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Andy Potts and Matt Hanson Answer Your Questions on Training, Nutrition, and More

Get a glimpse of the expert Q+A with Andy Potts and Matt Hanson in the Team Triathlete community, where they covered everything from strength training, mantras, and the mindset of triathletes.

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This past week in the Team Triathlete community, we had not one, but two pros hang out for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on all things triathlon. Olympian and five-time Oceanside winner Andy Potts joined us first, discussing the Race Recon he wrote on the Ironman 70.3 Oceanside course, followed by three-time North American champ Matt Hanson, who wrote a Race Recon on Ironman 70.3 Texas course in Galveston. But races weren’t the only thing they discussed – as you’ll see, their AMAs covered a lot of ground!

Any Triathlete or Outside+ member can access Team Triathlete for all the giveaways, swag, community, and expert Q&As, but to get all the benefits you’ll need to be a full Outside+ member. Outside+ members should also check out Coach Jim Vance’s 10 Weeks to Your Best 70.3 plan, which guides you to your next 70.3 week-by-week, or his customizable programs they have access to in Today’s Plan.

Here’s this week’s roundup of the best questions for Potts and Hanson, and what they each had to say about reaching new heights in your athletic career. And join Team Triathlete for more expert Q+As with coaches, physical therapists, pros, sport psychologists and more!

RELATED: Want Training Plans, Expert Q&As, Race Perks, and A Unique Community? Join Team Triathlete

Andy Potts and Matt Hanson Answer Your Tri Training Questions

What goes on in your head during a race, and how are you able to stay focused on what matters? I always assume people of your caliber just think about pacing, fueling, tactics, and nothing else, but that may be inaccurate. -Teddy S.

Potts: My most successful races are when I’m in the moment. I think about all the little things to keep me focused on the task at hand. I’ll also usually have one small saying or quote in my head that my wife or son or daughter said to me that week to keep me on task. One example is when my wife told me, “You don’t need to be anything other than yourself today. Just go do what you love.” She said this to me right before a race in Kona one year. It was awesome.

RELATED: Determine Your Ideal Mindset for Triathlon Success

How much carbs do you use per hour ? Seeing many different fueling formulas  from 1g per kg of body weight to having 80g of carb per hour. – Jackie

Hanson: The CHO per hour you need is determined by a number of things. Muscle mass (rather than actual body weight…unfortunately fat doesn’t use any carbs, ha!) is just one factor. The duration of the event as well as the relative intensity as well. For both 70.3 and full distance races, I am at 125g or 500cal/hr on the bike and weight 150 lbs. So that formula would be WAAAAYYYY off for me. I can take in more fuel on the bike than I can on the run, so I’m focused on getting off the bike with as little deficit as possible. For 70.3s, I’ll be at an .82-.87 IF on the bike, which means I’m burning a lot of CHO. For a full distance, i’ll be at .77-.80 IF which means I’ll be burning less CHO but for a much longer period of time.  So basically, on the bike, I take in as much CHO and water as my gut can handle without forcing me to slow down. This allows me to focus on running at higher intensities, knowing I haven’t created much of a calorie deficit at the start of the run. On the bike, you aren’t just fueling for the bike…you are also fueling for the run.

RELATED: High-Carb Fueling: How High Can You Go?

Given your experience and seeing the recent success of the Norwegians, do you think it’s sustainable to win across multiple distances in a calendar year? -Joshua I.

Potts: I do think racing multiple distances (and excelling) is definitely possible.  When you get younger athletes who are great at all three sports (and who have great coaches) you start to see our sport take a good leap forward.

RELATED: The Secrets—and Science—Behind the Norwegians’ Training and Racing Success

I’m finding it difficult to incorporate strength training into my routine; what do you do? I try to always leave it for last during the day so it doesn’t impact performance of my SBR workouts. Just curious how often, duration, and intensity of your strength workouts. -Brandon H.

Hanson: I do strength and mobility every day. On the weekends, it is typically mobility. During the week, I do heavier strength on my hardest training days. I want my easier days to stay easy. Plus doing strength causes hormone release that will help recovery. So doing a hard strength session at the end of a hard training day will help you recover. That being said, this is my full time job. For the time crunched athlete, strength needs to be a supplement. You can incorporate strength into your normal s/b/r training if you are struggling to get the time (Over gear, paddles, hills, etc). During the race prep portion of the season, which most of us are now…you should be prioritizing s/b/r and using strength as a supplement as time allows. Morning/evening mobility should be incorporated daily still. I just pushed out a video on this on my YouTube channel if you are interested.

RELATED: Strength Training for Triathletes

Did you experience training/triathlon burnout during the last two years?  If so, what did you do to reset your mind?  If not, how do you prioritize life with sport? – Lisa W.

Potts: I have experienced some burnout over the course of my career. My best practices for moving through burnout:

  • Stop recording every activity
  • Do more physical exploring
  • Learn something new.

The “learn something new” aspect can be sports related, strength related, nutrition, sleep, relationships, really anything.

RELATED: Dear Coach: Is it Fatigue or Burnout?

Bonus: Andy Potts Swim Workout

Though Potts and Hanson answered questions throughout the day, both skipped out momentarily to knock out a few quick workouts. The swim workout Potts did between questions:

2 x:

300 all out

4 x 50 recover

200 all out

4 x 50 recover

100 all out

4 x 50 recover

50 all out

4 x 50 recover