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Five Questions with Coach Lee

Now that 2019 is in full swing we sat down with Coach Lee of BodyZen to ask five crucial questions about endurance training and racing. Since Coach Lee just entered his 21st year of coaching he had a lot to say on the subject.

1. Let's start with some fire in this Q&A Coach. What's one tip you'd give to people training and racing for Ironman?

That's a big question and there's so much to say on that topic. I'll give two key items. The first is pacing. Athletes have to learn how to be surgical with their pacing on the bike and the run. Because IM is so long you can really use numbers to dial in the proper pacing, but this all starts months out in the training. Through testing, intervals and analysis you can use power and heart rate to come up with a really successful pacing plan. The numbers don't lie. I love going over this with my athletes and once they've done a few solid tri's they totally get why the numbers matter. Pacing is racing. The second key item is having the athletes work the back half of the medium/long run. Layering the right types of intervals into the longer runs pays dividends on their form and pace on race day. Again, this all starts months out from the race and builds slowly into some really ridiculously hard sessions, but they don't complain when they PR.

2. What's one or two major changes in the world of coaching from when you first started in 1997? The entire business of coaching has changed and I'd say getting coached now is like going out to eat. You can go to McDonalds or Ruth Chris Steak House. Both will get you full but the quality is vastly different. So many athletes want to train with a large group, pay next to nothing and do whatever 50 other people on the same plan do. That's fine if that's their desire or goal; hats off to them. HOWEVER, the chance of injury will go up since there is so little quality oversight or any oversight with regards to technique and more importantly training load. Some of the coaches have very little knowledge or experience building workouts, plans and can't answer the WHY behind a session being prescribed. This is why I only provide custom, individualized training programs. The quality is always prioritized first along with what the athlete can specifically do on that day (considering life, family, work, travel obligations). I coach people all over the Americas and they continue to get faster each year. This makes me very proud. Another change is the vast amount of online training programs out there. When I first started coaching the personal connection was really first and foremost. When someone buys a plan they don't get the coach who can answer the WHY behind the workouts or offer the crucial feedback on nutrition, recovery, equipment and all of the other very important support information. I was just thinking about this the other day when one of my Ironman athletes got his first power meter. I was able to share with him my knowledge on how they work and how he should use it specifically for his goals. It was a 35 minute mini seminar just for him and he texted me the next day to let me know how helpful the talk was. You truly can only get that with a personal coach.

3. Marathons. Do you think anyone will ever break two hours?

They are so close and of course, yes!

4. What's one great swim tip you can give to all triathletes?

I'll give two. Use paddles more and do more kick sets. Kick fast, kick easy, just kick. It's essential for timing, balance and a good way to get out fast, bridge onto another swimmer and finish the swim strong.

5. What's new for the BodyZen brand in 2019?

I'm so happy right now with the roster of athletes I'm coaching. From Northern California to Florida to the Caribbean to South America, Zenners are crushing the torturous but fun sessions I plan for them. I'm stoked to still be doing product reviews for companies such as Oakley and well, since the cats out of the bag, I'm proud that we're partnering with ON Running and Ventum bikes. I'll be providing some training support articles for ON and since I was racing in them when they first launched I'm very grateful we're going to be working together. Thanks for the time.

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