Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review #1: Beyond the Iron

Ok, so here is edition #1 of the "Shanks Book Club" because I mean honestly, if Oprah has one... why can't I?!?! Except that mine is self created, doesn't have a "seal of approval", and I don't expect anyone to read these books with me. However feel free to do so and we can discuss the books at a separate time.

Now I've read a lot of blogs this AM and I'm not sure how it'll compare to the ones belonging to the creative minds of Haley, Poonstar, and Grizzle Rose, but here we go! 

Today's Review: "Beyond the Iron" by Wayne Kurtz
Website: Race Twitch 
You can read in my last post why I picked this book. But I figured it would also be a quick read since this dude was writing in what seemed to be Courier New 14 font! So it was quick to breeze though. Now for the breakdown...

Pages 1-20: Basically covers the races that are considered "beyond the iron" and how they are set up and along with distance break downs... I knew all of this going in so I skimmed.

Pages 21-30: Included here are few steps to think about, such as: make a plan, set a goal, making a training schedule, be prepared to train your mind, apply strategies to overcome tired legs, and start learning to sit in the saddle for long distance.All of which I consider novice features that you should do for just about any race! However it begins to set the tone of the book, which I will dive into later.

Pages 31-110: Looked a lot like this...
Now only if I knew how to rotate a pic
Within these pages Wayne includes a 20-week cookie cutter training plan for participating in your first ever Double Ironman. As with any cookie cutter program the mega fail is in how the training plans are so broad that it is unlikely to work for most individuals. Case in point, the athlete I am working with for her 1st Double Ironman, no way in hell 20 weeks out from this race will she be doing 3-4 hour runs! Sorry Dani but that will not be happening until much further into your training plan (which I think you'll be thankful for). Main reason being that was back in September and the other being she's doing a Ride Across FL (418~ mile) ride on Thanksgiving day, so it'll be a quick but low key run build after the FL Bike Ride. Blah, back to focus! The other problematic factor I see within the training plan is a lack of variation. It's almost the same thing week in and week out with just the duration of the main set intervals changing. I see a high potential for burnout here, especially when training so long. He does try to mix things up with strength training and doing things in the middle of a bike ride that "could" be effective. It gave me an alright idea of weekly load to look at and hours spend training, but again every athlete is different and that is why I despise cookie cutter books like this, because unfortunately not everyone is smart enough to adjust the training to meet their individual needs.
Pre-20 week training plan he goes into some descriptions about the strength program along with testing and how he does it and how to break up the HR zones based on testing (He uses a % of Max HR, yeah not a fan). Run test is a 5 mile Aerobic TT at 75% of Max HR. Bike test is 5' at 80% of a previous 5' all out effort followed by a 20' break and then 20' all out TT... so basically a modified Coggans/Allen test.
In regards to the plan I see a few of the things he was going for but that didn't transfer exactly right. Example: Doing 15" surges with 5' recoveries. Only correlation I can make is doing Alactic Burst but the benefit of those ends at 10" and I believe incorporate a longer recovery period. Overall I think there's a bit too much intensity within the program, yes it is surrounded by tons of volume and L2 (which he also says 70% of max HR). Again, to each their own but this is my review damnit and I say too much intensity! haha.

Pages 111- 240 (end of book) : After the training plan there are a ton of repetitive post and tips. Some good ones in there, like using diaper rash cream on chaffing parts of your body. Then bad ones like another entire chapter dedicated to races he already explained in Ch. 2. It basically looked like a ton of blog post that he has written in the past that he copied and pasted into back half of the book to use as filler.

Overall report: If you have litterly no idea of anything (distance, training, races) that are available after the Ironman Distance then I would suggest this book for you as it covers a lot of Novice/Basic features of the topic. However if you know anything about the races and distance then I suggest you spend that time/money on just researching blogs online of people that have done these races in the past, there will be much more valuable information in those then in this book. I could just be slightly bitter due to my desire for further learning and education and Beyond the Iron failed to provide any of that to me, i.e. what the body actually goes through and changes within your internal systems that you should look for.

Now which book to review next...
note to self: stop taking sideways pics!
And since my bike is not affixed to the trainer (and I have no plans of moving it for a while) it provides me with multiple hours on the bike to get some quality reading done!
Yes I realize my Rev3 number is still on there (motivation) and so is my front race wheel (lazyness).
Well that wraps up Review #1! I hope you enjoyed and please let me know what you'd like to see more/less of in future reviews. But as for now it's time for me to get my run on! And as always I'll leave you with a song.

This has correlation to the book review, but the song is pretty damn funny

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


So while heading into class today I was dwelling over all of this amazing reading material I had at my house that I have yet to crack open! So I decided to make it a (public) goal to read a book a week, perhaps every 2 weeks... it all depends on how big the book is and how many shiny pictures are included. And my hope is that by making this public I will stick to it. Along with reading the book I will post a quick synopsis of the book along with my personal highlights.

First on the list: Beyond the Iron by Wayne Kurtz

Please ignore the messy room and my disaster of a closet. I'm still unpacking from the move!

Why it was picked: I have a friend who is training for a 418~ mile ride across Florida (to set a record) along with training for the Florida Double Ironman in late February. Dani and I have been going back and forth about her need for a coach, Dani's Coaching Blog Post, so she can stop thinking about what she's doing or needs to try and do to race well. I referred her to a few individuals but none of which she was satisfied with. After her blog was posted we sat down for dinner to discuss the situation and the potential of me becoming her coach. After laying it all down on the table we came to terms and we are about to embark on a journey that neither of us have taken on in the past! She gave me this book as a starting point, since it's what she had roughly been basing her training on. So here we go!

I really do hope this workouts out (the reading, not really referring to the coaching but yes that can be included haha) as there is a lot of knowledged to be gained within the stacks of books I posses.

And now for your song: He is We - "And Run"

Friday, October 7, 2011

Turning over a new leaf...

Holy crap I am bad at updating this. I vow to do better by the blog and update this more often. I have been really busy since my last post (Mid June?) but will make it a point to put my thoughts to paper and get this thing going again... until then, here's a song! Big fan of the intro...