Mary Eggers

Date archives July 2016


Free Ironman Lake Placid Training Program

Update: Our program exploded and we have decided to cap it at 40 athletes, therefore it is closed for now! Our advising coaches for this program are:

Amy Farrell

Heidi Lueb

Dana White

And Ricky Figueroa 


Back in 2003, I qualified for Kona at Ironman Lake Placid. I passed on that spot, for many reasons. My number one reason? I had a 3-year-old son who needed me more than I needed to spend thousands. To this day it’s a decision I do not regret.

In November of that year, I received an email from the husband of the woman whom my spot rolled down to. He explained that she had been trying to qualify for several years, just missing a spot by seconds, minutes, one place, etc. My passing on a slot enabled her to fulfill a lifelong dream, and that right there was when I understood that my greatest achievements would never be the races I have won, the records I have set, or the qualifications I have earned. Instead, it’s what we do for others that will allow us to give back, allows us to continue the circle of good, and is what legacies are truly made of.

This morning…. I woke up earlier than usual with an idea, one that I have not fully developed yet but that I know the outline for. Bear with me as I explain.

On Sunday at Ironman Lake Placid, I witnessed something that I was not involved in, and that bothered me. Bothered me a lot. I watched an entire team become temporarily sad, upset and hurt due to the actions of one… unethical, immoral and downright mean person. I am going to leave it at that. I was a spectator to this for a while, and I was not involved. It wasn’t even an interaction between the two entities, it was just one of the saddest forms of disrespect I have ever seen in this sport.

I am protective of the integrity of my sport. There is a lot of douchebaggery around triathlon, but the core, the values, the amazing people who make this sport what it is…. they are still there. The only way I know how to overcome those instances of negativity as I witnessed…. is to try to put something good in its place. Call me a dreamer, but that’s what I believe.

I wanted a way to give back to this sport that has given me so so much. My husband, my family, 20 years of friendships and relationships. When I go to Lake Placid it’s like coming home, I have been going since the inception of Lake Placid. It’s special there. More special than Kona to me. And I won’t allow negativity and the kind of disrespect I witnessed to tarnish it.

So let’s put some good back into this.

I am creating a free Ironman Lake Placid training program.

I have to still Iron out the details but thus far here is what I know:

1. It’s free. I will explain why in a minute.

2. It will be geared towards the healthy triathlete who has some background in this sport and can average 8-10 hours a week to begin, consistently and without injury.

3. We will partner with Addaero to deliver workouts to you. Free. Addaero is free, so this isn’t something I am buying for you. I will layout the plan by month, starting in November.

4. You will receive support in a closed Facebook group. In this group, I will answer questions regarding training, and help guide you through your journey. I will share month-long focus points, walk you step by step through this whole journey. I am going to ask a few coaches if they’d like to be part of the “Coaching panel”. They will be from Valor and from other places. Interested? Let me know. We’ve got my good friend Amy Farrell (who is also the 2015 IMLP Women’s champ and is a USAT Coach!) on board!

5. Towards the spring we will do some Google Hangouts so we can get ready!

6. And a whole bunch of things I haven’t thought of yet.

So why am I doing this?

It’s my way to give back. I have been coaching triathlon and Ironman for 12 years. It’s allowed me to make a living, and to be part of a journey that I love to be part of. My coaching stable is full for next season, I don’t need any more athletes. I don’t care about marketing, I don’t aspire to be a giant coaching company. I was part of a giant coaching company before, I don’t want that. I don’t need pats on the back, I give them to myself. I want to give people something that maybe they can’t normally afford, in a sport that’s geared towards money. I want it to be accessible to everyone.

I just want to push out the negativity that I saw on Sunday with good. Call me crazy but I believe in that shit.

Is this program for you? Are you healthy? Is it your first Ironman? Can you average 8-10 hours of consistent training per week? Then it’s for you. Maybe you use this in conjunction with another program, maybe you use it for a few months and then dive into 1-1 coaching. I can give you references for coaches that I know are good. Maybe you just want the moral support and don’t need the workouts. Maybe you use it as your bible. It’s going to be for whatever you want it to be. Heck, if you aren’t doing Ironman, maybe use it and adapt it for what you are doing. By joining you have no obligation, that’s the beauty. It’s really going to be yours.

Plan to aim for a frequency of strength training 3 times a week, swimming 3 times a week, biking 4 and running 4. We will train by HR and I will show you how to figure out your zones. We will use Trainer Road for cycling workouts, especially during the winter (substitute with Zwift  or even spinning class if you’d like, those you will have to pay for)  If you like to train with power and pace, I can give guidelines as to how to adapt the training. We will go through nutrition stuff, and I have tons of resources and people who can help with that if you need it.

We will likely begin training volume at 8-10 hours a week and build very slowly from there. Once we get there I will explain the theories, share resources and all kinds of stuff about why we are doing what we are doing. We will have a long base period (I don’t know how long yet). We will have some other themes to training blocks.

This isn’t meant to be navigated perfectly. Life happens. Use the Facebook group to ask or advice, maybe we can even build a community in which other members can provide experience, tips and advice as well.

What do I get out of this? When you enter the oval next year as you are approaching the finish line…. I will be standing there waiting. I want a high five and I want to see the look on your face as you begin the final 200 meters of your day in Lake Placid. It’s one thing to see you cross the finish line, but the real magic happens 200 meters before. Before your take the sponges out of your kit. Before you straighten your hat, before you hit the crowd. That’s when the actual realization happens. That’s what I want. I want to see THAT moment. That’s what I get out of this.

So what can you do to prepare? Relax. If you hit submit yesterday you feel like you want to start TODAY. Chill out. Finish your season. Work on getting some consistency in. Go hiking. We start on November 1st, or whatever date that begins with. That’s how fresh this idea is, I didn’t even look at the calendar. Sign up for a free Addaero account. When I begin creating the program you just have to link to it in Addaero, and I will let you know when that is!

I love this sport. It’s given me everything I have. I am determined to maintain the integrity of what it is and what it should always be. It’s a community, not a place to one-up each other, not a place for hate and hurt, but a place for support, achievement, and family. I will do whatever it takes to preserve that.

When I received that email back in 2003, it felt good to step aside and allow someone else to have their day. It was then that I learned that giving back to this sport is critical. Giving back to the world is critical. This is my way of trying to do more and be better.


Taking on Ironman

We had an amazing weekend at Ironman Lake Placid. I have been fortunate enough to have finished this race a whole bunch of times, in all sorts of weather conditions, and I have even DNF’d here once. I say that to show to you…. that if that ever happens to you….. there is redemption, there is coming back and there is life thereafter.

Training for an Ironman is no small feat, and it’s no cheap one either. One of my former coaches once stated that training for an Ironman is equivalent to a year of grad school. As someone who has done 8 Ironmans and is currently IN grad school, I concur. Except I think tat Ironman is actually easier (for someone who loves to swim bike and run all day long!).

Ironman takes commitment, but I will never say it takes sacrifice. Sacrifice is donating a kidney. Ironman is a privilege that you commit to. It can be done as someone who works full time, is a parent, and is even a single parent. It all comes down to how you manage your time. I have seen a LOT of Iron divorce. I have also seen people find themselves and their life purpose on these courses. It truly all depends.

So what does it take to complete an Ironman?

1. Commitment: again I refuse to say sacrifice. Commitment comes from you and your entire family. Before you hit the submit button and lay $800 for the entry fee, sign up with a $200 / month coach (and more) you all need to buy into this journey. Whether you are single with a significant other, whether you are a working parent of 4…. you all need to be on board. It means committing to YOURSELF as well. To save family time it means early mornings. I used to begin long rides at 0400. That meant no TV and getting my ass in bed early. Those are the kinds of things you commit to.

2. The training: Depending on which Ironman you choose, the training begins about 9 months out, depending on the athlete. Beginners need a bit longer, veterans can roll it in with seasons easier. How much training can you expect to do? Depends on where you begin. Expect to build to 6-7 hour long rides and runs of 2-3 hours. Expect to train consistently and to slowly build volume over a period of time. Expect to be tired and sore and expect to learn how to manage and utilize that to help you get stronger.

3. The cost: Here is a great article, albeit a little dated that describes the cost. Click here. Items you don’t truly need are things like the anti-fog… but the whole point is that it costs money. Ironman isn’t cheap. One of my former coaches always said this about Kona “Kona is the best of the best who can afford to go.” Ironman is not cheap and I would advise NEVER going into debt for it. I refuse to go into debt for anything much less an Ironman. My apologies for sounding like a downer on this, but it’s that piece of this sport people complain about, yet we choose to do this. There are easy ways to cut costs, and get discounts. But this is a sport we choose to do and we are not entitled to it.

4. The gear: The above article does an adequate job of breaking down costs. You need a bike that works well and you take care of. You don’t need a $10,000 bike with electronic shifting unless you WANT one. You don’t NEED one. I coached many athletes to Ironman finish lines on $3K bikes (Still pricey) and even qualify. It’s the engine, not the bike. You need a wetsuit if it’s a wetsuit swim. There are great deals on good suits everywhere. Do you need a Garmin? No. Some of my best athletes train with a Timex watch. Not even GPS. Ask your fellow Ironman finishers what they thought was necessary and go from there.

4. Coaching: Do you need a coach? Possibly. You might be one of those athletes who does well with guidance or you might be one of those athletes who does well on your own. Plenty of information exists on training plans for Ironman, and many coaches are everywhere. My one tip on coaches: make sure they are certified and have experience. This is a big one for me. Someone who just finishes an Ironman isn’t necessarily a good coach. Certifications demonstrate to the athlete that coaches take their profession seriously, shows they have invested some time in their education, and just shows professionalism in my opinion. Anyone can call themselves a coach and train people for Ironman. That’s easy. Do they have  experience aside from their own finishes? Do they invest in their education? I wouldn’t go to a doctor who wasn’t accredited. I wouldn’t use a coach who isn’t certified.

There is so much more I could say about all of this. Ironman is awesome. I loved my Ironman career and I would never trade ANY of it. I will say that I love being on the other side of the journey more. I love to spend a year with an athlete and watch them grow as a human being. I love when they learn to love the journey and not just the outcome. I know what the end of the story is. That’s the easy part. It’s the time in between “Submit” and “Finish line” that I love the most.

Should you sign up? That’s what you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself. There are no guarantees that finish line will be yours. Are you willing to take that chance? Are you willing to find out a lot about yourself? Is your family / support team ready to take this ride with you?

Then go for it. I promise you won’t regret it.