Tag Archives: triathlon coaching

Member Triathlon Q&A #4 With Ben Greenfield & Kerry Sullivan

In this exclusive member’s only call, which you can download at the bottom of this post, Ben & Kerry answer listener questions, including…

Kerstin – San Francisco

Hi, What is your view on TRX suspension training and its value for Triathlon? Thanks!

Todd Houston – Calgary, Canada

Hi guys, I’m doing alot more high intensity training than I normally do at this time of year, and I feel great. I do 1 hard session of each swim, bike, run, and then my other 1 or 2 sessions are easy, zone 1-2. However, I’m finding that with winter still here, I’m not getting in as many long runs (90+mins) or long rides (2+ hours) as I did last year. Since my race season begins in May with 2 sprint triathlons, is this okay or should I really push to make sure I get in these long slow efforts?

Shane (Triskele) – Toronto – Ontario

Second Question – i was thinking about doing two half ironman races this year. One mid-July one early September. Should I start my program with the first end date before my first race? If so what should I do between races?

Shane (Triskele) – Toronto – Ontario

I am a new member – I have selected the 25 week HIM training program – but based on my race not starting until sept 12th – it gives me a few weeks before the plan starts in TrainingPeaks – is there any suggestion what to do in the mean time in terms of base building or should i just repeat the first couple of weeks and add them manually.

Chuck – Viginia Beach

I’m signed up for a Half ironman in May, and have a olympic distance race the week before that race. Would it be a good or bad idea to do a duathlon the week before the olympic? Would it be good preparation or would I be forgoing too many longer training sessions?

Patrick – Smyrna, TN

What are some of your favorite exercises for functional core strength for triathlon using little to no equipment?

One more question, for athletes who are in cold weather conditions and cant always get outside to run, are there any ways to get around running on days thats its warmer but still icy or slick out?

John L. – Memphis

I just entered the 70.3 in Austin. I was wondering if you could dedicate some time talking about transition. Which distances should I try to get away with no socks on the bike ride? Some priceless secrets to your transition?

Andrew – Orion, IL

Hey Guys, as a beginner where can I get the biggest gains? I see all these gimmics out there saything do this program, or try this technique, but how do I sort these out? If I went and bought all the things that people say help them succeed I would be a Poor poor man. What is your advice for beginners to keep me motivated and not overloaded with information?

Dru – Winter Springs, FL

My only bike is a road bike with clip-on aerobars. I know that there is different geometry on a road bike and a tri bike, so should I be moving my seat forward (and maybe up a hair?) when I do rides with more time in the aerobar position, or should I pick a compromise position and use that for all my training and races? (I also do some group rides where I can’t use my aerobars.)

Bret j – Cedar City

I am training for Ironman St. George and it is VERY hilly. Additionally, I am training indoors because there is still snow and ice on the ground. What is a good way to simulate varying hill inclines on an indoor trainer? I am on a Kurt Kinetic Fluid trainer.

Kallie – Canada

How do I train my body to stop being hungry all the time? I have just started to follow the Holistic Fueling for Ironman Triathletes but I find I am still hungry after breakfast and in the evening. Can I add or substitute an egg to the breakfast for more protein. Is this way of eating just something my body is going to have to adjust to over time? I am currently a carb junkie and would like to loose some weight but I crave carbs and sweets all the time.

Todd – Calgary, Canada

Hey guys, I’ve been doing some more regular early morning swim workouts (6am), and don’t tend to eat before going to the pool. On days that I am doing mainly drills I am fine, but on the days that I’m doing harder or longer sets, I find that after the workout, I’m a little dizzy and drained off energy. Should I be fueling before these swims, or during, or both? If before, what is the best thing to eat if realistically I’m only going to fuel 30mins before the workout. Thanks!

Jennifer – Calif

Even though I consider my swim to be my weakest link, the differential between myself and great swimmers in a IM distance event is about 15 minutes. However the differential in the bike leg are about an hour. To me the best ROI for my training time would be to bike more rather than swim more as I think I can gain more minutes (faster time) by more biking rather than more swimming. Potential maximum gain of 15min in swim versus 1 hour in bike. Your thoughts on my perspective. Thanks.

David – California

What are your thoughts on run training, based on Jack Daniel’s Vdot system in which running is by specific pace intervals as opposed to heart rate based training?

Jim & Viki – Spokane

With all the sanctioning bodies and several “national championships” all with some qualifiers, some are more liberal than others. How does one decide which way to go, if their goal is age group recognition? Oor is the right answer all of the above? Or do you qualify for what ever you can and work your way uup to the more exclusive events?? Are the more expensive events better run?

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New “Business of Triathlon Coaching” course available March 1st!

On March 1st, an online triathlon school called “Rock Star Triathlete Academy” will begin offering business instruction courses for triathlon coaches. Traditionally an educational website where triathlete members can watch instructional videos, read articles, listen to audio interviews and participate in a discussion forum, the Rock Star Triathlete Academy will now add a “Business of Triathlon Coaching” section.

“There are so many triathlon coaches who want to make coaching a full time career, rather than just a moonlight job or a low salary position,” explained Ben Greenfield, co-owner of the Rock Star Triathlete Academy and author of the book “How To Become a Triathlon Coach”, “We want to give coaches the tools that they need to succeed in the triathlon industry, while still getting great results from their athletes.”

Kerry Sullivan, creator of “The Triathlon Summit”, an online audio series for triathletes, is also co-owner of the academy, “There really isn’t anything out there that shows coaches how to do things like start a triathlon coaching website, record online video or audio for their athletes, or even decide on a proper business model. We want to provide that education to coaches, and also give them good exposure to interact with the triathlete members inside the academy.”

The new “Business of Triathlon Coaching” section of the academy will be offered as an $10 upgrade to an existing Rock Star Triathlete Academy membership, and will include a 2 hour monthly call with Mr. Greenfield and Mr. Sullivan, along with a private question and answer forum for coaches, and the opportunity for coaches to actively engage in article writing and multimedia production.

For more information, or to join the “Business of Triathlon Coaching” course, click here. New memberships are limited to the first 50 triathlon coaches.

(current members, see the upgrade button inside the member’s area here)

Member Triathlon Q&A #3 With Ben Greenfield & Kerry Sullivan

In this exclusive member’s only call, which you can download at the bottom of this post, Ben & Kerry answer listener questions, including…
Todd – Calgary, Canada Hey Guys, congrats on getting Mark Van Akkeren for Wednesday – that is huge! I’m think of doing one of my Sprint Tri races this spring without a HR monitor. I use a HR monitor typically in every workout and race. What are your thoughts on racing without a HR monitor when one is always used to using one?

Christiann – CDA

I am doing my first Ironman this year at CDA and am following a guide given by another athlete who has done a few Ironmans already. He said he does a slow build to prevent injury. i got on the training peak and got the Intermediate Ironman guide since i have already done quite a few Olympics i figured i could handle the training load. i am a lot lower on milage for runs than what the training peak guide says. i swim twice a week for hour and half and then bike twice a week for an hour doing hills and intervals and weights three times a week. i do a long bike ride for hour and half and run for 6miles on sat. sun is an off day. i wonder am i really far behind as other athletes around me are saying how theyve ran 13miles and biked and hour all in the same day. Or are they over training? thanks any advice would help

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Member Triathlon Q&A #2 with Ben Greenfield & Kerry Sullivan

In this exclusive member’s only call, which you can download at the bottom of this post, Ben & Kerry answer a jam-packed series of listener questions, including…

Patrick – Smyrna, TN

I’d like to substitute an Olympic distance tri for a century ride late in my Ironman Training plan (week 29 of Tri Dominator). I’d certainly rather race than slog another 100 mile bike ride, but I’m more interested in being as ready as possible for Ironman. Focusing only on Ironman prep, would an Oly be as helpful as a century?

Todd – Calgary, AB

Ben, I know you are a fan of Yoga for Triathletes. Do you have a recommended DVD or type of class to do that is most beneficial for triathletes (friends swear by Hot Yoga…)

Jeremy Hagerman – St Johns, MI

I am in the build phase of a self made training plan for IM 70.3 Racine. I work 24 hour rotating shifts and I have to change the order of my workouts on a weekly basis. What are the best resources to model a training plan on; or what options do I have for mapping out my own training plan so that I reach the critical volume/peak with the right volume and intensity.

Erik Sanders – Burnsville

I got one of your 24 week advanced half iron man training plans from training peaks. I am doing a couple of tri’s this summer but two in particular i would like peak for, an olympic on June 13th, and the half iron on August 8th. What would be a good way to “modify” this plan to also peak for the olympic in June as well as the half iron, if possible?

Jonathon – Santa Fe

A few weeks ago Rich Roll was on the show and you guys talked a little bit about eating raw vs. cooking food. Can you elaborate a little bit on why you wouldn’t to cook food (is thats what was being said.) I’ve also heard cooking/heating protein powder degrades its quality- is there any truth to that?

Chuck – Virginia Beach

We just got hit with a bad snow storm and I can’t get outside for workouts. My training plan this weekend called for a 14 mile run. I couldn’t do this on a treadmill, so instead I did a 1 hour spin class followed by an 8 mile hard interval run. Is this a good way to replace these long workouts or is there a better way?

David – Ojai

There is a segment of the triathlon world that suggests, for the average age-grouper athelete, that one can have a very successful IM or HIM distance triathlon on only 8 to 10 hours of training a week. Quality over quantity seems to be the primary premise. In your experience, can an average age-grouper achieve a successful long distance triathlon event with such training hours? Thanks

David – Ojai

There is a lot of information in the triathlon-space about how to train, but I find there is limited resources guiding an athlete how to race. In otherwords, how to execute a race plan; for example… correct pacing on the bike in order to ensure a good run, or how should one tackle a hilly bike course. I’ve experienced many times first hand many athletes hammering up a hill blowing by me on the bike, but I see them on the run and they are walking and I pass them running. Question is….are there resources in the triathlon-space that deal with the art of racing a triathlon? Thanks

Bret j – Cedar City

To use big gears or litte gears for an Ironman Race, that is the question. I read an article with BT where Chrissie Wellington shared her tip of riding with a big gear (semi-mashing) versus spinning which she claims raises your HR and builds up lactate acid faster. What’s your take? I tend to be more of masher cuz I go faster than spinning but can see the wisdom of spinning ala Lance Armstrong style.

Todd – Calgary, AB

Hi Ben and Kerry, When I was a competitive cyclist, it was widely accepted that Zone 3 or Tempo training (70-80% of Max HR)was considered to be “junk miles” on the bike. If you want to improve VO2max you did work in Zone 4, and if you wanted to improve aerobic base, you did work in Zones 1 and 2. Now that I’ve been training for triathlon for a couple of years, I’ve noticed that I spend a good amount of time training in Zone 3 (tempo runs, hill repeats on bike and run, etc.). I also notice that the majority of my races are spent in Zone 3. Can you talk a little about the benefits and pitfalls of working in Zone 3, and if I should be spending time in this zone during Base training, or back off on this until a Build period. Thanks!

lorraine – albuquerque

What drills do you do on the bike to go from flats to mountain hills?

lorraine – albuquerque

Hi there, As you swim, how do you balance gliding, power, and the least amount of strokes? Secondly, what drill on the bike do you do to go from flats to mountain hills?

Tad –

Is the sprint distance training plans flexible with switching days occasionally? Example if I am scheduled to bike on sunday and swim on monday can I switch it around and swim on sunday and bike on monday?

Gus – Red Deer, AB

Definately a Newbie question but: I am aiming for my first half iron distance in August, my main goal is just to finish… but im competitive by nature so i always want to do be as fast as I can. Most training plans I’ve been reviewing generally have atleast two days a week with 2 workouts. I’ve been struggling to do any two-a-day workouts. Is it possible to increase fitness in all 3 sports by only training each sport twice a week?

Justin – Washington, DC

What are your thoughts on competing in a HIM 7 weeks before an IM? (Note: this is my first Ironman and I’m aiming for the 12/13 hour mark)

Cindy –

I am going to be starting the 15 week intermediate sprint program this week which will take me to the end of May. I am planning on doing 3 sprints this summer – 1 at the end of May (more a fun race). The second one is 3 weeks later (my ‘B’ race) and the third one 3 weeks after that (my ‘A’ race). Should I be adjusting the program by repeating weeks in the beginning (like do week 1 twice, week 2 twice, etc) so that I peak for my A race in mid July? Or, do I follow the program that will finish just in time for my May race and then repeat weeks 12-14 for my other races? Also, can you tell me which weeks of the 15 week sprint program are base, build, peak.

Becky – Rocky Mountain House

I have a question about adjusting my training plan. The plan I chose for my first Ironman is a ‘beginner’ plan, 20 weeks long and I chose to begin it a month early. I have four weeks to fill in so I am throwing around a few options and wanted feedback from someone that know what they are talking about. As background this is my fourth season of racing, I completed a half ironman triathlon last July, and trained fairly consistently through my off season. I am a middle of the pack athlete, I don’t need to be a podium finisher I just want to have a good solid race. I will be racing IM CDA on June 27th. The plan I am using consists of 4 weeks of prep, 3x 4 weeks of base and 3 weeks of a taper/race period. The hours vary from 8-18. I can repeat one of the base months, to keep it simple, or I could add in a ‘build’ month before the taper/race period. Is four weeks even long enough to reap the benefits of build training? Not sure what I should be looking to do here, I am hoping you will have some words of wisdom. Thank-you!

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Triathlon Coaching Teleseminar #5 With Coaches Ben Greenfield & Kerry Sullivan!

At the bottom of this post, you can download the audio file to listen to at your computer OR while you swim, bike or run!


-In this triathlon tips teleseminar from the Rock Star Triathlete Academy, triathlon coaches Ben Greenfield and Kerry Sullivan answer listener questions AND explain more about what the Rock Star Triathlete Academy actually is!

Mary – Parker, co   How do I figure out nutrition for my first 1/2 Ironman?

Roger – Nixa, Missouri   How much time do you devote to strength training if any, and how do you incorporate it into your routine. Specifically 70.3 distance.

Kent Buckson – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware   Hi Kerry and Ben…. Could you please give me some advice on bike training when using cadence. Currently, I am riding 3x’s a week – 1 hour for 25 miles. What should my cadence be for warm up, main workout and cool down? I have read that 90 rpm’s is a good target range. Also what is the best cadence for warm up and cool down?

Michael – Chicago, IL   I am competing in my first Ironman this year: Louisville. Do you need to prepare differently due to the swim being in the Ohio River?

Mike Dern – San Mateo, CA   Would a tubular wheelset really make difference compared to a clincher set? As an intermediate racer doing 70.3’s, I am using Zipp 808 clinchers.

Diana – Stittsville, Canada   I’ve been training successfully with perceived exertion for many years but I’m being pressured by my training pals to consider using tools such as the Garmin Forerunner or even a heartrate monitor (which I’ve used in the past and never paid attention to). What are your thoughts on using these gadgets compared to RPE?

Ryan – Lethbridge Alberta   If I am forced to miss a swim bike or run workout during the week is it better to miss a hard interval workout or a long workout? In other words which workout during the week will give me the greatest benefit?

Deb – Ottawa, Canada   I’ve signed up for 3 half ironman races in 3 consecutive months in the upcoming 2010 racing season. The grand finale is the Muskoka 70.3 in Sept. I’m devotedly building my base now and am working on my limiter – running – very devotedly as well. What is the best way o taper for events which are only 4-5 weeks apart?

Todd – Austin, TX   I’ve been reading that Vitamin D should be taken with some kind of oil, in order to be absorbed completely. Have you heard of Vit. D in oil gelcaps? I’m having trouble finding them in stores.

Debbie – Charlotte, NC   What’s you advice on supplements? There are some new companies(ie. Kona Endurance, I know you can’t say the name on air)that are making huge claims that their supplements have contributed to the success of a list of some pretty impressive athletes. My concern is that someone new to triathlon might really think that these types of supplements are a necessary part of the sport. Help us sypher through marketing vs. healthy supplements. Thanks!!

Veronica Geist – St. Petersburg, FL   Hi Ben, I will be racing my first Iron Distance October, 2010. My last triathlon was a 1/2 IM in 2005. I was converted to road/crit racing, but I’m back. I get such race anxiety that by the time the race begins I feel so depleted (because I’m in the bathroom at least 5 times before a given race). It is even difficult to eat prior to a race. How does one get mentally prepared to race? Do you just put yourself out there and race, or is there some sort of mental preparation I can be doing?

Albert – Pennsylvania   Like many people, I have a full time career and have to carefully plan my training calendar. There are times when I have to cancel a training session due to other obligations… What is the best way to adjust training when that happens and also the psychological disappointment of a missed session?

Stan – Miami   do you have experience in the use of a Fast Lane as part of traditional swimming programs that utilize distance as the core of the events?

Stan – Miami   What are your opinions in the use of fatigue rates in determining the pace of interval sessions for the swim, bike and run?

Bob Farrell – Berwick Maine   What are good workouts to do on a bike trainer to work on endurance?

Rae – Port Elizabeth, South Africa   Greetings from South Africa, I seem to struggle with motivation in the last 3 or so weeks before an A race. As my training starts tapering I become ‘lazy’ because my training is not as far etc. and I become less focussed even though the big race is right around the corner. This leaves me training to little and ruining my race, how do I combat this? Shot!

Graeme – Sydney, Australia   Last year I did my first Ironman (Australia) and then did Hawaii IM in October. I have also moved towns and dont have my training buddies around. After a year like that am finding it very hard to set new goals and therefore get motivated. Any tips on what to do for people post Kona ?

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Triathlon Coaching Teleseminar #2 With Coaches Ben Greenfield & Kerry Sullivan!

At the bottom of this post, you can download the audio file to listen to at your computer OR while you swim, bike or run!

teleseminarbioIn this triathlon coaching teleseminar from the Rock Star Triathlete Academy at https://rockstartriathlete.com, triathlon coaches Ben Greenfield and Kerry Sullivan answer listener questions, including:

James – Murfreesboro, TN –

Isn’t colloidal silver kind of a dangerous chemical, because it’s known to cause argyria (blue skin)?
Anonymous –

I’m frustrated with the age group starts. I’m in the 45 – 55 range (hiding my identity) and normally finish in the top percentage of my age group and have a few top 3 finishes. We start though sometimes an hour or more after the first groups and I’m been involved in a tri where the organizers were handing out awards before the latter groups finished. I do 5 – 6 tris a year and always try to do a large event every year, but I’m getting more frustrated every year. My questions: 1) Is there a way before I spend money for a tri to know if there are large start groups instead of the two hour waits for the start. 2) Is the age group start mandated by USAT or is it strictly up to the organizers. Thanks.
Patrick – Smyrna, TN –

I plan to test my run LTHR at a New Year’s Day 5k. More than likely the race will take me no longer than 24 minutes (hopefully less!). Knowing that a run LTHR test takes 20 minutes for your HR to, say, normalize, is it reasonable to assume my HR has time to level out 2-4 minutes in to a race?

Kent Buckson – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware –

What are your thoughts on speedplay pedals compared to some of the other pedals on the market? I have been using speedplay pedals for several years and have nothing negative to say. However I was wondering if a different pedal might be better.

Todd – Calgary –

Hey Ben and Kerry, Have you ever had a case of saddlesores? Any recommendations for a quick recovery, and how to avoid them? I do all the usual things like changing quickly and chamois cream on the shorts, but sometimes still get them after longer efforts on the bike.

Bobbie – Littleton –

my feet are still wrecked from the November 22nd Tempe Ironman. I still have huge chunks of skin peeling off the heals. I used a large quantity of vaseline to help on the run and I wore individual toe socks. Any idea to help reduce or remove this problem. This is the 2nd time this has happened, shoes were broken in and fit perfect.

Eric – Norfolk –

What are the effects of alcohol on fitness for someone who drinks very rarely but will possibly drink “too much” on special occasions?

scott – brown deer –

I finished Bens off season workout about 1/2 hr. ago. It was good! What gear should I be in for the 1 legged drill? Does it matter?

C.C. – Rockville –

Would you discuss measures that unlimited-time athletes can incorporate throughout the day to enhance recovery between workouts, absorb training, prevent injuries, etc. Sort of a dream training day if the best recovery score was the goal.

Joe – Pasadena –

What is your recommendation on running, swimming, and biking daily? Should I break it apart and run on Monday’s and swim on Tuesday, and so forth?

scott stauske – brown deer, wi –

My Dominator program starts on Sunday. My weakness is the bike. Is there a way of knowing if my pedal stroke is efficient or is it just a matter of time in the saddle? I’m resigned to a trainer for the next 3 months so I have time for lots of drills!

Ben – Broomfield, CO –

I’m doing my first IM in July and would like to continue racing – mtn bike and tri – the remainder of the season. How long should my recovery take from the IM, and which discipline will take the longest to recover from?

Patrick – IL –

Im approaching 60 and want to stay competitive. Continue to work on technique in all events. What do you recommend on how I can best keep DROPPING my time on the run?

Bob Farrell – Berwick Maine –

I’m planning on starting 6 months of triathlon training in mid March. The training I’m doing suggests doing the prep, base and build in 4 week blocks and taking the last week off. Due to my schedule, I plan on training as much as I can during the week, since I will miss 1 to 4 days a week. Will this work?

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Triathlon Coaching Teleseminar With Coaches Ben Greenfield & Kerry Sullivan!

At the bottom of this post, you can download the audio file to listen to at your computer OR while you swim, bike or run!


In this triathlon coaching teleseminar from the Rock Star Triathlete Academy at https://rockstartriathlete.com, triathlon coaches Ben Greenfield and Kerry Sullivan answer listener questions, including:

Jeremy Valentine – Harrisburg, PA
–  How much emphasis do you actually put on heart rate training as opposed to duration/intensity training? I know the two are linked, but lately I’ve been reading more articles that are putting less emphasis on paying so much attention to heart rate. What is your recommendation and why?

brian zobel – haddonfield
–  Your thoughts on a road bike saddle vs a tri saddle…I find my road saddle more comfortable than the tri saddle but do you loose power or anything in using a road saddle. Is there an advantage of being forward on the saddle as in a typical tri saddle?

Mike – San Mateo, CA
–  What tips would you recommend for racing in hotter weather (90 to 100-degrees)? Hydration? Eating?

Kent Buckson – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
–  I have been battling a sciatic nerve problem in my lower left leg, buttucks and back. Have you ever had this problem? Do you have any suggestions? Is biking the possible reason for my pain?

Michelle Gordon – Medford, OR
–  As far as training plans, are you still offering your CEO Dominator package? Would that be a good place for me to start? I feel like I need to build a base for swimming and cycling, I will be running a few marathons before my goal race of Ironman Coeur D’Alene in 2011

brian zobel
–  You can’t race with Power Cranks, right?

Alex Moher – Ontario
–  Fun question: What was the most insane workout of your life?

Tyler Smith – Ontario
–  As a high school athlete, would it be worth it to get a part time job to help myself get all the proper equipment in my training? If I have the money, is it worth it to splurge on the best gear?

Brian Zobel – Haddonfield NJ
–  Kerry, Are you still using the power cranks. Did you find they improved your power. If they weren’t a trial would you say they are worth the pricey cost? How long di diyou need to train with them before you notice improvement if you did?

Michelle Gordon – Medford, OR
–  Is 1 1/2 years enough time to train for Ironman for a beginner? I have done one sprint tri and one marathon

Mike – San Mateo, CA
–  What are some pre-race stretches for swimming? Most of the races don’t allow for much time to get in the water and swim due to the age group heats going every 5 minutes.

Tania – San Antonio
–  Where do you even begin trainin and how do I not over train–I’m a water polo player and runner but find myself out of sorts when training become too much back to back. How would I add this to my list without over doing it.

Lee – NYC
–  Do you have any experience working with athletes who take the medication Prednisone, a catabolic steriod? if so, how do you see it affecting their performance/training? Any modifications/precations that you would recomend?

Bob Farrell – Berwick Maine
–  If I want to start working on endurance in January, should I run and ride long distances and use light weights and many reps for my strength training?

Alex Moher – Ontario, Canada
–  I’ve heard that watching T.V. while on an indoor trainer isn’t the best, and I know that music can throw you off your spinning tempo. Would you think I could still watch T.V. while doing a long, easy indoor session? What ways do you do keep yourself motivated and conquer boredom on the bike?

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