Philipp Seipp - coach of Sebastian Kienle and Laura Philipp | EP#219
Philipp Seipp is the coach of Sebastian Kienle, Laura Philipp, and Florian Angert (among others). In this episode he discusses his coaching methodology and thoughts on training strategies for long-distance triathlon.
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In this Episode you'll learn about:
- IN THIS EPISODE YOU'LL LEARN ABOUT:
- Philipp's general coaching methodology
- The importance of biomechanics
- The importance of speed and training for speed in long-distance triathlon (especially older athletes)
- Periodisation based on the individual's limiters and goal event demands
- Testing methodologies and principles
- How Philipp uses strength and conditioning
- Too much training volume and not as a common training mistake
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About Phillip Seipp
- During my years as an endurance coach I have not only coached triathletes, I started off during my exercise physiology studies in Heidelberg with performance testing within multiples sports.
- As I was writing my master thesis in University I got plenty of input from several different sports.
- I have learned a lot from being involved in completely different sports than triathlon for my triathlon coaching, especially when it comes to strength training, motor skills coaching and the importance of quality of movement.
- Recently I have also started coaching a cross-country skier.
- I believe that there maybe too little focus on biomechanics within triathlon such as having a very efficient swim stroke, pedal movement and perfect bike position on the bike and a good stride on the run.
This is probably most important for longer distance triathlon, in short course races you can ”get away with” a super large engine but for longer distances you need to save as much carbohydrates as possible and then efficiency becomes crucial.
- There are several different ways to achieve this, for instance it can be one on one coaching or video coaching.
- The base training plays an essential role for this, it is when laying the basis the moving patterns can be established.
By focusing on key technical points during the base training, it also makes this type of training more interesting.
- When working with swim technique, both drills and keeping specific key technical points in the mind plays an important part of the process.
- I also consider it important in what way the movements are described by the coach and the athletes in order to get the best movement pattern.
- In cycling we use several different measuring techniques such as looking at pedal smoothness in order to find the details that may be of importance.
But it is also very important to connect the lab findings with any actual improvement in performance.
- In the swimming, I have just started out trying the smart paddles as a technique tool, but it is still too new for me to have an opinion whether it can be helpful or not.
- In the run, I try to see everything as a complete system.
Many triathletes have strong shoulders from swimming, so I spend quite a bit of focus on getting the shoulders in the right position when running.
It is also important for the athlete to get a ”feel” and good reactivity for the ground when running.
- Overall, you need to be creative in your ways of finding a good and efficient running style for each individual.
- I don’t use plyometrics or drills but sometimes I implement pre run mobility.
Athletes I coach
- Besides coaching Laura Phillip and Sebastian Kienle I also coach Florian Angert.
I really enjoy coaching Florian, I have built him up for 3,5 years and I am really proud of what we have achieved together.
In October last year he did his debut on the Ironman distance and won in 7h 45min.
- I also coach Jannik Schaufler, who is a younger athlete, one of the best under 23 years of ag triathletes in Germany.
Last year he raced the European cup and for this season he is going to race in the world cup.
- I think it it super enjoyable to get a chance to build up young athletes.
- I also think the short course racing is very interesting, the better you get the speed moving patterns between the age of 14-24 years, the faster you then can go in the long distance races later.
- I coach all my athletes remotely for most of the time, but I try to see them as much as I can.
- How often I see or train together with my athletes depends on the athlete, for instance, Sebastian Kienle and Florian Angert lives really close so we see each other a few times per week.
The same is for Jannik and Laura Phillip is my wife, so I see her everyday.
General coaching philosophy
- I think it is very important to continue and keep the learning process as high as possible for the different areas of training, i.e. endurance, motor skills and strength training.
- My work is finding this learning level together with the athlete.
It’s also about putting the different areas (endurance, motor skills, strength) together in the right time.
- Moreover, we try and recognize the adaptations from training continuously and develop our skills from the current level of adaption.
- Having an individualized approach is also an important approach of my coaching.
- I consider coaching to have two major aspects: the first one is the personality coaching, for instance knowing the strengths of my athletes, and the other one the training aspect, which is more like science.
- It depend on the athlete if there should be a high volume or more of an intensity approach to the training.
At some point in an endurance athlete career I do believe it is important to do plenty of volume, but during other parts of the career, an intensity focus is what you should focus on.
- How often I do lab testing with my athlete depends on the athlete.
- I use lab testing to get a status on my athletes and check if a training block (of for instance 6-8 weeks) have worked.
Then I check so that we have accomplished what we set out to do in the training block to make sure we can move on to the next.
- You can’t be sure that the same stimulus that lead to a certain outcome one year will yield the same outcome next year, often you need to provide new stimulus in order to improve.
Testing is then used in order to avoid ”guessing” what the training has yielded for results.
Younger vs older athletes
- In general, for older athletes speed work becomes more important and for younger athletes motor skills and efficiency is a major focus point.
But it all depends on the individual athlete.
- When an athlete should start doing plenty of volume in their career depends on the biography and physiology of the athlete as well as their history of training so far.
If an athlete already has done plenty of volume early, then it would be interesting to do some speed work with that athlete and vice versa.
Long course racing season planning
- In general we do base training in winter, which creates a solid level.
However, my approach to improving different aspects of the athletes is very individual.
- For every athlete, I make a list of what things that need to improve and I also prioritize those aspects.
Then I plan the everyday training so that all the aspects of my list of things to improve will and have been adressed until race day.
- If one should build speed, this needs to be adressed early in the season because it takes time to build speed.
A typical training week in January
- We can have a look at one of Laura Phillip’s training weeks, who at this time is focusing on building a solid base.
- Good amount of bike riding and swimming.
- We are also carefully building her run shape back by short speed work, hill reps and maybe a longer run.
Hill reps can be between 45-75s of very high intensity and in order to build leg speed we can do sprints btw 80-200m.
- I try and be creative when planning the sessions in regards to every specific athlete’s needs.
- Prior to easier days or rest days, we often do strength training in the evening.
- On rest days/easier days we often do core and stabilizing training.
- Laura’s biggest weeks in terms of volume during the winter are around 30h, divided into 18-22 km swimming, 300-500 km on the bike (when on training camp).
- On camp we do much less running, between 25-45 km,
- Laura’s biggest run weeks are between 69-70 km.
- I aim to do as little as possible on a steady intensity, but sometimes it does have its place, like riding @ 200W for 2h.
- Sometimes we also do super high intensity sprints on the bike, like 10-12s on very high wattage.
Strength, nutrition and sleep/recovery
- All three factors are super interesting and important.
- The sleep/recovery factor is maybe the biggest separating factor between professionals and amateurs, and even many professionals can improve their sleep and recovery.
- You need to learn when the best time to eat is, what to eat, when and how to sleep and pay attention to your sleep quality.
- The nutrition part is an enormous topic but you need to be really diligent of how and when you fuel yourself and with what.
I prescribe what my athletes are allowed to take and not take in in terms of nutrition for every session.
Especially the intake of carbohydrates during training, I am particularly interesting about and consider to be extra important.
- For strength training there are several different goals, like building fatigue resistance, a basic athletics level, muscle mass (specifically for women to develop good bike power) and specific firing patterns.
Individuality is also very important in regards to strength training.
We do ENG tests to check how well specific muscles are firing, it provides information about the weak spots.
But it is always important to relate the ENG results to what the movement actually looks like.
I also use blood flow restriction training as part of my strength training repertoar.
The metabolic perspective
- You need to look at the specific athlete’s metabolic profile in order to plan what kind of metabolic system you should target in training.
- Some athletes need to improve their fat oxidation and some needs to improve their speed, and this will affect what kind of training they do and on what energy source they utilize.
- For fat oxidation we do fasted rides in the right intensity zone.
- For speed work, it doesn’t make sense to do these sessions without carbohydrates.
- We use metabolic testing, at least 3 times between December and March, to get an idea of every athlete’s metabolic profile and how they are developing in this manner.
The most common mistake athletes and coaches do
- I think that many athletes (both professionals and amateurs) do too much volume of training and that they don’t pay enough attention to the quality of their movements.
Rapid fire questions
- What is your favorite book, blog or resource related to triathlon or endurance sports?
I just started readin the book ”Mega brain - new tools and techniques for brain growths and mind expansion”, this is my favorite book at the moment.
- What is your favorite piece of gear or equipment? The spirometric system.
- What do you wish you had know or done differently at some point in your coaching career? There is nothing I regret but to gain as much knowledge as I can and to have as much tools as I can in my pocket is one of the key factors of being a coach, to have a tool for every situation. If you just know a hammer, then you will also always use the hammer, but with a large tool box you will have the right tool in your pocket for every problem that may occur.
Where can the listeners follow you?
- At the moment I only have an instagram account but I am currently working on a website.
Links and resources mentioned
Connect with Philipp Seipp
- On Instagram - @philippseipp
Connect with host Mikael Eriksson
Hi! I'm your host Mikael,
I am a full-time triathlon coach and an ambitious age-group triathlete. My goal is podium at the Finnish national championships within the next few years.
I first started the website Scientific Triathlon in autumn 2015 as a passion project to share my learnings with a larger triathlon audience. Later on, in early 2017 I started the podcast That Triathlon Show.
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