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7 Weeks 'til PPP! Train your weaknesses and a kick in the butt 

Omigod, PPP is only seven weeks away! It sure has a way of sneaking up on you - this column was supposed to be an eight-week training plan. Oh well, no more procrastinating-let's put down those French truffles from Costco and get off the couch!


click to enlarge Go speed racer! Marshall Greene sets the pace.
  • Go speed racer! Marshall Greene sets the pace.
Go speed racer! Marshall Greene sets the pace. I caught up recently with Justin Wadworth, eight-time winner of the PPP individual title and now U.S. Ski Team World Cup Coach. He was back in Bend, having just concluded a successful ski season.

"The main advice I'd give someone doing the PPP solo for the first time is to back off the training in the areas of your strengths, and try to focus on the parts of the race that you have the least experience in. Train your weakest areas, specifically the weakest areas of the race that may cost you the most time. With that said, good technique can overshadow fitness here, so take a lesson or two to gain the edge over your competitors."

"For example, if you're a good runner, keep running for sure, but try to do just a couple key workouts a week from here out. Maybe one interval session per week and one distance session per week. Turn your focus to your weakest leg, say the kayak. I'm not saying spend every waking minute in the boat, but get to a point where you're sure you won't flip and can keep the boat going fairly straight. Trying to gain a lot of specific fitness in this time frame is tough, but you can increase your skill in paddling technique and this efficiency will offset the specific physical training you just don't have time for. So, spend some time (short sessions are OK) in the boat working on going straight and using your large muscle groups."

Alpine Ski

"The alpine leg is the shortest, and the race can't be won here, but if you crash and hurt yourself the race is over, so make sure you can get down the hill safely."

Cross-Country Ski

"The cross-country leg might be a good place for non cross-country skiers to spend a good chunk of time leading into the race. Not only will you be a lot more comfortable during the race, the fitness gained training for skiing will carry over well to the other parts of the race."


"The bike is tougher than it looks, but there are a lot of places you can rest, and unlike the cross-country skiing it doesn't take much technique or skill, so I would tend to not put so much time in here."


"Running, if you're not a runner, can be really painful, so start to log some early runs now. Start off short (15-20 minutes) and gradually increase up to one hour or more before race day."


"For the kayak, the first key is not to flip. So spend enough time in a boat to stay upright, and then work on going straight. If you can do these two things, this leg is short enough that you shouldn't put too much time in."


Justin didn't provide specific advice for this leg, so I'll just mention that this is the hardest transition. Thank the volunteers who grab your boat and paddle, try not to pull a muscle, and try to look fresh as a daisy as you cross the finish line.


If you need a kick in the butt to train for PPP, then maybe Rebound's PPP Boot Camp is for you. The training sessions kicked off this past Monday. They leave you on your own to practice downhill skiing but there are 30 training sessions in all the other disciplines. There are 13 hands-on cross-country ski sessions for perfecting technique and building fitness. For the bike, they will conduct 17 indoor cycling sessions, including five full-length simulated rides from Bachelor to Bend with your own bike on a Computrainer. Ten running workouts will help you build speed and avoid injury, while five kayak sessions in the water will help you paddle that straight line. There will also be presentations on nutrition, equipment and transitions. Packages are $99 to $349 and you can share with your teammates. For more information, visit or call 585-1500.

Neither Justin nor Rebound seem to be offering tips for the post-race party. I guess you will just have to come up with your own training plan for that.


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