It is an under-appreciated fact of endurance training that you don’t need to wait for your hardest workouts, much less formal testing sessions, to know you’re getting fitter. Even a simple Foundation Run or Recovery Ride can tell you all you need to know about the progress you’re making.
Just ask Damon Lebeouf, a 40-year-old triathlete from Vidor, Texas, whose seven-year-old daughter will make her own triathlon debut later this year. “When I first started out,” Damon says of his experience with 80/20 training, “holding 180 watts on the bike was a hard interval, whereas now I anticipate it being my easy/sustained Zone 2 wattage in three to four months. One of my favorite markers has been watching my sustained heart rate during workouts fall as I get faster and stronger.”
Previously, Damon trained with a popular indoor cycling program in which nearly every workout felt like some kind of fitness test and which, he reports, “left me drained all the time and not even wanting to get on the bike.” Having successfully lowered his Ironman 70.3 time by nearly 40 minutes through 80/20, he now has his sights set on Ironman Cozumel in November. And, having learned the value of training at low intensity, Damon has some advice to share with his fellow 80/20 athletes.
“Do your 80 percent in the middle to bottom of the zone,” he says, “and do your 20 percent at the top of the zone where it hurts and you can barely hang on! Don’t be afraid to go slow when you’re supposed to.”