PNF: Do you mind me asking how many hours a week you train? I’m just really interested because I sit on the outside now. It seems people train so much more than they ever did.
MC: Right now in the peak of it I’m at around 32 hours. I swim about 20-22k. I ride around 450k.
PNF: 450k on the bike? That’s pretty far.
MC: Well I think so too! But you look at all the other guys and they’re riding 700, 800k a week. I don’t know how you do that and get the quality in. And then I run only 100k, 60 miles a week. And that’s now. Those are my bigger weeks.
PNF: Wow! That’s interesting. We used to think 20 hours was hitting the big, big time.
MC: How did you break it down?
PNF: Well, I thought 10-12k of swimming was about all I could handle. On the bike, anything from 225 miles, so 300-350k a week. Running was probably the most – about 80k a week. 80 or 90k. I remember when Michellie [Jones] did ironman and we were like, “Whoa! You did 24 hours of training this week! That’s so big! It’s amazing!” I know you’re laughing! We were blown away, because the average week was more towards 16-18 hours. I do find it very interesting to see how the training volume has evolved. I mean I certainly got on that track later – you know, thinking: More, more, more. Even though every year was a little bit faster. I had such confidence in what I did – I had such supreme confidence in what I did, that I wouldn’t have been training for ironman now, in the first week of August. It would be three or four weeks and that was it. It was like: Go one week, the next week a bit better, the next week a bit better, the next better. Then I know I’ve got one more in me – I’ll wait and that will be my race. Taper. Go. Because I always felt like if you’re training every day, your body can train. If you run an hour and a half, go run two hours one week, then 2:15, 2:30, 2:45, then go do your marathon. You’re on the upswing. It was so little. I mean I was a little bit of an anomaly – most people thought it was way too little. I’d just go: Yeah, but it works. I’m always fresh. I’m always healthy. And then I stepped over the edge and thought: Maybe if I bike 600k or 700k for a couple weeks…and that was sort of the beginning of the end, when I stepped into that. But it was always just having complete faith. And I always say this: I’m interested in the training, but I don’t think there’s a right way and I don’t think there’s a wrong way. There isn’t. As long as you believe – if you believe in yourself and you think: I just want to go out there on race day and I don’t care how fast anybody else is. I just want to have that day that I have in training. You know those days you have where you go, “Oh my god, I rule the world! I rule the world!” I used to sometimes get off my bike, by myself, and go, “That was the best ride! That was awesome!” And that’s all I wanted. If I could just have most of my day feel like that, it doesn’t really matter. And that’s the other thing – I suppose this is a mental thing – but never repeat. Never repeat a training session in the build up to ironman. Never! Never do the same ride, never do the same run. Never. Because I just wanted to carry the feeling of the day. So I’d say: This week I’m running two hours in this place. Next week, I’m running 2:15 at a different place. I just took it as the day came and never repeated, because I never wanted to finish a run and look at my watch and think: Oh my god, I was five minutes slower. Or then get up on myself because I was two minutes faster, or anything like that. So every ride was different. Every specific session for Kona was different in the build up. I never wanted to carry baggage. I wanted every day to be what the day had to bring. Because I knew that on race day, you have to take what the day gives you. I mean we didn’t have watts and Garmin’s and all that stuff – it just didn’t really exist.