Title Card For Gordo Byrn On The Trainingpeaks Coachcast

Dynamic Loading, Physiological Testing & Effective Range with Gordo Byrn

BY TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Former pro triathlete Gordo Byrn explains his approach to training using simple protocols to develop a more "effective range" as an endurance athlete.

In this episode, Gordo Byrn explains the importance of base training, which he defines as “the ability to move for the duration of your goal event.” Highlighting that athletes should focus on building general capacity before moving on to specific capacity training. He believes that many endurance athletes make the mistake of focusing too much on specific capacity training and not enough on general capacity training, which can lead to overtraining and injury.

Byrn has been called the Tony Robbins in a Speedo because he is a self-help guru and an ex-pro IRONMAN athlete with seven sub-nine-hour IRONMAN finishes. Byrn is also a past winner of the Ultraman triathlon in Kona, Hawaii. He is a coach and author of the book “Going Long.” He has taken about a decade off to focus on his family and is now focusing on being fit after 50. Still, the lessons he shares in the episode apply to any athlete at any age.

Listen in as Bryn and Dirk Friel also discuss the importance of recovery and adaptation. Breaking down how Byrn uses a “5:2” training approach in combination with physiological testing to ensure he and his athletes get the most out of training and a readiness test he performs each morning and night to determine how his body manages the training load to dynamically guide subsequent workouts. 

Stand Out Quotes

“So when I say bottom up, I mean at the most basic level, it’s the ability to move for the duration of your goal event, not even swim, bike, run. And if we think about, you know, if the average Ironman is, say, about 13 hours, hardly anybody stands for 13 hours nonstop. Let’s just use a marathon because that’s something most people can relate to. And on average, how long does it take you to do 26 miles of running? And what I say is, once you have the capacity to do the work, try and compress the timeframe that you’re doing the work in.”

Here’s a guy breaking world records taking two days off a week. Why don’t I try it? And so I tried it, and it works great.

If somebody is listening and they’re like, Oh, I’m going to apply this. Here’s the trick. It’s everybody thinks it’s about the five days of loading. It’s not. It’s about the minimum two days of back to back recovery.

It’s a recovery strategy. It’s not a loading strategy.

“There’s a difference between metabolic health and metabolic fitness. And I lacked metabolic fitness. It’s not your ability to tolerate tempo or to work on your functional threshold. It’s your ability. It’s really your health. Mitochondrial function and lactate gives you a little insight into that. This active readiness test is just a situation where, you know, if I’m unsure, it can help me because most of our days as athletes, it’s not a red light or a green light. It’s normally kind of somewhere in between. And I’m just trying to gauge how my fatigue is.”

“If you’re a multi-sport athlete, your tolerance for intensity is going to vary by sport. So you’re going to actually have a blended intensity on your week. In terms of most of us, particularly when you’re when your volume gets up, swimming is a sport where we can work at what feels like a relatively high intensity at times, but we’ll tolerate it much better than, say, trying to run very intensely, which will break down many athletes. So you need to be aware of the mix. And then you also need to be aware of the impact of strength training within the overall mix, too. And if you’re doing things like plyometrics, there might be a small amount of time, but create quite a bit of fatigue within the athlete.”

“You’re going to learn that if you slam straight into an endurance workout as an amateur, you’re going to spike your lactate. I’ve seen lactates as high as 3.0. So that might be one to one and a half millimoles above baseline because the athlete didn’t warm up appropriately. So how do you know if your warm-up is appropriate? Just do your normal warm-up, take a baseline lactate and take some samples while you’re doing your warm-up. And what you’re probably going to discover is that your warm-up needs to be a lot easier for your body to bring your body online. And so you get the most out of your endurance training and you’re not making your endurance training more stressful than it needs to be.”

Gordo Byrn Online

Endurance Essentials on Substack
True Wealth on Substack
“Going Long” Book

Coachcast Dirk Friel Cta Image With New Logo

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Coachcast Host Dirk Friel
About TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Dirk Friel is the host of the TrainingPeaks CoachCast and Co-Founder of TrainingPeaks. He is a lifelong athlete with a passion for cycling and ski mountaineering and firmly believes in goal setting, dedicated deliberate training and coaching for all. Learn more about his work at TrainingPeaks and follow his adventures on Instagram @dirkfriel.

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