Big Pistachio Frequently Asked Questions

I didn’t have time to do my workout today, so I am just going to add it to tomorrow.  If you miss a workout, you missed that workout. Period. Now you can switch around some workouts, (please ask me if you are unsure) but over stacking your workouts to “make-up” is a bad idea. We miss workouts for a reason, work, illness, family, and that is OK. Just focus on the next workout on the list. 

What if workouts take longer to do than prescribed? If the workout is taking longer than prescribed in Training Peaks (TP), it’s typically not a problem if it’s by just a few minutes. If you are asked to do a 60 min bike and you do a 90 min+ bike intentionally, then we need to discuss why the extra time. A few extra minutes in your weight workout or stretching isn’t a problem.

You have prescribed a HILL run or a HILLY Bike ride. I don’t have any hills near to where I live. Can I just do the workout on flat roads?  If there are no hills around to train on, first of all I am sorry… you should move. Hill workouts are necessary for building strength and eventually speed.  You can replicate these efforts on a Trainer with your bike or on a Treadmill.  Or drive to someplace that has hills!

You have my swim listed as yards; I swim in a meter pool. Do I just cut the swim short or add to it?  First of all, lets double check it is Meters and not Yards, by asking someone who works there…if they seem unsure ask someone else. There is about a stroke and a half to two strokes difference in most cases. And NO do not shorten the workout, just do the prescribed distance intervals and we can switch the chart from Yards to Meters. You’ll end up doing more Yards…but that is OK!  If you are consistently swimming in Meters, let me know as your send-off times may need to be adjusted.  Really all that changes is your time per 100.

The pool I swim in is long, like 33 1/3 Yards long. How do I calculate the intervals?  Congratulations! You get to swim extra!!! Do the intervals as if you were swimming 25 lengths. If you are wearing a Garmin or GPS device in the swim it should calculate the total yardage at the end. Let me know if this is the pool you’ll always swim in as the send-off times may need to be adjusted.

I am only racing Sprint distance races, why do you have me swimming 2000+ yards? Swimming is a discipline which takes time, efficiency, concentration, a feel for the water and lots of repetition to become a faster and smoother swimmer. You can only do this with swim workouts longer than your 500 or 800 yard race distance. It takes approximately 500y to warm up, sometimes more. Then we have the main set of intervals and a cool down.  Just like running on the track, I wouldn’t have you just go run a super-fast mile without a warm-up and cool down.  Most of your swim workouts will be 30 to 60 minutes or longer for Ironman training.

You only have me stretching / rolling / Myrtl / ice bath once a week, can I do it more often?  YES! Please feel free to do these as often as you feel necessary.  Typically, I place these before or after big workouts or races as a reminder. Please stretch/roll/ Myrtl often.

I never stretch. What stretches should I be doing? Primarily I am looking for Quad, Hamstring, Gastroc, Adductor and Abductor stretches.  You can YOUTUBE Stretches for runners and cyclists and there will be tons of ideas. Additionally, I recommend Yoga for stretching and some extra Body Weight work. A great Yoga app is called Down Dog, the basic downloads are free, but if you want to boost certain things like hip openers or core then upgrade the app.  I personally use this for all my in home yoga now.

How do I figure out my Swim Threshold Heart Rate?  We can configure this in Training Peaks, but only if your device is accurate in the water.  Typically, this has not been super accurate with Garmin’s yet.  I am more interested in the (Yard/Meter) time or pace than your Threshold. We will be doing a ½ mile swim test and a 1000yard TT to get an idea of what your Threshold time is or your T-Pace. These are listed at T-Pace workouts, and they are super fun!  We can also do a CSS (Critical Swim Speed) test/workout to find these numbers.

I love my bike trainer and my treadmill; can I do all my workouts indoors?  Is your race indoors?  I didn’t think so.  You will need to acclimate to the weather and there is no better training than fighting Mother Nature and her blowhard Cousin Windy!  Some workouts will be on the trainer and the treadmill, but typically only one or two per week depending on the weather.

Spin Classes are awesome!! I love the lights, the music, the super-fast pace, the disco ball, it’s a party on the bike, I love it all!!! Can I do spin classes instead of trainer rides or outside rides? Listen, dancing queen, settle down.  Spin classes can be quality workouts about once a week, but make sure you are actually doing cycling drills and focused intervals. If your spin instructor is doing “Tap-Backs” and “Up-Downs” or waiving 2lb dumbbells over your head, you may want to re-think your instructor for your new athlete driven goals. Many people get overuse injuries from these super high cadence spin classes, and I have never once needed to do a Tap-back while riding my bike during a race.

What does BB2/L3 mean?  This is a code that refers to one of the workouts in my Treadmill Training ebook on iTunes. You can download it to your phone to have handy on a workout, or just read the description I have listed for you in Training Peaks. The book is good to have because it has lots of drills and tips for better running form.

What is Zwift?  Zwift is another online subscription trainer-based cycling workout application.  This program is the gameification of spin workouts. If you are using a Kickr or “Smart Trainer” and have access to a computer you can use Zwift as an excellent way to build your FTP (strength on a bike). We can also do testing on the Zwift programs. Zwift has a way of making long or challenging trainer rides more fun than just watching a video. Please make sure Zwift is connected to your Garmin Connect and or Training Peaks applications for easy transfer.  You can also drag and drop or download Training Peaks bike workouts into Zwift workouts.

I have Core Work and Workouts that I don’t understand on my program. I have a selection of videos I produced for free or a nominal fee on the Big Pistachio website under the Services tab.

My swim says 100y drill, what kind of drills should I do?  Great drills for triathletes are Catch-up, Swim with Fists, Zipper Drill, Sculling, 3/3/3, Bi-Lateral breathing, Swim with 1 arm, hip rotation, catch drills, cross over drills etc. A great place to find video and explanation of swim drills is on the GO SWIM channel or download the GO SWIM app.

You have OWS 1 mile on my Training Plan, what does that mean? OWS is short for Open Water Swim then the distance following OWS.  OWS is great for continuous swimming, practicing your sighting and for your endurance.  Make sure you always swim open water with supervision. Like mom always warned you, don’t swim alone.

I don’t live in a city with any Open Water Swim areas, what should I do? Move. Or ask around, find a lake in a nearby town and make an adventure out of it.  If you don’t have options for Open Water, please let me know and we’ll make adjustments…then you should also look to move.

I have had a pain in my (xxxxx) for the last week and it hurts when I do (xxxxx), what should I do?  Well the first thing you so do is stop doing that thing you do when it hurts! The next thing I am going to do is bonk you on the head because you should have told me something was up long before a week had passed.  If something hurts or doesn’t feel right I should know about it by day 2, 3 at the latest. By continually exercising on what could be an injury could take you out for the season. So, let me know ASAP and I will try to figure out the cause and find solutions to the problem and get you on your way again soon!

Sorry I didn’t upload my workouts this week, I have been sick. Now that I am feeling better can I make up the workouts or pick up where I left off?  No.  Do not pick up where you left off. The go sit quietly and think about why you didn’t text, email, or call your coach to tell her you were sick. Now… how are you feeling? Let’s re-write your week and get you back on your feet.

I have lots of silly/embarrassing questions…. But I don’t want to bother you. Don’t be ridiculous! That is why I am here! To stop you from doing stupid stuff the day of the race. There are no stupid questions I haven’t already heard. I have made every mistake in the books and can help you from making the same. If you think you know something…but aren’t quite 100% sure ask. If you read something that made you think “Why am I not doing that?” email me the question. Wear socks or no socks? Compression Socks or Calf Sleeves, Gloves or no Gloves, carry water to just grab and go, Aero helmet or Road Helmet, Chamois Butter or Monkey Butt, do I really pee in the wetsuit, Pink cycling shoes or Green…. Whatever just ask! 


Erin Truslow 

Big Pistachio, LLC