contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.


Greenville, SC

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: "workouts"

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).



                                  
                                                                           SOURCE

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.

Kona training update + Karel's weekend workouts

Marni Sumbal

8.5 quality, "train smarter to train harder" hours of Ironman World Championship training this weekend. My whole wheat pita bread pizza topped with marinara, cheese, BRAGG powder and oregano and olive oil, stir fried veggies (mushrooms, mixed frozen veggies, red and yellow sweet peper, garlic) with tempeh hit the spot tonight. Body and mind are feeling strong, healthy and happy.


Another week of training is behind me and I am excited to recover tomorrow. I am always amazed that with one recovery day per week (sometimes two) that my body can recover from 6 previous days of training and be strong for 6 more days of training and keep this cycle going for x-weeks. One thing that really helps me stay balanced is constantly changing up my routine and only limiting my "key race training" to around 10-12 weeks at a time. When I started endurance sports, I was like many athletes and had a specific schedule Mon - Sun and would repeat that same routine week after week, month after month. Over the past few years, Karel always changes up my workouts, often with Thurs - Sun being the key workouts and then using Mon - Wed as active recovery. I love how my body is always getting use to something new and I think that is why I don't get burnt out from training. There is a lot of flexibility and challenge so I never get bored and my body never feels run down (tired and sore at times but nothing I can't recover from). After my two week recovery from IM Placid, the first few weeks of my IM training for Kona had a routine of an intense brick or interval run on Tues but now I know that my body can't take the added stress after the weekend training with my training on the weekend being much more intense and specific to the IM (now that the building is overwith). As an athlete, it is always important to weigh the pros and cons with training. Ask yourself what you can accomplish each day and week to move closer to your goals for you don't want to have 3 weeks of great workouts and then find yourself 4,6,8 weeks away from race day feeling tired, on the verge of injury or burnout. Keep it fun and never lose sight of your goals and dreams. 

Self doubt can be a challenge for an athlete, let alone any individual trying to reach goals. My belief is how do you know you can't do it unless you try and give your best effort?
This morning I woke up excited to train but the typical thoughts of "can I do this?" were on my mind as I drove 6 miles down the road to Nocatee to train. I never let my mind win when it comes to controlling my body but I do have to use my mental skills to hush up those thoughts. I never want to miss an opportunity to give a good effort just because I think I don't have "it" for the day. Of course, this is not an appropriate thought for an athlete who is sick or injured and that is why I always focus on training smart for I respect my body too much to push it went it can not adapt to training stress. My ultimate goal is to always have my mind as my only limiter when I train and race. BTW - I can't tell you how excited I am to have my personal sport psychologist and friend Gloria with me in Kona from Oct 7th - Oct 15th.

Sunday training:
After a 1 hour warm-up on the bike (18 miles and oh did my body really benefit from that) I started my long run:
First 8 miles steady @ IM Pace w/ 30 sec walk in between
2-3 min break - bathroom/refill flasks w/ sport drink
Main set:
5 x 1 miles Descending from IM pace to whatever my body would give w/ 30 sec walk in between
Last mile cool down
1 hour EZ spin active recovery (16 miles - oh this felt sooooo good to loosen the legs and sip on Hammer FIZZ - so refreshing to replace electrolytes as it was a major sweat fest this morning running from 8:30-10:30am in the Florida heat). 

Stats from my run:
2:08 hours
Average pace 8:37 min/mile (including walking and cool down, not including break)
Total miles: 14.93 miles
Average HR 140 bpm
Mile 1: 8:27, 120 HR
30 sec walk: 112 HR
Mile 2: 8:18, 126 HR
30 sec walk: 120 HR
Mile 3: 8:22, 131 HR
30 sec walk: 125 HR
Mile 4: 8:29 (incline), 139 HR
30 sec walk: 135 HR
Mile 5: 8:23, 140 HR
30 sec walk: 133 HR
Mile 6: 8:30, 140 HR
30 sec walk: 134 HR
Mile 7: 8:35, 142 HR
30 sec walk: 140 HR
Mile 8: 8:28, 143 HR
Break
Mile 9: 8:20, 141 HR
30 sec walk: 139 HR
Mile 10: 8:12, 147 HR
30 sec walk: 141 HR
Mile 11: 8:10, 145 HR
30 sec walk: 141 HR
Mile 12: 8:10, 143 HR
30 sec walk: 153 HR (body was getting hot - look how my HR went up during the walk to try to cool my body)
Mile 13: 7:56, 153 HR (but I had just enough mental strength to convince my body that I could do this! And fueling was perfect so had plenty of energy for this run)
30 sec walk: 153 HR
Mile 14: 8:26, 150 (steady effort before cool down)
.57 miles: 9:07, 141 HR


Karel is currently training for the Miami 70.3 so his training is a lot more intense. It took him a few weeks to recover fully from Placid and a few more weeks to get his snap back into his legs. Here's his weekend training:

Saturday: 2 hour bike + 30 min run
Bike - first hour warm-up until steady "fast" pace (draft legal behind two of our athletes JM and Josh)
Main set: 10 x 6 minutes @ Z4 watts w/ 1 min recovery in between (about 1 hour of hard efforts)
Run off the bike: 30 min negative split run - 6:50, 6:40, 6:30, 6:13

Sunday: 13.1 mile run (1:30, 6:52 min/mile including walk breaks) + 1 hour social spin (active recovery)
2.5 miles - warm-up (7:17, 7:00)
Stopped and stretched for a few minutes
Main set 3x's:
3 miles descending w/ 1 min walk in between  (start at 6:50 min/miles and descend 10 sec each mile)
6:49, 6:39, 6:29
6:47, 6:39, 6:29
6:48, 6:40, 6:15 (with strong finish)
Walked 1 minute
Jogged cool down 1.4 miles - 6:50 min/mile

We train smarter to train harder and in order to do so, we recover even harder. 



Kona training update and food is fuel (yummy)

Marni Sumbal


This body is not disappointing me despite pushing it to higher limits and challenging workouts. Thanks coach Karel!

Today's workout was a breakthrough. I owe it to two great recovery days last week (Mon off, Tues 3000 recovery swim) and a balanced training plan since IM Lake Placid that has allowed my body to train hard but recover harder. I still don't forget that I didn't run for 90 days in Feb  - April but I thank my body constantly. Sometimes I even do it out loud. 

Wednesday - UNF masters swim team (joined Karel who has really benefited from this group and Coach Mel's assistance with his stroke)
Main set:
100 fast, 50 EZ
2 x 100 fast, 50 EZ
3 x 100 fast, 50 EZ
4 x 100 fast 50 EZ
The goal was to get faster with the fast as the set went on (2 minute cycle) but to be consistent. I really woke up my fast twitch fibers and oh boy was my body filled with lactic acid. I went from 1:16 to holding 1:14 on the last 4 and I was done after that. Whewww.

After the swim Karel and I went for a 90 minute bike, I included 8 x 2 min "fast" w/ 3 min EZ to wake up the body before Thursday's workout.

Thursday: Brick (bike + run)
Bike main set:
10 x 3 min Z4, 2 min Z3 low (Recover in IM watts) - loved this set!

Run off the bike
1 mile EZ (8:10), 1 min walk
Main set: 4 x 1 miles @ 7:30-7:40 min/mile pace w/ 1 min walk/rest in between
1 mile steady (8:10 min/mile)

Fri - 5000
Main set:
2 x 800's IM pace w/ 1 min rest
3 x 400's IM pace w/ 1 min rest
Hip/core work

Saturday: 3:37 bike (71 miles) + 1 hour run (7.2 miles)
Bike:
1 hour warm-up (building to 15 watts below IM pace)
Main set 4x's:
35 min at IM pace (my new pace is now 12 watts higher - yippe for training smarter, less is more) w/ 4 min EZ
(this set went by super fast and my body felt strong, no residual fatigue as the set went on. Sport nutrition liquid fueling was spot on (I don't do any solid foods in my training/racing) and haven't had any stomach distress with any of my IM training in many many years.)

Run off the bike:
6 x 1 miles @ interval of goal IM pace (the focus was to run faster than goal IM pace and then walk until the goal IM pace cycle was up. My goal IM pace is 8:30 so I was running comfortably 7:57-8 min/miles and then walking 30-35 sec in between. Great set, loved it! It got hard on the last mile as I was super hot and running out of my drinks in my two flasks.
10 min cool jog down (this felt sooo good to run 8:50 min/mile pace after that)


The other day while I was working in the hospital (I work PRN as an inpatient Clinical RD) I had a patient who was admitted for Jaundice and electrolyte imbalance. This patient was also diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia.

As we all know electrolytes are vital as our nerves, cardiac muscle and skeletal muscle all rely on them on a daily basis. They also help control pH balance in the blood and body fluids. Our electrolytes are best obtained from food but as we know as athletes, we also find them in sport drinks. Electrolytes are tightly controlled in body fluids (ex. plasma, blood and interstitial fluid) and must remain in specific concentrations or else serious medical conditions may arise.

Now as a clinical RD, it is appropriate for me to let everyone know that restricting food or purging food will lead to an electrolyte imbalance (among many other issues) and may cause further stress on the kidneys and heart. 

I'm sure we can all agree that restricting food for anyone is not recommended for we can put the body into a very serious situation of poor health as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 

So why is it that so many athletes feel that they don't need sport nutrition during workouts? As if the body is just fine with water (or nothing) and that dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, organ failure and even cardiovascular issues are not likely because training for a sporting event means that you are immune from these issues. 

Seeing that the body can "shut" down to try to resume balance without adding exercising into the mix when a person voluntarily restricts food (for whatever reason), this is why I am very adamant about not only consuming a balanced diet for athletes and fitness enthusiasts and learning how to fuel the body for health and for fitness/performance but also supporting the body with sport nutrition during training- when the body is under the most physiological stress. Sure, you can argue with me about fat burning and that your body doesn't need it but how about training the body to need it and then training the body so that the body takes care of itself to get stronger and more efficient?

I've said it before but I fuel before every workout, during every workout and after every workout. I never sabotage my body by not fueling it properly, especially when I want it to perform as beautifully as possible during training in order to get stronger and to recover faster.

Here are a few of my recent creations to help you continue your quest of learning how to develop a healthy relationship with food as an athlete. Remember - food is for fuel, for health and for pleasure. 

Brown Rice
Frozen Veggies
Boca veggie "meat" crumbles
Frozen edamame
Marinara sauce
Mozzarella cheese
topping: Sesame seeds
1. Microwave ingredients in bowl and top with sesame seeds.

Breakfast bread (nuts and dried fruit - Publix grocery store, made fresh daily)
Fresh fruit - raspberries, bananas
Greek yogurt (daily eats - 0% Fage)
Scrambled eggs (1 whole egg + 1 egg white)
Kale w/ olive oil (sauteed)

Roasted veggies - peppers, eggplant, onions (purple), mushrooms
Millet
Asparagus w/ garlic
Sunflower seeds
Goat cheese
Olive oil
Salt to taste
Marinara sauce
1. In 425 degree oven place veggies in large casserole and toss lightly in olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
2. Steam asparagus and then place in small casserole dish and top with chopped garlic and bake until golden brown (15 minutes).
3. Prepare millet (1/2 cup dry prepares 3 cups cooked) - 25-30 minutes
4. Place 1/2 - 1 cup millet in bowl and stir in marinara. Top with roasted veggies and asparagus and top with cheese and seeds. Season to taste.


|
Pre training snack: flat bread cracker + peanut butter, banana slices, cinnamon and honey

1/2 cup oatmeal (dry)
Apples
Peaches
Raspberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
~10g whey protein powder
Almonds
Water (to meet consistency needs)
Raisins

I love supporting small businesses especially the bakers and bread makers at the farmers market. I went to the Bartram Farmers market on Thursday and as I was browsing the breads, many tables where trying to pitch me their treats/breads by what was not in the ingredients (sugar, salt, fat, gluten, etc). I guess they don't know my personal philosophy and what I am all about when it comes to eating for fuel, for health and for pleasure.
I decided on Hugo's muffins because I could tell he was truly passionate about his food and he knew I would feel great eating it.... And I did, gluten and all. C
heck out Hugo's story HERE!
YAY - Campy walks are the best!! The most looked forward part of my day (for both of us).
(Pampered shades from Oakley Women)



Training the body: thanking the body.

Marni Sumbal



My legs were tired, it was hot and humid, the wind was blowing and I was riding behind Karel on his new Speed Concept.

33 days until Kona and I think I just finished one of my hardest training blocks ever.

Thank you BODY!

-Sunday's workout-

5 hour ride + 15 min run

Bike:
1 hour warm-up, building to 10 watts below IM pace (legs took a while to warm-up thanks to the stress I placed on my body from Saturday's 3:15 bike + 9.5 mile run).
35 min IM pace w/ 5 min EZ
Main set 3x's:
35 minutes @ Half IM pace (watts) w/ 4 minutes in between (see below of details of this set)
Steady riding upper Z2 until finished
Total hours: 4:58
Miles: 99.3

15 min run off the bike (RPE 75-80%, ended up holding 8-8:15 min/miles)

Since Karel is training for a half IM (Miami 70.3 in the end of October), his training is a bit different than mine right now. He ran 1 hour before the bike and then joined me on my 2nd interval. After I did 35 minutes of riding at my IM pace and then recovered for 5 minutes, Karel joined me and we were ready for the main set.

The duration for the main sets has grown over the past few weeks and no more am I feeling the "low" I use to feel around 2.5 hours during my long rides. While training for IM Lake Placid, I knew that my endurance was going to come slowly after not running for 90 days (Feb - April) due to my chronic hip/back issues. But I continue to focus on the CANs with my exercise/training routine and enjoying everyday with my healthy, pain free body. Now, I feel my endurance is better than ever and since the training is getting very intense and specific, I am super mindful of resting my body before I really need to rest it. I really love the progression that Karel has given me with my training for it was a work in progress. I spent all last year working on my speed as Karel did not want me to do an IM but instead work on the little things that will improve my endurance. Hence, get faster before you go longer.  I remember blogging last year about doing my first Olympic distance tri in 4 years! Oh the nerves!! Then there was The Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater . Then another Olympic distance tri (first time for Karel!). And then I was able to put it all together at Branson 70.3

Anyways, the body is an amazing thing and I don't feel it is always respected. It takes a lot of time to train the body and mind, not only in athletics but with anything in life. You just have to have patience and I think our society loves quick fixes. Our society wants something to happen today just like.

Sometimes we have to shut up the mind to make the body go that extra mile to get stronger but many times, we don't listen to the body when it is speaking.

I feel athletes are no more stubborn than the rest of the population for many people push the body (or don't listen to it) when it needs to rest or slow down. I think for many of us, we just don't want to miss out on life and because of that, this is the reason why we should listen and constantly pay attention to the body and what we choose to feed it, do with it and most importantly, how we speak to it.

On Sunday, my main set was more than just 35 minutes at Half IM pace. It involved no tail wind (thanks to Karel choosing country roads with the long blades of grass blowing right at me or to my side) and very little shade from the heat. It was perfect Kona prep and Karel constantly reminded me what I was about to do with my body in Kona in about 4 weeks for 140.6 miles. "It's not going to be easy Marni. You can never beat the wind."

Riding with Karel is amazing. I can't tell you how much I learn and benefit from him as a cat 1 cyclist for many many years. His knowledge of bikes is one thing as well as his passion for anything on two wheels but it is his attention to details and tactics that really make him so smart as an athlete.

The set was as follows:
10 minutes of me in front riding half IM pace.
Then Karel would go in front and hold a similar pace (he did this workout for me so he obviously wasn't pushing his watts) and I had to stay draft legal (7 meters) behind Karel. He wanted me to pay attention to my speed and watts and to stay draft legal but still be "competitive" with who was in front of me. This is something I have a hard time with as I typically stay a bit too focused on myself and don't take a lot of risks when it comes to being pushed by the other girls who pass me. Karel wanted me to be relentless within my own ability and I felt like this was one of the hardest sets I have ever done and it really pushed my limits (physically and mentally).


I repeat myself quite often but the thought in my mind is that I am always grateful for what my body allows me to do. There have been many times in my life when I have wanted to give up - when things aren't easy, when obstacles arise or when it seems like everyone else has it easier than me. 

For the past few years, I have experienced a lot in life and I owe it all to my body. We go to great lengths to reach goals together and because of it, I have really taken advantage of life. 

You see, success in life- whether sports, career or anything in between - is having a purpose and then thinking in a positive way as to how YOU can go about reaching your goal.

I constantly remind myself that my body does not have to let me do "this". When I train I push my body and challenge myself. I get sore, tired and rely on sport nutrition because I am depleting my body of nutrients, fluids and electrolytes. I see patients in the hospital who are too tired to get out of bed, lay in pain, are unable to think straight and feel miserable - not because they just did a marathon or an IM or biked 100 miles that day but because their body is failing them at that time.

I find so many people are so focused on what everyone else is doing that they forget who they should really be paying attention to on a daily basis - their own body.

This morning I received an email from a Trimarni follower and it 100% sums up everything I believe in. With permission from Sarah S. I wanted to share this note from her which she shares her thoughts after finishing her first Ironman distance triathlon. There's a great lesson in thanking the body. 


I started Ironman Arizona last November but DNF'd due to dehydration about 100 miles into the bike....Rev 3 Cedar Point was my redemption race.

First of all though, you really have changed the way I think about my body and my relationship with food. I don't come from an athletic background at all....I couldn't run over a mile until 2009, never really rode a bike until 2010 and couldn't swim a lap until 2011. So this has been quite the journey! 

I never have had a healthy relationship with food but reading your blog has taught me that as athletes especially food is FUEL and we need to treat our bodies right. Also, thanks to you the whole day yesterday I kept reminding myself to thank my body for being awesome. 

When it got hard (which it did a lot) and I wasn't preforming how I *thought* I should, or going as fast as I had hoped, instead of being angry at my body or dragging myself down, like I used to do, I thanked my body for letting me get through training and for carrying me through this race. 

In the past I would have felt bad for myself and thought "you're so slow, you're near the back, why do you even do this?" but yesterday not a single negative thought entered my mind the whole day. 

I spent hours thanking my legs and my lungs and encouraging my body to keep moving forward. It's still a new way of thinking for me, but I love it!

How did Sarah's race turn out? Here's the end of her race report:


Miles 18-22 were the worst, I just gritted my teeth and used every single ounce of grit and determination and will I could to move one foot in front of the other. With about 4 miles to go I started feeling good again! I actually did a little bit of slow running and let myself get a tiny bit excited about finishing but not too much because I still had over an hour to go at my pace. I could see the lights of cedar point getting closer and soon I could see and hear the finish line. Miraculously once I got in the chute all the pain vanished and I was able to run again. I took it all in…everyone cheering my name like I was a rockstar and the tears started flowing….I did it! A 6:23 marathon isn't what I hoped for (about an hour slower) but it didn't matter, I was so proud of myself. After 15:19 of swim, bike, and run! I am an Ironman! After years of training and a DNF last year, I did it. It was the hardest day of my life and nothing anyone can do or say will prepare you for how deep you have to dig out there. I am just so proud of myself!


5 weeks away from Kona: Training update

Marni Sumbal


Over the years, my training has changed tremendously. I wasn't sure how to approach the training as an endurance athlete so I followed the crowd and trained twice a day, long workouts on the weekends and dreaded the recommended "off" day on Monday. 

It worked for my first Ironman, so I decided that if more is better, I should do even more than before. However, I became injured and extremely fatigued for my second Ironman and now I pay for that race (2007 Ironman World Championship) a few times every year since.

With Karel's thinking outside the box, we have adapted a philosophy of "train hard, recover harder".

Training is periodized so that we peak at the right time and training stays balanced with life. Every workout has a purpose, there are no junk miles and we have fun seeing progress.

Sometimes there are off days but there are a lot of great days. The off days finish with the mindset that we accomplished something that we almost didn't start and the great days finish with motivation for the next workout. 

There is an understanding that for the body to adapt to training stress and improve performance/fitness, there must be training stress. There is commitment to the training plan and a realization that you can either make excuses or progress. But when there is too much training stress, it is hard to adapt in a positive manner. Therefore, we have learned how to create training plans for me (and for my athletes and pre-built plans) that provide workouts for gains in speed, endurance and fitness and balance in life. For if you are burnt out, sick, injured or on the verge of injury, adaptations can not take place. Our bodies get tired with our training load but it is not to the point that we can't recover to set up ourselves for a great next training session the following day. There are recovery days, there is an appreciation of other important areas in life that can bring fitness gains (balanced diet, understanding of proper fueling around/during workouts, compression, epson salt baths, restful sleep, massages, good attitude, mental strength, hip/core work, stretching) and most importantly, the training plan is designed for long-term success. 

Everything is coming together amazingly well for Kona in just 5 weeks! I do not expectations of being on the podium but instead, having a strong race. It is an honor for me to race at the Ironman World Championship for the third time and my #1 goal is to arrive to the starting line healthy, injury free and hungry to race. 

Just like every Ironman, I really love the journey. Still reminding myself that I just did an Ironman 6 weeks ago (with 2 weeks of recovery), I am constantly thanking my body for what it is allowing me to do. Thanks to Karel having a very good understanding of my body (which is important for any athlete who works with a coach to consider the long-term investment that is required for a coach to understand how you, the athlete adapts to training), he has developed a perfect plan for me to get even stronger, faster and more efficient before Kona. 

There are no two-a-days and my weekly hours are around 15-16 hours a week. I have yet to do a bike ride over 4.5 hours and my longest run was 15 miles last weekend. I run an average of around 15-30 miles a week, with most of my runs off the bike. Every workout has a main set and my sets are typically long on the bike and RPE focused for the run. I swim 2-3 days a week (depending on my choice of day off or active recovery) and my swims are around 3500-4500 on average - with more yardage because I love to swim and sometimes have trouble getting out of the water when my inner fish comes out. I do hip/core work every night for 15 minutes + stretching and I do hip/core work in the gym twice a week. 

The best thing about quality training is the energy that I have for life. Rather than having an expectation as to how much I need to train each week, I have my week laid out (hospital/home with my business) and I have a training plan that allows me to separate my work time from training time. Even though I work from home and have flexibility with my work day (which is typically 8-10 hours a day dedicated to Trimarni), I would rather walk Campy in the evening, cook a delicious creation and go to bed early instead of squeezing in another workout in the evening. I give myself 2-2.5 hours every morning for myself to train during the week and I like to be finished training by noonish on the weekends. This doesn't mean that I have train all those hours and as much as I love to train, I like to see progress. I also respect my body and understand that too much training stress does not make me a better athlete but instead, an active individual with a dampened immune system. 

I really love this article Recover Right which include tips from Coach Matt Dixon from Purple Patch Coaching who is a strong believer in the "less is more" approach. 

Just to be clear - training smarter doesn't mean that I don't take risks. Just like any athlete, I love to push my body and not always does it work in my favor. But the most important thing I can do as an athlete and fitness enthusiast is appreciate the value of recovery. Your progress as an athlete is only as good as your ability to recover from workouts. Every athlete is different and keep in mind that as life changes, so does your training routine. The best thing you can do as an athlete is make it all work by focusing on your needs, your body and your goals. 

Here's a recap of my training this week: 

Monday (finishing off a 3-day training block with the holiday) - 4:15 social/fun ride (solid effort with the group)
Tues - day off from all training. 20 minutes of stretching in the evening and a 40 minute Campy walk in the am and several mini Campy walks during the day around the block.

Wed - 4300 swim + 1 hour spin (brick)
Swim main set 3x's:
300 steady at IM pace
4 x 50's fast on :45 seconds

Thurs - (in Macon) - 1:15 run of intervals (I rarely have mile-based runs for weekly runs, instead I go by time)
1 mile warm-up
Main set 6x's: over/under thresholds
1/2 mile @ sub 7:30 min/mile, 1/2 mile "slower" w/ 1 minute in between
(I did this around the block at Stefanies which was a perfect 1/2 mile loop). I went 100% by perceived exertion and ended up descending the 1/2 miles (thanks to my fast twitch fibers waking up over the set) and getting a little slower on the 1/2 mile "slower". I averaged around 6:33-7:15 min/mile for the first 1/2 mile and around 7:40-8:15 min/mile for the last 1/2 mile.
Last mile cool down and then 1/2 mile or so with Campy.
8 miles total.

Fri - 5000 swim + core/hip work (20 minutes) + stretching
Main set:
10 x 100's on 1:30 (holding 1:20)
500 pull w/ paddles/buoy  steady (holding 1:27 pace)
5 x 100's on 1:30 (holding 1:19)
500 pull w/ paddles/buoy steady (holding 1:30 pace)
400 kick (50 free, 50 fly kick fast)

Sat - 3:15 bike + 1:20 run (AMAZING WORKOUT!)
Bike - (even though a shorter bike, this allowed me to push a little harder to receive a bit more stress without risking fatigue from long volume. This also allowed me to run on "tired" legs for training stress which is more valuable to my body than a "long" run on fresh legs).
1 hour warm-up building to IM pace watts
Main set 3x's
5 min Z4, 10 min Z3 low (IM watts), 5 min Z4, 10 min Z3 low
5 min EZ
(30 min main set + 5 min recovery)
Total 60 miles

Run off the bike (starting at 10:30 am)
8 x 1 miles @ RPE 80% effort (I managed to hold around 8 min/miles which really made me happy. I knew my HR would go up over time as it was nearing 92 degrees when I finished my bike according to my Garmin so I just monitored my HR to keep under 160 as I knew that was too high for me and I would have trouble recovering from a long run off the bike with a high HR even if I wasn't running "fast") w/ 30 sec walk in between. At 4 miles, I walked 1 total minute to refill my flasks.
Last mile + extra was "cool down"

Stats from my 910 XT (SO happy with this run as well as the entire workout today - what a solid workout for my body)
1:20 run
9.49 miles
8:26 min/mile pace (including walking)
Average HR 154

Mile 1: 8:04, 134 HR
30 sec walk, 138 HR
Mile 2: 7:56, 146 HR
30 sec walk, 138 HR
Mile 3: 7:57, 149 HR
30 sec walk, 140 HR
Mile 4: 7:57, 153 HR
1 min walk, 143 HR
Mile 5: 8:05, 154 HR
30 sec walk, 152 HR
Mile 6: 8:02, 156 HR
30 sec walk, 153 HR
Mile 7: 8:06, 157 HR
30 sec walk, 153 HR
Mile 8: 8:05, 157 HR
30 sec walk, 155 HR
Mile 9: 8:40, 170 HR (Super hot but felt really "EZ" but HR was not showing that it was EZ. Massive rush of blood to try to cool my body.)
2 minutes (.32): 8:20, 182 HR (officially done!)

Sunday (tomorrow) - 5 hour ride + 1 mile run

Total training hours: ~17 (including the 4 hours on Monday due to the holiday and three day training block)

You might be a triathlete when.....your car looks like this!




GYMBOSS Interval Timer: Product Review

Marni Sumbal

I love intervals for workouts. For anything to break up the monotony of a timed-workout keeps me motivated and excited for each and every upcoming workout. My mind never gets bored and I am forced to be mentally and physically "in the moment" for every set.

Although I see nothing wrong with swim, bike, run for x-minutes (as I rarely go by miles with my training or my athletes training), I find the best way to train for quality is to have a purpose for each workout. You warm-up and cool down as needed and the focal point is the main set....the intervals.

When athletes or fitness enthusiasts think intervals they generally think hard, leg burning, sweaty and intense. But intervals can range from steady and long to short and intense...and everything in between.

Here are a few of my favorite, recent Ironman-focused swim, bike, run workouts:

Key IM bike workout
IM focused long brick
Breakthrough IM swim
Run intervals

But in addition to using intervals for cardio workouts, intervals work great for strength training. I am a firm believer that strength training should be included in the weekly fitness routine - regardless of what type of athlete or fitness enthusiast you are. I have been strength training since I was 11 (when I started swimming competitively) and I feel it has given me strong bones (along with dietary focus) and muscles which have kept me from experiencing any stress fractures or broken bones in my life thus far. I also feel that strength training is valuable to improving power, speed, endurance and form as an athlete or fitness enthusiast and helps minimize time spent training for cardio (ex. junk miles) as the body needs little time at home or in the weight room to gain strength whereas for cardio, physiological adaptations can often come rather slowly after the initial first 3-4 weeks of training.

Although full body strength training and plyometrics are ideal for the off-season and base phase for athletes, I believe that hip and core work should be continued year round. Certainly, as athletes, any type of "strength work" should enhance cardio and not sabotage us for upcoming workouts so there must be a nice balance as to when the strength training falls and what type of exercises are performed.

Here are a few of my favorite hip and core focused exercises which you can include as intervals into your weekly workout routine. Rather than focusing on reps, go by time. Seeing that for most people one side of the body is often weaker/stronger than the other, time-based intervals are ideal for hip and core work so that you can finish an interval with good form rather than just trying to get to a certain number of reps while the body is fatiguing with poor form.

Here are some of my favorite hip/core exercises:
Perform 3-4 days a week, 10-20 minutes.
Up to 30 - 90 seconds -  on each side (if appropriate) or for each exercise.
-clams
-monster walks
-hip hikes
-lying on side, top leg lifts (straight and bent leg)
-plank, belly down
-plank w/ one leg lifted (belly down)
-side plank (optional w/ top hip thrust)
-superman
-reverse crunch (if equipment bench is available) or reverse crunch on stability ball
-bench v-ups
-mason twists (optional w/ weight)
-lying on back, leg drops

So, to help you out with your interval "strength" work at home (or any type of intervals, especially for personal trainers or aerobic instructors), I have the perfect tool for you!

Gymboss contacted me and asked if I would review their interval timer stopwatch. I said absolutely as I am always interested in new technology that can make for better, smarter and more quality-focused workout. As much as I love to exercise, I think like an athlete and therefore, I want to adapt with the least amount of training stress. I do not want to waste my time exercising and not making performance gains. Just like you, I want to put in the work to receive the benefits and be able to do it all again (but better) the next day.



To learn more about the Gymboss you can check out the Operating tips video which gives a great explanation of all the wonderful features of this product. You do not have to use all the functions as it works just fine as a stop watch but for those who want to do the work and think very little, this will really help you out. All you have to do is set up the timer for your workout and it will automatically alert you as to when you should be performing an exercise and what you should stop and rest. It's like having a trainer with you but without the fun chatting in between intervals. :)

Enjoy! Any additional questions, send me an email and I'd be happy to help you out.