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    Epic week experiences

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    Steve B

    Posts : 6
    Join date : 2009-11-03

    Epic week experiences

    Post by Steve B on Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:37 am

    Assumptions for athlete:

    • 2 years of 12-20 hours / week
    • eats well, rests well
    • no injuries
    • done >12 weeks out from goal race


    With that in mind, what is the consensus of Gordo-esque "Epic Weeks"? I've read differing opinions on them. For example, I can't imagine it's worthwhile if you then spend the next week recovering and thus missing regular sessions. Would doing just one big week of (for arguments sake) 3-5 hours ride AM, 1-2.5 hours run PM, every day for 7 days give the athlete any benefit for their upcoming season (IM)? Or is it not worth the potential risk of injury due to the increased mileage? Be interested to hear from those that have done them before and their experiences.
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    Julie H

    Posts : 51
    Join date : 2009-11-05
    Age : 42
    Location : Brisbane

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Julie H on Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:26 am

    I did an epic week (10 days) in January this year and it worked for me. It is good to have a break after a big week like that as it gives your body time to absorb the work. Obviously you have to be sensible and not push beyond what you are capable but after training for 2 years you sometimes need to do something different.
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    Alex R
    **MicroMan World Record Holder**

    Posts : 353
    Join date : 2009-11-02

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Alex R on Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:36 am

    I like the pot plant analogy.

    Bring home a pot plant and water it as you are suppposed to to keep it alive. Eventually it gets bigger and bigger needing a bigger pot and more water volume. Throw on some fertiliser every now and then. Eventually it goes into the ground and gets watered by a hose and rain. Dogs piss on it, scratch it, birds build nests but it gets bigger and bigger.

    If the pot plant had dogs digging and hose watering on day 1, it would just snap and die. Too much water all at once and a little soaks in but most flows away. Watering too much every day early and it gets soggy and sickly. Forget to water it and it stunts and dies. Forgetting to water the tree does not matter as it has drought supplies in its trunk.

    Wait until you are the tree and not the shrub then get the hose out every now and then.
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    Harris

    Posts : 14
    Join date : 2009-11-02

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Harris on Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:45 am

    I have found the epic week to be of benefit. What worked best for me was work up to the epic week so its not a total shock. Then a month later after ensuring a good balance of rest and volume do it again the second one seems to be the most beneficial.
    I did not work at all these weeks so I think it balanced the fatigue and left me plenty of time for recovery.
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    Julie H

    Posts : 51
    Join date : 2009-11-05
    Age : 42
    Location : Brisbane

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Julie H on Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:02 am

    What was the structure for each week. How many sessions and what duration?
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    Harris

    Posts : 14
    Join date : 2009-11-02

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Harris on Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:05 am

    I will look back at Triathlog and get back to you
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    Campbell M
    Coach

    Posts : 32
    Join date : 2009-11-02

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Campbell M on Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:19 am

    It depends how "epic" you are planning the "epic training period" to be. How much extra training are you planning to do?

    I think in the last couple of years Gordo has actually pulled back on the completely over-the-top volumes they did in early camps. A mate of mine did the Australian Epic camp in Jan '05...and I believe it blew his chance of qualifying for Hawaii at Forster (that year). It blew him apart.

    Sure, increase your training a bit for a period...but I wouldn't overdo it. You want to be able to keep on training afterwards, and not feel like you've just done an IM!!!
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    Harris

    Posts : 14
    Join date : 2009-11-02

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Harris on Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:22 am

    7 Weeks out

    Swim x 4 1hr sessions
    Bike x 5 4 x 3hr sessions, 1 x 6hr
    Run x 5 10k,14k,16k 1ok brick off long ride 30ks last session of the week (not for everyone)

    12 Weeks out

    Swim x 5 4x 1hr 1x 1/2hr recovery
    Ride x 5 2x 3.5hrs 1x 2.5hrs 6hrs & 4hrs
    Run x 5 as above
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    Paul F
    Coach

    Posts : 267
    Join date : 2009-11-02

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Paul F on Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:45 am

    I did those one of those I think with you Harris. We managed to crack 30hours. Like you said we had few consistent 20hour weeks before we made the jump.

    The underlying benefits don't come from the physical gains like people think. They come from developing the Mental capacity to view an IM event as just a long training day. This removes lots of stress on the mind coming into a race when you able to develop that sort of mindset.

    Secondly, Epic weeks completely humble your views on true IM intensities. What you can get away with in a normal training week, becomes very difficult to achieve in an Epic week. The intensity of training in an Epic week begins to closely resemble realistic race day intensities. You learn how easy you do need to swim and ride in order to survive the run in Epic weeks of training.

    Thirdly, your training nutrtional stratgeies greatly improve with Epic weeks. You learn to consume while your training as opposed to pre and post training. During Epic weeks you just can't let the tank get near empty, if you do it takes too long to fill up again. This is very specific to IM races.

    Finally, they are fun if you share the experience with other people they become a real adventure. I can remember Harris blowing up on numerous occasssions and I had to carry his sorry A@#$ all the way back home.

    Very Happy Very Happy Laughing
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    Amy B

    Posts : 19
    Join date : 2009-11-02

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Amy B on Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:50 am

    I did an 'Epic Week' in Feb of this year.
    7 days (Sun to Sat) - 30 hours training. I had a high swim/bike volume (well, the swim was high for me then, but not now...), but my run had to be maintained at a normal level due to being a high injury risk.

    I also referred to this as 'Train Like a Pro Week', as my basic goal was to Train/Eat/Sleep/Repeat. I had the week off work, so managed recovery well, had a massage on the Thursday, and then a complete rest day on the Sunday after. Followed up by a light recovery week, then the next 4 weeks of training and racing built in to the best race I've ever had at Perth Nationals in March.
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    Cameron N

    Posts : 11
    Join date : 2009-12-06
    Age : 40
    Location : Brisbane

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Cameron N on Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:46 am

    A mate and I did an epic week a few years back too.
    I got the distances out of a magazine that was reporting on Luke Bell's big week pre-taper.
    This is what we did:

    Day 1. swim 5k, bike 180k, brick run 1hr (race pace)
    Day 2. swim 5k, bike 90min of intervals on windtrainer, run 1hr (race pace)
    Day 3. swim 4k, bike 170k hills, brick run 30min
    Day 4. swim 4k, run 2hr am, 1hr pm
    Day 5. swim 4k, bike 120k
    Day 6. bike 180k, brick short run, then 40min pm
    Day 7. swim 3k, run 2.5hr

    I remember that it completely destroyed us because we just could not eat enough and we kept hitting the wall early on in every session!
    As Fluro says, by far the biggest gains I had were mental in that we surprised ourselves with how much punishment we could actually take even though we felt terrible. This knowledge and confidence was new to us and I think is absolutely invaluable for Ironman racing

    So the million dollar question: would I do it again?
    No Laughing
    Because I think that the gains-for-time-spent are not as good as the boring old regular sessions, day in, day out. Not very sexy but very effective with time (IMHO).
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    SamuelEB

    Posts : 17
    Join date : 2009-12-12
    Location : Mackay

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by SamuelEB on Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:31 am

    I used to be a member of the Endurance Corner forum and asked Gordo about EPIC Camp. He said for some, it is not viable. For me, I would have to actually have to train for the camp. I am a low volume, low intensity guy, and I good with that. Very Happy
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    Tim D

    Posts : 3
    Join date : 2009-12-14
    Age : 38
    Location : Sutho

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Tim D on Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:35 am

    I'm thinking along the lines of the 10% rule here - if I'm training X hrs a week, lets say 10hrs/15 hrs, then theoretically I shouldn't be increasing my training time by any more than 1hr/90mins in the next week.

    So, if one wants to have an "epic week", how much can you increase their training without overdoing it and risking injury/burnout?
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    Paul F
    Coach

    Posts : 267
    Join date : 2009-11-02

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Paul F on Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:53 am

    Maybe treat it as a stretch week as opposed to an Epic week. An epic week requires a support team, because you are just out there friggin training all day long. You need people to help you with the cooking, massage, cleaning etc, because at the end of those days you are pretty knackered.

    A properly executed Epic week will have you up over 40hrs of training at the very least. It will then impact on your training for a number of weeks to follow, this will depend on how fit you are.

    If you want to stretch yourself
    Swim add 50%
    Bike add 50-100%
    Run add 25% max

    Harris and I have done a couple of stretch weeks together. When we do those we move our hours from around 18-20 PW up to 30hours. Hitting 30hours was pretty hard and it leaves you feeling quite tired, but not so tired that you can't bounce back into your normal week after 4-5 easier days.
    the key to a good stretch week is to make sure you keep your intensity going to, with the emphasis on extending your endurance envelope.

    Why did we do them? For the sole purpose of making our Key IM sessions, feel that much easier, mentally and physically.


    fluro
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    Glenn C

    Posts : 109
    Join date : 2009-11-02

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Glenn C on Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:03 am

    Epic weeks are about a state of mind and learning about yourself. There is far less physically to gain from it than can be earnt through consistency which has far less risk. the first 4 days are just about getting you to the last 3 days where you are really fatigued...thats when the learning begins.

    For beginners I would recommend just doing 1 inspirational challenging workout per season that will put a smile on your face. Mine last Xmas was riding to Jindabyne from Canberra (180ish into a howling headwind), the next day I rode up to Charlottes pass then ran to the top of Kosciouszko meeting my wife and her family who had driven/walked up.

    The year before I just rode up to Charlottes. The year before that I did a 180/10brick.

    I use a different terminology to Paul and call these breakthrough workouts coming from the book Breakthrough Triathlon Training by Brad Kearns. The weekly sessions that the program gravitates around are what I call key workouts which comes from running terminology. Why? Because you can't really have a true breakthrough 3 times per week. Most would be lucky to have 3 per year. When planning these breakthrough sessions make sure they are lofty yet achievable, you need to be able to complete it under some difficulty to gain the full benefit of the session. I'm yet to try Brads ride from Dawn to Dusk...anyone want to join me sometime?

    Your first IM is a breakthrough session.
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    Allan P

    Posts : 10
    Join date : 2009-12-14
    Age : 70
    Location : Brisbane

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Allan P on Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:33 am

    Wait until you are the tree and not the shrub then get the hose out every now and then.

    That's a good analogy, there's a lot of shrubs out there that might just break Question
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    Cameron G

    Posts : 114
    Join date : 2009-12-10
    Age : 40
    Location : Quakers Hill, Sydney

    Re: Epic week experiences

    Post by Cameron G on Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:42 pm

    Tomorrow im starting my first Epic Week, touch wood it pays off.

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