We reached out to our long-time friend & elite athlete, Todd Burns, to ask about his training and nutrition plans. Todd Burns started competing in triathlons back in 2013. At the time, swimming was his main sport and he competed in shorter triathlon races. “I have been competing in Kinetic Multisport events since 2013. I like that these are local races but have big-event vibes,” states Burns. Todd Burns’ preferred distance to compete in is the 70.3/1/2 Ironman distance. “You still need to go hard and pretty fast to be competitive,” says Burns, “and I am finding the speed is harder to come by as I get older.”
So far, Todd’s greatest athletic accomplishment was when he won the Ironman Maryland back in 2018.
Triathlon Nutrition and Training
Triathlons are difficult races that require consistent training. Todd participates in two training sessions per day. “They’re often back-to-back to save time and allow for more recovery later in the day.” These two training sessions can be a combination of either strength training and cycling, running and swimming, or cycling and running. Two combinations of these exercises is the goal, although he has occasionally completed 3 per day.
Here are some of Todd Burns’ all-time favorite workouts:
Swim: Warm up of about 1000 yards and then do 8 x (75 yards, 100 yards, 125 yards all are on 1:30) The 75s will be easy, 100s are strong and the 125s are hard.
Bike: 30/30s A session where you get warmed up for about 20 minutes and then do 3 x (15 minutes of 30 seconds hard (close to all out) 30 seconds easy) with 5 minutes of recovery.
Run: I’ve really been working on learning to run easy this year and seen some real improvements from it. Far too many people push too hard on the run; you can get so much benefit by running at a conversational pace and the risk of injury is significantly less.
Strength: During the off-season, I shift my focus to strength sessions. Balancing strength, swim, bike and run was really challenging, and it has taken a lot of trial and error to figure out how to get the most out of my strength work without compromising my other training. While I do strength training year-round, I push a bit harder in the off season and am not afraid to gain a little weight to help facilitate the strength and recovery.
Recovery: After training you have to recovery - sleep and balanced nutrition. These must be the two priorities. It’s taken me a long time to realize this but if you aren’t sleeping and eating well, all the other stuff like compression boots, ice baths, foam rolling and whatever else won’t really help.
I’ve also been doing a 15-30 minutes of Yoga Nidra a few times week and I find it to be extremely rejuvenating.
aminoVITAL & Nutrition
During his training, Todd uses aminoVITAL Action. “I use the product for an extra bit of readily digestible amino acids, and I find it extremely useful when I’m doing a fasted low-intensity session,” states Burns. He will keep 1 stick packet during his 1-hour strength sessions to prevent muscle breakdown.
Todd is also a fan of marine collagen supplements. Paired with Rapid Recovery, collagen can help kickstart the recovery process after a hard workout. Burns says, “I even think it helps with my skin after being exposed to so much pool chlorine.”
Nutrition is key to recovery, but there is no need to log your daily nutrition. Instead, focus on getting sufficient carbohydrates during the intense exercise sessions. “I’ve been experimenting with trying to add in even more carbs than I have previously used,” claims Burns, “Sometimes I’ll aim for as much as 120 grams per hour which is a lot.” There is science to suggest that getting plenty of carbohydrates can help your body recover quicker, allowing for a more productive next day of training.
Todd’s nutritional needs do not change during off-season. The training volume is reduced from 16-22 hours during the peak-season down to 10-12 hours in the off season. “I find that even at that level,” states Burns, “I still need to keep up with quite a lot of eating.” Putting on 5-10lbs during the off-season, Todd has found the still performs well.
Todd has completed a few races this year with plans of competing in more. He is planning to race with the professional field at Ironman 70.3 in September!