheels and she was able to get me a specialized bike. That was literally my first road bike after I borrowed in that race. And it just, it just kicked it off. And I, I just, you know, just started training. Um, I basically took what I knew from running.

Mike (06:30.51)

Jim Hallberg (06:43.338)
you know, long days, interval days, these days, those days, and it applied to all the other disciplines and, you know, whatever. So I didn't know much, but I was learning along.

Mike (06:44.271)

Mike (06:52.441)
Right, right. Okay, so you're 23, you're out of college, you're starting triathlon, start your career. And then how old were you? I mean, obviously you knew you could be pretty good at this from even that first race you did. How old were you when you won your first national title? You were in your 30s, right? Yeah.

Jim Hallberg (07:12.022)
Yeah, yeah. I remember, so Tim Hola was somebody that I always wanted to beat, you know, because he was the local guy and he was winning a lot in Colorado. And I remember in my 20s, and I would tell everybody, no matter if you're 20s or 30s or 50s, I woke up and on, first thing I saw right off my bed was this list of like,

Mike (07:19.921)
with you.

Jim Hallberg (07:39.37)
It was kind of goals, but it like motivational. Like I remember one of the things on there says, who are they and why are they beating you? And that was what, hey, that was the thing to get me out of bed at five in the morning to get to the pool. Cause I don't know who they are, but they're beating me and I got to figure this out. Um, so it was just a lot of time of putting in the hours.

Mike (07:42.33)

Jim Hallberg (08:07.566)
And it didn't come all at once. It took forever. I felt like it took a decade, you know, to finally, um, start putting together. And I remember passing Tim Hola on the bike in 2009 at Boulder 70.3. And I'm like, Oh man, this is, this is game on, you know, he ran me down. But after that, he didn't run me down so much. And, uh, and it was, it was a different, it was a, it was a shift. And.

I was learning how to race at that level and come to find out it was my biking that really became my strength and something that I really started to pride my work on.

Mike (08:54.593)
Nice. And then did you go pro for a brief bit there?

Jim Hallberg (08:58.41)
Yeah, it was. I was in a weird spot because I was racing.

Mike (09:06.67)
age group wise because you're just doing well and wasn't a lot of competition, right?

Jim Hallberg (09:09.622)
Right. I was doing really well in Colorado. I'd even do some really high-end races, like elite races, age group elite races elsewhere. And I was doing really well. And I thought like, oh, I can, I should go pro because like if I had gone pro, I'd have a couple of the boulders, like the boulder peak races, I would have been in the money, stuff like that. And...

Mike (09:17.905)

Mike (09:35.897)
Yeah, sure.

Jim Hallberg (09:38.786)
I did and I'm like, my training didn't change. I couldn't really afford more hours. You know, I was still stuck at 12 to 14 hours a week, you know, and at the pro level, you need, there's such a gray zone. Yeah. There's such a gray zone between like, Hey, you're a really good age grouper and you're in the money. You know, there's so many pros out there that we don't even know about because they don't, there's no, they're not on the highlights, you know? And, uh,

Mike (09:48.035)

Double that.

Mike (09:59.216)

Jim Hallberg (10:07.786)
It's a real struggle. Um, you know, and I call up race directors and get home stays and, you know, try to make it as cheap as possible. And that was, that was actually kind of fun because I met a lot of people that way, um, but it's kind of like, it's kind of silly to go pro in that regards. Uh, because I was, I was not competitive at that highest, highest level.

Mike (10:14.693)

Mike (10:20.238)

Mike (10:33.733)
But you had the experience of doing it, right? And knowing, at least you tried it and said, okay, it was great at some points, but some points maybe the racing didn't pan out like you wanted to. And it wasn't any fault of your own really. I hear you saying it's just, volume was a big issue because you weren't gonna be able to be able to train 25 to 30 hours a week. And maybe your body wouldn't even be able to handle that. So...

Jim Hallberg (10:57.504)
I would agree to that. I'm not saying that I could do it.

Mike (11:00.597)
Right, right. So what year did you win your first national title at USAT age group nationals?

Jim Hallberg (11:06.154)
Um, to be honest, it was, uh, Myrtle beach, 2010. It was, uh, it was like a long course. It was a, like the 70.3 version. And I came in fourth.

Mike (11:11.274)
Okay. Oh, nice. Yeah, yeah. What was it, the international distance?

Jim Hallberg (11:20.326)
It was like, you know, the 1.2 mile, 56, yeah. So I came in fourth overall and won my age group. I was 30 to 34 in that group. Um, and then it took a few more years and actually I wasn't going to nationals very often. I hardly ever win. So then 2016, I went to Omaha cause I'm like, Oh, it's driving distance. Sure. Why not? And I totally surprised myself and won the.

Mike (11:24.501)
Oh, OK.

Jim Hallberg (11:50.062)
the sprint and the Olympic that year. Then the next year I won the sprint in 17. Then we moved to Milwaukee. Then I won the Olympic in 2021 in Milwaukee and then again in 2023 in Milwaukee. There's another sprint in there somewhere.

Mike (11:52.301)
Right? Right.

Mike (12:17.486)

Jim Hallberg (12:19.982)
Forgetting, sorry.

Mike (12:23.225)
That's good, that's good. So do you think that, you know, all these things that you learned, I mean, obviously starting out with, you know, not much of a swim background, more of a run background than developing your bike. I mean, as a coach, you probably feel like that's a big selling point to your athletes. Like, look, excuse me, I've been there. My swim has sucked. My bike has been so-so.

Jim Hallberg (12:33.93)

Mike (12:48.077)
And it took me a while and this is not a, this thing is an overnight success, right? My overnight success, you could say this, is a 10 year window, right? It took 10 years to have my overnight success. So do you feel like you can bring those attributes and that experience to your athletes and are you able to convince them or persuade them say, that look, this is possible. It's just not gonna happen in six months or maybe not even in a year and a half. It's just gonna take some time to put that in. And do you have athletes that,

They all buy into it. I mean, you feel like it's.

Jim Hallberg (13:19.754)
Yeah. And, and, and a lot of it is, you know, you go through that first year with an athlete, like I'm thinking of a couple of individual and there might be those initial bursts of gains, right? Oh, you know, we fixed the nutrition. Oh, I didn't know this was the bike power for a 70.3, whatever. And, you know, maybe it's pacing, whatever. So you might have initial gains on like one discipline or this asset of the game.

Um, but then the big picture stuff is like, yeah, to really get to the next level as an athlete, like, and be competing from, you know, maybe you're going 530 and then trying to break five. Um, that and, and consistently being there, uh, you know, all the time, it's not a one-off. It does take time and, and it does, it's not overnight and you have to, um,

chip away at it. Like, you know, I expect to make, you know, 5% gain in the swim and, you know, four or 5% in the, in the bike and two or three in the run or whatever your strengths and weaknesses are. And just each one you're trying to make some improvements and. You know, and I saw, you know, kind of like all traditional triathletes saw is like your, your bike is going to make you the biggest gains most of the time. Unless you totally.

Mike (14:24.25)

Jim Hallberg (14:47.382)
fall apart on the run or whatever, but you have to be proficient in the swim. You just have to be so that you're getting out. You might not be the fastest swimmer, but you don't want to get to your back totally waxed. Then there, now you can put out the effort on the bike. And between new athletes and experienced athletes, that's the difference is experienced athletes can do all three and it's not exhausting. Where

Mike (14:49.348)

Mike (14:58.827)

Mike (15:03.62)

Mike (15:16.166)

Jim Hallberg (15:17.366)
where it's very tiring for those new athletes to do one sport and then the other and then the other.

Mike (15:23.369)
Right, I've always said like it takes a certain level of fitness to be able to race, you know, a 70.3, even an Olympic at some level, right? And, you know, 70.3, we can talk about this later, but you know, I've always told people like, when you're at 5'10, 5'15, it is a different ball game at 4'50, 4'45, because the nutrition changes, you're not out there as long. You have more heartbeats you can put into the run, where that run...

You know, maybe to go 445, you've got to run 720s or 730s. And before you're running eight minute pace, right? So it just, you can go from that aerobic eight minute pace to like, yeah, I could hold that tempo for 90 minutes, 95 minutes, right? And I mean, obviously the end of a 70.3, if you're pushing hard, you're typically on fumes and your, your legs hurt and you're, you know, you're needing more glycogen probably at that point and you're on that edge and that's where you kind of need to be to race at that level.

But everything changes as you get faster. I mean, it gets easier in some ways, but it's still the same amount of effort, right? I mean, it's the same kind of effort, right? So do you have any, just going back to your own training, do you have any specific workouts that you like to do leading into nationals that are a good prep that you think, yeah, if I can hit these standards, I will be able to raise that X effort, X speed.

Jim Hallberg (16:41.662)
Yeah, there's a workout we do here in Colorado, and I try to get other people to simulate elsewhere in their own environment as well, but it's a bike run, bike run, bike run, and we do it back to back with about a five minute break in between.

And so it's a bike, you know, and you can modify the bike, but our loop is typically five miles with a one mile or you can make a mile and a half run. And we did that as well with a first 70.3 buildup for Boulder where it was a 20 minute bike and a two mile run. And we did that three times. When the thing is, is I have

You know, obviously we train with power, we train with heart rate, but I, I sometimes throw that out the window and I'm like, I, I'm going to go as hard as I can, I want to see what I can do. And I don't really care what the power is. I'm going to find out after and see where I'm at. And when you go bike run, bike run, bike run, like, you know, it's on a Saturday morning and you're going as hard as you can, it really kind of tells you where you're at. And.

Mike (17:58.874)

Jim Hallberg (18:00.794)
I don't, I'm not pacing it. You know, I'm, I literally want to find out if where, at what point I'm going to fall apart because that's going to tell me something, you know, the third lap, you know, I, you know, I started fading about five minutes before the run. You know, the power starts dropping off. My run, you know, dropped off 20, 30 seconds per mile or whatever. You know, um, I want to know that I want to find out. I want to, I want to go hurt once in a while.

Mike (18:10.753)

Jim Hallberg (18:30.83)
Um, so I think it's, yes, it's, it's important that we do our, uh, workouts based on power. But I also think like I'll do Strava segments that I've done over and over and over. And I know there's wind factors or whatever, but you know, I just go as fast as I possibly can for like a, maybe a 15 or 20 minute Strava segment or whatever. And those, those are.

Mike (18:44.802)

Mike (18:57.082)

Jim Hallberg (19:00.474)
motivating for me. You know, those part of racing fast is the belief and the confidence that you're ready to do that. You know, and getting confidence to go into a race is like a big, especially in national championship race. That's, and I'm not talking about ego, where you're like, I'm going to win this thing, you know, because I think every time I've gone into a race thinking I'm going to win this.

Mike (19:09.782)

Jim Hallberg (19:28.398)
Karma has something, you know, the world has something else for me. So I never assume anything, but I go in and I say, hey, you know, I know I'm in pretty good shape. And if everything plays out well, I'll have a chance. You know? So.

Mike (19:43.389)
Right, right. Well, it's more in, you know, tell me I'm wrong, but it's more like you go out there and do the best you can in training to prepare yourself. And you're knowing on race day, you've done everything you can to prepare. You might've missed a workout. You might've had a bad workout, like you said, some of the paces drop off, but you're there like, I've done everything I can. If someone can match me, that's great. I mean, they're better than me on the day, but I'm gonna give it my best effort and I will do everything I can to reach, you know, what I think I'm capable of.

Jim Hallberg (20:11.606)
Yeah. So, so back to your point. Um, yes, 90% of the time I train on power or my zone two heart rates or whatever. But once in a while, you just got to put that data away and just go, just go crazy. Uh, maybe it's a climb. I like to do, there's a couple of good climbs around here that I'll do. Um, and I'll use, I'll take out the road bike and do a lot of, you know, VO2 work climbing, cause that creates a lot of torque and resistance on the pedals. Um.

Mike (20:28.506)

Mike (20:35.821)

Jim Hallberg (20:41.186)
Those are some good bike workouts that I like to do. And of course, you know, you know, getting off and doing, you know, I don't do, I don't do zone two breaks for myself because I'm not doing Ironman stuff. Uh, so every, every brick I do, um, is, is my upcoming race pace, right?

Mike (20:53.421)
Yeah, yeah.

Mike (20:59.097)
Higher intensity, yeah. So you mentioned zone two, and I know we've talked about this quite a bit over the years, how we've taken a certain philosophy of Friel and you definitely have, I would say, downgraded the range, right? Like you've lowered the range and you've had great success with that. So let's talk about that and maybe Steven Seiler a little bit and what he has to say versus Joe and just talk about that kind of a...


Jim Hallberg (21:30.23)
Right, exactly right. I've cleaned a lot more listening to Dr. Milan and Dr. Seiler. I really like their approaches on everything. And so I went into training peaks and I put in my numbers and I just compared like what would, everything based on lactate threshold. And I said, what are the zones for Frile? What are the zones for...

and what are the zones for this, my pro coach, and what are the zones for, and it's insane, how much variation there is in just a zone two for all these different models. Yeah, yeah. And so based on Siler and stuff, I just kind of like,

Mike (22:08.549)
different models are up, right?

Mike (22:15.192)
Huge variations, right?

Jim Hallberg (22:26.33)
of piecing it down to what fits what I believe, what I think is the most effective. And basically, you know, if you look at the, you know, what they found with the lactate, you know, going from zone one, you know, lactate turnpoints, your aerobic zone is about 80% of threshold or 70% of max, right?

And that's kind of what I was going with is like going with those numbers. And so I started biking and running like that. And I would my, a lot of my aerobic zones on the heart rate, uh, let's say I have a 155 bike heart rate. I would cap my zone two at one 20. And, um, what was fun is I would see that even if I wasn't doing a

a tremendous amount of intervals most over the winter. I would start out that 120 heart rate at like, 215 Watts and then 220 Watts and then 225 Watts and then 230 Watts. So I know I'm getting stronger and I'm not even using the same, it's the same heart rate, same with running. And it's just working on efficiency, right? And especially the running and I tell a lot of my athletes,

Mike (23:45.959)

Jim Hallberg (23:50.598)
Finding a hilly course is nice. You get a good workout out of it, but also finding nice flat course. You can work on efficiency and work on like listening to your foot strikes, listening to your breathing, listening, you know, feeling how your arms are moving and how, what little mechanical changes can you make to run faster and keep that heart rate down, you know? Um, so working on efficiency and.

I do, the first year athletes, you know, the ones that haven't made a full cycle with me, it's hard to see that in the very beginning, but the athletes that have kind of stayed with me over some time, we do this every year. And they've noticed 15 to 20 seconds per mile faster over maybe even less than 30 months, just on some aerobic work.

Mike (24:47.086)

Right. Yeah, most people will train too hard. I think that's probably a true statement.

Jim Hallberg (24:50.083)
and being more efficient.

Jim Hallberg (24:56.01)
And that's why I use the heart rates, because if you go out and you're like, oh, you crush yourself at the track or you do this really amazing workout on Tuesday, and then Wednesday it says, oh, zone two, and you try to do zone two power, you're gonna find that your heart rate is zone three. So you're really working zone three the next day and actually probably working too hard. So I use the heart rate because it's more of an accurate indicator of how hard you're.

Your body's working.

Mike (25:26.657)
Makes sense, it makes sense. Yeah, and I've seen the same thing with my athletes as well. And I'm probably still in the higher ranges, but I'm gonna give it a shot this winter, bringing it down a little bit. I'll probably get some resistance, but.

Jim Hallberg (25:36.606)
Yeah. And with the run, because there is a lot more body involvement, I allow the heart rate to go to 85% threshold for running and 80% for biking. And that's kind of how I coach my athletes. And for some, I'll be honest with you, you know, the very, you know, get out the door. I want to see a fast average.

Mike (25:45.216)

Mike (25:52.525)
Yeah, that makes sense. Yep.

Jim Hallberg (26:04.246)
You know, cause if I start slow, it's going to really ruin my average phase. Um, and I get that I've been there, you know? Um, so it is, it is, it takes a lot of patience to have that variability of like, Hey, chill out today because in, in a day or two, you know, you'll be kind of itching and wanting to do some work and you'll be able to really benefit and put out some good numbers and have a good quality workout because you

weren't working so hard the other days.

Mike (26:35.341)
I mean, I think honestly, one of the hardest things to do is to ride a flat course on your bike, in the aero bars, in the big ring, at that low heart rate and just do that for hours. It takes discipline, ton of discipline. Like if you can't do that by yourself, solo without any kind of distraction, how are you gonna do it on race day with people flying by you? You're always gonna be out of your zone, right? That's a great discipline lesson to learn how to do that. To sit there, sit at the right cadence, sit at the right power, the right heart rate and just...

Jim Hallberg (26:47.798)

Mike (27:04.421)
drill it, to stay there and create that discipline. That's a big one I think a lot of people have a hard time with, right? Because they wanna go fast, but you have to.

you know, put the money in the bank to get the return on investment. And that's the money in the bank is those long rides in long runs, obviously. And you're right. I mean, arm swing, foot strike, you know, gauging your glutes or you're leaning for your ankles. I mean, so many things we, we don't talk about with running and it's so easy to pick up three to five seconds a mile. Um, I always make this joke where I see people run down the street and I'm driving along and I'm like, could fix to give that guy 10 seconds a mile and about a 30 minute talk, right? Like it's so easy. It's so easy.

Jim Hallberg (27:40.362)

Mike (27:43.613)
So that's awesome. So let's, so away from swim, bike and run, do you, I know you're, you know, you're a certified strength coach. Do you implement a lot of strength training year round with your athletes? Do you just pick a specific period or, you know, what any two or three key exercises you might have people do to improve that strength.

Jim Hallberg (27:56.194)

Jim Hallberg (28:01.482)
Yeah. Um, so my philosophy and I, I originally started as a strength coach back in, in like, uh, like 23 and I, I really didn't stay in it, um, as a professional level. Um, so I'm sure there's tons of people know more. So my, my big thing is we work on large muscle groups. We go to the, uh, the gym. We'll start with large muscle groups and work our way to small muscle groups. And, um,

Typically it starts off season after your A-race and you've had a little bit of mental physical break. And then first thing we do is get to the gym. And I've talked to a lot of people about like, hey, this is the time you prioritize it. You know, getting out for a run and doing this for a run or doing that for a bike is fine, but we need to prioritize the strength over the winner. So we do different cycles where.

You know, first it's a strength start. Like let's just get into the range of motion, put on some lightweight, just get used to it because you're going to be sore, it's been a while, get the mobility back, the range of motion. And then let's increase the weight, do some more reps there. And then we, we do all do like, um, like a hypertrophy phase or like a 10, eight, six, where, you know, every set's getting lower and then we'll get into our max phase, um, you know, as we make a.

Mike (29:09.239)

Mike (29:23.311)

Jim Hallberg (29:29.866)
you know, a U-turn into the spring where we're lifting as heavy as we reasonably can. As triathletes, to be honest, max is different for triathletes than it would be for a lifter. I want them to lift really good sets, but we do want to run tomorrow or we do want a bike or whatever. So.

Mike (29:38.023)

Mike (29:47.353)

Mike (29:55.277)
Yeah. Right. Yeah.

Jim Hallberg (29:57.478)
It's all relative, right? I don't want anybody to get hurt. That's the biggest thing.

Mike (30:02.645)
Right, yeah. Well, the number one rule of the gym is never get hurt in the gym. Right, like that's...

Jim Hallberg (30:06.186)
Yeah, right. So yeah, so back it off, you know, there's nothing to prove. But working, you know, about 10, 15 years ago, I was doing this court class a couple of times a week at the rec center. And we focus on the posterior chain because that is so much of everybody's weakness. Right. We were doing so many, you were doing calf raises and.

glute and hamstring activities and low back and everything. And that's all I was doing for like 10 years. And I got really strong just doing body weight exercises with dumbbells and physio balls or whatever. And again, it was the posterior chain. And granted I was in my 30s and feeling well.

but there's something to be said for that. And so when we do go to the gym, so many people, it's easy to activate the quads, right? Everything's out in front of us that when I'm telling people to lift, like you wanna be your whole leg, whole body encompassed where you activate the quads and then it rotates and as you go up in the lift, you're engaging the glutes.

And a lot of people, I don't think they're firing their glutes. You know, they're just not getting in them engaged. So, um, you know, and that's the, I mean, if you want to get faster on the bike, you know, your glute muscles are about this biggest muscles on your body. Um, and, and very powerful. Um, so part of that is like, if you want to be a more powerful runner, you know, it comes from the glutes. So.

Mike (31:34.41)

Jim Hallberg (31:58.73)
Yes, lifting is very important, but having a focus on where our weaknesses are and lifting with that neurological connection of like when you lift, you're not just lifting, you're like, am I engaging? Am I engaging? You know, and really firing the muscles that you need to fire when you do that lift.

Mike (32:03.321)

Mike (32:21.069)
Right, so lifting with a purpose or intention to go in there. And so that's great. So this will bring me to my last question for you. We're talking about strength here. And we know, you know, a lot of people think it's about speed, but as we get older, we know that running off the bike is all about strength. You know, running a five-minute mile is great, right? But can you hold a 530 or 540 for a 10K or a 5K off the bike or a six-minute mile? Usually, our, you know, a pure one-mile speed

is way faster than what we can ever hold. And it's not a speed issue, right? It's a strength issue. So do you feel like that strength training plays into the bricks where you see people all of a sudden, man, this guy is now holding a seven minute pace where he was 720 last year after a good winter of training and those bricks are purposeful, right? Like you start seeing that, right? Yeah.

Jim Hallberg (33:11.31)
Right, right. Yeah, and for myself, I definitely see that when I get out of the spring, I'm batting really well. You know, like I'm ready to roll. And I haven't gotten a lot of volume in because it's winter in Colorado and the only thing I've been doing is sitting on the trainer and maybe once on a blue moon I can get outside. But man, I can go.

Mike (33:26.313)

Jim Hallberg (33:40.126)
It's not because I'm doing a lot of work on the trainer. It's, it's everything. It's like, I'm actually not doing a lot of volume. Um, and I'm not doing a lot of like huge high, you know, like race intensity that you do, you know, by the time you're in July and August, but I'm stronger. And then the, yeah. And then the other thing is, is as we go through the summer, we're like, well, I got to, I got to, I just did a.

Mike (33:58.377)
Right, right. You're probably mentally fresh.

Jim Hallberg (34:09.334)
big run or a big workout on Saturday, Sunday, and you know, Monday's kind of a little more recovery and then I'm going to be back on the track on Tuesday. And you're like, it really comes down to like being disciplined enough to do the, at least the core workout and maybe a little bit of body activation, you know, like I said, hamstring, glute engagements, but it's very, it's, it's probably not likely you're going to be going to the gym because

We, you know, myself, you know, I tend to prioritize like I want to, I want to get that, you know, uh, brick in tomorrow or the track work in or whatever. So.

Mike (34:47.749)

Mike (34:51.485)
Right, awesome. Okay, that was great. I mean, I really appreciate you coming on and talking about all these things. There's a lot of good takeaways here and we are certainly going to have you on at another point. So thanks for joining us. Appreciate it. We'll talk soon.

Jim Hallberg (35:02.058)
I'd love to. Yeah. I'd love to. All right.

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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