Build Performance Center: A Diamond in the Rough

Local gym offers a safe place for triathletes to build strength, endurance and community

Local gym owner

Since 2015, Paul Raknes has completed five full Ironman competitions, and 20 half-Ironmans. That is 36 miles of swimming, 1,680 miles of bicycling and 393.3 miles of running completed in just competition alone. It does not include the thousands upon thousands of miles spent in preparation for the triathlons.

“Triathlon training takes a certain type of personality – people that are self-directed and typically have a type-A personality,” says Raknes, who began competing in Ironman races just five years ago at the age of 45. He had been teaching high-intensity interval classes at Gold’s Gym and was very “gym-fit,” when his friends planted a seed in him about trying out a triathlon. He had no history of endurance sports, but something about the positive influence triathlon training and competition had on his friends struck a chord.

“There are two types of folks after completing a race – the ones that can say they did it and check it off a bucket list; and those who end the race thinking they can go faster and have a constant need to improve…” Raknes landed squarely in the latter category. Fast-forward five years, and he not only competes, but owns a training gym, Build Performance Center, that supports triathletes prepare for races all over the Pacific Northwest and around the world.

Build Performance Center is not a glamorous gym, or even a pretty gym by any means. Raknes likens it to the gym that Rocky use to train in, a place where lots of good, honest, hard work happens. It opened its doors about ten years ago and was taken over by Raknes in 2015. It is singularly focused on multi-sport athletes and very specialized in favor of triathletes and cyclists.

The trainings are all power-based and classes range from the morning into the evening and range from one hour to three hours. The classes are structured classes led by ride leaders and are all data-driven to help each athlete improve. Early in membership, each member goes through a Functional Threshold Test (FTP) to assess their maximum output for a class and everything is based on that assessment. The cadence and power – dialing members’ power in and getting them stronger on the bike – is the foundation for each member’s training at the gym. Using data from the FTP keeps training as efficient and injury-proof as possible for the participants, which is very important since the trainings and competitions can be grueling and very rough on the body.

The Ironman and triathlon community is a “very niche community. It is comprised of people who really need to squeeze in Ironman or half-Ironman training but want to get through the training very efficiently and safely. A lot of hours are required for Ironman and training indoors is a much safer way to train than to brave the roads,” says Raknes. As owner of Build, aka “Chief Towel Guy,” he feels committed to building things which resonates with the name of the gym. To him, the gym is all about building fitness and community, knowledge, endurance and durability.

“I feel very centered in an amazing community – owning Build puts me firmly in the community and I love it. The people are kind, goal-oriented and work hard.”

The Ironman race is a branded, world-renown triathlon race organized by the World Triathlon Corporation. The full triathlon is comprised of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.22 mile run. The half-Ironman is also known as the Ironman 70.3 and is exactly half of the distances for each leg of the triathlon. Locally, both the full and half Ironman races occur in Coeur d’Alene, Victoria and Vancouver, B.C., and Lake Stevens. People travel all over the nation and world to race. There are many non-Ironman branded races that are still USA-sanctioned races that are held locally, where participants can qualify for nationals and world competitions. There is a full Ironman World Championship race held in Kona, HI each year and it is the high holiday of the local Ironman.

For those interested in triathlon competitions, Paul offers five tips in getting started:

1.     Pick a goal – set a goal and begin to explore how to work toward and achieve it. This is the first step – you will need to think about what kind of triathlon you would like to compete in to help set the course for your training.

2.     Join a team – seek out teams. Find one that is a good personality it for you and surround yourself with people who love and enjoy racing and training. A solid community is imperative, it is very difficult to do it alone.

3.     Buy gear and equipment – do not go buy things alone. Begin training and see what works best for you before you spend any money.

4.     Be absolutely certain you have the support at home to do this – the training takes up a lot of time. This sport is about athleticism, it is about putting the time in to train. You will need to make sure your personal and work time allow for the training time.

5.     Find a trainer and set your training schedule. You will need to factor in nutrition, training and fitness components into your schedule. A trainer will help you do this and also give you advice on meeting your goals.

For more information, visit: buildperformancecenter.com.

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