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Ironman Arizona on less than 8 hrs per week???

Meet Evan McGerald.  Married, father of 3, 9-5 white collar guy and race director of the Ridgefield Sprint Triathlon.  Evan is an Ironman (Ironman Arizona, 2006), has run a 3:22 marathon and is a former certified personal trainer. 

So, what does all this mean to you?  Evan is just like you, he is the epitome of the everyday triathlete who wants to give everything he can offer to the quest of being the fastest triathlete he can be.  However, Evan is also passionately committed to his family and quality of life. In the past, He has gone down the road of 16 hour triathlon training weeks and experienced what this kind of strain can place on he and his family’s relationship.  Sure, his wife and family were on board with his journey to become an Ironman several years back, but Evan doesn’t want to put them through that kind of stress and sacrifice again.

Evan McGeraldPersonally, Evan wants to attack Ironman again.  His 13:33 time in Arizona back in 2006 still haunts him.  He knows he could have gone faster and he wants another shot.  But how can he serve both of these causes?  Both demand time, effort and sacrifice and clearly, family wins any coin toss.  How can he capitalize on his dogged determination to be athletically successful without compromising his role as a husband and father?  CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance.

Toward the end of last year Evan began hearing about the incredible results put up by some of his peers in long distance events on greatly diminished hours of training protocol.  As he learned more about the source of these regimens, he became acquainted with CrossFit and it’s great reliance on anaerobic training to fuel aerobic performance.  Fueled by the mental scars he still carried from his first Ironman experience, Evan again entered Ironman Arizona, 2009. 

Late this Spring, Evan approached TriMax Fitness eager to employ nothing but CrossFit and Cross Fit Endurance methodology in his training journey to this year’s Ford Ironman Arizona race in November.  After much conversation and confirmation of the protocol to be employed, Evan began his march to Tempe on May 1st.  Since then, Evan has executed nothing but the workouts of the day (WODs) posted on www.crossfit.com.  This “base building” phase allowed Evan to become immersed in the functional movements and intensity so germane to CrossFit training protocols.  As this protocol will make up the foundation of Evan’s fitness program, he will continue to execute it’s 3 days on, 1 day off routine.  Through June and early July, Evan will be adding an additional 6 workouts per week (2 swims, 2 runs, 2 bikes) as outlined at www.crossfitendurance.com.  At no point in the next 7 months will Evan run more than 13.1 miles at a time, swim more than 1650 yards at a time or bike more than 30 miles at a time.  His longest workout won’t last more than 90 minutes—ever

All told, Evan’s average week will look like this:

MON

TUE

WED

THU

FRI

SAT

SUN

1st Workout  

1st Workout  

1st Workout  

OFF

1st Workout  

1st Workout  

1st Workout  

CF 

CF  

CF  

 

CF  

CF  

CF  

crossfit.com  
WOD  

crossfit.com  
WOD  

crossfit.com  
WOD  

 

crossfit.com  
WOD  

crossfit.com  
WOD  

crossfit.com  
WOD  

2nd Workout  

2nd Workout  

2nd Workout  

2nd Workout

2nd Workout  

2nd Workout  

OFF  

CFE  

CFE  

CFE  

CFE

CFE  

CFE  

 

Swim  

Run  

Bike  

Swim

Run  

Bike  

  

Intervals 

Time Trials   

Intervals  

Time Trials

Intervals  

Time Trials  

  

 

In an effort to share the intricate details of Evan’s journey, TriMax will be posting the results of every workout Evan executes until and including race day.  Sound good?  Well, click here to view Evan's workout schedule and results or read on and learn more about Evan’s excellent adventure.

Evan, you’re already an Ironman and have a wonderful family, and you’re the race director for the most popular sprint triathlon in Connecticut (has sold out in less than 5 days in all 3 years of it’s existence).  Why attempt Ironman again?
One word.  Redemption.  I was not at all satisfied with my first go at it.  I was too worried about making it through the day that I wound up staring at my heart rate monitor and not really racing.

What is ultimate success for you in Tempe this year?  What time, what other result driven metrics?
First goal: under 12 hours.  I need to take 10-15 minutes off my swim which has always been my weakness.  The bike should be better as I don't think the wind and heat will be as much of a factor in November as opposed to April.  It is very important to me to "race" the marathon this time.  I am a relatively good runner and if I don't break 4 hours on the run I will be a bit disappointed.

Based on your first month on CrossFit, what have you learned about the training protocol?
I have learned that all of this endurance training has taken a ton of my strength away.  Thank god for muscle memory as I have already seen a lot of good gains in this short period of time.

Evan McGeraldWith so many triathletes following a traditional periodized aerobic training plan, what makes you feel so confident that this training can deliver the same, if not significantly better results?
Going into my first triathlon I had no idea what I was doing.  I was training for an olympic.  Most of what I was doing was strength work. Three years later after a lot of long slow training I did another olympic, (there were plenty of sprints and half-irons in between that time) my finish time was only two minutes faster than my first race.  I'll give the strength work another go.

When you think about the road ahead, what strengths in your persona do you believe you will call upon the most?
People will be expecting this type of training to fail, and fail miserably.  I would like to be the one to prove them wrong.  I am stubborn that way.

What has been the most painful workout you’ve had the “pleasure” to enjoy since starting CrossFit?
First one I did.  Tabata (:20 of work, followed by :10 of rest, 32X broken down into 8 repeats of 4 different movements, i.e. squats, push ups, pull ups, sit ups) kicked my ass.  My wife was in the kitchen and thought she heard me vomiting in the backyard.

What weaknesses are you most determined to address during your training this year?
I have the cardio to go all day, need to pick up the speed.  Also, the 15-20 hour weeks destroyed me and I began missing workouts.  I Need consistency.

How have your friends reacted when you tell them about training less than 8 hrs per week vs. the 16 hrs you were putting in the last time around?
My Ironman friends think I am out of mind, so I don't bother discussing with them... No really, I have a couple guys ready to jump on board.  The thought of doing something totally different is exciting and motivating to us.

What (and why) has been more mentally challenging, getting mentally prepared for your CrossFit workouts or the mental battle of believing such a protocol will deliver the results you want?
These workouts definitely take a little more intensity, it is tough sometimes after to work to find the energy..caffeine helps :)  One good thing is I know that they are typically 30 minutes or less.  That's nothing!!  Try a 6 hour bike ride in January in Connecticut.

I am not worried about whether or not this will work.  I know it will.  A lot of this long distance endurance racing is mental anyway.  I'm not trying to go sub 10 hours here.  I am trying to have a family and a job and put up a good fight on race day. It’s that simple.

Where have you drawn inspiration from in keeping up your intensity and driving through your workouts?
Hah, easy...  80's metal


Evan McGerald
Born: October, 1972 
Age: 36
First Triathlon: St. Anthony's
Lives: Ridgefield, CT

Interview by Max Wunderle

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