POSE IN PRESS A collection of articles about Pose Method and Dr.Romanov in various publications.
TRIATHLETE MAGAZINE (US)
June 1997, #158
Jurgen Zackís Attack on FAT!
Not so long ago, Jurgen Zack was the uberbiker who controlled the Ironman, because anyone who got out of the swim behind him or dropped off the pace on the bike would be history. Zack was the Punisher who almost fried Mark Allenís legs in the 1993 Hawaii Ironman with his then-record 4:27:42 bike split. Zack was also the leader of the inevitable wave of German Ironman athletes who would take over the Americansí domination of the event-once he learned to run like Ironmasters Allen and Dave Scott. In fact, in he had beaten a fit Allen at Powerman Zofingen in 1992.
Prior to the í94 Hawaii Ironman, Zack was pictured in dark shades and rippled bod like some Tri-Schwarzenegger, ready to exact punishment on Dave Scott in his return to his bike, and show The (old) Man what the New Ironman was all about. But Scott made remarks about Zackís running, saying Zack would never win Ironman unless he slimmed down and got serious about running. In í94 Scottsí 2:53 marathon stuck it to Zackís 3:04:13, and Jeff Devlin outbiked Zack that year and then ran him down for third.
Zack then turned the tables to run a 2:48 marathon while setting a record 8:01 pace to win Ironman Germany in 1994. The next year, he defended his crown in 100-dregree weather and humidity, running a 2:55 marathon; he seemed poised to inherit the Ironman earth.
Then, in October, Zack got caught in no manís land between Thomas Hellriegel and the rest of the pack in the insane winds. His bike slowed to a 4:40, and he dropped to seventh in the run. In 1996, Zack won Australia, but on an off-day at Germany, smartly saved his game for Kona and let Lothar Leder make sub-eight hour history at Roth.
But, in Hawaii, after staying within safe range of Hellriegel and Luc Van Lierde on the bike, Zack was wracked with back pain at mile 20 and staggered in with 10-minute miles; he dropped from third to a dispiriting 11th place.
Zackís image as an implacable, Teutonic, machine-like killer on the bike is at odds with the real man. He is blond and apple cheeked-the very image of a smiling country prince in a Renaissance painting. That killer image is at odds with the gregarious, social man who is happy at home during his summers in Koblenz with its rural roads and 2,000-year-old castles or in San Diego over the winter.
Leading up to this yearís Ironman Australia (where, as defending champion, he led Hellriegel and Peter Ried off the bike, but faded to fourth with an obviously distressed 3:10:50 on the run), Zack had a plan to get his Ironman running at Hawaii into top gear and to deal with issues of weight, nutrition and body type in a scientific way to belie the Dave Scott jokes about being too chunky to win Ironman.
Triathlete: How is your running?
Jurgen Zack: At the Multisport School of Champions, I worked with the Russian coach Dr. Nicholas Romanov on my running form. After the session, I bent my knees a little bit. It looks like a shorter stride, but itís not. My leg turnover is quicker, and my foot rests on the ground less. This new running style puts less stress on my quads and back. It works, because before I was never able to do better than 1:03 for 11 miles on my tempo runs, and I managed 1:01:30 after this session. The style is more fluid; I feel 30 pounds lighter when I run.
T: Thirty pounds! That should take care of Dave Scottís Complaints! Two years ago, Scott said that if you wanted to win Hawaii, you had to lose weight. He said that even two or three pounds could make "a serious difference" in your endurance running ability. He said you should have a body-composition test to see about body fat. Where do your weight and nutrition stand now?
JZ: I am 5í11 and, when I race, I weight 172 pounds. I havenít had a body-composition analysis for a few years, but I have about eight or nine percent body fat. It is ideal for health. But, compared to Scott, who has less than four percent (Scott says itís six percent), I have something to lose. So, if he joked that I am fat, I can say he has an eating disorder!
The key is to stay healthy. When I am in Germany, from May to October, we swim a lot. It also rains a lot there; so, it is impossible to stay healthy at less than five-percent body fat.
T: The implication seems to be that, while you may not have far to go on body fat, you will have to eliminate some of your musculature to get efficient enough to win in Hawaii.
JZ: When I try to lose weight too quickly, I get tired and sick. Reducing my body fat to six percent is OK, but not much more. I need the muscle to keep my upper body strong and avoid overuse injuries. When you lose muscle, you tend to get sick, because the body needs to eat its own muscle in order to lose that weight. When you lose muscle, you drop the protein intake. Protein is also necessary for the immune system. In the past year and a half, I have increased my protein intake from 20 to almost 35 percent.
T: What has led you to this conclusion?
JZ: A few years ago, I read Dr. Colganís Book of Sports Nutrition, which induced me to increase my protein. Ever since I was a teenager, I would catch colds five to 10 times a year. The book said that world-class athletes have a depressed immune system, because of all the stresses the body has to cope with in training. Protein gives raw material for the immune system and muscle recovery.
T: How have you adjusted your percent-ages of food groups?
JZ: I cut my carbs. I was at a 60-percent carbo diet for many years. Now, it is about 45 percent. Fat has remained at 20 percent. But I try to get higher quality fats. I eat a lot of fish and flax seed oil, which are a good source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
T: Do you chance your percentages before a race?
JZ: Iíve found the best preparation for a long race is the Saltyn diet, which a Scandinavian devised for cross-country skiers and marathon runners many years ago. I still think itís the best for long-distance events. You deplete glycogen stores in the three or four days before a race, and increase your fat and protein intake. For three days, I eat 25 percent fat, 50 percent protein and 25 percent carbs. Then, I load by eating 60-percent carbs, 25-percent protein and 15-percent fat.
But I make sure that most of my carbs are low on the glycemic index. I eat beans and complex carbohydrates. I have some pasta, because it is medium on the glycemic index. I avoid simple sugars. I avoid most fruit juices. I eat a lot of strawberries Ė they are my main food. But I am not a banana loader. I need some for the potassium, but not a lot. Like Make [Allen] and Paula [Newby-Fraser] who eat red meat three or four days before the race, I eat a lot of fish and also some meat for the protein.
T: What are your favorite foods? Are any of them at odds with your best racing food?
JZ: I love pizza with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and cheese. I also like a good dessert with sugars, but I have learned to eat just one. When I was teenager, I had two or three desserts Ė I could not get enough! But now I donít have as much of a sweet tooth as I used to. Too many desserts wonít make you go faster.
But, if you feel like you have to do things you donít like doing to do well in your sport, you build a negative mental attitude. It is important to be happy to remain in a sport. I have been doing triathlon since 1983, and I have never lost the fun.
T: Dave Scott noticed you started out well in the runs in Hawaii he observed, but had a serious drop-off with a third of the way to go. Was it nutrition? Weight? Heat?
JZ: Itís true that I fell of in 1994, 1995 and 1996. But running off the bike is a lot more complicated than anything else. At Ironman Germany in í95, I proved to everyone that I could run well in the heat after a good bike ride. It was 100 degrees, the humidity was high, and I ran a 2:55 to drop Thomas Hellriegel and finish in 8:08:08. The year before, I ran a 2:48 to get away from Lothar Leder and Rainer Muller to win.
But Hawaii so far is another story. There I have only broken three hours twice Ė with a 2:59:02 in 1992 and 2:59:59 in 1995.
JZ: In Germany, the ground is softer; we run on a smooth trail slong a channel; and there is less impact on the muscles and the body. Also, I can get into a rhythm better on the flat terrain.
In Hawaii, it is much harder to find a rhythm. The run starts with an uphill, a downhill and then an uphill, with another hill at mile 8. the last hour in Hawaii, I can feel the pressure on my back from the hard road.
T: Are there other factors?
JZ: For years, I had trouble with my feet and back getting off the bike. I think how I ride my bike is important. I can still ride fast, even with Hellriegel. But I need to be more comfortable. My Softride is already comfortable, but last year I tried to go even lower. Theoretically, it is more aerodynamic in the wind tunnel.
But it interrupted circulation to my legs, and when I got off the bike, my feet were numb. It took me 10 miles to get the feeling back. When we adjusted it this year, the seat height stayed the same, but we raised the hadlebars about half an inch, and that seemed much better. I had this problem in 1991 in Hawaii and in 1993 at Zofingen.
T: What do you do about your back?
JZ: I do a lot of stretching in the arc position lying on my back on a gymnastic ball. I stretch my back, hamstring, gluteus and hip flexors Ė which helps a lot. A few years ago, I had knee pain, and I found out it was because I had weak hamstrings compared to my quadriceps. I also had weak back muscles and needed to work on those in the gym. My stomach muscles were OK. So, I worked in the gym in the winter two or three times a week. But I need to make a lot of compromises in my training and bike position to run fast off the bike.
T: How have you compromised your training?
JZ: Years ago, I used to ride 300 to 500 miles a week with Wolfgang [Dittrich]. A lot of it was slow, averaging 18 mph. Now, I do about 300 miles, and I ride faster Ė at least 20 mph on average.
T: How easy is that on your heart?
JZ: Yesterday, I biked 60 miles at 21 mph, and my hear rate averaged 118.
T: How about your running training? I understand you feel your running has always been underrated?
JZ: I became an 800-meter runner and ran 1:53. Iíve done 10k in 30:30. Now, I always keep my running under 80 miles per week, but I try to go harder. Recently, I did 10x1000m at 3:08 to 2:59. Kenny Souza had to train with the girls the next day to recover. My heart rate was below my anaerobic threshold. But people have always told me I couldnít run, and Iíve always had to prove myself.
T: When did you start proving people wrong?
JZ: When I was 14, a teacher was looking for a 1,000-meter runner, and I said, "Pick me!" He said, "Jurgen, you are too heavy. We need a skinny, light guy. Youíd be a better shot-putter." To prove him wrong, I did a 1,200-meter run a few weeks later and beat everyone.
In triathlon, it has been the same story. In 1986, I won a dozen races, and I did not lose any triathlons against any Germans. In 1987, Rainer Muller beat me in one race in the German triathlon series. People said, "Jurgenís time is over." In 1988, I won again; then in 1989, Wolfgang suddenly appeared and once again, my time was over. In 1993, it was Olaf Sabatshus. In 1994 Lothar Leder and Rainer Muller again. Then, in 1995, it was Thomas Hellriegel, and I was supposedly finished. But I won the German Ironman again. Now, they are saying it again. But I believe I havenít yet had my best race.
T: You started as a short-course triathlete. How successful were you? Why did you switch?
JZ: I was the Olympic-distance national champion four times. I was second in the European championship to Rob Barel in 1986, and I was third four times. But one day I was watching TV with other triathletes before the German triathlon series in 1988, and all they covered was Dirk Aschmoneit at Ironman. There was no word about the other triathlons. So, I decided I would show people I could do well at Hawaii, too. I finished seventh in 1989. I had never done a marathon. But I found it was fun to do in Hawaii. I felt the organizers and the people there had a ward feeling for the athletes. In Europe, we had to wear uniforms; I felt I lost my identity and all that counted was winning a medal for Germany, not the athlete.
T: Your individualism has set you apart from what many consider to be the German team. You donít train with the coat from East Germany as Ledel and Hellriegel do. How has that affected you?
JZ: Last year, I took part in the Grand Prix race in Koblenz, my hometown. The ITU put pressure on the DTU, the German Triathlon Federation, to make sure this race was not sanctioned and would not happen. Luc Van Lierde and Lothar Leder gave in to pressure from the federation and did not race. When I did the race, the DTU suspended Arnd Schomburg and me, and they put on pressure to suspend me worldwide. They did no want me to race in Hawaii, because they get $300,000 a year from the government to train athletes Ė if Jurgen Zack beats all their athletes in Hawaii, it looks bad.
Pressure was put on USA Triathlon to withhold the sanctioning of Hawaii if I was allowed to race there. The David Yates stoop up and said: "Jurgen is welcome to race here any time." But I spent three weeks dealing with this. It didnít help my preparation, and I didnít do well. So, in one sense the DTU succeeded.
T: Do you think there are solutions to the politics?
JZ: Yes, if there are compromises. I think the ITU can have a world cup series and world championships and a title sponsor. But athletes should have the right to give exposure to their own sponsors.
T: How did the death of your father Wener a year and a half ago affect you?
JZ: It was very hard. He attended many of my races. One of the last things he told me when he still had all his senses was after the 1995 Hawaii Ironman. He said, "What happened to your run?" See, When he first saw me compete, I always used to dominate the run. He said, "Run faster." Now, I am taking his words very seriously.
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