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Coach Shutt and The Comeback at Ironman Lake Placid.


On Sunday July 24th Beth Shutt watched as the majestic scenery painted on Mirror Lake shattered into a million pieces as athletes began warming up. What would the day hold in store for her? Success and triumph or trials and tribulations? Or maybe both? A lot can happen in 140.6 miles.

The previous 20 months had been plagued with injuries leaving Shutt out of racing Pro for more time than she knew what to do with herself. A foot injury in the winter 2015 that bled into a bike crash and broken wing in the spring left the 2015 racing season scattered at best. Then just as she was getting reacquainted with her trainer in the winter 2016 she discovered that she had a stress fracture in her sacrum. A long journey of patience, dedication and sheer tenacity carried Beth through each of the previous twenty months and straight to the starting line of Ironman Lake Placid. No matter the end results Beth stood at the starting line ready to race her heart out for the next one hundred and forty miles.

Ten hours and seventeen minutes later Beth cruised into a fourth place finish of her 11th full Ironman race. That’s right- after a year and a half of broken limbs and shattered training cycles Beth was able to successfully train for an Ironman and a top 10 finish within 14 weeks time. SHUTT THE FRONT DOOR, right?! The real question is HOW? It comes down to two key factors in training:

  1. Patience
  2. A big picture mentality of training

Beth’s patience for her body to heal is unlike anything I’ve seen before. I follow Shutt and recall one of her very first runs back post-injury. After a mandated twelve weeks off from running she logged one 15 minute recovery run. For a woman who is used to following up her three hour ride with a 45 minute run at conversational pace I’m confident those 15 minutes were a mixture of pure glee to be out there moving and frustration that she wanted to go longer, farther and faster. But she didn’t. She listened to her coach, followed the QT2 training methodology 100% and most importantly she knew that she needed a solid foundation of base miles under her belt before her body would be able to manage serious training.  Day after day and week after week I quietly observed Beth’s 15 minutes turn to 25 minute recovery runs and then to 45 minute zone 1 runs before very gradually weaving in tempo work.

Beth noted, “You have to trust in the process, be patient and have a big picture view. I followed the QT2 training philosophy to a T and know that whatever it yields, it yields [this training cycle].” In mid-June Shutt raced well at Eagleman 70.3 with a 1:34 off her 2:21 bike and a finished in a solid 2nd place. Riding that fitness burst she squeezed in quality training rides and a 16 miler and 20 mile split run to prepare for Placid. That’s right- before tackling a full marathon Shutt only ran one 16 mile training run. Why would she do this? Because Shutt trains with QT2 and QT2 knows triathlon. In fact QT2 eats, lives and breathes endurance training and Shutt had the smarts to swallow her pride and follow her training plan from start to finish. She continued, “The people who won’t trust the process [be patient with their body] will lose interest or get hurt. That patience and big picture view made a huge difference in my racing success at Placid.”


With a 1:01 swim, 5:29 bike and 3:40 run Shutt still isn’t completely satisfied. The sign of a true athlete, is it not? “I imploded on the bike and suffered on the run. In fact it was my slowest Ironman. In terms of performance- it was a slow day and I didn’t execute it well. Ok wait- I am very glad to be healthy, to be on the starting line and to finish with no physical issues!! Very, very glad for that! I just know I have more to give.”

Pro Shutt always manages to put her training and the race results into perspective. She noted, “It’s a matter of being patient and giving your body the time to benefit for the next one. I will put three more big weeks of training and then taper for Ironman Wisconsin and be that much more fit. You just can’t cheat it [the Ironman distance]; at that race you just have to put in the time. Come Wisconsin my body will be ready. Consistency, I just need the consistency in training!!” If the past four months and two races are any indicators of her growing fitness I myself would be watch out for Shutt at the Wisconsin starting line. This woman is chock full of mental stamina, a solid base of training miles and a training program that when completely followed maximizes athletic potential and breeds success.

Shutt, you lead by example and you crush everything in your path!!

Well done coach!!

Proud of you.


*Beth Shutt is a full time coach at The Run Formula and races as a PRO triathlete. She trains solely with QT2 systems. 

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