Category Archives: blog.bodyzen

Coach Lee shares some favorite training sessions.

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A coaches library of workout sessions are their inventory of success. They are the ingredients to making athletes faster, stronger and above all else will help them reach their goals. This is why coaches in the know keep their sessions very close to the chest and are reluctant to share them with athletes outside their squad. BodyZen’s Elite endurance sports coach Lee Zohlman shares some of his favorite result oriented sessions for Olympic Distance Triathlon dominance.

These workouts are for athletes who routinely can complete 3K swim sessions, 2-3 hour/35-45 mile/60-70K bike sessions and can run 6-7 miles/10-12K.


Swim- BodyZen Pull/Sprint Session:

300-500 warm up with drills and freestyle

12 x 50 kick with paddles and board, fast on last 25

300 easy free-focus on head postion looking down

8 x 200 pull with paddles/buoy at 80-90% effort; :20 ri; focus on consistent pacing with last 3-4 fastest

100 easy free

6 x 25 sprint freestyle on 1:00

200-500 cooldown easy with mixed strok and drills


Bike: BodyZen Over Gear Session:

20-30 minute warmup in big ring at 50-60% of max heartrate

Preset- 4 x :45 @ 80-90% effort; 2 minutes easy rest

3 x 15:00 (first 5 minutes at 60 rpm in approximately 53×12/13 then second 5 minutes at 70-75 rpm’s then last 5 minutes at 90-95 rpm’s) all of these are at 80-85%/Zone 4 effort; 5 minute easy recovery/super low intensity between

30 minutes easy cooldown thinking abut the postivies from the session and where it could have been improved.


BodyZen Threshold Run Session:

10-20 minute warmup at 60% max heartrate

6 x 25 meters skipping

1-2 minutes stretching

4 x 50 meter fast accelerations; 1 minute easy walk between

6-8 x 800 meters at open 10K running pace (work the last 400 of each so it is 2-5 seconds faster than the first 400)- easy 200 meter jog between each 800

10-20 minute cooldown thinking abut the postivies from the session and where it could have been improved.



Special Events with BodyZen

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_MG_3112Don’t miss out!
BodyZen’s Coach Lee will be hosting a demo day with Mavic at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon Saturday April 27th. Details below.

Coach Lee will also be giving the Official Pre Race Clinic for the St. Anthony’s Triathlon from 2-3pm at Straub Park. We guarantee you’ll grab a few gems to racing safer and faster.

Coach Lee brings his experience hosting a Pre Race Clinic in Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Marathon and Half Marathon. Details can be found here:

Mavic Demo Day:
Come out to this exclusive demo day and ride the fast, new Mavic CXR80 wheels, the fastest aero wheels on the planet. This complimentary event is only open to the first ten people who register so sign up quick. You’ll have the chance to meet Pro Triathlete Andrew Starkowicz and have the privilege to demo the premium Mavic CXR80’s, first wheel/tire system designed as one unit. A Mavic tech rep will be on site to install the wheels on your current ride. Your current wheels will be kept safe with a Mavic service rep. Mavic has also brought in Elite Triathlon Coach Lee Zohlman to answer all of your questions. After the demo enjoy some complimentary French Roast coffee and croissants and pick up some Mavic schwag.
Where: 80 Beach Drive NE, Saint Petersburg, Florida, 33701, USA TEL: 1-727-892-9900
When: Saturday April 27th, 2013
Time: 8:30-10:30am, Ride starts promptly at 9:00am. Riders must arrive at 8:30 to have the wheels installed on your ride.
RSVP- Please RSVP as soon as possible. We only have ten spots available. Email your Name, Age and current type of bike and wheels to: Please bring your helmet and own bike. You must have helmet to demo the wheels.
Présente Mavic, un jour connexion Français Demo au Triathlon de St. Anthony

Sortez à ce jour démo exclusive et monter les rapides, de nouvelles Mavic CXR80 roues, jantes aérodynamiques les plus rapides de la planète. Cet événement gratuit est ouvert uniquement aux dix premières personnes qui s’inscriront, alors inscrivez-vous rapidement. Vous aurez la chance de rencontrer Pro Triathlete Andrew Starkowicz et avoir le privilège de faire la démonstration de la prime Mavic CXR80, d’abord roue / pneu système conçu comme une unité. Une technologie Mavic représentant sera sur place pour installer les roues sur votre parcours actuel. Vos roues actuels seront conservés en lieu sûr avec un représentant du service Mavic. Mavic a également mis en Elite Triathlon Coach Lee Zohlman de répondre à toutes vos questions. Après la démo profiter du café gratuit Rôti français et des croissants et ramasser quelques schwag Mavic.

Où: Entrée à l’Expo de Saint Antoine à Straub Park, St. Petersburg, Floride
Quand: Samedi 27th Avril, 2013
Heure: 08 heures 30-10h30, Ride commence rapidement à 9h00. Les coureurs doivent arriver à 8h30 pour avoir les roues installés sur votre trajet.

S’il vous plaît apporter votre propre vélo et casque. Vous devez disposer d’un casque à la démo les roues.

Up Close with Chrissie Wellington by Lee Zohlman

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In Depth and Up Close with Four Time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington by Lee Zohlman

You first won Ironman Hawaii in 2007 and were thrusts into the worldwide sporting limelight. You are considered an icon in the sporting world. How does that word icon strike you?

It is incredibly humbling and surreal to be called an ‘idol’, and to be honest I am not sure I am worthy of such an accolade. I am only following on what Paula, Natasha, Michellie and others started through their achievements.  I hope that I, and others, have continued to show that women are a force to be reckoned with in endurance sports. We are narrowing the gap between men and women, and showing that anything truly is possible.

I really do hope that my performances and the manner in which I win races inspires and encourages people to take up triathlon, to set higher goals for themselves and to reach for the stars.

Ultimately though, records are ephemeral. They will be broken by existing or  up and coming athletes – that is the nature and beauty of sport – but I do hope that I will be remembered for my passion, my love for what I do, and for giving people the inspiration to succeed in triathlon and life. And of course, to do it with a smile!


UK Sport has a number of  Women’s initiatives going on including making female role models more visible. Is this a route you might take in your retirement?

I don’t mind admitting, I don’t have a clear idea of what the future holds – a definite ‘goal’ or single thing to focus on.  That was, in part, what was making me question the wisdom of retiring from ironman. I find it incredibly difficult and disconcerting to answer ‘I don’t know’ when faced with the inevitable question ‘If not ironman, what?’  That state of flux, that uncertainty, strikes fear into the heart of the uber controlling, regimen obsessed part of me. But I need to give myself the time to explore, to open doors, to hopefully have some other, unexpected doors open in front of me. I need to wander a little knowing that the ‘right’ path and the next goal will emerge through the mist.

In terms of my specific plans, first and foremost I want to enjoy some time at home, catching up with friends and family. I will spend Christmas with my wonderful family, and then Tom and I are heading to Borneo for a couple of weeks. In February I will be going to Guatemala to head-up a training day and do some public speaking engagements and a charity event, and from there, I’ll go to Costa Rica where I’ll be a guest coach (with Kathryn Bertine) on a bike tour. After that I am open to offers!

I would love to continue to work on women/sport related issues, including working with the media to really build on the positive momentum generated by the Olympics and Paralympics. I have already had some discussions with various organisations about this, and am part of an All Party Parliamentary Group on this issue in the UK parliament. I also have my own personal projects that I am in the process of developing, as well as taking to various organisations that are doing some great work on sport/development related activities – in terms of learning from them and perhaps even inputting to their work in some capacity. I will also continue the ambassadorial work for my sponsors, do some public speaking and be an active patron of my chosen charities, including the Blazeman Foundation for ALS, Jane’s Appeal, Girls Education Nepal and Gotribal.  Retired from ironman, but certainly not retired with my non-lycra’d legs up!


Could you see yourself being a Professional athlete in any sports in the future?

 Maybe mud wrestling! No seriously, I have no plans to pursue any other sport in a professional capacity but my life will always involve doing sport, so rest assured I will be on the start line of one endurance event or another, it just wont be to embark on 140.6 miles of swim, bike or run!


Now, an easy question. Where is your favorite place in the world to train all three sports? What place has it all?

No one place has it all, but Boulder, Colorado ticks most of the training boxes – at least when the sun is shining! I wouldn’t mind it being a bit closer to the ocean though! And Leysin, Switzerland was pretty darn good too!


You were quoted in a 2008 interview as saying the Professional Ironman athletes deserve to get paid ‘a full day’s pay for a full day’s work.’ The prize money in Ironman races hasn’t been brought up all that much in the last 10-15 years despite a huge increase in participation. What are your thoughts on that?

There is a limit to the number of races a long course athlete can do each year, and if they don’t have sponsors their opportunity to earn a living is limited by the still meager prize purses, especially for ‘development’ athletes.

Hy-vee, Challenge Roth and the Abu Dhabi Triathlon demonstrate just what a deep prize purse can do in terms of attracting a high class and sizeable pro field. I also welcome the steps that the WTC has taken to increase some of the prize purses, and create a tier system with opportunities for ‘development’ athletes to race, do well, and hence earn money, in events where the field may not be as strong.

But there is still considerable scope for improvement, with the need for prize purses to increase still further, and go deeper – across the board. It is ludicrous that the prize purse at Kona has not increased for about 10 years. Relative to inflation it has in fact declined.  Big prize purses attract the media, further sponsors, and more athletes and hence can help promote the growth of the sport. But it is not just the high prize purse. Primes would provide additional sources of income, and could be sponsor-linked. Athlete’s should also be supported holistically, for example with travel/accommodation costs, in return for doing appearances and community related activities in/around the races.

Yes, more prize money can also have unwanted and unintended impacts – such as a possible rise in the use of PEDs – but this needs to be accompanied by strong, rigorous and consistent testing, and tough deterrents.


What’s been the best thing about retirement?

To have an open road on which to travel and explore, not knowing exactly where that will lead.


What’s been the worst thing about not racing anymore?

 Not being able to eat quite as much as I did before!


I first met you not ten minutes after you won your first Ironman Hawaii in 2007 and we chatted for nearly half an hour. Of course your trademark smile never left your face. Do you remember the feeling you had when you won and can you put it into words? 

I remember chatting to you too, even though the whole experience was a bit of a blur, not helped by champagne! You may have realised that while I was smiling I was in total shock, it was all very overwhelming and I didn’t really know what to feel, think or say. The win was so unexpected – to me at least – and I don’t think I fully appreciated the magnitude of the event or the significance of what I’d achieved. Surreal. So incredibly surreal. And it changed my life forever. Not just because I’d won the biggest race in our sporting calendar, but also because I realised I had the platform I’d always dreamed of ever since I was a little girl. But even now, I still have to pinch myself to believe that I am four-time World Ironman Champion. It feels incredibly strange – like I am talking about someone else – and I don’t know if the reality will ever truly sink in, even now I am retired. That sense of joy, elation, amazement and surprise never lessens, and I carry it will me every single day.

Training and Racing MiamiMan

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Part of me thinks race reports should be left to the Pro’s and not us age groupers but one of my good friends/athletes tells me that I should write more as it does give some insight into training methods, recovery tips and overall helpful information for other working age group triathletes. So I hope this doesn’t come off as egotistical but if it does it wouldn’t be the first time I was accused of that so what the hell.
I did target MiamiMan back in February as a race I wanted to do well in. It’s a huge race in Florida with almost 3000 people and typically gets good athletes from other states and countries. By doing well I mean getting a top five would be great. My racing season this year has been hit and miss to say the least. Balancing being a dad, managing two companies and training is crazy. The summer had a lot of interruptions and was not consistent to say the least. As any of my athletes will to tell you, the word consistency rolls off my tongue in every other sentence. It is the most important aspect to training. Period. Who cares if you can crush the sessions for two weeks? If you can’t do it for a big block and be consistent it doesn’t matter. Back in September I was out of training for 10 days with an aggravated SI joint. I was floored and so was my advisor. Yes, I use a trusted and very knowledgeable person to set up my training and be a sounding board. He’s one of the best in the world and I’ve seen great results with his programme. Luckily, the back got better and then it was off and running. For some reason I was able to do better at the sessions but I took much better care of my recovery as well. The training each week had four tough sessions and the rest were very easy and aerobic. The swims were with a master’s team and each week I got a little closer to holding pace with the top guys. We did a lot of pull and underwater sets. Most people want to know what I do for bike sessions. I ride 5-6 days per week with two threshold power sessions alternating gear size. Most of the other riding is just cruisy in an aerobic zone. I also ride my road bike 30-40% of the time to help with muscle symmetry specific for riding. After the third hard week I was seeing higher power numbers than ever. Yes, I download and analyze every training session. The goal was to be over 4.4 watts per kilo and I hit the goal. The run sessions were the hardest and in many of the weeks I did three threshold runs each week. In the fourth week I did three threshold runs in the span of four days. Over the five weeks I missed two and half workouts and averaged 16 hours per week. Now 16 hours is not a lot but the quality was there.
I was able to be consistent and recover well for five straight weeks. By the fifth week I was toast though. I was working a lot and training a lot and absolutely crushed. I was hungry all the time despite eating well and felt wrecked just walking around. My friend and professional tri head Jan Van Berkel came into town two weeks ago and stayed with me. He’s extremely good at being analytical but flexible with training and recovery and he helped me out as well. He turned me on to Beet Juice which I have heard works really well when taken before racing. It’s like another gear as Jan says. I tried it in training and it indeed works. He also gave me good motivation during KEY sessions and paced me on some runs. The recovery techniques I used and was consistent with: protein/recovery shakes within 30 minutes after hard sessions, eight minute power naps on (Jan’s) magnetic bed, BCAA’s at night, extra multivitamins, Compex Electro Stim sessions, recovery socks to bed almost every night, compression socks on during the day, sleep as much as possible, legs up at night, massage once per week. I think this is the most attention I have paid to the above ever.
Finally the Taper week came and worked perfectly. I always say that if you feel you aren’t doing enough during the week than you are tapering well. I was chomping at the bit this week for sure. Race day came and the lead up was perfect: good espresso, perfect GF pancakes, 500ml of Beet juice and lots of Clif Bloks. I had on the Mavic CXR80 wheels for the wind and took off for the .6 mile swim. When I say I started fast I mean it was bloody fast. Too fast. I had to back off after the first buoy when the lactic acid almost ended me. When I came out of the swim I was right next to a good athlete who I’ve raced against for many years, Rodolfo. We ran right to our rack (we racked next to each other) and went out on the bike. I had a goal of certain wattage to maintain and knowing Rodolfo is a much better runner I had to separate myself so I went into the red zone to get a gap. We had a nice tailwind and I was holding 30-31 MPH (yes, a nice tailwind) and set out on the bike. The intersections were too sketchy and I almost got hit twice. One of the scariest bike courses ever. It was 11 miles out and turnaround and then 11 miles back. At the turnaround and into the wind I only held 19-20 MPH. I suffered bad. It hurt so good but in the end I was first off the bike and had the fastest bike split at the race. The second transition went perfect and I went out on the run in first place, which was great as I just wanted top five. The run was 6.6 miles and at 1.5 miles in Rodolfo ran past me and I stayed on him as long as I could. Then I just went into survival mode. Yes, I saw and heard all the awesome spectators and cheer people on the course. They really help. Fortunately, after a lot of looking over my shoulder I held onto second place. YAY. Mission accomplished. Anyway, there you have it and with a second place it was time to put into place the BodyZen Race Reward Plan which clearly say’s, First Place- eat whatever you want, Second Place gets you cheeseburger and fries, Third Place gets pizza and anything off the podium you get a salad. I can feel the burger juices running down my chin now. Thanks for reading.

Florida International University Events

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Florida International University (FIU) has a beautiful campus located right on the Intercoastal waterway in North Miami. The idyllic setting is perfect for all types of multisport events and the university has a great line up of fun, challenging events for the whole family. We had a chance to sit down with FIU’s Events Organized Christina Reddick and find out more about the events

FIU seems to have been blessed with a gorgeous and well manicured campus to hold multisport events.
What led to FIU putting on events, specifically the kid’s events and what’s the goal for your organization? It began with the FIU Triathlon Student Club. When I was given the task of producing the first ever multisport event on campus I went to the students and asked if they were interested in forming a student club and training for the event. The response was overwhelming. What has resulted is the FIU Triathlon Club with 120 student members and about 25 community members. The goal moving forward is to offer events that are student based, our upcoming events have been the result of students getting together and brainstorming on what to do next. The kid’s events have come about with support from USAT, we were awarded funding and in-kind support of the Kid’s events from USAT. Hopefully, we will continue to be funding by USAT in the future. Our previous coach, George Manekas also runs a series of Kid’s Triathlons here at FIU. He has been very generous and provided ad space in his magazine and allowed us to use supplies. Our timing company, Events4Runners is donating their time and sponsored the race t-shirts and medals. Without the local support our events would not be possible!

What are the next events and where can people sign up?
We have a costume run coming up on October 28th. The FIU Running Scared 5K Walk/Run @ 7AM will include a costume contest and scary surprises around each turn. Then we have the FIU Aquathlon, FIU Color Run and Triathlete Garage Sale and Expo all happening on December 1st.

Do you have a need for volunteers and in what areas are the most important? We need volunteers to help work the events and to like us on facebook. Specifically we need volunteers for race check-in, water stations, and the finish line. Also, if anyone is willing to volunteer photography or videography services that would be phenomenal.

Which is your favorite event and why?
So far the 5K run is mny favorite event. The triathlons have been amazing but the students really have been the backbone of the running events from the very beginning. My position here at FIU charges me with the task of challenging and supporting students to reach their full potential, and mentoring and guiding them through the event production process has been quite amazing.

What else would you like athletes to know about FIU’s programs?
The FIU Triathlon Club has some amazing members. Many of them could barely swim when they first joined, now our group has had the experience of competition in a Collegiate Conference race at Escape to Miami. US Road Sports allowed us to set up our college tent and it was an amazing experience. The students, faculty, alum and community members of the group are all at different athletic levels and to have the privilege to be part of such a dynamic, positive group has truly changed my life. If anyone is feeling generous please donate or consider sponsoring our student based club.

2012 Ironman Hawaii Zenner Michael Danish

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As the 2012 edition of Ironman Hawaii goes off this Saturday BodyZen has one very special Zenner racing. Former Coast Guard pilot Micahel Danish is racing on the big island for the second time. Last year Michael debuted in Kona with an outstanding 9:30 race. This year Micahel has done some different and shall we say epic races including the Leadville 100 where he finished with the pro’s. Read more about his racing on his blog at
Michael contacted Coach Lee to help him with his final 18 weeks of training. We’ll post more info and full race reports after the big dance but in looking at one of Michael’s eight week training blocks with Coach Lee’s sessions, he took off a whopping nine seconds from his threshold pace in the swim and also added about 10 watts to threshold power on the bike. While all the numbers are great to have the proof is in the pudding in the race. There were also some hiccups in Micahel’s run training but they are a thing of the past.
Keep an eye out for Michael this Saturday as he takes on the worlds most grueling endurance race.

Best Weight Loss Secret Exposed

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Yes, you can do it. One of the biggest issues with losing weight is portion control. We say this tongue in cheek but order from the kids menu to eat what you want but with smaller portions.Yes it would be even better if you ordered the healthier items from the kids menu but that is up to you. If you want pizza then go ahead and get the kids pizza but be sure to get a healthy leafy green salad or steamed vegetables with it to help fill you up. It’s not only what yo ueat but how much so here’s a way to get what you like just in a smaller (less Americanized) dose.

Race Report August 2012 Triathlon Trilogy

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I’m not one to write too many race reports but here’s one from todays Mack Cycle Trilogy Sprint. It was a quarter mile swim, 10 mile bike and 3.1 mile run on a course I have trained and raced on for the last 16 years so it’s totally home turf. I got on the podium in second overall and this was my third overall podium this season yet I am without an overall win. To say the last eight weeks have been inconsistent would be a massive understatement. Listen, I’m know where I stand..I am an Elite Age Grouper and no Pro but love racing and training and love even more all my cool supporters and their gear. So yeah I take this stuff seriously but also have fun. Back to the lack of great training now. It hasn’t been pretty but I digress. I really wanted this race and the training weekend to go well. I love the training numbers and analyze my paces and SRM files to keep me on track. It just makes sense and I use the numbers everyday so I’ll just talk out loud here. The Saturday warm up day went great and I was a bit over the speed/power on both the bike and run workouts. That’s what happens when I take an actual day off (Friday). I come back in on Saturday chomping at the bit. I did the workouts and nothing more all day. I literally read (Lance Armstrong’s War), ate and slept the rest of the day. I was asleep by 8:45pm for a 4:10 wake up.

I don’t mind early mornings at all and I got a great night sleep and immediately made a double espresso with almond milk. My usual breakie was on too. Gluten free oatmeal pancakes with a turkey sausage link. Yes, you are thinking that is a lot of food but think about it. It’s actually eight different workouts in the day. A warm up Bike/Run then Swim then the race and then a warm down run and bike all totalling 3:15 of movement. Plus, I love my pancakes!

Off to the race and I got my usual spot set up and went off to the bike warm up. The Shiv was so perfect and I love riding that thing fast. It is so sweet and sounds awesome when the hammer is dropped. Mack Cycle takes really good care of me but as much as I love riding it I have to say I was even more looking forward to a nice long and easy cooldown ride on the Venge. The Venge is THE SHIT! It looks fast and it’s hard not to ride fast. The bike warm up went well and I ride or run that road every day so I knew the winds and put in a 3 minute effort at 300 watts to open it up a bit. Not too bad. The run warmup went well and I felt as I should feel. I finshed setting up the transition area and off to the swim start. I was wearing our NEW Tri Shorts by Hawk Racing and they were like a second skin and super light. I downed one last Clif Shot and hit the water. Now I knew from the race list there was one guy I should watch out for. Lopez I call him. He can do it all and raced as a Profesional as the rumors go. The swim felt slow and troubling (that’s what I get for doing a total of 4K per week) and the even worse part is the 2 minute sand run to the bike. Ugh, I thought I did well though and even though completely out of breath I actually didn’t see Lopez and thought I might be in first. Off on the bike and the legs were on fire. The first half I was holding 280-310 and I only wanted to do 270-280. WIth a nice tailwind this was a 44KPH average. I love flying fast over the bridges here in Miami. It’s really beautiful. Then we hit the big bridge which is about half a mile up at 5% grade. Flew down the bridge at 60 KPH, U turn, back up the bridge and had to dial it back but still managed 280 watts for the bike. No sign of Lopez. Hey it’s not Lance but at 68 KG not too bad and actually good enough for fastest bike split of the day. Which I have acheived twice this season.

Off on the run and with temperatures of 90 degrees and 90% huimdity it was a struggle. I saw him, Lopez, he had over a minute on me. DAMN! My mind kept wandering and I had to constantly check it to stay in the moment and visualize the Brownlee brothers-chin down, compact arms, fast feet with good strides. The run will get better before the BIG race of the year in four weeks. But today it was dissapointing. Lopez had three minutes at the finish on me and took first place and I took second. Not too bad but actually one of my slowest times on that course. Humidity does play a role but so does the lack of consistency in training. The best part was kissing my little girl at the finish line while I was curled up in a ball under a table seeking shade. A little race in a little place I call it. The big mack daddy race in four weeks is the Escape to Miami which I want to defend my win from last year.

Perfect timing came after the podium presentation. I was getting the Venge out the truck and Zenner Michael Danish comes riding up. He is prepping for another IM Hawaii and we went out and road and talked shop. Great guy and it felt great to put in another 90 minutes at 150 watts in proper Wiggo style.

Time to get back to work. Thanks Mack Cycle, SRM, Oakley, Hawk Racing, Clif Bar, TPS and Samsung for all the support of this guy just trying to stay on top.

Ben Bright: what it’s like to coach the world’s best and being weeks away from the Olympics.

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Ben Bright has raced as Professional Triathlete against the worlds best. He’s been to the world championships and Olympic games and now coaches the Men’s British Triathlon Team. They have arguably the best ITU athletes ever with the super powers of Jonny and Alistair Brownlee. The Olympics fall on their home soil in London adding more drama to an already heavy script of a race. Can the Brownlee’s win on their own turf? Many Olympics have seen the favorites falter. So, with the Olympic games around the corner we took some time to catch up with Ben and find out what its like to coach the worlds best just a few weeks from the biggest day ever.




1. Ben, let’s get to the gist of it. The top Male and Female Professional ITU Triathletes in the world are from the UK and the Olympics are in London. Jonny has won twice this year and Alistair just won the ‘mini’ Olympics in Austria last week. Can they be stopped? What’s the pressure like for you, your staff and the athletes?

Obviously being a Home Games and with our athletes being favored for medals the pressure is there. We are lucky in that we have a very experienced team in key areas. Although we have a young team of athletes they are very used to dealing with the pressure of expectation. Similarly we have coaching and support staff that have been there and done that and I think one of the most important lessons you learn from the Olympic experience is that, win, lose or draw, life goes on. One of the key statistics you can look at from past Olympics is the percentage of athletes who under perform. They don’t under perform because they don’t want to do well or haven’t prepared well, they under perform because they want it too much and try too hard. It’s a fine line that hopefully we can walk well.


2. You are at an altitude training camp in Europe somewhere. What is typical day like for one of the athletes right now?

Pretty standard to what goes on at home. Morning swim between 75-90min, then a bike ride between 2-4hrs flat or hilly and a run in the afternoon for 60-90min. Of course different days have different emphasis, with some days the rides being easier and the runs harder and a couple of gym sessions a week. But the bottom line is that they’re training hard most days and there is not a lot else to do, which is one of the advantages of being at altitude and living in a small village.


3. What other sports are you excited for at the Games?

I enjoy just about all the Olympic sports but particularly the athletics and track cycling. The athletics are just amazing, the speeds they are capable of achieving, the tactics and the technique in all events. I’m really looking forward to the men’s 5000m and 10,000 where Mo Farah will come up against Bekele. The cycling road race will be interesting as well with Cavendish going for the Gold but he will have to deal with quite a tough course to do it.


4. You went to the Olympics yourself in 2000. What are some of the best memories you have of the games?

The race itself was terrible. I got ill the week leading into the race and was just hoping I would be ok but I knew from the first stroke that I would be in trouble. But it was a great experience. There was something like 300,000 people watching on the course that day and I remember looking out on from the race start across the harbor and just seeing a sea of people and realizing how big this race was. It was also just a great Games to be involved in because the whole city of Sydney was just in party mode and really into the spirit of the Games. You could just turn up to someone’s house party and join in and everyone was welcome. Very different to Beijing.


5. What is one KEY component to triathlon success for age groupers?

One of the most difficult things an age group athlete has to deal with is fitting training in with all the other commitments life throws at you. The most successful AG athletes that I coach are incredibly organized and consistent with their training. But they make sure they look after work and family commitments first and training fits around it. That way they can be consistent with their training over a long period of time. But that means keeping some strange hours and being incredibly disciplined. The commitment needed to be a top AG athlete and a top pro is no different and in many ways it is more difficult being an AG athlete, juggling so many things and getting little recovery. But if you want long term success and improvement you have to be consistent with your training over a long period of time. There is no magic formula or short cut.

Ben is also one of the Elite coaches at the 2013 Total Tri Camp in Fuerteventura, Spain. Watch Coach Ben in action here:  and if you want to train with the best and learn from the best check out and sign up before it sells out. The 2012 edition sold out so don’t wait.


Zenner Michael Danish talks Xterra, Ironman and why pointy helmets are dorky!

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1. Mike, you are relatively new to triathlon. You did one Ironman and qualified for Ironman Hawaii and then went and finished Ironman Hawaii in 9:40. That’s a real feat. How did you get into the sport and accelerate so quickly?
For starters, I have always loved to ride a bike, so I have always had a decent bike to ride. It was usually a mountain bike that I would ride whenever I had a chance, but always very recreationally. I actually raced my first few triathlons in 2002 when I was going through Navy flight school in Pensacola, FL and had a good bit of time on my hands. I bought a Cervelo P1 and started riding it a bunch; it was my first bike with skinny tires. Triathlon back then was just a fun way to stay in shape for other sports I was doing, which at the time was kiteboarding. I did sign up for a half-ironman in Panama City in 2003. I didn’t train much for that event other then my normal workout routine of running about 4 miles a day, and swimming a mile or two at the local pool a couple of times a week. I went 5:16ish at that half-ironman and mostly I remember I was disappointed when was too tired to go kiteboarding later in the day when the surf and wind was good. I also remember looking back on it and generally being really disappointed I didn’t go under 5 hours, so I set triathlon aside so I could focus even more on kiteboarding which I was competing professionally at the time.
2. What’s your favorite thing about multisport training?
The great thing about triathlon is that I can obsess about it, and that it’s something my wife and I can train and participate in together. I like that when I eat, sleep or do just about anything, it has an impact on how fast I go the next time I line up to race. With everything I do in sport, I really like to go all in. In college I raced sailboats and I spent more time on the water in a week then in a classroom. After college I picked up kiteboarding and I really enjoyed it. I lived in Texas which is one of three places in the United States you can train for 3 or 4 hours a day every day. Kiteboarding and the weather conditions ruled my life back then (and work, but luckily it didn’t get windy until I got out of work), everything was focused on training and time on the water was dependant on the weather. If you think fitting in tri workouts is hard, imagine if you had to wait for the weather to be right to get them done! When work relocated me to Miami, the weather conditions didn’t allow me to work and keep riding at the level I wanted and I was coming off an injury. I got hit by a car in Texas on my bike commute home from work and tore my ACL. So, after urging from my wife who had already started riding bikes in Miami, I bought a road bike. When I rode my new bike in Miami I realized I still wasn’t very good, but I had an environment in which I could improve, so I started to ride my bike a lot. My obsession for riding bikes began.
3. You do very well at off road triathlons as well? Where did you learn to mountain bike so well and what is it you like about off road versus on road triathlon?
I have always loved my mountain bike. I grew up in upstate New York, and my only regret is I didn’t take more advantage of riding mountain bikes when I was kid. That said; I rode a lot as a kid. I also ski raced in high school. The faster I get on the mountain bike, the more it feels like skiing. The feeling of setting your edge skiing and hoping it holds is very similar to pushing down on your tires at speed and hoping they hold, and I find that really fun. Setting up for turns is also similar in mountain biking and on skis. Additionally, since I’m pretty lean, the mountain bike suits me a little better then road bike racing (especially in Miami). I also really like the element of skill that is added to mountain bike racing. I like a little bit of luck in sport, it keeps the game interesting, and I feel like there is more luck in getting it right on a mountain bike then in a time trial on the road. Finally, like everyone else who spends time racing the dirt, I also really like the friendly vibe of off-road triathlon and mountain bike racing. I raced Xterra Richmond the other day and had the opportunity to chat with Conrad Stoltz for a while, he’s the World Champion and really friendly, and that’s pretty awesome.
4. You are a pilot with the US Coast Guard. Tell us a bit about your job and how does it fit in with the multisport lifestyle?
Life as a Coast Guard Pilot can be pretty busy, but it also has a good bit of flexibility. Years ago, as a junior pilot, my job was mostly to fly. I flew 3 times a week and spent overnight ready alert Search and Rescue & Law Enforcement duty once or twice a week. That schedule gave me a lot of time to kiteboard. Now at work I fly once a week and spend most of my time managing the 100 technicians and aircrew that work for me to maintain and fly as aircrew aboard Coast Guard aircraft. My job is pretty close to a 7am-5pm gig outside of the occasional weekend test flight, so it allows me to get me triathlon “work” done. The Coast Guard has also provided me some incredible opportunities to attend races and events in all the sports I have done over the years. This year I am hoping to be selected as the Coast Guard military athlete and race the Ford Ironman World Championships in Kona. I’ll find out in July.
5. What goals do you have for 2012? Either personal or in sport.
Well I just finished a great spring of mountain bike and off road triathlon racing including 3rd in my Age Group at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships and 1st in my age group at the Xterra East Coast Championships. I have a few endurance mountain bike races lined up for this summer including the Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell (ORAMM) and then I am headed to Colorado to test how I perform at altitude at the Leadville Trial 100 (it was my wife’s idea). After Leadville things are up in the air a bit, I am hoping to go back to Kona and clean up some unfinished business on the Queen K, but if the Coast Guard doesn’t select me, I’ll have to develop a new plan. In August I start Business School full time at the University of Miami, which should be a great change of pace.
Read more about Mike’s BodyZen training and adventures here:

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