TD: I know he probably says he shut it down, but that wasn’t the plan. That shocked me. I’ve watched Julie, and she’s really sat. She’s recovering – but I think Coeur D’Alene took a lot out of her. I think Crowie did that race simply because he wanted to get his qualification for Vegas. But I think he should have just walked through Boulder 70.3 then. It’s a hometown race; he could have just done it as an easy workout. So there are a lot of mistakes out there. I think you’re the one guy who’s doing it right. Except Vineman, I would have questioned that. If I was you I would have been focused on Olympic stuff until you started your build. Those half’s, people just don’t realize how much they take out of you. They’re hard. That’s four hours of hard racing. A half marathon is nothing to sneeze at.
TO: It’s true. I’m at the point now where I took Vegas off the schedule. I still want to race once in that time zone, but now I’m wondering if I’ll do Muskoka 70.3 or maybe a 5150.
TD: I would do an Olympic distance race. What I always liked was to do an Olympic right at the beginning of my build, or maybe eight weeks out, and then I’d do running races. Like a 10k or a 5k, within the build just to get a little race energy. But the half? I mean I know guys do it and progress and do well. I know Crowie’s done it twice with doing Muskoka. But I know he’ll always be the first to tell you he was fitter at Muskoka than in Kona. And that’s where I think having faith in your training, and trusting yourself, and knowing: If I put in the training and I taper right, I’ll be fresh enough.
TO: So that eight weeks out, is that where your Kona block would start?
TD: For me that was what worked. I learned that from Pete and Mark Allen and Chuckie V, and from my own experience. I could focus on everything and be totally disciplined for eight weeks. Diet. Sleep. But I would go into that eight weeks pretty damn fit! I’d take a little break, do a little base building, do an Olympic distance race off of base – with your natural speed you can do that and still have a decent race – and then it was eight weeks. I had it down to every day, what I did. From race day back to eight weeks, every day was accounted for. For me that was very comforting – knowing if I put this work in, and I rest right, and everything goes right, I’m going to be on fire. I think there are a lot of guys that doubt themselves. They haven’t had success in Hawaii yet, so they start playing with everything instead of sticking to some plan. I know you have a coach who’s working with you on that as well, so you’ve got to have trust in that. But you know, I couldn’t do a half four weeks out and feel like I would recover properly. Because four weeks out, those are some key workouts you’re getting in before you start tapering.
TO: And you can come back in from an Olympic race and get back into your groove pretty quickly.
TD: Oh, I’d do an Olympic race on Sunday and the Tuesday after I was doing a seven-hour ride. With a half, you can’t run again until probably Thursday. I watch a lot of the guys now and how much they race, and how they try to keep their training up between the races. They’d be better off just racing, staying loose, racing, staying loose – they’d get fitter. And I think guys don’t rest enough for Kona. I think that will be an issue this year – guys will do a normal two week taper after racing huge amounts of races all year, and they’re not going to recover enough. You’re going to need three or four weeks of rest. I mean I started my taper four weeks out for Kona. So doing a half four weeks out, that wasn’t conducive to that. It’s a learning curve – everybody’s different – although Pete, Mark, me – we all did very similar type training to get to that point.
TO: Did you get a lot of guidance from guys like Mark or Dave?
TD: Mark was very helpful. He’s a hard guy to talk to – you would have to ask him all the questions. He’s not going to give anything away, but he would answer anything you asked. And Pete – I learned a ton. I trained with him the first year he won, and I did everything he did in training and probably a little more, which was the mistake, not resting enough. I knew, when I saw him win and I was 10th, I knew I had to up my game. It was more about the stuff I was doing outside of training than the training itself. And that’s where I think – when I was winning I think all the pros were pretty much training the same way. It came down to nutrition, resting and mental toughness on race day.