The O2 Theory - QT2 Systems Guest Blog

May 19, 2017 12:13:05 PM

In Transition

By Jess Kropelnicki of QT2 Systems

Many of my thoughts/writings are very quantitative based and hard-wired to numbers with specific inputs and outputs. I believe that this approach to training/racing is a great object, performance based way to evaluate, and force progress. However, for those who have met with me, for any of my services, know that I like to also approach things from a qualitative direction. In my experience, most people are either very quantitative (math teachers, etc.) or very qualitative (English teachers, writers, etc.).

This writing is for those who are qualitative in nature and addresses the fundamental approach of what I believe drives long term athletic progress…no numbers or critical volume mumbo-jumbo (believe it or not!).

This concept is very, very simple: just pass as much O2 through your body as possible each year. Now of course there are mechanical efficiencies to address, sport specificity, and a host of other things but this is probably the single most important simple concept not to lose track of. Let's look at a couple of possible training methodologies that could be used to achieve this objective:

1. Go very easy all year with super high volume. This approach has the athlete sacrifice sleep and recovery time due to huge training time requirements which both have the potential to undermine consistency. Off time due to injury/burnout means no O2 coming through. Remember, in this concept, the athlete with the most O2 through the system at the end of the year makes the most progress.

2. Go hard often with low volume. Many inexperienced athletes think this is the way to go. It is very potent and effective given a short period to prepare for a race. However, because of the obvious risks of injury/burnout involved in this method, again consistency can be broken which puts a huge hole in O2 consumption for the year. Most athletes that follow this approach tend to be inconsistent, and injured with very little long term progress.

An athlete's training methodology, in my opinion, should foster long-term progress and therefore fall in-between these two approaches carefully. That is, carry out the majority of your training at a moderate intensity with a training volume that can be tolerated by the particular individual (defined by sustainable volume from the previous year). This moderate intensity is at approximately the QT2 Z1 (HR Zones). This allows an athlete to pass a good amount of O2 through their system per minute without much risk of injury (balance of #1 and #2). This also helps avoid injury/burnout and allows good consistency with a good rate of O2 passage. Total Volume of O2 (driver of long term progress) = Training Volume x O2 use rate. Training volume is optimized to an individual’s sustainable volume and rate is optimized to the highest possible without injury/burnout. Increasing rate (exercise intensity) or volume beyond normal is effective but can only be used for short periods or injury/burnout can occur.

The QT2 protocol typically limits high intensities to 12 weeks max to avoid this scenario. Weight training, periodization planning, nutrition, and sleep are really just support systems to allow O2 to be passed through the system on a consistent basis:

1. Weight Training = Helps keep you injury free by increasing soft-tissue toughness and strength.

2. Periodization Planning = Helps avoid burnout when used properly since a reasonable approach to cycling of overload and recovery can be utilized.

3. Good Nutrition = Allows recovery of soft tissue, refueling of the metabolic system, and increased immunity. All of these allow workouts can be completed with good quality and O2 coming through on a consistent basis.

4. Sleep = Allows recovery of both the physical system and emotional system so workouts can be completed and O2 coming through.

5. Massage = Helps identify/fix soft tissue problems before they become an issue that may have you miss a workout and the O2 consumption associated with it.

Obviously there are other uses for these concepts but this illustrates how they apply to this O2 theory.

Let's look at a few of the common questions I get about the QT2 protocol how they can be answered with this theory:

1. Why do I train at a high level even without a major goal race on the horizon? The answer to this one is obvious when approached from the O2 theory….the focus is on long term progress so the more O2 that can be moved through, the more progress that will be made over the long term.

2. What if I have a time cap in my life where I can't train beyond X hours per week? Once this cap is reached through a reasonable build up, a greater total yearly O2 volume can be reached by training at that cap for more weeks throughout the year. Then, a greater volume of higher intensity workouts can be added each year to allow increases in total O2 uptake. This is a riskier approach, however for some this is the only option. This approach is best used by folks that have significant experience in the sport and have the associated durability to avoid injury.

3. Why does the protocol work? Our sport is a primarily aerobic activity; even at the sprint level. Passing oxygen through the body through exercise improves aerobic efficiency, soft tissue toughness, and mechanical efficiency. By passing more and more volume of O2 through your body each year through increased volume or intensity results in continual adaptation to increased stress. This combined with a diet high in nutrient dense foods and antioxidants (Core Diet) allows optimal recovery as well as reduced oxytave damage to soft tissue. The aerobic system uses fat oxidation for ATP production and therefore results in oxidative free radicals that a lot of athletes miss as a cause of soreness and reduced long-term progress. A diet high in antioxidants can really help mitigate that issue.

Of course this theory doesn't explain the whole training process. It's just another way of looking at how to achieve long term progress and how the QT2 protocol addresses that. Now, just stay healthy with consistent O2 coming through your body in order to realize your potential!! It all sounds so easy doesn't it? The trouble is that too many people don't have the patience it takes and therefore want to pass O2 through at a faster rate (through high intensity workouts)….again this works over the short term but typically results in injury which undermines long term O2 consumption totals. There's no O2 coming through when you are sidelined on the couch with an injury. I've said it before and I'll say it again; consistency is king!

For more information on QT2 Systems training protocols, go to

About Jesse Kropelnicki:

Jesse Kropelnicki is the founder of QT2 systems. His credentials include a Masters of Science in Engineering, USAT level III coach, NSCA - CSCS, ACSM - cPT. He has been involved in the sport of triathlon since 1998.

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Team TBT Spotlight: Christine Rivera

May 12, 2017 9:51:00 AM

Recently we wrote a blog about Team TBT. If you didn’t have a chance to read it, you can check it out here.

What follows is the first of our Team TBT athlete profiles. Get to learn why they joined TBT, how they manage hectic work and family schedules with training, and what their goals are for the season.

First up is Christine Rivera…

Bhutan - Druk Path

Hey TBT Nation,

I first got into triathlons as a way to escape the stresses of everyday life. But, after being involved in the sport for a number of years, and completing nine ironman races (four in the past year), I have realized this wonderful sport is about so much more than that.

Away from the office (I am a lawyer licensed to practice in New York and California), I love to travel - currently I have been to over 40 countries, and I have many more on my list to visit. By combining racing and traveling, I am able to swim in some of the most amazing water, and ride/run some of the most scenic roads around the world. Let’s face it, triathlon races are held in some of the coolest places on earth, and nothing beats seeing a city in the water and on bike/foot.

Havana marathon

Triathlons also offer a real sense of camaraderie that few other sports do - especially individual sports. When you think about it we are all out there competing against ourselves and against each other, yet when the race is over, we come together sharing training tips, experiences, gear preferences and a few “recovery” drinks as well. I have to say, triathletes are honestly some of the nicest people I have ever met.

Being part of Team TBT for the last couple of years has been amazing, and I am honored and excited to be on the team again this year. It is great to have solid team management, teammates I can go to and count on, and great sponsors that make sure we have some of the best gear on the market.

When going to races I use TriBike Transport exclusively, as long as they are at the race I am going to. As I mentioned earlier, I love to travel, especially to races. By using TriBike Transport, it makes my “race-cations” not only doable, but hassle-free as well. It is great to know that once the race is complete, they take my bike and get it back home safely, while I enjoy all the race city has to offer, without a bike bag in tow.

My family surprised me with personalized sweaters!

This year, I am really looking forward to our team race in Victoria, BC, and for my first European full Ironman (IM Austria!). Take it from me, someone who back stroked her first race, with some hard work, commitment and patience, anyone can get involved in this sport!

Go Team TBT!

Finisher - IM Canada

Diving with whalesharks in Galapagos


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Julie Moss - Guest Blog

May 5, 2017 1:59:16 PM

Ironman first made its mark on Julie Moss back in 1982, 35 years ago. Since then she has watched the sunrise over Kailua Bay, waiting for the cannon to go off nearly every year. We have long been a supporter of Julie, and are working with her again this year as she prepares to race Kona one more time.

Below is the first in a series of guest blog posts from Julie. Be sure to follow along as she shares race experiences, training secrets, and a look back on how the sport of triathlon has changed and evolved over the years.

As the end of April approaches I can look back and appreciate all that’s gone into making it an epic April, with Oceanside 70.3 on April 1st, and 3 weeks later, IMTexas on April 22nd. Big April, as I’ve been calling it, was the culmination of 5 months of training.

In late November I received my invitation to return to Kona to race in my 35th Anniversary Ironman. I promised Ironman Race Director, Diana Bertsch, that I would do everything in my power to earn the invite by getting out there and racing for a qualifying spot. From the start my goal has been to not only feel confident in my physical abilities, and to hold my own against the world’s best W55-59, but to feel the deep satisfaction of having earned the right to toe the line along side them.

The plan was for Oceanside 70.3 to be a training day with speed, no taper required.Texas would be a trial run to measure how effective my training had been, and to learn what worked and what didn’t; again very little taper required.

I’m thrilled to share that in the aftermath of racing my first Ironman in 5 years I can honestly say just about everything worked.

Swim: 01:05:13
Bike: 05:38:10
Run: 03:53:56
Total: 10:46:51

So in the tradition of David Letterman’s top 10 list, here is my post IMTexas top 10 list of what worked.

10. Dropping my Cervelo P3 off at Nytro Multisport after my final long ride so TriBike Transport could deliver it toTexas. I can't imagine traveling to a race without the added security, convenience, and confidence of having TBT care for my bike. With all the hours of training I’d logged, the last thing I wanted was to worry about packing and traveling with my P3. I can’t tell you how good it felt to hammer out that final ride knowing that at it’s end I could simply pull up to Nytro and drop and go.

(Note to self, when your last long ride requires a driver's licence to enter Camp Pendleton do not leave it in your Xlab stealth pocket or it will arrive in Texas before you do and definitely complicate boarding your flight when you discover your mistake at 5am standing at the ticket counter.)

9. Using the TriBike Transport gear bag option. By having my Roka wetsuit, helmet, cycling shoes, Base Performance Nutrition and CO2’s all go with my bike I was able to travel with a small carry on. Post race I was able to wash my Roka swimskin, running and cycling shoes and let them dry overnight then repack my gear bag to drop off just before the awards the next day. No foul smelling gear to unpack when I got home.....priceless.

8. Walking through the Ironman expo where they handed out samples of Texas BBQ. Y’all I’m talkin’ the full smokey combo of beef brisket, chicken and sausage all wrapped in a foil packet with your choice of mild or spicy BBQ sauce on the side for dipping. Seriously, don’t mess with Texas.

7. Staying with a host family that turns out to be Ironman royalty. I reached out to the Houston Racing Triathlon Club to see if any of their members would be interested in hosting me. I love the added experience of staying with a local family whenever possible, and the Houston Racing Club provided a once in a lifetime experience. My host Bonnie Wilson, is the the daughter of Henry Forrest Jr. one of the original 12 ironman finishers from 1978. Henry placed 7th in the inaugural Ironman and sadly passed away 8 years ago from pancreatic cancer. His spirit and Ironman legacy were a powerful presence in Bonnie’s home.

At our first meal, she shared with me that when Henry was in remission the only thing he wanted was to gather together his family and friends for a triathlon celebration. Henry took his infant granddaughter and dragged her toes through the pool so she could swim, and then went on to push his sister in her wheelchair for her run. For Henry, Ironman was a birthright and he instilled his passion for the sport in his family. By sharing their stories, Bonnie and her four daughters, reminded me of what a gift it is to be an Ironman.

6. Dialing in your nutrition. I did my homework and found BASE Performance Nutrition. I knew their recipe for ‘Rocket Fuel’ - mixing 2 scoops of the new BASE Hydro Electrolyte drink, 1 scoop of BASE Amino, and a dash of BASE Salt, was the perfect training and race day cocktail. I just doubled what I used in Oceanside for Texas, easy. I had 1 bottle in the morning, 4 bottles on the bike, a bottle for bike to run transition, and one bottle in my special needs bag at mile 20 on the run.

BASE was out on the run course at mile 7,16, and 24. Their team was in full force with tables laden with pop top container of BASE salt for athletes to grab. BASE salt turned the race around for so many of those athletes and saved their bacon.

5. Turning 30 miles of headwind into a win win. The final 30 miles on the bike was into a strong headwind. As much as I tried to stay positive, at one point the apprehension and fear of how I was going to be able to run a marathon after feeling so worked over by wind culminated in me screaming, “THIS SPORT IS TOO HARD. (No one heard me over the howling wind.)

I knew I had to flip my switch before transition, and I had to find a positive image to hold onto. So I went back to my last brick workout where I jumped off the bike and ran 1:20, the equivalent of what I thought would be my run time for a loop of the 3 loop IMTexas run course.

Just one loop was the mantra that flipped my switch to start my run. I didn't worry about mile markers or pace per mile I just kept saying just one loop. The second loop went by quicker than the first, and I knew I’d find a way to hang on for the third. This was the first time in decades I can say that the run was my favorite leg of the Ironman.

4. Women who Fly is a Hoka One One slogan. Wearing my Hoka Claytons in both Oceanside and Texas made me feel like I was truly flying. Finding a shoe that gives you maximum support and comfort will make or break your run, and Hoka allowed my run to work.

3. Winning my age group for the Roka Swim. My strong swim resulted in me receiving a gift via email a few days ago....gotta give credit to my hot pink Roka swimskin.

2. Attending the awards and standing with the women and men in my age group while wearing the North American Champion’s jacket.

It wasn’t pink but it was still a look that worked. Oh, and watching the rolldown in my age group and seeing another Julie -3rd place Julie Kaczor - go bananas when she heard her name called punching her ticket to Kona.

1. And earning the number one spot in my countdown list of what worked ...being able to go home after the race, shower, have a cold IPA, and return a few hours later to sort out my bike and gear.

I walked my bike the short distance from transition back to TriBike Transport, which was conveniently located right next to the finish line. I simply handed off my bike to the crew and then was able to watch the final athletes come across the line, pretty sweet. The last finishers never cease to bring tears to my eyes.

Thank you Tribike Transport for being there from start to finish, helping make IMTexas a championship experience. I can't wait for Kona.

Create your hassle-free race experience - click here to book your bike transport today.

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Team TBT 2017

May 1, 2017 11:57:02 AM

In Transition

In 2010, we decided to take our involvement in this great sport to the next level and launched Team TBT. Over the last seven years, what started as a team of company friends, has grown into 25 top-level contenders from across the country. Now, on any given weekend, you will find members of Team TBT racing to podium finishes across the country and around the world.

Outside of racing, members of Team TBT remain very active in the sport. Some are qualified coaches, others lead/participate in local teams, while others are active in social media sharing their training habits and race results. For a full list of the 2017 Team TBT members, click here.

Team TBT would not be possible without our athletes, obviously, and without our sponsors. Each year our sponsors provide Team TBT with top level equipment to help propel them towards the finish line. For a list of Team TBT’s 2017 sponsors, please click here.

Starting in the next couple of weeks, we will begin sharing the stories of some members from Team TBT. Be sure to check back here to learn what makes them tick.

Here’s to a great 2017 race season!
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This year, TriBike Transport is proud to partner with QT2 Systems. QT2 has over 40 professional USA Triathlon certified coaches and Registered Dietitians, that offer one-on-one training and nutrition to pro and amateur triathletes around the world.

Below, is the first in a series of guest blog posts that QT2 will be sharing this year on For more information, check out their site at QT2 Systems.

The list below represents the fundamental, qualitative ideas behind the QT2 training protocol. Follow each recommendation to the letter and your race performances/training will have a much greater probability of success:

1) Take The Easy Days Easy - When you have planned a recovery day (which should be 2-3 per week when doing best effort sessions), make sure you do not exceed 80% of your threshold heart rate during your workouts that day. If you go too hard on these days, you fatigue, and don't allow proper recovery of your peripheral systems. This will limit stimulation of your core systems on the next best effort workout due to residual fatigue. This sub-par performance during your key day typically results in testing yourself on the next recovery day which begins a nasty cycle of gray, middle type training. Make the hard days hard, and the easy days VERY easy.

2) Descend Everything - Every single season, workout, set, mile, or yard you do should be paced to finish strong. This includes everything from recovery runs to repeats at the track. The purpose of this is to ingrain that behavior for racing, and allow your soft tissue to progressively adapt to larger and larger loads.

3) Use a Recovery Drink - There is no better way to improve the physiological benefit of your workouts and improve your overall recovery. This drink should be used following all workouts that are draining including best effort days as well as long days. Ideally, your recovery drink will contain a high glycemic carbohydrate such as dextrose, and easily digestible protein such as whey. Moreover, a good recovery drink is one that has a 4:1 or 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. This will help replenish muscle glycogen and begin the muscle recovery process.

4) Never, Ever, Bonk - Fuel properly during training. Never step out the door without at least 2 gels (or 1 bar) more than what you believe is required for your workout (at least 1/3 your body weight in CHO per hour). The physiologic impact of a bonk is so great that you just can't afford to let it happen. There are many, many things that you don't have control over in triathlon. This is NOT one of them. Take advantage of that fact.

5) Make the Hard Days Hard - Your hard days should be VERY hard. That is, at a sustainable best effort. Remember, #2 above still applies here. Therefore, if you set out to do 1 mile repeats, do them at the best possible effort (pace) you can sustain for all 5 repeats. If you pace your workout properly, the last repeat should be run at an all out effort but result in a time/pace equal, or slightly faster than the previous 4.

6) Limit intake of grains/refined sugars - Grains and any processed sugars should not be consumed unless you are eating them within an hour of a workout, during a workout, or in a post-workout window equal in length to the workout itself. This will avoid unnecessary spikes in blood sugar that tend to cause storage of body fat. In addition, the limited intake of grains and sugars between workouts will leave room for more fruits, vegetables, and proteins which are much more nutrient-dense.

7) Sleep at least 7.5 hours per night - Training breaks you down. Rest and nutrition build you up. This is a no brainier. Training is useless without proper rest (and nutrition).

8) Don't Race Too Much - Once the season starts, be careful not to race too much. Most races (should) require some sort of taper and recovery and therefore begin to dent training volume. As trailing volume (average of the previous 6 weeks' total volume) begins to fall, race performances will decline due to an eroding aerobic base and loss of sport specific feel. This becomes very common with athletes chasing that elusive Kona slot. They try to qualify once, and miss it, so they try again too soon without putting in a proper cycle of training and miss again. They continue to miss due to much too frequent racing, lack of training volume, and inadequate recovery leading to burnout. At the same time they are mentally discouraged from sub-par performances. I call this race gluttony. Go for a quality approach instead of a quantity approach. Racing is lots of fun, just don't get too glutinous!

9) Race The Distance You Are Trained For - There are very few training protocols as potent as volume. Because of this, if you do not have adequate training volume for your event, your performance will suffer significantly due to system failure. You also run the risk of injury and/or an extreme amount of recovery time following the race. To ensure this does not happen to you, hit at least 2/3 of critical volume for your race distance. If you can not do this safely, we recommend racing a shorter distance. Remember though, at the longer distances such as Ironman, this level of training (2/3 critical volume) can take years to reach safely.

11) Take Off The Loose Baggage - This one is more frustrating than any other thing triathletes ignore. Losing excess weight, WILL have the largest effect on your race performances versus any other thing you do. It can take years of training to gain the improvements seen from a 5 pound weight loss. What's more frustrating is that you see folks spending thousands of dollars on aero/light equipment that will give them seconds, while carrying around 10-20 pounds of extra weight that could give them 20-30 minutes at their next ironman. Don't make this mistake.

12) Never Train Through Races - We do not recommend training through races for a few reasons. First off, going into a race fatigued sets up mental excuses before the gun even goes off. When the performance doesn't come out to your expectation, it always comes back: "Well, I was training through this one." This is a bad mental cycle to get into (i.e. a mental cycle of excuses). You should be ready to go 100 percent every single time the gun goes off. Secondly, a good recovery going into your races is probably something you need anyhow. Most folks, after weeks of training, don't take adequate recovery days, especially during the race season. Thirdly, going into races with a fully recovered peripheral system allows for much better stimulation of your core system during the race, and a better shot at pushing your limiters. If you need volume for the week, you're better off getting it in following the race versus the day before. With this rested approach, you end up getting a solid recovery going into the race, then get a very good quality day on race day. This is much better than two sort of gray, mediocre days. The key to the quality approach is that you get a solid recovery following the race.

13) Have a Plan - We see too many folks approach their training without a plan to look forward at (including many with coaches!). All training should have a specific purpose depending on the time of year and personal limiters, and possess a gradual buildup of volume prior to peaking for your major "A" races. Without this plan, too many folks increase volume or intensity too quickly or too soon and end up injured. Remember, unreasonable buildups lead to injury, injury kills consistency, and consistency is the key to unlock your potential.

There is no magic.

If you have questions on any of these tips, feel free to reach out to us at QT2 Systems or OutRival Racing .

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