With Jason Levine completing the Outlaw half this weekend it is perfect timing to introduce Adam Clarke as the newest member of our coaching team!
Jason's coach Adam is a Level 2 British Triathlon Qualified Coach and has competed in triathlon since the mid 1980s. Coming from a competitive swimming background, Adam is also a member of the British Triathlon Age Group Team and has competed at two World Championships finishing top 3 Brit and in the top 10 overall in his age group on both occasions. Adam has also completed multiple Iron distance triathlons and competes over all triathlon distances.
We spoke to Adam about Jason's journey into Outlaw!
I have been providing Jason with triathlon coaching since the beginning of the year, with the aim of him competing at the Outlaw Full on 28th July 2019. We are currently 8 weeks away from this A race and at the weekend, Jason hit a real milestone when he competed at Outlaw 1/2 Nottingham.
Jason works for the Royal Mail, so spends a lot of time on his feet and can cover up to 20 miles a day on his round, this combined with a rotating shift pattern and the super early start to his working day, makes for an interesting case for a coach.
Jason is a pretty solid rider and runner coming into the process but had been away from training for a while and he really hit the ground running back in January, hitting every training session hard and from a coaching perspective maybe a little too hard. Even with each session set out in front of you, with predetermined intervals, rest, intensity and session goals, it is very easy to do too much or on the flip side not to do enough. Many athletes fall into this trap where their easy sessions are undertaken too hard and the hard sessions are undertaken far too easily, resulting in a scenario that is neither working the endurance engine efficiently or resulting in any additional speed. You are effectively just training yourself to be constantly tired for very little return, when what we are aiming for is maximum return on your training time investment.
The training process started with a set of tests that allow us to assess the current level of ability and set training zones, which should ensure we don't fall into the under / over training trap detailed above. A 20 minute maximum distance swim test, a 20 minute FTP test and a 5 k run give us lots of information to formulate a training plan and move forward with purpose.
We have particularly worked hard on Jason's swimming and this has given him some big returns on his time investment. Whilst concentrating on an endurance bias swimming program, each session has incorporated into it a block of drills and technique, to correct a few faults that we had discovered in the early swim sessions. Over the course of 4 months Jason has reduced his average 100m time by 15 seconds over a set of 15 x 100s. This is down to improved swim fitness, much better technique, consistently getting in the water twice a week and a progressive and engaging training program.
With the bike element, again based on the results of initial testing, Jason has made some great leaps forward, not only with his strength and fitness but also his aero position on the bike. Jason suffers from a very stiff lower back and it has taken many months of specific aero positional interval training along with numerous small tweaks to his riding position by Matt Bottrill to get him up to speed. Again consistency in training and perseverance with the issue has resulted in a more efficient, quicker bike leg and ultimately a better run off the bike.
Jason is gifted with a fast base running speed and this combined with a physically demanding job, most of the running we have prescribed has been based around low heart rate running, to build his endurance engine ready for the rigours of running a marathon after a 180km bike and 3.8km swim. This type of training combined with minimal speed work ( say twice a month) has seen great results which has, mostly, kept Jason injury free, and able to run a 1 hr 32 half marathon at the Outlaw Half at the weekend following a superb bike 90km bike leg and strong 1.9km open water swim.
So with 8 weeks to go to the big race, we are really happy with the position we find Jason in and can only see him get stronger over the next couple of months.