Think Like A Bumblebee; Train like a Horse

(From Joe Friel ‘s Triathlete Bible) “Not long ago NASA scientists found interest in the bumblebee for its flight abilities. They extensively examined the bumblebee to determine how such a hairy round torso could be lifted by a relatively tiny wingspan. After much study, they finally made their conclusion: the bumblebee is incapable of flight! Fortunately for us, this scientific deduction was not told to the bumblebee, which happily and effortlessly continues its flight. The bumblebee thinks it can fly, so it does! The power of positive mental thought… Think like a bumblebee.

Ironman Training Blog Bumblebee Horse

Think like a bee. Train like a horse.

Racehorses have also been studied, not perhaps by NASA hoping to make a scientific claim, but rather by individuals who desire to understand such ultimate performance on race day. Interestingly, the equine competitor shares similar physiological traits as a human and thus is trained much like an endurance athlete, with interval training, endurance runs, periodization, rest, and good nutrition. Differing from the human however is the psychological aspect. Racehorses do not question their training protocol, they do not wonder if their workout is tough enough, they don’t go into the field and run a few extra miles “just because”, and if they have a bad day, they leave it behind and don’t take it with them back to the stable. When race day approaches, the horse demonstrates signs of anxiousness similar to that of a human athlete, but the horse is not caught considering the size of the equine’s legs next to him; instead its one and only focus is the purpose at hand: run and run fast! Focus and trust in your training… Train like a horse.”

In summary, if you want to succeed in the sport of triathlon, the first step is believing in yourself (like the bumblebee). If you don’t believe in yourself, all the bikes/gear/training won’t do you any good. The second step is to trust in your training (like the racehorse). If you begin to second guess yourself and switch up strategy/routines it is a good way to fail.

“Think like a bumblebee; train like a horse”


My training: I am now a quarter of the way through my 36 week training program! We are starting to focus on building up the bike. This week we had 2 group training sessions. Both sessions incorporating some speed intervals, using the race pace for a 70.3 (Half-Ironman) distance event. Over the past couple weeks I have been a little anxious about my running volume. There are weeks where I have some more hours than I have ran. I asked one of my coaches about that and if I should increase my running. His advice was to trust the training plan; just like the racehorse.

With that said I may start to do an extra run each week. One of my co-workers asked if  I could possibly pace her for her next marathon (trying to qualify for Boston). I think doing an extra long run per week, at a slower pace, could be helpful for me.  We’ll see how it goes, she is thinking about doing the Wisconsin Marathon this May.

Week totals:  14 hours

  • Swimming: 3 hours
  • Biking: 6.5 hours
  • Running: 3.25 hours
  • Core/Lifting: 1.25 hours

Ironman Wisconsin Run

Ironman WI Run (2011)

Week 9 – Bike Focus Block #1

Tuesday: 1.75 hour spin in the morning before work. 45 min run + Core

Wednesday: 1hour run (In 6 inches of fresh snow). 45 minute swim (drill/form focus) + Lift

Thursday: Group Spin at the Wattage Cottage. 1.5 hour spin (main set 4 x 8:00 Z3, 4:00 Z1) + Core

Friday: 45 minute run. 45 minute swim

Saturday: Morning spin at Harbor Athletic Club. 1.25 hour spin (main set 10 x 1:00 Z3, 1:00 Z4 with 3 min recovery). + Core

Sunday: Brick Day, 4 hours total! 1.5 hour swim (4000+ yds). 1.75 hour bike (similar workout to Thursday). 45 minute run (On the Ironman run course again).


Newton Gravity

Newton Gravity Shoes (2012)

Favorite workout of the week: Sunday’s brick workout. I have felt the best I ever have off the bike to the run. I am really starting to like my new Newton Gravity’s. It took awhile to get used to them, but their growing on me.

Least favorite workout of the week: My Wednesday morning run. It had snowed 4-6 inches the night before. I used my Yak Tracks which helped out a lot on the ice, but the areas that weren’t plowed yet were tough. Definitely got a good quad workout running through deep snow.

Advice of the week: No matter how slow you run, you are still lapping everyone one the couch

Thing I’m looking forward to next week:

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2 responses to “Think Like A Bumblebee; Train like a Horse

  1. I love that chapter in Joe Friel’s book, nice job toughing it out in the snow, good luck with the rest of your training Eric!

    • Yeah that book has a lot of great stuff in it! We just got 6 more inches of snow today, so looks like there are plenty more snow runs coming up!

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