Family Time and Training Efficiently with Triathlete Raynard Picard- EP023

 In Podcast

“No matter how many times you do it, it always hurts like hell. And while you run, you always promise yourself never to do it again, and yet this was my twelfth full Ironman. I guess it’s the unexplainable satisfaction when crossing the finish line that makes you forget all the pain, always wanting you to go back for more.”




Training for a triathlon is never easy, but it gets even trickier when you have a family and a demanding job. How do you ensure that you are training as efficiently as possible – so that you can maintain your career and be there for your family? And what motivates a person to keep training when there are so many other demands on their time?

Raynard Picard didn’t have a background in running, cycling or swimming before the move to Sydney in 2005 to earn his MBA, but the Australian fitness culture soon had him running outside during his lunch hour. Looking to add some variety to his workout, Ray spent $200 on an old bike and trained on his own (with a little help from the internet) for three months before finishing last in his age group at his first cycling race in January of 2006. He did his first Half Ironman in November of that year with the ambition of simply finishing the race in under six hours. Ray finished in 5:27, proud to have met his modest goals.

Ray moved to Hong Kong in 2008 to establish his own import/export business, Global Pro Merchant Exchange Limited. His bike joined him a few months later, and he found a coach who could help him train efficiently and allow him to balance his work and family life with Ironman preparation. Now famous in the world of triathlon, Ray is a dedicated semi-pro age grouper who has qualified for the world championship in Kona four times. Today he shares the benefits of working with a coach you trust, the unique way he plans his race schedule, and his approach to nutrition – in daily life and during a race. Listen and learn what motivates Ray to keep racing and how he includes his family in the process!

Topics Covered

[6:52] Ray’s striking improvement between his first and second Half Ironman

  • More consistent training
  • Went from 5:27 in November ‘06 to 4:43 in May ‘07
  • Decided to get serious (coach, better bike)
[9:00] How Ray found his first coach

  • Joined cycling group in Hong Kong
  • Almost collapsed during first ride
  • Looking to train more efficiently
  • Asked group for recommendations
  • Started working with Bruce Thomas (Top Ten at Kona in ’93)
[10:21] The difference between training with a coach vs. on your own

  • Easy to doubt downloaded program
  • May train more (or less) than recommended
  • Coach can explain reasoning for session
  • Coach tailors program specifically for you
[12:23] Why Alex changed coaches

  • First coach was old school, measured heart rate
  • Didn’t use data/software to assess sessions
  • Alex was improving, but wanted something more specific
  • Gordon Byrn recommended Justin Daerr
  • Justin wouldn’t start without PowerMeter
  • Sessions very structured, purposeful
  • Makes training as efficient as possible
[15:19] Ray’s take on measuring FTPs rather than speed

  • Other factors affect speed (i.e.: weather)
  • ‘Watts are watts’
  • Can see improvement regardless of other factors
[17:45] How Ray juggles work, life and training

  • Support of family
  • Careful management of time to maintain balance
  • Established routine with no surprises
  • Train in morning, Monday through Saturday
  • Swim at lunch three times per week
  • Devote Pancake Sunday to family
[21:35] The breakdown of Ray’s weekly training schedule

  • Average of 13 hours, 11 minutes per week
  • Consistency is key strength
  • Run six days per week (long run Mondays, speed session Wednesdays)
  • Bike Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (3-5 hours on Saturday)
  • Swim Monday, Wednesday and Friday at lunch
  • Coach designs different session every time
  • Never feels too easy/impossible to accomplish
  • Intense but efficient
[27:38] Why trust is a key factor in the athlete-coach relationship

  • May question why session is easy, difficult
  • Coach is planning long-term
  • Numbers calculated with specific goal in mind
  • Big satisfaction when successful with difficult session
[29:26] How Ray approaches training when feeling rundown or sick

  • Go out anyway, may be fine
  • Listen to your body, back off if you feel bad
  • Health is priority
[31:02] How Ray plans his race schedule

  • Half Ironman early in season (interesting location)
  • One Ironman, one 70.3 January—June (half five weeks before full)
  • Considers suitability, of course, location (family enjoyment)
  • One Ironman, one 70.3 in second half of season
  • 3 World Championships in September, Kona in October
[34:06] The benefits of selecting race locations with family in mind

  • Great motivation to have family at finish line
  • Provides good experience for everyone (explore after race)
[35:51] Why Ray doesn’t incorporate strength training into his program

  • Tried for several months, had to cut other sessions short
  • Got bulky to quickly
  • Coach determined better to focus on swim, bike and run
[38:38] Ray’s approach to nutrition

  • Pretty relaxed
  • Healthy meals with superfoods
  • Enjoys one beer, small chocolate every day
  • No fast food
  • Splurge on weekends with family
[40:41] Ray’s nutrition routine during a race

  • PB&J toast with banana and coffee three hours prior to race
  • Sports drink between breakfast and race
  • Gel with caffeine 30 minutes before race
  • One bottle of gels (2,200 calories) during bike
  • Three gels during run (only when needed)
  • Water and Coke at aid stations, familiar sports drinks
  • Banana if need something solid
  • Three caffeine tablets as needed during bike/run to maintain focus
[47:13] Ray’s motivation to keep racing

  • Sensation of crossing finish line
  • Loves training
  • Ultimate goal = top ten in Kona
[51:17] Why Ray would never consider RAAM

  • Can’t deal with sleep deprivation
  • Not willing to give up health for race

Learn More About Raynard Picard

Ray Picard’s Ironman Cairns Report

Kona Qualifier: Ray Picard – Part 2

Kona Qualifier: Ray Picard

Resources Mentioned

Endurance Corner

Justin Daerr’s Posts on Endurance Corner

Going Long: Training for Triathlon’s Ultimate Challenge by Joe Friel and Gordon Byrn




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