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Trimarni is place where athletes and fitness enthusiasts receive motivation, inspiration, education, counseling and coaching in the areas of nutrition, fitness, health, sport nutrition, training and life.

We emphasize a real food diet and our coaching philosophy is simple: Train hard, recover harder. No junk miles but instead, respect for your amazing body. Every time you move your body you do so with a purpose. Our services are designed with your goals in mind so that you can live an active and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Trimarni Blog

A blog dedicated to exercise, nutrition and my life

Filtering by Category: "kona prep"

Kona prep: the puzzle is complete!

Marni Sumbal

22 weeks is a long time. 140.6 miles x 2 is a long way for the human body to travel. 
My journey of training for two Ironmans is now complete.....and now I anxiously await the day when I can stand at my 7th Ironman starting line. 
I am so very grateful to my body for allowing me to train for 2 Ironman distance triathlons (with the second round being 100% injury free) within 6 month time span. I trained for 10 weeks specifically for Ironman Lake Placid and after a 2 week unstructured bike/swim routine from training (with only 1 run/walk at the end of that 2 week period) I dedicated 12 weeks to preparing for the Ironman World Championship. 
Aside from needing to clean my car (My triathlon bag explodes in there almost daily), I am very excited to be approaching my active recovery week and then race week which will be my official "taper". Active recovery week allows my body to recover from many weeks of structured, quality "train hard, recovery harder" training and to rejuvenate my body. Taper, on the other hand, will include high intensity efforts w/ plenty of recovery to prepare my body for race day. Through experience as an athlete who has struggled with tapering and peaking at the right time, over the past few years Karel and I have learned that my body does the best with a heavy load at the end of my training cycle (keep in mind - I did not do over 17.5 hours a week of training for the IM world championship so my typical weekly load was more intense and race specific than high in volume) and then following that with an active recovery week. As you may have experienced, after a hard training load the body needs to repair and that can bring heavy legs, altered sleep (body wanting a lot more sleep), perhaps a change in appetite (my appetite stays the same with IM training so I never get super "hungry" or cravings with training - thanks to proper sport nutrition and daily fueling) and mood changes (nerves, excitement, highs and lows). These are things that no athlete wants to or needs to experience on race day so to ensure the body feels 'hungry' to race on race week, I allow the 2 weeks before a race for total body and mind recovery and I welcome active recovery to help flush things out and to keep the body active without a lot of training stress. Then on race week, I get to wake the body up with a few bursts and keep with my motto of saving my best performance for race day. 

One of the best parts of our training style is seeing all the pieces of the puzzle come together when they need to come together. With MANY 3-4 hour "IM rides" behind me, my body was set to put it all together for my last long ride last week. It was raining and I was in a 11-mile loop for the ride but all things considered, I was not going to let excuses get in my way for my 2nd 5-hour ride during Kona prep (the other ride was 99.1 miles with Karel).

5 hour ride + 30 min run
Bike main set:
45 minutes at IM Pace watts w/ 3 min EZ in between for 5 hours.
(yep  - that's it! Put all those pieces together and all those 3-4 hour workouts were coming into play for my first solo 100 mile ride in the past 22 weeks).

Run off the bike was great - averaged 8:12 min/miles w/ 30 sec walk in between each mile as usual.

I switched over my Garmin to my main page (from my interval screen) and I couldn't believe my eyes. Holy cow....NEVER have I held 20 mph alone and finally I could fully experience how this quality training approach pays off! Karel was just as happy as I was for you never know how the body will adapt to training stress and I'm so happy that we have been able to put the pieces together very nicely with my 3rd time training for the IM world championship.

This past week was one of the hardest weeks of training (Mon - Fri) that I have ever put in and I could not be more proud of my body. It was a lot of commitment, dedication and mental strength and as usual, I do not let excuses get in my way. Trying to keep everything balanced, I focused on the controllables and did waste any energy on things out of my control. 

Oh - speaking of uncontollables - I must mention that I did have a mental break down on Thurs as I was doing my "planned" workout which was modified thanks to a power meter that decided to malfunction just 24 hours before I needed to drop off my bike at the Trek Store for Tri Bike Transport to pick up. But as usual, Karel saved the day just like he did at Branson 70.3 and IMWI when I had two mechanical issues the day before the race. 
When people ask Karel about what gadgets/bikes to buy, Karel is always honest in terms of quality gear but he also focused on customer service. I am so grateful to Stages for sending Karel (and me) a new powermeter overnight so that Karel could do his magic and install it, sync everything and tune-up my bike within 2 hours of sending my bike off to Hawaii. THANK YOU KAREL and STAGES!!!

As for this weekend, a glorious well-deserved gadget free 2:45-3 hr-ish ride on my road bike (yes - no gadgets not even a bike computer) followed by a Campy walk in the rain. I could have ridden forever on my road bike but the focus today was to ride like a kid and stop when I wanted to stop. I figured my ride was over when it started pouring but I really enjoyed today just riding for fun. Tomorrow I will enjoy a day off from training and cheer for Karel who is racing at the local HOT olympic distance triathlon at camp blanding (with Campy).

And about those taper blues and concerns about the diet/body composition before race week? 

Putting things into perspective if you struggle with your relationship with food as an endurance athlete, it's important that your mindset does not change throughout IM training....even if you are still training despite lowered volume. The entire focus of training is to put all the pieces together for race day and I could not be more excited to see what my body can do on October 12th, 2013. I did not put in all this work to stand around in spandex and show off my body. I trained to use my body, to test my limits, to overcome obstacles and to thank my body for the gift it has given me to swim-bike-run for 140.6 miles.

14 days until the Ironman World Championship and I will continue to eat the same foods that have fueled my workouts, have kept my immune system strong and have helped me recover. I will still love every day as triathlons are not my life, but instead my lifestyle.
My body will perform on race day based on how I trained it to perform and not based on a number on a scale. 
And most of all, my "reward" food will continue to keep me healthy until I get to the starting line.

A yummy post workout meal:
Local fresh whole grain bread
Scrambled eggs (1 whole egg + 1 egg white)
Sauteed kale w/ olive oil, goat cheese, leeks and red peppers
Sliced peaches

Thank you to all who have continued to follow and support my IM journey! Keep dreaming big!

Kona prep mind over matter: Train the brain

Marni Sumbal

Well, it's finally official. 
MARNI SUMBAL (30-34 age group): BIB NUMBER 1933

With this week being my last week of Ironman training before an active recovery week followed by race week taper, my body feels amazing. With our approach to Ironman training being enhanced every year, I really feel Karel and I nailed my training for my 7th Ironman and 3rd Ironman World Championship. Every go-around we reflect on what didn't work and then we stretch the boundaries on how much I can get my body to adapt with the least amount of training stress. With this "less is more, train hard, recover harder approach" I have experienced bitter sweet feelings before my last three Ironmans. Absolutely I am ready to taper and rejuvenate from all this Ironman Kona specific training and I am excited to experience the normal "hunger" I experience on race week to get out there and let my body do it's thing. But my body and mind feel healthy. They feel strong and confident and it saddens me that this training is coming to an end. I still do not dread any workout and I continue to look forward to what my body can do with every workout I am given from Karel (and oh boy does he push me!). What's even more amazing is that instead of experiencing burnout (which I never get - ready for the season to end, sure, but never a loss of motivation), I continue to see big performance gains. I have off workouts but not as often as the great workouts. Although I pushed my body to a whole new level to qualify for Kona at 2013 Ironman Lake Placid, I challenged myself to training my brain just as much as training my body - with the help of Gloria, my mental coach (who will also be my roomie in Kona).


One thing I have learned with my journey as an endurance age group athlete, is that the mind must be as strong as the body. You can put in all the hours and miles as you want to make it look good on paper that you did the work but if you want your body to perform, your brain must be tough and ready for the challenge.

Training the brain is not easy. And this is why I rely on Gloria to help me for when I experience doubt, I know she has a toolkit to guide me in the right direction.

For example, whenever you start a training plan, for most people the first 3-4 weeks seem to fly by. Endorphins are flowing, the body feels great and everything goes as planned. But then there are the moments here and there were workouts are challenging and the doubt comes about. Looking ahead 4,8,12 weeks down the road, you think to yourself how will I ever be able to finish the race with my goals accomplished. Then, suddenly, with a balanced approach to training. Everything suddenly comes together. The puzzle pieces make more sense and although it doesn't necessarily get easy, the mind knows that race day is coming. So no more excuses, what if's or doubts but instead, confidence that the body CAN do what it was trained to do. However, for many people, the excuses, doubts and what if's continue until race day and that can be very draining and negative for a body that is primed to perform.

This week has been tough. Putting in those final workouts to my Ironman puzzle has been time-consuming and challenging. But, what's keeping me positive is that my body and mind are strong. I do not doubt my fitness and I feel very confident about my race (3rd time is the charm as they say :) Of course, knowing that I just did an IM about 12 weeks ago, I do not fear the distance and I have trust in myself that I can race smart in Kona with the notorious wind/heat race day conditions (among 1500 of the best IM athletes around the world). More than anything, I am not focusing on getting faster but instead, building confidence for race day. Learning how to overcome obstacles that occur in training is just as important as nailing a fueling plan or having several long workouts in the bank.

This morning I had a tough brick.
First off - 4500 swim.
Then a 6 mile run.

On paper, my physically trained Ironman body was ready for the distance but it was the sets that challenged my mental strength.

4500 swim:
2 x 1700 swim w/ 1:30 rest in between
1100 swim
All Ironman "steady" pace

With the pieces coming together very nicely, this set allowed my mind to wander. I had plenty of time to think about anything and everything but I was forced to stay in the moment. In an Ironman, it's very easy to think about mile 20-26 of the run.....when you are at mile 1 of the swim. But with 140.6 miles to cover, what's the point of thinking ahead when you can stay in the moment. Why direct your thoughts to something that has not happened yet when you can direct all your energy to what's occurring at that moment in time.

Although good on paper, I struggled mentally with this swim because it felt easy....but on my watch it didn't look fast (relative to me). But I felt SO good in the water. It was just a mental mess going on this morning in the pool and only I could figure my way out of it. So I had two choices - be grateful that it feels easy now and it once did not feel easy 8 weeks ago (because I wasn't "trained" yet for this set) OR get frustrated and upset and throw in the towel.

I choose the first option.

I finished the swim feeling happy and confident. Confident that I did the work in the pool, happy that I still love to swim. I will not bash my body for not giving me faster times for I put in the necessary work and this was all that my body could tolerate alongside my bike and run training...and balancing life, sleep, diet, traveling, etc. I am excited to start the Kona swim with a body that loves to swim.

Next up - 6 miles of running.

I remember back in June that my endurance was not where it is today. I was getting my body back into shape after 90 days of no running and running just wasn't fun for me. I was not able to push and let my mind be my only limiter. With an amazing 10 weeks of injury-free training behind me and a great foundation from recovering so well from IM Lake Placid, I have enjoyed every run and I constantly thank my body (and continue to do all my hip/core/back exercises and stretching/foam rolling/110% Play harder icing, epson salt baths, massages 1-2 times a month).

So today, I put another workout in the Kona bank that brings me confidence for my mental tool kit.

6 x 1 miles with 30 sec walk in between.
Odd steady, even "faster" (I don't have a lot of speed in my body so I am not pushing my boundaries with my current lactic threshold).
48:48 time
6.11 miles
Average pace 7:59 (including walks)
Mile 1: 8:17 min/mile, 182 HR (rush of blood)
30 sec walk: 122 HR
Mile 2: 7:25 min/mile, 161 HR
30 sec walk 132 HR
Mile 3: 7:55 min/mile, 141 HR
30 sec walk 131 HR
Mile 4: 7:06 min/mile, 150 HR
30 sec walk, 151 HR (body was speaking to me)
Mile 5: 7:57 min/mile, 146 HR
30 sec walk 143 HR
Mile 6: 7:05 min/mile, 156 HR

What made this so hard? Once again - it all came down to mind over matter. As I ran the first hard interval, my brain instantly thought "There's no way you will be able to run the last one hard." Here I am not even finished with the first interval and despite my legs speaking to me, my mind was already trying to convince me that there was no way I could do 3 sets of these. But after the recovery walk and a steady interval (which was surprisingly "fast" compared to the "fast" interval), I decided to just give it a go and instead of making excuses, just make things happen. After the 2nd interval, viola. Just one more fast to go. Although it did get tough as the lactic acid was accumulating in my oxygen deprived body, never did my body tell me that I couldn't do it.

One thing I have learned with training for sports and racing is that you can never count yourself out OR think you have it in the bag until you cross the finish line (or finish a workout). When it comes to endurance racing, the best way to succeed is to slow down the least amount possible. In other words, you don't have to be fast, you don't have to be the best at everything and you don't have to get upset if things aren't going as planned at a certain moment. What you have to do is stay in the moment. The only way to get yourself to the next interval, mile or set is to be sure your mind is just as strong as your body.

Next time that you doubt yourself, give it a go. Don't fear the hard for it will get easier. And when it does, you will likely find yourself craving another challenge of seeing where you can take your body and mind. For me, I love everything that comes with training for an endurance event for my body doesn't have to let me do what I ask for it to do when I train it. I am so incredibly grateful to my body no matter how the workout unfolds.

Thank you body....and mind.

Weekend recap - physiology of the heart by training in the heat

Marni Sumbal

Some people have no trouble training in the heat whereas others think it is just brutal and not welcomed. I'd like to think that most athletes prefer the ideal temperature of 50-65 degrees for running and around 70-75 degrees for triathlons but everyone has their preferences....just like their style of training.
As I prep for Kona which is 6 weeks away, I am not training in the hottest part of the day for I feel there is no need to lose form or risk dehydration/exhaustion from the heat. Instead, I will train when I feel the best and that is in the morning but of course, it is to be expected that as my training volume progresses, I will be training in the heat whether I like it or not. Gotta love living in Florida for it is a sweat fest everyday.....and I love it!
For this weekend's training, I'd like to explain a little about my workouts and to also explain a little about the physiology of the body (the heart) in the heat to better help with your training/working out.
For my cycling, I go by power which measures my watts on the bike. My zones are determined from a max sustainable power test but I also with all my interval training and past Ironman, I have a very good idea as to what I can sustain (watts) for different intervals. I love training with my power meter because it takes the guessing away from training and also allows me to run stronger off the bike because I can pace myself on the run. I do believe in perceived exertion and keeping a steady cadence but I do not get hung up on speed...but it is nice to see that since IM Lake Placid I am riding much faster and stronger than before.
For my runs, I have to be smart with my running, not only for my past history with hip/back issues but to maintain consistency with my  training and now, Kona prep. I do not do long hours of working out each day but instead, I do  a lot of intervals at various paces. This allows me to recover better from working out because although I stress my body everytime I train (thus why I value recovery days off from structured training), I do not risk the gradual fatigue that occurs due to running out of oxygen or not getting enough nutrients to support metabolism during training by training high volumes (relative to many athletes in my sport of choice).
For my run off the bike on Saturday, I choose to go by RPE and only monitor my HR as I feel the HR should be focused on but it is not the best way to train 100% of the time. I am more of a RPE and pace kinda of endurance athlete and I feel that by understanding the physiology of the body, it is easier to get in a quality workout when you are not 100% focused on the HR, especially in the heat. However, you must always be smart with training and listen to the body - whether it is speaking to you with pain or it is showing you something unhealthy with your training data on your Garmin.
On Saturday, knowing it was 11am and 95 degrees out, my body was limited by my core temperature increasing and thus my HR increasing and not because of lactic acid buildup. Because running will naturally cause an increase in HR over the course of the run due to "cardiac drift", the smartest strategy for me was to walk each mile in order to help control my HR. As you can see from mile 5-6, my body was compromised by the heat as my HR was elevated but I was running much slower and perceived effort felt the same. I always run with sport nutrition but also water for cooling my body. Anytime you workout, your cardiovascular system is stressed. This is why I am not a fan of long workouts for Ironman training because this also dampens the immune system. I realize you must properly prep for the distance ahead but I believe it can be done by getting faster before you go longer and then adapting with the least amount of training stress. 

The heart is a powerful muscle and not always appreciated. Not only does it need to deliver oxygen to the working muscles but it also needs to help transport heat to the skin and to help ensure that the GI system is working to digest and absorb nutrients to fuel the body/brain during exercise. The stroke volume of the heart (volume of blood delivered by each beat of the heart) increases when you exercise to help circulate blood to your metabolic systems so that you can continue to have a great workout.
Eventually when you workout, there is going to be a plateau in stroke volume. Unlike anaerobic exercise which is limited by your ability to tolerate and flush lactic acid due to lack of oxygen (thus the need to slow down when you can't breath anymore and your legs are burning), we all have a limit as to how much blood our body can pump during exercise and eventually you are going to notice that your HR will not increase and your body will not go any faster. 
As you train, remember that working out and getting faster/stronger is not just about motivation. You have to be smart with your training in order for your body to actually respond favorably to training stress. Secondly, your main limiters with longer distance exercise is lack of oxygen and nutrients. If you are pushing too hard without adequate recovery and/or not supplying your body with nutrients (ex. fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates) to support the metabolic demands of your body (or not able to properly digest and absorb those nutrients), you are sabotaging yourself for performance gains. Many athletes feel frustrated when the workout doesn't go as planned and then blame the body for having a bad day. With smart, quality training, you should find yourself consistently improving, recovering well from working out and having your mind as the only limiter and constantly thanking your body. This equation is not always perfect so keep in mind, you must NEVER give up by finding the perfect balanced training plan to help you move closer to your racing goals.
3:45 bike + 50 minute run
Time started: 7:45am

1 hour warm-up (building to upper Z2)
Main set:
20 min Z3 w/ 2 min EZ
25 min Z3 w/ 2 min EZ
30 min Z3 w/ 4 min EZ
3 x 10 min low Z4 w/ 4 min EZ
Steady upper Z2 until time is complete. 

Run (off the bike):
Mile 1: steady, perceived effort 7/10, walk 1 minute
Mile 2- 4: steady 90% effort, walk 1 minute in between
Mile 5-6: Comfortable (get it done)

Garmin 910XT data:
54 minutes (6.12 miles)
Average pace 8:49 min/mile (with walking)
Average HR: 152
Mile 1: 8:07 min/mile, 136 HR
30 sec walk: 137 HR
Mile 2: 7:56, 150 HR
30 sec walk, 147 HR
Mile 3: 8:03, 154 HR
30 sec walk, 150 HR
Mile 4: 8:02, 159 HR
30 sec walk 155 HR
Mile 5: 8:50, 155 HR
30 sec walk, 150 HR
Mile 6: 8:35, 157 HR

Sunday: 2 hour run (or 15 miles) - whichever feels "right"
Time started: 8am

Total time: 2:10
Distance: 15.11
Average pace 8:38 min/mile (including walk breaks, not including a 3 minute stop for bathroom at mile 10 and to refill handheld flask bottles w/ nutrition)
HR 142 average

Set for today: hold around 8:15 min/mile (give or take 5-10 sec) which is my "ideal" run off the Ironman bike in a marathon but haven't yet accomplished that...but I still have it as my goal with training to see where I can take my body overtime and I am not afraid to work hard for it. I typically go by RPE on the marathon run in an IM based on my current level of fitness and bank these great workouts for mental strength on race day. Especially when my body is hating me around mile 20 of a 140.6 mile race.
My plan was to walk 30 sec after each mile and every 40 minutes to walk 1 full minute to help postpone fatigue. I have to be very careful of my body to not overdo it and since my longest run before Placid was 15 miles, I was using this as a confidence builder but also to assess my endurance and fitness. Let's just say I was very impressed with my body and thanked it about 15 times this morning. 
I have my watch set on auto lap each mile and then I hit lap to start a new interval.
I monitor lap time, current HR, lap pace and current pace.

Mile 1: 8:48 min/mile, HR 126 (warm-up)
30 sec walk: HR 116
Mile 2: 8:16 min/mile, HR 131
30 sec walk: HR 123
Mile 3: 8:10 min/mile, HR 137
30 sec walk: 125 HR
Mile 4: 8:07 min/mile, HR 141 + 5 minutes at 8:19 min/mile, HR 144
1 min walk, 124 HR
Mile 5.5 (ish): 8:13 min/mile, HR 143
30 sec walk: 133 HR
Mile 6.5: 8:15 min/mile, HR 143
30 sec walk: 129 HR
Mile 7.5: 8:14 min/mile, HR 146
30 sec walk: 138 HR
Mile 8.5: 8:10 min/mile, HR 149
30 sec walk, HR 142
Mile 9.5: 8:11 min/mile, HR 150 + 2 min walk 8:30 min/mile, 150 HR
3 min break
3.5 minute ease back into running, 8:38 min/mile, HR 134
Mile 10.5 (ish) - 8:17 min/mile, HR 146
30 sec walk, HR 142
Mile 11.5 - 8:14 min/mile, HR 148
30 sec walk, HR 143
Mile 12.5 - 8:13 min/mile, HR 148
30 sec walk, HR 143
Mile 13.5: 8:16 min/mile, HR 148
30 sec walk, HR 147
Last 5 minutes with Campy - 8:45 min/mile (he wanted to go faster...I didn't), HR 138