Pro Triathlete in Quarantine here - Ask Me Anything

Hey yo - I’m a 24 year old pro triathlete currently in Salt Lake City - hit me up with your pro questions that you want to know about racing, training, balance and other things and I’ll try to give you an answer!


Any tips for people that had their swimming facilities closed? I’m in my 3rd week (out of 16th) for a 70.3 training planning. This sucks because I’m a weak swimmer…


yes! 20-30 minutes of swimming visualization MWF and on the other days watch 20-30 minutes of good people swimming long distances. Katie Ledecky highlights are cool because you can watch how well she keeps her stroke rate high for long periods of time.

Do upper body strength work (push ups, pull ups, band rows), and work on your range of motion in your neck. If you currently aren’t able to breathe to both sides when you swim, make a commitment to yourself to learn how to do that when you get back to the pool, and take this time to increase the flexibility in your neck and shoulders

don’t worry about going crazy with stretch cords and swimming specific strength drills. If you want to you can, but it’s not going to make or break anything. Remember it’s the same for everyone, and make the most of the situation by doing the things you wouldn’t normally do when you’re actually able to swim.


Any specific movement for this?

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Thoughts on Lionel Sanders? :grin:


how are you handling periodization of your training without (presumably) knowing when your next target race is? Have you reverted to base training?

Also, What distance do you focus on? ITU/Olympic, 70.3, IM?

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neck circles, hanging from the pullup bar, with your hands turned some yoga is always good. youtube some yoga things and they’re always good - i like yoga with Adriene

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he’s a genuinly nice dude. We met at Challenge Daytona this year, and were actually on the same flight to ATL. Had a convo with him about non triathlon things and he is very funny. He’s incredibly strong and has a great work ethic.

Specifically, his intensity is admirable. there are very few people who can/do go to work every day like he does. He really can push himself and it’s crazy to watch.

I’d love to see him recruit more experts that could help him with technique because it’s pretty obvious that over the ironman distance, technique is very important come hours 6-7 of the race. I’d also like to see him show up to shootout in Tucson while he is there, because that’s my favorite group ride to do (I was there last weekend and it’s just a blast) and I think he would learn soooo much from doing a group ride like that… And maybe I need to be better at pushing 400 watts for time, so to each his own…


I raced until December of 2019, with a focus on half ironman racing. My base season started a lot later than most because of racing so late into the year. My coach Elliot Bassett (who coached Ben Hoffman for 10 years) has a pretty simple approach to training which I enjoy. These years in my 20s we’re really just trying to put in the miles and get the race experience - it’s really easy to overcomplicate things with triathlon and we all tend to do that a bit, but the reality is that racing is the best training - both physical and mental - that you can ever get. Group rides are a close 2nd.

We do 1-2 interval sessions per week biking and running year round. These intervals could vary from a 30 minute straight effort at 1/2 IM effort biking or running, or 8 x 2 minutes at 110% of threshold with 2 minutes rest. I don’t know how or when he decides to schedule them in - he just asks me how i’m feeling, then sends me the workouts. The key point to look at is that they are prescribed as an effort level with a pretty wide power range as opposed to specific power numbers. This allows me to adjust in for fatigue. So normally say I’d race a 1/2 IM at 270-290 watts, during training my target 1/2 IM wattage is anywhere from 255 to 275 just because of the fatigue accumulated.

Obviously race specific stuff comes a bit more near race time, but if you’ve done enough base work at the right intensity (IE - not just riding hard all the time - actually go easy lol) and had a few intervals mixed in here and there, you don’t require much to get in shape. The key is actually to do the base work pretty easy, that way when you do get the race intensity you can really nail those workouts. I’ve found that it usually only takes me about 4-5 weeks to get in really good shape - so I’m usually better off just doing what most people would consider base training year round and then throwing in a few hard race prep workouts or key tempos in strategic places.

The reality is we’re trying to get me ready for Kona in like 7 years from now - so this is a great time to get more miles in my legs as oppose to try and win my next race. Not that winning the next race isn’t on the agenda, but being not injured and getting in as much volume as my body can handle and still recover from is a priority too.

I know I didn’t totally give you the answer to the question, but hopefully I explained enough here to make you happy :slight_smile:


Thanks Ernie! great insight into training as a Pro :slight_smile:

Have you personally had any events cancelled yet?


How would you describe your diet? Any supplements included?


So how easy is “pretty easy”? And how much do you vary within this fairly wide range of “easy”. And how much has “pretty easy” grown over your career so far?

What do you do for work to pay the bills?


yep! Challenge Bled was just delayed until September, and I’m supposed to be racing in St. Polten the next weekend and that will probably get delayed too. In reality, this doesn’t matter at all. My race cancelations are nothing compared to people getting sick and dying and I think it’s really important that we acknowledge how lucky we are to be healthy for the minute!


I work in supply chain doing indirect spend for an awards company in Salt Lake City called OC Tanner. It’s great having a 401K, good benefits, and they’re super flexible with my schedule. Right now I’m working from home - and will be for the forseeable future. Again, TMI. but I think maybe in a few years I’ll have enough sponsors to race, but in Murica health insurance is necessary so I’ll probably have to keep working unless I can make over $100k exercising for time and distance.

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Right on, I hear that. I think it’s interesting to see what other pros do for work because I know 95% need to have a job to support themselves.

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Swimming - basically just staying upright in the water haha (anywhere from 1:15-1:20/100 yd)
biking - anywhere from 40-69% of FTP depending on how I feel that day
running - anywhere from 7:30 to 9 minute miles again depending on the day

Easy hasn’t really grown - somedays i’m awesome and some i’m not. Sometimes I look at my “easy” workout from 3 years ago and I pushed 230 watts for 3 hours or something and I’m like damn, can’t do that rn. But at the same time, your race day doesn’t care about what your easy day pace is. It only cares about how fast you can go. So you really just have to not look at the numbers and let it flow on the easy stuff sometimes. It can take me 10-20 minutes just to get down below 1:20/100yd swimming some days because i’m so tired, then by the end of practice i’m crushing it. same goes for biking and running.

I guess the lesson would be to start out easier than you think you need to and stop having expectations for those easy workouts. If it feels easy it is easy and that’s all your body really cares about.


I eat a lot of eggs, bread, milk, v8 juice (the stuff that has a serving of fruits and veggies in it), PBJ sandwiches, bananas, rice, spinach and avocados . I’ll eat just about anything that isn’t fried and doesn’t have a ton of cheese on it but I do love pizza. Also hate sour cream.

Never really eat out bc i’m too cheap for that lol. Occasionally I have a protein shake if I’m out of milk because GU sent me some last year. Basically, my diet consists of the things you can’t find at the grocery store right now because everyone else has decided they are now able to eat gluten and dairy.


Cheers Ernie for doing this!

What gets you really stoked in triathlon training? Do you allow yourself activities just for the fun of it, like MTB or skiing or climbing etc, or is it all 100% race-specific triathlon training?


Following along. Nice to meet you!