December Installment of the Fiv3 Favorites!

Welcome to mid-December and the Fiv3 Favorites Newsletter. We hit an exciting milestone this month with the company’s five year anniversary. Thank you to all the athletes and teammates who have trusted in us since December 1st of 2016. Can’t wait for the next five years and beyond!

The full blown holiday season is here and we are looking forward to a break from the standard schedule to get some rest and relaxation. We are starting to get those meeting requests from athletes looking to lay out their 2022 racing campaigns as well as December was a record number of new athlete starts for our little company.

Here are some of our favorites in December:

DECEMBER FOCUS: THE TRIATHLON SPIRAL OF FITNESS. In the last few weeks we have heard a lot of pushback. Quite a few athletes are expressing that they are resistant to taking a break after their last race and have a somewhat desperate need to rush into 2022 fitness without a focus on recovery and rejuvenation. Some athletes speak of it feeling like their training is taking a backwards turn instead of progressing. Why more than usual? Well it could be pandemic related, or because so many basically trained for 2021 races from 2019 through to 2021 without a break.

Check out the graphic we made that’s our take on fitness year-by-year. Each year is a circle in the spiral where some of the year you are in the heading to the right towards your peak fitness and goal race(s) and the other part of the year feels like you are going backwards (towards the left). But, actually, your fitness is growing as the circle in a spiral grows.

You are, in fact, building your fitness “resume” and the ability to race when it matters, faster. Be ok with the seasonality of endurance sports. Depending on what expert you ask, you can only be at your “best race form” 1 to 2 times a year (for a total of 3-6 months). A break is also very important for your longevity in the sport. Don’t try to be there year round, it just doesn’t work.

DECEMBER COACHED ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT – Matt LoSchiavo. Matt started with Coach Shelly in April of 2020. Understanding that races were likely going to be a long way off, he settled in working super hard to get better at the Ironman distance. His 2021 races went quite well, with PR’s in the Olympic and Ironman distance (40 mins!) and basically tying his best at the 70.3 distance. But Matt has big goals in mind, and after a so-so performance at Ironman Wisconsin where he had wanted a bit more (even with a big PR), we pivoted to focus on shorter races to see how much we could get out of each one – had we really pushed the limits? Since then Matt has PR’d his 5k by 45 seconds, his 10k by 40 seconds and just recently his half marathon by 7 mins (1:20)!! Matt is a great example that the path to reaching your goals (how ever big they may be) isn’t always lightening fast or linear, but hard work keeps moving you towards them! We are pretty excited to see where Matt takes his racing in 2022 and beyond!


Building bike (1-2 hours):

20-40 minutes @40-60%FTP 20-40 minutes @55-75%FTP 20-40 minutes @70-90%FTP

This is a great workout on days where you aren’t sure how you are going to feel, as the %FTP ranges give you some leeway. It is also a good one for those people that struggle to start out easy enough. Lastly, it’s great for those that love a long warm-up. It can be done outside or on a trainer inside. The last segment can be pretty hard if you stick to the top of the ranges. Negative splitting is how we like to structure many of our workouts and our race thinking at Fiv3 Racing. This workout helps with learning to negative split.

PODCAST/YOUTUBE. Grn Mchn Multisports Interview with Kevin Wright.

This was a fun interview with Kevin talking about his start in endurance sports, his Ironman races early success and some discussion on Ultraman Florida that both Kevin and host Dan participated in 2018. Lots of good nuggets and Coach Shelly was also a surprise guest! You can watch it on YouTube:

Or in podcast form:

BOOK. Out of Thin Air: Running Wisdom and Magic from Above the Clouds in Ethiopia By Michael Crawley, reviewed by Coach Shelly.

Michael Crawley is a 2:20 marathoner and anthropologist who spent 15 months training alongside and living with Ethiopian runners to learn why they were so successful. Why do 6 of the top 10 fastest marathon times ever come from Ethiopian runners? This book was really interesting – and quite fascinating – as so much of their training and thinking is in opposition to what American endurance athletes do. The runners that the author encountered always run in groups, never solo. They run very close together in a pack, making sure to follow very closely the feet of the person in front while mimicking their stride. “Training is not an individualistic, survival-of-the-fittest pursuit, but rather a communal endeavour.” Another interesting part is how the athletes and coaches in Ethiopia are extremely aware of running locations. The athletes choose where to live based on the proximity to good places to run and often drive very far to run on a certain dirt road or mountain. They hardly ever run on asphalt, almost every run is on some sort of other road condition such as dirt or gravel. Lastly, they are very good at taking a long warmup before settling in to the work of the workout. All good things to consider when planning your run training.

That’s it for this month. Please respond to this email if you have any recommendations for things you want to hear about in future newsletters or if you have any comments or questions!

Which “Super Shoes” are the Fastest and More! The 1st Installment of the Fiv3 Favorites

Welcome to the Fiv3 Favorites Newsletter! Every month we will share 5 favorites, be it a focus, a book, a podcast, a workout, an insight, and/or a tip to help turn your goals into records!

November is one of our favorite times of the year. We are finishing up preparing a handful of athletes for their late season races, while the others are either deep in the rest and relaxation of downtime post race or are already deep in their off-season blocks creating a foundation for 2022 races. Here are some of the things we’ve been grooving on including our November focus, which “super shoes” are the fastest, a favorite swim drill and corresponding swim workout, a review of the fantastic 70.3 season of our athlete Jason Albanese, and Coach Shelly’s quick book review of a new favorite.

NOVEMBER FOCUS – OFF-SEASON TIMING & GOALS. Let’s first define what we mean by the off-season.

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The off-season is that block of your training after you’ve had a period of serious downtime. How much downtime you need is really up to where you are in your endurance career. If this is your first season of endurance sports, you may only need a week. If you have been pushing hard for several years – a longer break is probably needed. If you took much of 2021 off, less is needed. Also, when is the first goal race of your 2022 season? Earlier, then less break is ok. But, understand DOWNTIME AND AN OFF-SEASON ARE STILL NEEDED.

Some goals of the off-season include consistency, limiter improvement, return or increase of preventative exercise such as strength, yoga, cross-training and a build back up in volume. Also, during this block allow yourself a bit of a mental break, allowing you to catch up on family, work and life.

Let’s talk about those goals:

  • Consistency. Get some aerobic work in most days of the week. Note the word “aerobic”, unless you are specifically working on a limiter – this time should be mostly nice and easy.
  • Limiter Improvement. Work on weaknesses without the stress of an important race right around the corner. If you have a swim weakness, double down on your swim frequency. Go all in on one or two sports and make them better. We still have plenty of time to get that 3rd sport back. This could also be a period to work on raising your FTP or building up your run volume to prepare for a spring marathon.
  • Return or increase of preventative exercise such as strength, yoga or cross-training. Strength is often hard to fit into the race season. It’s often the first thing to get skipped. Let’s use this offseason to get strong (or get strong again). Cross-training such as yoga, hiking and other sports are also helpful to create variety in your fitness as well as it makes the athlete more of an all around athlete.
  • Build back up the volume. In the seasonality of endurance training, each block is preparing you for the next. While we are working on weaknesses, we are also slowly building up the volume to start to re-build the base of aerobic fitness.

PODCAST. Which new “super shoe” is the fastest? Dr Joubert conducted the “Super Shoe Study”, testing 12 runners using 7 carbon plated shoes and a control shoe (Asics Hyperspeed). The good news is the testing provided a pretty conclusive result of which shoes were the fastest (as measured by running economy at 16 km/hr on two separate visits). The top tier of run economy improvements came from the Nike Vaporfly and Alphafly, as well as the Asics Metaspeed (3.0%-2.5% improvement over the control), the middle tier came from the Saucony Endorphin Pro (1.5%), New Balance Fuel Cell RC Elite (1.4%) and not much improvement from the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 and Hoka One One Rocket X. If you want to see the whole pre-printed study, here it is:

Our take: This is pretty interesting stuff, especially as it relates to Age Group triathletes and which shoes make sense to purchase, as the carbon plated shoes tend to have hefty price tags and do not last as long, as well as “could” be more risky from an injury standpoint. There is more to the equation than just speed, also including how you individually perform in them. I (Coach Shelly) personally have the Saucony Endorphin Pros as I have heard they are more durable (seems pretty good so far) and I tend to be a “delicate” runner so I wanted something not so risky. Follow Dr Joubert on instagram @labratrundown as he conducts more studies on which shoes best stand up to the speed improvement claims.

WORKOUT OF THE MONTH. We have two favorite swim drills at Fiv3 Racing and this workout helps you really get some serious practice with one: the 8-kicks-per-side-drill. This drill really helps you work on rotation – as my high school swim coach always said, “the fastest swimmers in the world swim on their sides”. Here is a link to a Instagram reel talking all about this drill: and here is the workout:

300 warm-up 6x [200: 50 8 kicks per side 50 5 kicks per side 50 3 kicks per side 50 swim focused on rotation @:30 rest 100: HARD Strong and relaxed, focused on good rotation @:45 rest] 300 pull focused on rotation and triggering rotation from the hips 200 cooldown

The dropping down in the 200s from 8 to 5 to 3 to no kicks per side really gets your rotation on point!


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Jason started with Coach Kim in the summer of 2017 after his first Ironman. He’s mostly been focused on the 70.3 distance steadily progressing to top 10 AG finisher, then to World Championships qualifier, to AG top 5 podium and most recently to winning his AG in an IM70.3! The last year was a banner one for Jason including:

1. Qualifying for the 70.3 WC through the Ironman VR series when there were no races happening. 2. At IM70.3 Eagleman he finished 3rd AG 3. At the IM70.3 WC in St George he finished in the top 10% of his AG 4. And at IM70.3 NC (pictured, Jason is all the way on the right) he won his AG!

Jason has a demanding job and is very active with his kids sports and activities so we’ve worked hard to emphasize quality workouts to maximize results. Congrats to Jason on an amazing season!

BOOK. “THE PRACTICE OF GROUNDEDNESS” By Brad Stulberg, reviewed by Coach Shelly. This book has actually taken longer to read than any other book I have read in a very long time. It was so good, including so many good nuggets/quotes/deep thoughts, that I would only read a page or two or three at a time, taking so many notes while I read. The purpose of the book is to share a healthier, more sustainable model for success built on staying grounded. Stulberg describes 6 principles of “Groundedness”:

  1. Accept where you are to get where you want to go.
  2. Be present so you can own your attention and energy.
  3. Be patient and you’ll get there faster.
  4. Embrace vulnerability to develop genuine strength and confidence.
  5. Build deep community.
  6. Move your body to ground your mind.

There is so much that is helpful to racing, training, productivity, confidence, etc. For our current coached athletes, we will be reading this book in December as part of our re-established off season book club (not mandatory but encouraged :)). As of this newsletter, the book is 40% off on Amazon if you have an interest in getting it!

That’s it for this month. Please respond to this email if you have any recommendations for things you want to hear about in future newsletters or if you have any comments or questions!

End of the Offseason, Wrap-up

Tomorrow starts the training for Ironman South Africa! Well actually today does, but I have today as a rest day. Back in the pool for the first time since September and on the bike for more than just fun rides.

The offseason was pretty productive this year. It was ~ 2 months long from my last race in late September until now. South Africa is April 15th so I have a solid 4.5 months to prepare. Some things that I accomplished on my offseason:

1. Lots of rest, no stressing on missed workouts (mostly accomplished) and a break from the trainer and the pool!

2. The run has always been my weakness so I took about a week off here (I believe in 2 weeks a year of time off from the run, typically in 2 one-week blocks). The first month or so was pretty inconsistent, but the last month I ran over 100 miles. My running was mostly base work with some what I like to call “micro-intervals” as given by Coach Liz, I love these intervals – typically anywhere from :15 to 3:00, they are all about foot speed, run economy and keeping some level of fast running in the training without over taxing the body. I have found over the years that running feels mostly awful if I run less than 20 miles a week. Once over that threshold things are much more enjoyable.

3. Along with the run training I made a trip with my athlete Troy to the UVA Speed Clinic. This was a very useful trip as I learned that the issue with my running was something I hadn’t thought about at all! I know I have swimmers posture, something I have worked on all my life but Max taught me how to work on that in my running! I had been sticking my head/neck too far forward, which caused overstriding and issues I have been experiencing in my hamstrings/hips. With a simple cue of “neck back” my posture was suddenly better with very little muscle engagement and I have noticed I am using more of my posterior chain instead of just being a “quad runner”. This trip also motivated me to get back into yoga as it would help with my postural issues.

UVA Speed Clinic
Learning my exercises

4. I also did 10 yoga sessions that were really helpful for strength, flexibility and mobility. And they were a great change of pace from swim, bike run.

5. Probably my biggest limiter other than time is weight. Especially post-baby that last 15 pounds has been sticking. I focused on no sugar, very limited grains, and limited dairy for 30 days and lost 6.5 pounds. I made some new habits – swapping rice with cauliflower rice, eating a banana instead of a granola bar, etc, that were quite helpful with the weight.

Now on to IMSA. I have some big personal goals. I figure if I write about them I will be more likely to make them a priority. So here goes:

  • PR the Ironman distance. I have done 4 Ironmans, 3 Lake Placids and one Louisville. Other than being hilly one Lake Placid was 4 weeks post broken collarbone, one was less than a year post-baby and the third is my PR when I put up the most training I have ever completed (12:14 in 2011). Louisville I was in great shape but I had a run injury (2012).
    Lake Placid 2011

    Lake Placid 2016
  • Get back to my race weight. 10 pounds to go!
  • Do the training necessary to compete. The last time I did training that I would find suitable to compete well at long course was in 2011/2012. I took 2013-2014 mostly off with IVF/trying to get pregnant and in 2015 I was pregnant with Bode. Since Bode I have averaged in season about 8 hours of training, will need to double that to be competitive. I focused my time on proper execution on limited training since 2015. Now it’s time to tie the execution to training load.
  • Write about the training every 1-2 weeks. I have learned so much from doing the sport myself. I love coaching races and training others, but there is something about making the sacrifices and doing the work that can’t be replicated watching others.
  • Balance family, work and training. When training put the focus on training, when not training put the focus on work or family. Multitasking only goes so far, productivity is the goal.
  • Find a masters program I really love. I really enjoy the social aspect of it, but I need to do a daytime masters program as mornings and evenings are mostly focused on Bode. I am going to try a lunchtime program 2x a week in January. Swimming is clearly my strength, but my best long course fitness came when I swam a lot.
  • Learn to love long rides on zwift/kickr and get outside when it’s cold but dry. This is going to be a challenge. The garage is setup with tv/plex/treadmill/kickr/trx etc so I really have no excuse.
  • Keep the running going. I’m happy where it is right now and hope with the 10 pound weight loss that it continues to go well.

Why I do Yoga in the Offseason

By Coach Shelly

There is something awesome about challenging myself on my yoga mat. I have found it to be a perfect complement to triathlon training in the off-season months. This is not the first year where I have been consumed by the balance that yoga provides in my training (and in my mind). If you have never tried yoga I suggest you try it out. You do not have to be an expert and pretty much every pose can be adjusted to a beginner or a more advanced level. I practice yoga at Down Dog Yoga in Virginia, Here are some reasons I make yoga an important part of my off-season:

  1. Challenge. It keeps me interested in doing something active that is “different” than swim/bike/run. I am challenged by trying something new and seeing how I can improve each of the poses. When I do a pose much closer to correct (I’m not going to pretend that I do any perfectly) it’s a nice sense of accomplishment!
  2. Hip Flexibility. Yoga allows me to focus on hip flexibility and range of motion. This is a limiter, especially in my running. My hips are so tight. Yoga is a wonderful way to stretch and strengthen the hips. At Down Dog, we always end the practice with a few minutes in pigeon pose. Pigeon pose stretches the hip flexors and the hip rotators (glutes). It often feels great because I know how good it is for me, while at the same time feeling terrible, because it feels awkward. But afterwards my hips feel so much better.
  3. Focus. Hard poses require a lot of focus. This is an area that many of triathletes need to work on.. When something hurts and is not comfortable, it’s easy to stop the pose. Staying with it teaches good lessons in mental toughness.
  4. Core Strength. Core is the easy thing to forget to do during the triathlon season. It is also the thing that triathletes first drop from their training week. The off-season is a good time to reintroduce and recommit to core work. Yoga has been great to help work on my core, especially the lower back.
  5. Balance. I have a different amount of balance on each side of my body, that comes from a fall from 18 feet, which resulted in a leg break and a 1/2 inch leg length discrepancy. I am unable to properly fire the muscles in my left leg. This is the reason I manage to feel most of my aches/pains/injuries in my left leg. Yoga poses such as eagle and tree allow me to focus on firing my left leg muscles to allow staying upright during the pose. Hopefully focusing on this inequality will help to make my legs more symmetrical and end the feeling that I can run a marathon with my right leg while my left leg is done after 2 miles.
  6. Heat Acclimation. Down Dog yoga studios are heated to 90-95 degrees. There is also a nice humidifier. A 90 minute practice gets “juicy”. These classes will become more important for  acclimation for an early season warm weather race.
  7. Breath control. As a lifelong swimmer, I have a problem with holding my breath. In yoga I am much more aware of breathing as many of the poses are timed and controlled by the breath.
  8. Cleansing. Yoga just makes you feel better. If I have had a bad night sleep, or have a headache, I typically feel back to normal after class.
  9. Injury Prevention. The years I did yoga in the offseason I just felt better when the training got heavy. Less nagging injuries.

Of all the benefits I listed above, the most important, in my opinion, is how I just feel great after class. I have worked hard, had fun, worked on my limiters and did something active that is just different than the normal swim/bike/run.

Kona Thoughts by Nathan Rickman

As fall approaches and many of us are winding down our triathlon season, the biggest and most iconic race in our sport nears.  For those that have earned the right to be in the water at Dig Me Beach when the cannon goes off, you need to figure out why you are there and what you are looking to accomplish.  There are only two reasons as far as I am concerned.  Some will say there are plenty of areas in between and maybe there are, but for me it is binary, but then again, some say I am little messed up in the head.

  • Are you looking to relish the moment, take a victory lap, be smart and do the best you can? Or…
  • Are you willing to turn yourself inside out, throw caution to wind and do something special, something that you wouldn’t have thought you were capable of?

If the former, no shame in that.  Great accomplishment and achievement making it to the big island and hanging out with the world’s best.  You are roughly the top 2% of those that do this sport just by qualifying. You have 17 hours to finish and you will not be alone. Enjoy your day.

If the latter, you are there to match yourself up against the hardest headed, self-motivated and driven type A’s in the world.  For me, this is why I compete.  If I am going to enter a race; it is a race after all; I am going to do everything I can to cross that finish line knowing I had nothing else left to give on that day.  That may mean crashing and burning and having a historic meltdown and has always resulted in me going to the medical tent after this race.  But maybe, just maybe, that may mean doing something that you never thought possible.  The human body is capable of so much more than we realize and can comprehend.  It is our minds’ that get in the way of achieving our full potential.  Every time I hear, I need to ride “my watts” or I can’t go over “X”, a piece of me dies.  I am not suggesting to go FTP from the gun, but we should be racing to see what our potential is.  Often times, that may mean we fail, but on that special day, it will mean you are able to accomplish what you previously thought impossible.  That is what motivates me and should motivate you.  To be great and do what you previously thought unachievable, it needs to hurt.  You need to second guess yourself.  You need to think this is insane and there is no way you can maintain this.  If you go easier because the conditions are harder, then you have already lost.  This is the World Championships – you should be going harder!  It should be tougher than anything you have experienced.  It is tougher for everyone and if you are able to mentally push through that, you will feel something you have never felt before.  For me, nothing is worse than not giving every ounce that I had.  The sporting events where I have not laid it on the line or let up, I lay in bed thinking about at night.  The what if, the should’ve been moments – those are the ones that will haunt me until the day I die.    You need to embrace the pain and learn how to suffer.  Only then can you truly achieve what you are capable of.  The individuals that perform the best are the ones willing to take that chance and go further than they ever thought possible.  Every race is not going to be their race, but the day that is their day, is the day that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

With that – my advice is to get in the mix in the swim and push the bike.  The harder you ride, the less the wind affects you.  You need to be alert but if you are not pushing yourself, then you will never know what was possible. If you are riding hard, the cross winds, head winds and swirling winds are just that and as everyone else is thinking about them, you are passing them.  Do not skip an aid station and force yourself to drink more than you ever had.  You will lose more hydration and electrolytes than you can replace, so don’t miss an opportunity to get what you can in.  For the run, steady and strong.  Feed off the energy of the island, those cheering you on and your competitors.  Get something to drink (multiple drinks) at every aid station and find a reason to embrace the pain.  For some it is memories where you have excelled that make you feel good, for others, it is times where you didn’t achieve what you were capable of that motivate you.  Figure out what works for you and find a gear you didn’t know you had.  It is hot for everyone, embrace it and push on.  While others are embracing the last mile and taking in the atmosphere, you are putting time on your competitors, digging deep and ensuring you do not leave a second on the course as there will be plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere after you have crossed that line.

Of course, I will be a case deep listening to the Boss singing Glory Days on repeat as you all run down Ali’i Drive in two weeks.