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Armstrong's training peeps

Written by: Dan Empfield
Date: Thu Feb 09 2012

Who does Lance Armstrong, professional triathlete, train with in his hometown of Austin, Texas?

He named certain members of the training posse during a call with triathlon media.

"I swim and run with a lot with James Bonney, Brandon and Amy Marsh. I also swim with an old pro triathlete named Rip Esselstyn."

Also in the pool with Armstrong are "a lot of fast people," including former U of Texas swimmers, like Chris Kemp, Sean Foley and Aaron Piersol.

Armstrong has commenced track workouts on Tuesdays, and several times singled out pro triathlete Patrick Evo as a fast runner who's an aid in training. Also on the track is U of Texas alum and Olympic middle distance runner Leonel Manzano. No, Armstrong does not try to run Manzano's workouts.
On Thursdays, that's long run day, and running partners include pro triathlete Kelly Williamson and her husband, former Division One runner Derick Williamson. "I started with an hour run," Armstrong says, "then an hour-fifteen, hour-thirty, now I'm up to an hour-forty-five. Now, the morning after the long run I don't have the pain anymore."

Riding? "I ride with the Bontrager development team." Or he rides alone.

Is Jimmy Riccitello helping with training? "Definitely mentoring. I ask Jimmy a lot of questions. And I had a dialogue with Greg Welch today. I need to know my place and where I fit in."

It's clear that running is Armstrong's concern. "I'm most worried about anything run-related. It's a sport I did in high school, I did okay, but it's the sport I've been away from the longest. The one thing that can derail a person is the nagging injury in the run.

"I don't care what anybody says, the run is the most important part of this thing. You bike for show and run for dough."
What about that recent 500 yard free, where he swam a 5:08, a time almost any triathlete would take in a heartbeat, including most pros? "It was a disappointing experience. I should've swam a lot faster. Under 5 minutes. It was my fault. I rode really hard the day before, that's my excuse and sticking with it."

But he knows that a blazing fast swim is of limited utility. "With no disrespect to the swim leg or people who focus on it, I made the mistake of thinking the swim is relevant. The effort required to front pack swim is not worth it."

Armstrong went onto explain that by "front pack" he's talking about what many of us would consider the "breakaway" swimmer like an Andy Potts. Better, Armstrong believes, to be "in a pack of 20" then alone, in front, in a pack of two or three.

  

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