Friday, February 16, 2018

*RACE SCHEDULE* update (first half of 2018)

The first half of the year is already technically underway after my 5th place finish at Ironman 70.3 South Africa in January but the "official" start to my 2018 season still awaits. Below is my plan of attack for the remaining first half of 2018 including why I chose that particular race.

April 7- Ironman 70.3 Oceanside

Considered the North American season opener, this race will be ultra competitive. In previous years I have shied away from this event because everyone seems to be in great shape and a serious performance is required to get an early season paycheck. I think this year I am in an entirely different space in terms of my physical and mental preparedness. A hard early season hit out will be a good indication of where I stack up against some of the best as well as help me sort out exactly how I need to prepare for the 70.3 World Championships later in the year.

Photo: Tristan Brown
April 14- Ironman 70.3 Liuzhou

~6 days after Oceanside, I'll be racing another 70.3 but this time a little bit further away from home. I can't seem to stay away from toeing the line in China! I have raced in China 4x, two of times it has gone great and the other two it went poorly. That being said, I feel like I am starting to understand the China travel and racing dynamic. I had the opportunity from Ironman to come back to this race and with relatively easy travel from LAX, I decided to go for it. I used miles to book a business class ticket (my first business class flight) which I think will make a big difference. I also think there is a huge benefit to racing back to back weekends as it clears out chronic training fatigue while maintaining fitness from the hard race-day effort. I am really looking forward to this one.


May 5- Ironman 70.3 St. George

One of my favorite races on the circuit, driving distance from Boulder and another very competitive event. It will have a similar dynamic to Oceanside and the 70.3 World Championship. I hope to be in really good form after the Oceanside-Liuzhou double and look forward to a return to Utah. I did this race in 2016, skipped it in 2017 and regretted it. The harder the course and conditions, the better it is for me. St. George always delivers a massive challenge so it made a lot of sense for me to give it a crack this year.
St. George 2016. Picture: Tristan Brown
June 10- Ironman Boulder 

The race on the schedule that is giving me the most amount of motivation in my training. Up until St. George, I am giving 100% of my attention to half-distance preparation. But with my consistently high training volume and intensity, the switch to a short Ironman focus after St. George will not be very different. The minute I started triathlon over 10 years ago, I have wanted to race an Ironman. I have suppressed my urges to race one in the past few years out of fear it will impact my overall career development. I will be 25 on race day which is still relatively young in terms of Ironman racing but my years of consistent and balanced training have me in a spot to be very competitive. I think it takes a very unique athlete to do well at an Ironman and in particular an Ironman at 5500 feet. I check all the boxes to have a strong first attempt at Ironman Boulder and get excited just thinking about this one.
Picture: Timothy Carlson/ Slowtwitch
The remainder of the year is still TBD. The only race I have penciled in is the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The remainder will be a combination of domestic and international 70.3 events.

Thanks for following along and see you at the races.

JM





Tuesday, January 30, 2018

2018 IRONMAN 70.3 SOUTH AFRICA

Ironman 70.3 South Africa- January 28th, 2018. Yeah, that’s right. January. I went way outside my comfort zone and kicked off my 2018 campaign significantly earlier than normal this year. Racing halfway across the world is always a bit of a gamble but this one felt like an even more significant bet. I went into the race with only 4 weeks of proper training and a few extra holiday pounds still on my bum. Not to mention, there was a foot of snow on the ground when I decided to trade the Colorado winter for the African summer. Despite the risk, Jeanni and I were given an offer to make the trip about 10 days before we had to leave. Both of us were knowingly underprepared but we saw more positives than negatives and decided to book it up. 
It was a bit of a hustle to turn this from a winter training bike into a race ready whip!
(Photo: Jaryd Brown)
I’m quickly becoming quite the world traveler. That is one of the aspects I love most about being a professional triathlete. Along with that, I’ve established a routine when it comes to international travel. Most would shy away from the 3 flights (one of them being 16h) plus a 9 hour time change. But I took it about as well as anticipated and landed in East London feeling adjusted and ready to race. 
Picture: Jaryd Browne
I had gotten some decent sleep in the build up to the race but four days is not nearly enough to get on the time zone. It still “felt” like I was back on Colorado time meaning the race would be happening from 11:00pm-3:00am on my body’s internal clock. I’m generally pretty good at rolling with the time zones but this one was going to be tough! Fueling, hydration and particular, caffeine were going to be huge players. 
Always 2 bottles of EFS the day before a hot race.
(Picture: Jaryd Browne) 
1 hour before the start I downed my 5x First Endurance pre-race caps and 1 can of Beet Performer. I hit my warm up jog, some ECFIT activation and then went down to the beach for the ocean swim. The gun went off and I used my height advantage to get a bit of a lead on the long run into the sea. I quickly found myself in the main bunch within contact of the lead kayak. There were 2 athletes ahead but the gap seemed to be very small so I settled into the front pack and hit the cruise control. I took control of the group on the back half and pulled back a bit of the time on the two ahead. I exited the water in 3rd position 0:30 down from the front. 
Picture: Jaryd Browne
I think it’s important to mention my transitions here. I always joke about having the fastest transitions but some of these pro transition times are really unacceptable. It’s free speed and something that I visualize, practice and nail every single race. Once again, I had the fastest T1 and T2. Making up critical time in T1 which negated that 0:30 gap out of the swim.
https://www.obstri.com
This bike course is LEGIT. Honestly, one of the hardest courses I have ever done. For reference, harder than 70.3 St. George, harder than the World Champ's course in Zell Am See, harder than Challenge Iceland. 3000 feet of gain in the first 45k on rolling hills. After the turn, a slamming descent but not without 5-10 hard, unexpected punching climbs. The boys came through early on the climb and had guns blazing. I had 5:00 power over 400w, 30:00 power over 360w. I maintained contact for about 30 minutes but my lack of fitness was eventually exposed. I struggled on the back half but made it to the top of the course still in contact with 3rd-6th place and knew the downhill was where I would make up time. By 70k I had bridged to the 4th and 5th place guys. By 80k I picked up the 3rd place dude. From there, it was hard to drop anyone and our bunch of 4 all got off the bike together. 
Picture: Jaryd Browne
Once again, the fastest T2 of the day and I was onto the hilly, hot and humid run course with a little bit of a gap. I settled into my standard 70.3 goal pace (~1:15) for the first 30 minutes or so but didn’t have a lot of gas in the tank to sustain that effort. 3rd and 4th pulled away and I had no response. 1:21 may seem like a pretty slow time but it was only 2:00 off the fastest run split of the day showing just how tough that course is!
Picture: Carene Botha 
I crossed the finish line in 5th place- honestly very happy with the performance. I was going to be stoked just finishing this race in one piece. The fact that I was able to grab a paycheck and kick my butt into gear with a hard 4 hour effort made the trip 100% worth it. 

I came back to life after a cold bottle of Ultragen at the finish line and waited for Jeanni to come through. I saw her battling for 1st and 2nd on course, so I was on the edge of my seat to see who was going to break that tape. I feared it wouldn’t be her but deep down knew she was going to suffer in front of her home town fans and get the W. #littlelegend has arrive- 2018 edition. 
Photo: Chris Hitchcock 
I fly back to the USA content with this performance but hungry to train properly and arrive at my next race knowing I have done the right preparation. I know that I have at least 5:00 in my back pocket that I will chip away at and unleash at my next series of 70.3’s. 

Until next time- 
JM

Picture: Jaryd Browne

Friday, November 18, 2016

5 reasons you are not getting faster

1.) you don’t do your easy rides easy enough 

Somewhere along the line aerobic training and recovery training got thrown together. Too many athletes go out there and just ride/ run by feel. I constantly hear "whatever feels easy" is my recovery pace. But a lot of the time that effort ends up being slightly too hard and inhibits the athletes ability to push on sessions where it actually matters. A good gauge I like to use is <110 heart rate. So pop your bike on the trainer, link up some Netflix and chill.
Jeanni intensely riding 70w. 
2.) you don’t train your gut to take on fluid, salt and carbohydrate 

Carbohydrate, salt and fluid are the name of the game when it comes to racing. Everyone needs some combination of these three in order for race day success. Yet, I am constantly seeing people posting about not performing on race day due to GI distress. And that is likely because they do not train their gut. Your stomach is trainable just like anything else. And not practicing your race day nutrition strategy on a weekly, even daily basis, can leave you wasting precious seconds in the port-o-loo. Many athletes don't take in enough of these sport products during training because they are afraid it will sacrifice their body composition goals. But during your training sessions is NOT the time to skimp on calories. So drink your sports drink and slam a gel. You will be able to execute your session more effectively and you'll be training your gut in the process. 

3.) you don’t care about your body composition

This one is a touchy subject but it is a critical point on this list. Unfortunately, there is an emotional aspect with body weight, body image and food. That is what makes this one difficult. But that does not mean that it should be ignored. Losing body fat will make you faster. A lot faster. In running, I typically see 3-4 seconds PER MILE drop in paces for each pound of body weight lost. Additionally, the lower the body fat, the better ability the athlete has to deal with hot conditions. Getting down to "race weight" is challenging but important. I personally struggle with losing body fat and have tried every trick in the book. My suggestion is to track your calories for 6-8 weeks at the beginning of the season to shed off those holiday lbs and then again 6-8 weeks before your big race.


sushi and wine can be part of the diet plan (but you better track it!) 
4.) you aren’t adaptable 

All triathletes are type-A and there are lot of ways that this personality trait gets in the way of optimal performance. When we get into a training block it is all about routine. Familiar training routes, comfortable eating patterns and adequate amounts of sleep in your own bed. But when you travel halfway across the world for your next race, every piece of that puzzle is thrown up into the air. You don't know the roads, you have no idea what that thing is on your plate and you are sleeping in the middle of the day trying to adjust to the time zone. Some athletes freak out and let it impact their ability to perform during the race. Others can adapt to the situation and not let these circumstances dictate their race day outcome. There is a way to be type-A but still be adaptable. Go in with a flexible mindset. Trust your training and roll with the punches. Remind yourself that as long as you show up at the start line on race morning fit, healthy and ready to race- nothing else matters. 
In China. Seriously jet lagged. Fueled by white rice and mystery meat. I even watched an episode of Shark Tank before the race. But highly caffeinated and ready to race. 
5.) you don’t acclimate for a hot race 

I learned this one the hard way. I constantly would rock up to early and late races fit as a fiddle but walk home with less than expected results. Typically they would come off the back of sub par runs where my body broke down in the heat. I recently learned the benefits of acclimating to the heat while living in a colder climate. For those doing hot races coming from a climate cooler than the race environment, this one is a MUST. One heat session each day somewhere between 17-20 days before your event will do the trick. A "hot session" is a workout were you are increasing your core body temperature and sweating. So ride the trainer and run on the treadmill. And don't be afraid to hop in the sauna pre and post swim session. 
If it works for a #champion, it can work for you too 
And that's it. If you do even one of these five, you will get faster. All 5 and you may just have yourself a PR. That being said, a lot of these tips take some more specific, personal instruction. And that is where a smart coach comes into the picture. If your coach isn't focusing on these things, then ask him or her to start. And if they don't know what to do, you should probably look into getting a new one. 

For those looking for someone to guide them through any of these tips or looking for an individual coach, Jeanni and I will be working together to coach a select group of clients in 2017. Feel free to reach out to us- justinmetzler1993@gmail.com and trijeanniseymour@gmail.com 

Cheers,
Justin 



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Jaybird Reign- another tool in your arsenal

Success in the sport of triathlon comes down to training properly in all three sports- swimming, cycling and running. Putting in the work, making the sacrifices and committing yourself to the multisport lifestyle. But at the top level of sport, every professional triathlete does the same thing from a training perspective. The sets, intensities and durations may differer but we all swim, we all bike and we all run.
And because of this, nearly all professional triathletes are at 95% of what it takes to be elite. The remaining 5% comes down to what you do off the training grounds. There are countless small details that separate someone from simply racing as a professional to having success and making a career out of the sport. But one major component of training that can help take an athlete to the next level is focusing on recovery techniques.

The major recovery techniques that I focus on are nutrition, sleep, protein intake, use of my Normatec recovery boots, foam rolling, massage and acupuncture.

In the past, tracking recovery was a preemptive measure and I would attempt to anticipate how I would respond to a block of training or super hard string of workouts. But the body acts in mysterious ways and no matter how much I try to calculate that, it is a very difficult variable to predict. And this is where the Jaybird Reign comes into the picture.
The Reign is a small, watch-like device worn on the wrist that is essentially a power meter for your body. The Reign understands your body's fatigue and recovery by measuring your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) in addition to activity and sleep patterns. These values are put together and converted into a singular number called your "GO-ZONE." Using the Jaybird app, I can log on in the morning and see exactly how my body is responding to my training. When the numbers are good, my recovery is on track and I am confident to push it in training that day. When the my go-zone is off, that is a red flag that something may be up and I take a serious look at how I am feeling before going out on a 5 hour ride or a 2 hour run.
The Reign is an awesome tool that can easily be incorporated into your training and get you that extra few percent you are looking for next season.

For more information on the Reign or to pick one up, click HERE.



Friday, November 20, 2015

Why I RIDE ENVE

When it comes to professional sport, success is found in the details. Every decision I make has an ultimate impact on my ability to perform on the worlds biggest stage. We all swim, we all bike, we all run. But simply training the three sports does not make a successful professional triathlete. I make sure I have all of my bases covered in order to set myself up for ultimate success. My nutrition, recovery techniques and of course, equipment are all dialed in.
Nutrition and recovery techniques are up to me. I consider these two aspects equally important to swimming, cycling and running. And I treat both like training sessions. So both feel easy to incorporate into my daily routine. But equipment choice is less simple. There are so many brands, so many products and so much varying information it can be hard to figure out what is best. It is really the only aspect of sport that I really have to work on and study in order to make the best decision. Thankfully, a lot of this work has already been taken care of by Maverick Multisport, the most high profile professional triathlon team in the United States. 
When it comes to cycling aerodynamics, there are a few critical aspects to consider: rider position, bike frame, helmet, bottle position and of course, WHEELS.  I am constantly tinkering with my position on the bike, bottle location and small details on my bike frame but one thing I never touch are my ENVE's. And that comes down to trust. I have looked at the data, considered my riding style and trust that these are the fastest wheels on the market. They have powered me to four podium finishes in 2015 and hopefully many more in the future. 

This season I raced the ENVE SES 8.9 Carbon Fiber Road Wheelset with Vittoria Corsa Tubular Tires. For those in checking out the wheels, click HERE

And for anyone interested in learning more about wheels, tires or anything else triathlon related, feel free to reach out! 

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Use code MavJustin for 20% off all products at www.blueseventy.com 
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And send me a message if you want an awesome deal on a new Cobb saddle (the best out there... comfort= speed)