Blog posts tagged with 'Ironman'

Maverick Multisport Team: An interview about Coaching and Ironman Training Tools


Bevin: On today's hot property interview, we're very happy to be able to welcome Chris Hutchens from Maverick Multisport Team to the show. Welcome to the show, Chris.

Chris Hutchens: Thanks Bevin. Appreciate it.

Bevin: We just spoke before the interview and we were talking about how our podcast of light has just been focusing a little bit on the professional ranks and how professionals make money. This being the upsurge in professional Troy teams. We've been talking about BMC recently in Bahrain. You're not quite on those guys' budget levels just yet, but you've been around for a while now. Where did the concept of Maverick Multisports stand?

Chris: Oh gosh. You want the 60-second version or the long version? Which do you want?

Bevin: The long version.

Chris: Long version. Okay. Well, a little backstory on me. I was actually an airline pilot for about five years. When my wife and I had our third child, I ended up leaving Delta to be a stay-at-home dad. After about a year, I got a little stir-crazy. As a former collegiate swimmer and active triathlete, I started in the fall of I guess 2012. Helping out some pros in the sport that were really struggling with getting sponsorships lined up. That's what I went to university for.

I have some experience after college in that market. I stepped in and said, "Hey you're doing this all wrong. [laughs] Let me help. Please let me help you. I don't want to see you banging your head against the wall any longer." I hopped in and I helped three pros that year. It was one of those things where I said, "Hey, I'm not too bad at this. I'm actually having some success at it." That was in 2013, was the first full year that I did that.

From that I jumped in. 2014 is when it really took off. That year I had five pros. I had Matt Hanson on the team. His first year as a professional triathlete, he won Ironman Chattanooga that year and obviously, he's gone on to win Ironman Texas. I think everybody for the most part probably knows who Matt is. I had Amber Ferreira on the team that year. She won Ironman Lake Placid and went to Kona.

That second year, it just went like a rocket ship, and all of a sudden, everybody knew at least who we were as an organization. It just took off. Then last year, well I guess in 2015, we had six pros and we spun off an age group component to give us some additional bandwidth. Last year, it continued to grow with seven pros and 20 age groupers and now here we are.

In 2017, we've signed five pros for 2017 and we've got 48 age group athletes, now that raise for us. It's grown quite a bit from five years ago when I just had three pros and now we've got 53 athletes under the Maverick banner I guess you can say. It's been a fun ride. It's one of those things you can look back and say it like, "Wow. I can't believe where we are." It's just one foot in front of the other.

Bevin: Interesting. Really, really interesting. Would you say that you started off as more of an agent and working with them as individuals? Did it actually get to a point where you started to attract brands to these individuals and thought, "If I can retain all these brands, we may as well create a banner and then bring individual pros under that banner." How did it go from three or four athletes into what is your own brand?

Chris: Actually the name Maverick came from -- I started coaching youth and junior draft legal athletes. Here in the area where I live, I live in Louisville, Kentucky which is home to the Kentucky Derby. I was looking for something that would reflect the area. So horses and maverick and that's where the name Maverick Multisport came around. I started working with these three pros under that same banner and the pro thing really took off. The coach that I was running the junior team with, she moved to Colorado.

At that point I made a decision to say, "Okay. As much as I love coaching the youth and juniors, I'm putting all my chips in with the pros." It was one of those things where I really see a huge advantage being able to go to a company and saying, "I'm bringing to the table five, six, seven professional athletes that are going to have a very uniform look to them. Everybody is on the same bikes, the same wheelsets, the same power meters, wetsuits, everything like that." It gives a very clean look. Obviously if you're a company and obviously you use Polar as an example because Wayne sets this up.

Bevin: Great friend of the show.

Chris: If Polar comes to me, they're obviously a lot -- it's a lot easier for them to activate a relationship with me as one person as opposed to saying, "Okay, Chris. We would much prefer to go out and just find five or six or seven pros on our own." Well that takes a lot more legwork on their end where they can just come to me and say like, "Boom." It's a one-stop shop.

All the sudden, they don't have to worry about the contracts. They don't have to worry about anything else that goes on behind the scenes. It's just basically like, "Chris, we want to work with you guys." You activate the relationship and supply all the content and manage everything on the backside. If I was a company, I think it will be a dream relationship.

Bevin: Did it start like that though? Did you look when you had your first couple of pros and you were looking at them as individuals? Did you immediately into the market with that concept already fully formed?

Chris: No. I just went into the market with I'm going to package everybody under one umbrella as opposed to try and say, "Okay I've got this athlete. What can you do for this athlete, this athlete, this athlete?" I said, "I have a collection of athletes. This is what I wanted to do with them. Can you support these athletes as a single unit?" Fortunately, we had a couple companies that signed on that very first year which allowed it to start that snowball effect.

If that wouldn't have happened then, obviously we probably wouldn't be sitting here. Things worked out that first year and we got some traction. I think once you get a couple big companies signed on board, then the chips just started to fall into place like, "Oh okay. Well, you're working with XYZ company already." That's a pretty reputable brand. You must be doing something right if you already have a relationship with them. It just seemed to work out.

Bevin: Now that you've been doing this for a little bit, what is the sponsorships based like for triathlon? It seems that the budgets are getting a little bit tighter. We've got provisional triathletes that I coach. We talk to professional triathletes who are up and coming in and entering this market. You've just signed a couple of professional triathletes. One who's just entering the 70.3 space coming out of ITU, Dan Wilson who we had on the show a few weeks ago. Do you think that these teams are where most of triathlon is going to end up if you are actually trying to enter in as one of those newer pros?

Chris: If you are new or still relatively -- you're trying to establish yourself in the market, I think that getting onto a team is really and truly the way to go because again not just from a corporate standpoint but from an athlete standpoint if you go to a team, you immediately walk into relationships with bike companies, wheel companies, nutrition companies. You instantly even as an athlete have just a spider webbing reach where -- and then it takes a lot of the pressure of having to develop all these relationships.

I think that's something that certainly you have to do down the road, but if you are like you said Dan Wilson 10 years' racing ITU, coming into 70.3 this year, I think it's a great way for him to segway into non-draft racing. He may be on the team for a year. He may be on the team for five years, who knows, but I think it's a great way for him to get his name out there and step into a situation where he's got a ton of bandwidth behind him; because with 48 age group athletes on the team, all those athletes are obviously going to be following Dan and Clayton and Leslie and John and Rhuidean, all the pros that are on the squad- -and helping to like and re-tweet and follow and just do all the things that go on to help build a brand for them online.

Bevin: When did you decide to deviate into the age group side of things? And I noted from your website that initially you're only looking for a dozen age group for the team, but it's obviously moved out since then because it's successful?

Chris: Yes. I think at the end of the day, this is a business. As a business, you have to look at "Okay, how are we positioning ourselves to make money?" If you go to an Ironman race, a challenge race, 98% of the people on the starting line are age group athletes. How do we tap into that market? How do we leverage that relationship? Best by engaging with the age group athletes as a brand. We started that two seasons ago with six. Last year we had 20 and now we're up to 48.

It allows us to -- as a brand also go to the companies that we've worked with and say -- "The buck doesn't just stop with the five pros that we've worked with. You're also able to tap into and have a trickle down effect with these age group athletes. It's a good relationship. I think it's a win-win-win for everybody. It's a win for the age group athletes. It's a win for the company. It's a win for Maverick as a brand. It's just like a circle. You've got to keep everything going around and you don't want to break the chain. As long as we continue to do that, then I think it continues to work.

Bevin: Okay. Triathletes are trying to make money out there.

Chris: Right.

Bevin: Maverick's is trying to make money. How does it all work in terms of a business model because you're not doing it -- most of us in triathlon are doing it for the love [laughs] including a lot of the pros, but how does the business model actually work, so it serves both the pros and makes a sustainable living for you as a director of the team?

Chris: It's definitely tough. I wouldn't say that anybody is really getting rich off of it. I think we're able to provide a solid level of support for athletes. I think that there's probably 25 or so men and 25 or so women something like that. Really like globally that are able to I would say like this is --

Bevin: Yes. Paying the bills.

Chris: I've been around long enough to know what most people want, what most people are making. Like you said Bevin, I think most people are doing it for the love of the sport. There certainly are people that are making good money doing it. I know that for a fact. I think that we're able obviously to provide a lot of things that would be difficult to go out on your own and get. I don't want to go into it too much because I don't want to get on it all completely. We support the athletes to a degree where they're able to be successful.

Bevin: Also to a point where you see yourself in the market because as I say some of those other brands obviously -- there's no prints giving you --

Chris: On our back pocket of course.

Bevin: And no property you magnate in Europe.

Chris: We're basically in a stage, maybe you'll lose, get a President elect and put him in a pocket or something like that.

Bevin: Get one who's fond of triathlon.

Chris: That's perfect.

Bevin: What's the long-term goal for the team then? Obviously, it's really well established now. It's been running for a longest period of time. It's in that sickened tier of teams but it's successful and you've got some great brands aligned with you. Your job would be to obviously continue to try to expand.

Chris: Yes. Just like any brand, I come to look at it just like you would at any product. How do we make this watch better? How do we make this bike better? How do we make Maverick multi-sport as a brand better. We did that by continuing to recruit better pro-athletes. We try to do that by creating better relationships with the companies we work with. We try to step up to what we're doing from just a content creation standpoint. Because at the end of the day, as maybe shallow as this may sound, all these athletes is just an extension of the marketing departments for these companies. That's what an athlete really has to recognize that.

You're not part of their production. You're not part of their -- maybe sometimes they're indeed, but you're not part of their shipping department, you're not part of their executive department, you are part of their marketing department. We have to find the best and the most creative ways to help these companies market the products that we represent, so that we can provide the best ROI for them. So that when we come back around to the next year to look at contracts, they'll say "Yes. Dollar for dollar you guys gave us the best bang for our buck of anybody that we work with." That's what I've pretty consistently heard across the board.

The only complaint I've ever had from anyone is like "Chris, you gave us too much stuff," [laughs] which is a good thing. I guess our goal is to continue just to grow. Obviously just like any sport, whether if you're playing American football, you want to go to the Super Bowl. If you're playing in the NBA, you want to go win an NBA championship. Or you want to win a World Series in baseball. I think for us as a brand, obviously we want to try to continue to chase championships. 70.3 World's get somebody top 10 in Kona. Obviously podium at Kona maybe in the next two or three years. It's one of those things, it takes some time and it takes proper athlete. It takes at the end of the day money. But I think it's possible. I think we're on our way.

Bevin: One of the things that we've just talked about is actually last week on the podcast is that -- And I've been privy to a couple of contract offers for some of the athletes, my professional athlete that I coaches who sign for a team. There seems to be some push back from some of the brands at the moment as to where the athletes rise. Do you find that the market is Ironman scene trick from a sponsorship perspective? From the brands that you're dealing with? It is about 70.3 Worlds or do you find that it's a little bit more broader than that and the events like in the past we've had Rev3 and we've obviously got challenged and Toughman Tri's trying to establish itself. Or do you feel some pressure from the industry that it has to be 70.3 and Ironman focused?

Chris: I think that obviously Ironman and Ironman 70.3 is -- that's top dog. It probably will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future. I think challenge is second there. Some of the other brands you mentioned Toughman and Rev3, they're great brands. We've got athletes to do those races, but I think that they still need to establish themselves a little bit more. They need to develop those brands. They need to get the following behind them. It's hard to compete with the brand where you got athletes; as soon as they finished the race, the next day are going to tattoo parlors to stamp.

Though you've got people that are so over-obsessed with Ironman, it's hard to get people to get that focus away. I think from an athlete's standpoint though, as far as companies that we work with, I think they prefer Ironman. I haven't really heard anybody say like "You have to do all Ironman races." I think at the end of the day, it's about how you -- if you go and win Challenge Rugby or whatever it may be, I think that at the end of the day, it's how you relay that information and how you take those results and repackage them and then obviously distribute it, and then just really activate that.

I would rather have somebody go and get third place at a race and we really blow the marketing out of the water and really create some buzz around that- -as opposed to go and have an athlete win a race. And then it's just crickets where nobody hears about it. That does nobody any good. I think it's [sic] really falls on the athlete's shoulders how you put a spin on the race result.

Bevin: This year you've got a few new athletes on the team. It's an exciting year for you because there's always going to be athletes who come and go. Say in Dan Wilson's case, his entry to 70.3 race has been actually pretty spectacular today. You've actually maybe signed up someone who could be quite a heavy hitter at 70.3 before the end of the season. Does that excite you with the people that you're working with this year?

Chris: Absolutely. Yes. Like you mentioned Dan, he transitioned after 10 years of ITU racing to 70.3 and goes and wins Noosa, and then -- the world's largest Olympic distance race. And then he follows it up with a win at the Challenge Shepp and Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney. He's into 2016 on fire. I'm excited to see what his -- how 2017 starts. I think as long as he stays healthy and just continues to do what he's been doing, I think he's going to be just fine.

And then, obviously, we brought on Clayton Fettell, another Aussie and he's had a great career over the past few years. Obviously, he's been to Kona and he's got his sight set on Kona this year. He just got married and had a little boy last year. So I think last year was probably pretty busy for him. From a personal standpoint, I think this year, the focus is going to be pretty lasered and dialed in. I expect great things from him this year as well.

Bevin: Well, it looks like -- You never know, Dan sneaks a 70.3 world title, all of a sudden Maverick Multisport is going to be spoken about in the same breath as BMC in Bahrain.

Chris: You never know. You never know. I wouldn't put it past him.

Bevin: No, I wouldn't put it past him either. Anyway, Chris -- Well. Thank you so much for taking some time out this afternoon to have a chat to us about Maverick Multisport. We'll definitely put the links up to your website and Facebook on our show notes. It's exciting to see the team expand and evolve, and we wish you the best of luck for the 2017 season.

Chris: Well, thank you, Bevin. I really appreciate the time. Thanks for having me on today.

- Interview brought to you by Fitter Radio (  & Chris Hutchens, Maverick Multisport

Check out Maverick Multisports recovery tools: (


Recovery Pump Mid-Year Racing Update

This year, with Kona not part of my race plan, it took a lot of pressure off of having to chase points. I decided to cram the year with 70.3 races. I decided to start the year off with Pucon, Chile - a race I've heard a lot about and always wanted to do. I trained hard over December and January to get fit early for the early season races. That race went according to plan and I was able to pull off my first win of the season. However, starting training so early and not taking  a break much from last year started to take it's toll early. Being so fit early, I decided to chase a couple of the big races early on in the season, the next stop being Dubai. Unfortunately I picked up a bug either there or on the way there and had about as worse a race as you can imagine. Around this time I started to get some issues with my feet. I'd never experience planter before and it was definitely a new experience being injured. I decided to keep training through the pain and from Dubai went on to race Monterray 70.3. I managed to finish 4th there. I got back on a plane for another long haul international flight for Brasil 70.3. Much the same as Dubai, this race was a bit of a disaster. Maybe I'm just getting too old for long flights. After Brasil, I came back to Boulder where I managed to get a bit more training in since the weather was starting to improve. The next race took me back to Galveston to defend my win from the previous year.  Unfortunately on the run, I went the wrong way on the run course, which was a big brain fart on my behalf considering I'd won it the last 2 years. The year started off great but for some reason I just couldn't string together any luck. Racing is sometimes just as much luck as it is fitness. Next up was St. Croix, which is a race I've done 13 out of the last 14 years. Using that experience I managed to finish up with a second for the day, but I really had to dig deep. I think I set a record for the amount of time I spent in the Recovery Boots after a race.  After St. Croix, I settled down to do a big block of training which led me into the Boulder 70.3. I had a decent race and ended up 4th there. The next week, I got back on the plane and headed to Mont Tremblant where I finished 4th again. It seems to be my number for this year. Doing races back to back is probably where Recovery Pump has been most valuable to me this year. A few weeks later I went out to Racine where I finished... yes you guessed it... 4th! With my feet still troubling me and not being able to get the high volume of running in that I needed, I wasn't able to perform how I wanted to at Wiesbaden European Champs. I decided to pull out of World's after that, knowing that my fitness is not where it needs to be to compete at a world championship race. My next race planned is Cozumel 70.3. I've now started an aggressive treatment for my planter, which should hopefully let me get the training in that I need to hit the last half of the season hard. I still have another 5 races to go until the end of the year and I'm looking forward to improving on 4th place. Despite my injuries, I owe a big thanks to Recovery Pump for getting me this far and still able to race. Thanks to Recovery Pump, I've already done more races this year than most athletes do in a full season, so it's been a huge help. Good luck to everyone else for the rest of your season. 

Richie Cunningham


What's your "why"? Why do you do what you do? What drives you? When it's time to grind, time to suffer, what is your reason for digging deep?

I think mental preparation is the most overlooked aspect of getting an athlete to the starting line of an Ironman ready to do his or her best. So many athletes and coaches focus on all of the tangible aspects of training and racing, that one of the most important but critical and somewhat intangible components. It's very important to have your watts, heart rate, pace, calories, fluid intake, electrolytes dialed in for race day. You also need to get to the start line with fresh legs. But none of those things matter a lick if an athlete cracks mentally when the going gets tough. You can be the fittest and fastest person on the start line, but if you walk because you're mentally tired or weak, you'll never reach your potential as an athlete.

As a coach, one of the first things I ask my athletes to do is to think about and write down their "why". Why are they doing this? If you don't know your reason for being there, you will never be able to grind. It hurts too bad to be able to go on in hard training or in a race. That "why" is what will keep you going when it hurts really badly. 

I rarely come up with ideas on my own. Back in my engineering previous life, we used to say "NIH", Not Invented Here. Don't try to create something that's already been thought of by someone else. The same goes with your "why"; I didn't come up with it myself. I love the motivational speaker Eric Thomas. He talks a lot about knowing your "why" and that it needs to be deeper than you. I think this is very powerful. If your reasons for racing Ironman are surface deep like "I want to go faster or get a PR time" when the going gets tough, it may not be enough to overcome the demons that creep in your head.

If your reasons for doing this are deeper than surface level, if you truly believe them, they're internalized, and if you can call on them on race day or in training when it's extremely painful, then I think you are more likely to keep going than to quit. It's too easy to start walking deep in the marathon. If you are doing this for your spouse or your children, If you can focus on the sacrifices they've made for you, a little pain isn't too much to overcome. You need a reason to get out of the "poor me" mentality during the hardest parts of the race. Our brains will try to get us to stop, but you need something deeper to get out of your head. I find something in your soul will trump your head. Some people can do this naturally. They have an innate competitiveness to be able to keep digging when it's hard. Others don't, but I think it's something that can be learned by anyone if they focus on it. This all starts by asking that question of "why". From there, start digging deeper into your own psyche and heart. You will find the answers that are specific to you. If you can find those, then focus on them every day, you will find that next place you can dig to on race day. 

There are so many talented athletes out there who never realize their potentials because they overlook all of this. Watch an Ironman sometime… Stand around mile 16 of the run and you will see the people who have found that will within and those who are mentally defeated. Sure many people have to slow down because of physiological reasons like cramping, over-biking, under training, or nutritional mistakes. But you will see those who have just given up digging deep. You will also see those who are continuing to dig. They know their whys and are using when to drive them forward.


-Pat Evoe 

Are You Using Group Rides to Your Advantage?

Now that Boulder has been getting some good outdoor biking weather, I've had my first few group rides for the year. After a couple rides with others, it led me to think about how group rides can be good or bad for athletes depending on how they use them. As an athlete and a coach I want to make sure my athletes, as well as, I get the most out of each bike ride. Sometimes the dynamics of larger groups hinders athletes from getting what they need from a weekend ride.

Personally, I prefer biking in smaller groups of 2-4 riders. I really don't like when groups get much over 6 people. The major reasons for this are safety and group dynamics. If you have a small group of people you know, it's easier to know how the others ride, as well as, communicate about how you want the ride to progress. Safety is obvious, the more people, the better the chances of someone causing an accident. If you have good riders, you can keep a nice single or double pace line. The larger the group, the more people and moving parts are involved, making the chances of something going wrong go up. Along these same lines, each person you add to a ride increases the number of stops along a ride. I personally like to stop only once every 2-3 hours each ride. Of course there's an occasional need for an extra “nature” stop or flat tire, but again each person you add, adds the chances of extra stops for these reasons.

For me the main reason I like smaller groups are the group dynamics. With a few people, you can communicate before or during the ride easier to make sure everyone has the same or similar goals for the ride. If I have a base or endurance ride, I don't want someone to be hammering on the front because they want to get a tempo effort out of the ride. On the flip side, if I have efforts I need to execute during a ride, I want to make sure everyone else knows what I'm doing. I'm not just being a jerk, trying to ride off the front and drop everyone, rather I have a specific goal wattage I want to hold for a period of time. With a few riders, you can more easily communicate these items. The more people you add, the more agendas you add to the ride. It makes it harder for you to stick to your plan and needs.

Even if you have your plan, the bigger the ride, the easier it is for you to get tempted into strying from your plan to stick with your group. There's always someone who wants to hammer up the hills. Do you have the discipline to let yourself get dropped if your goal is an easier endurance ride, or are you going to let your ego get the better of you and try to keep up? I can pretty much guarantee that you are going to try to keep up rather than stick to your plan. Again, the more people, the better chance of this happening.

I used to ride with a big group when I lived in Austin. There was one strong rider who didn't have as much free time as the rest of us on the weekend. So rather than go really long, like 5 hours, he had only 2 hours each weekend. So he wanted to get the most out of his time. We'd show up to the ride and for the first hour, he would hammer at the front. Often times, 10 minutes into a 100 mile ride, we'd be at or above our race paces because of one rider's agenda on the ride. These are the situations I now try to avoid.

Another phenomenon that occurs with larger groups is what I call pace-creep. This is a gradual increase of pace over time. Why does this happen? If you have one or two people at the front of a group, they're setting the pace. When it's time for them to move to the back, the next person/people move up. Because of macho egos we often see in cycling groups, those next leaders don't want to be the guys who let the pace drop because they don't want to appear weaker. So they try to ride the same pace or maybe a little faster. This continues as the group rotates leaders until its way too hard of a tempo. It takes disciplined riders without egos to slow the pace down. With a smaller group of people it's easier to say “hey guys, why are we riding so fast? Lets ease up a bit.”

This pace creep often causes athletes to ride too hard for the first half of longer rides. On my old riding in Austin, guys would hammer to keep up on the first part of the ride. Then the second half, they'd almost always fade and bonk. I believe that on longer rides, it's almost always better to ride the second half harder and stronger. Again, the idea is to create an overload in your body. Its better to push the end when you're tired to get those gains you need for your next race. This is instead of riding the first 30 mile hard and limp home the last 30 miles at a snails pace. Which way of riding do you think is better to prepare you for your next Ironman? The larger the group, the harder it is to be disciplined in this way or to control the pace to meet these kinds of riding goals.

My style of bike training is riding either base/endurance which is pretty easy or very hard race-pace efforts, not much in between. I've found the bigger the ride, the more the group pulls you towards the middle “junk” zone of kind-of hard riding. Its hard enough to make you tired by the end of the ride, but not hard enough to create an overload in your body to really improve. So the ride really doesn't serve it's purpose in your overall training picture.

I'm not against group rides, but I want to make sure they meet my and my athletes goals. As long as you understand some of these pitfalls of group riding, you can better use them to fit your athletic needs

Ride safe,


Twitter: @patrickevoe

Facebook: /patrickevoeracing 

Treading Water with Chris McDonald

So after spending the weekend watching at Ironman Florida it became very apparent to me that with the rough water conditions people were genuinely scared of the water. I know a lot of people do not get the opportunity to swim open water but you can get very comfortable with the water even in a pool environment.

Below are a couple good swim sets that I think every person should be able to complete with comfort and ease before they attempt an Ironman:

Warm Up:

300, every 3rd 25 backstroke.
400 easy as 4 x (25 R arm only, 25 L Arm only, 25 Catch-up f/s, 25 backstroke).

Main set:

1With paddles and buoy – pull 800, every 4th 25 fast. Go moderate here, not hard.
2) Easy 100 f/s
3) 12 x 100 alternating 100f/s on 1:40 15 sec rest and 100IM on 20 sec rest
4) With Fins – 12 x 50 alternating 50fly, 50 f/s all on the 60.
5) Easy 100 f/s
6) 10 x 150 f/s on t20 sec rest 1 moderate, 1 steady. Try to make the steady about 3-4 seconds faster than the moderate.
7) Kick 300 every 4th 25 Brst kick.


Warm up:
300m easy then,
20 X 25m as three fast, one easy on 15 sec rest.
Main set:
Go into 2400m, the first 800m is paddles/bouy/band then next 800m is paddles bouy then the last 800m just a bouy. Make the changes very quick to try to kepp the swim continues .
Then go into six X 200m fast on 40-seconds rest.
Cool down:
200m easy cool down

Triple Ks Swim
Goal of the entire workout is to swim each 1,000 faster than the first.
Warm up:
400m easy and relaxed on 15s rest
4 X 75m steady, with the middle 25-metres fast on 10-seconds rest
200m alternating 50m steady, with 50m mod-hard on 15-seconds rest
100m easy
Main set:
1,000m start easy and build to steady effort (note time),
4 X 50m easy and relaxed,
1,000m swim faster than the first one (note change in effort required to swim faster),
4 X 50m easy and relaxed,
1,000m swim slightly faster than the second
Cool Down
200m easy cool down

- Chris Mcdonald, Ironman Champion

A Ruptured Achillies: The Journey Back

When you think about rupturing your Achilles… Your skin crawls, and you wonder how and why. Same thing that went through my mind the day I ruptured mine.

To give a little background, I was training for my second Ironman in my hometown of Coeur D’ Alene, and I was expecting to conquer the course just like any amateur racer... Attempting to put in the time and miles like my professional triathlete friends that let me draft off them on rides, or pace them on their runs (the only area I can keep up). Putting the much hated time into the pool, spending quality time with my bike, and loving the run! The day I ruptured my Achilles, I had done a solid 2.5 hour ride and right into a 12 mile run and then decided to go play in a men’s league basketball game. I know what you’re thinking…Why do that and then go play a basketball game?!?! Well I thought it would be fun to go run circles around them as a speed workout. Well, I didn’t make it very far. Less than a minute into the game and a few times up and down the court, POP! A slight push off and my game and hopes of racing in June were over. I had no Idea that was just the beginning of a long and emotional journey.

I had surgery to repair the Achilles by one of the best Doctors in the areas that is a local Triathlete as well which was comforting. Recovery went well up until the day they took the cast off to remove stitches. There wasn’t skin there to remove anything…Just a large gaping hole with a white Achilles. The problem was that the incision got infected and the skin died around the sutures. This was the beginning of the nightmare that was the beginning of a 1.5 year recovery.

Without a play by play for the entire year this is an overview of events:

-Incision got infected
-Wound vac for 6 months
-Failed skin graft from my hip, 2nd graft from our friend Bacon :) -2nd infection… Picc line for 12 weeks
-Infection came back stronger than ever before… Met with prostethetic’s doctor 2x to discuss next steps… Yes next step. :(
-After an entire year of struggle they decided to remove the infected Achilles and tissue surrounding nearly 25% of my Achilles -Told to find another passion and be ok with not racing again.

You could imagine the pain and disappointment I felt when that doctor told me that…And it just wasn't one, 9 of 11 of them told me the same thing.
I obviously wasn’t ok with being told this after all the hard work and miles I had put in over the years. I knew I had more to prove.

After having that much of my Achilles taken out, efficiently learning how to run again, and rebuilding muscle after 18 months of atrophy running and competing was a daunting journey.

To put it in perspective:
The day I ruptured my Achilles I rode 50 miles and ran 12 miles… THE ENTIRE TIME since my rupture and recovery which took over a year I didn’t total that many miles… SAD and depressing I know. I don’t know how I found peace and sanity when I had a hard time taking a day off for recovery.
AND that is where Recover Pump comes into this story. (Thank you for listening to me rant on about this… Now the info)


My Doctors recommended compression sleeves and socks for recovery. In my research for the best system, I came across Recovery Pump and their compression system. I instantly asked my doctor about them and they gave me the green light, and said especially in my case, increased blood flow and circulation will speed up recovery.

From the day my doctors gave me the ok to start walking I was using my boots. Started off with lower pressure and shorter amounts of time and slowly but surely I increased the amount of activity and time in my boots along with intensive PT.
I would catch myself sleeping in them for an hour, two, and even 3+ hours. My doctors could see a difference in the color, and swelling once I started using the system, where months prior, the level of swelling and color looked was significantly worse.

I was cleared at the end of February to do “normal” activity and begin my training to get back to normal. Secretly I had signed up for Ironman and told myself I would do it with just over 4 months to go. To be fair I was doing pull-ups and abs until I was blue in the face, and once cleared to bear weight… Lunges and body weight squats 100 at a time, numerous times a day.

Throughout this journey I can say that having a solid support crew, amazing doctors, and technology gave me the best chance to get back in such a way that I could run again, and better yet compete at a level close to where I was prior.

*I came back in my first race, running amongst 54,000 people in Bloomsday 12k. I ran it in just over 45 minutes! Instantly into my boots (2 hours). The next day: long bike/ Run. FELT GREAT *Couer d Alene Marathon: placed 2nd in 25-29 and top ten overall finisher in 3:09. (A quick dip in the 50* lake & a nap in the boots) *My biggest test was IMCDA. I not only finished it within 30 minutes of my best time, but I ran the last splits in a 7 min mile. Thinking the entire time, thank you to the doctors that doubted me and said no… Look at me now!

Thank you to the RecoveryPump team and athletes that kept me motivated through education on recovery and provided me with the tools to recover faster and smarter.

You can see my entire journey on Instagram @ Matthew_Mattison
-Matthew Mattison, IM Finisher & Conqueror of doubts