picture courtesy of Sean Watkins

Ed. Note—It's Labor Day weekend, with 70.3 World Championships eight and nine days away: your last chance to get some sharpening work ahead of the biggest race of your season. Labor Day is a chance to unplug from work for a few days, but for most of us that means plugging IN to our training. Set up your long weekend with any of these workouts from our Wattie Ink. professionals, designed to hone the knife in the final few days before racing. First up? A killer swim set from über-swim/biker Josh Amberger.

Josh Amberger's Show Up and Throw Up Set
I like to do this session when I need a bit of a form check. It's a great endurance set but with a wicked turn of speed that can induce some serious lactate. It's probably more focused around Olympic Distance and 70.3 events, addressing the need to throw down speed at the start, and then settling into a strong pack-busting race rhythm—all the while training your body to manage that painful lactate! It can also help with picking up the back half of swims in all distances of racing. Here's how we do it:

Warm up with 1km choice. The 2km main set is hard, and you don't need to do much more than a warm up and warm down to bookend it. Pick a send-off that's not too difficult, but not too easy. Comfortably uncomfortable is what I aim for each session. I use a 1:20 base in long course meters for this set, or 1:15 for short course meters. It's a basic pyramid down, then back up the same way, but in the middle there are 4x100's in a row that should put you somewhere near VO2 max effort (i.e.: really freaking hard!) We do the last 100 of each repetition down the pyramid as 100 hard, and the first 100 hard of each repetition on the way back up. The rest is settling into 70.3 or Olympic-distance race pace or “solid” as I've called it below. You're constantly managing a change of pace through the set, whilst never really doing the same repetition once, except the 2x100 in the middle, which should buckle you if you're doing it properly. Check it out!

400 as 300 solid, 100 hard 

300 as 200 solid, 100 hard

200 as 100 solid, 100 hard

100 hard
100 hard

200 as 100 hard, 100 solid

300 as 100 hard, 200 solid

400 as 100 hard, 300 solid

image courtesy of Paul Higgins

Jen Annett's Killer Bike Session
When I’m stuck inside on the trainer, my favorite session features one min repeats. As much as I hate these, I always see good gains with them! 24x(1min at 115% of FTP, 1' recover) whips you into shape pretty quickly! I am not a huge fan of any indoor rides over 3 hours, but thanks to Zwift, I have been able to hammer out some pretty solid 4+hour rides! Get yourself a solid warmup, and then jump right into the main set!



Sarah Piampiano's Hills of Doom
What: a two-and-a-half mile loop that includes a one-mile progressively steeper hill (from very moderate to almost un-runnable at the top) into a three-quarters of a mile downhill section into a three-quarters of a mile flat section. The workout is three or four times though the loop, continuously running the whole time.
The uphills are worked hard, the downhills are controlled but strong focusing on foot speed and turnover, and the flats are "recovery" but tempo (between 70.3 and Ironman pacing). Follow the hill section with 1x20' on the flat at 70.3 pace/effort.
I love this workout more than any other run workout I do. It builds strength and gluteus activation, factors in leg turnover and foot speed and includes some tempo pieces for rhythm. I typically warm up about twenty minutes and cool down about fifteen to twenty minutes, for a very solid eighteen-to-twenty miles in total. There ya go! Enjoy!

image courtesy of Paul Higgins

Joe Gamble's Pyramid Fartlek Run Session
I believe running well over the 70.3 distance is all about strength endurance, so the majority of your training should be structured around this type of work. However, it is still important to have a little over-speed work as part of your training plan so when you drop back to 70.3 pace it feels comfortable. This is a short but hard session to do 7-10 days out from a race to get the body primed for race day.

1,2,3,2,1,2,3,2,1 (min) hard all with half the interval time jog recovery. Good tune up session seven to ten days out from a half.

• 1 min. - 30 sec. recovery
• 2 min. - 1 min. recovery 
• 3 min. - 2 min. recovery 
• 2 min. - 1 min. recovery
• 1 min. - 30 sec. recovery
• 2 min. - 1 min. recovery
• 3 min. - 2 min. recovery 
• 2 min. - 1 min. recovery
• 1 min. - 30 sec. recovery

The hard efforts are short so you can really concentrate on holding your form together. Remember: to run fast you have to stay relaxed!