Ed. Note—along with his successful racing career and new parenting journey, Wattie Ink. pro Joe Gambles boasts another feather in his cap: coach to Heather Jackson, who just re-punched her ticket to Kona with her wire-to-wire win at Ironman Lake Placid. Today he talks about one of his favorite bike workouts (Heather loves it, too...) and his coaching background and future.
Firstly, I have to give credit to my former coach, Neal Henderson, for providing the structure to this workout. Neal would have specific numbers to hit on each of the efforts but sometimes I like to give Heather a session where she just goes off 'feel' which allows her to dial into her internal pacing clock. If you go too hard too early in this one, there is no coming back from it! I do not use this session very often, perhaps only four times a year and approximately two weeks out from a key competition. It is a great session because it covers the spectrum of intensities that you may encounter during a 70.3. At the same time, it is a great way to boost your threshold (FTP) with the limited rest time between intervals.
What's the workout look like?
Here's how it goes: after a solid warmup, the rider performs a ladder down of intervals in the following pattern: 10' on, 2' off, 8' on, 2' off, 6' on, 2' off, 4' on, 2' off, 2' on, 10' off. Then she repeats that pattern after the 10' recovery interval. Intensities? We can't give away all the secrets, but that first 10' "on" interval begins around 70.3 intensity and each subsequent work interval rises in intensity, meaning the finishing intervals are pretty hard!
How did you venture into coaching?
I started working with Heather at the end of January 2016. I was visiting Bend, Oregon, seeing Jay Dicharry who was assisting me with a recurring Achilles problem. I have known Heather and her husband Wattie for over 10 years now and Heather and I were on the Trek/K Swiss team together. I spent most of my time in Bend with them either training or enjoying the fantastic Bend food and drink scene!
Before I left, Heather and Wattie asked me if I was interested in coaching Heather. Although I was not planning to start coaching until I had retired from racing myself, I could not pass up such an amazing opportunity and so obviously I agreed. I have always loved the way that Heather races and have huge respect for her work ethic. If I could find ten more Heathers, I would start coaching full time now! At present, though, it's great to simply have one athlete, so I can focus on her development and continue to give my racing the attention it deserves. Since the start, it has been a very successful partnership and Heather is a pleasure to coach. I look forward to her continued progression in the sport and watching her love every minute of it.