Mixing up your tri training regularly is what makes it fun isn’t it?
After all you’d just get bored doing the same sessions day in day out.
That’s the beauty of multi-sport and why so many people turn to triathlon at a later age.
You need to change what you do on a regular basis otherwise you will get bored, and results will plateau or even regress.
Tri Training Fundamentals Include Periodisation
The FITT principle is a good one to remember when planning your triathlon training.
Changes in Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type (FITT) of tri training are useful variables to periodise your training. By mixing up these elements you will keep things interesting, keep motivation high ang get better fitness results.
Velocity And Intensity Are Easier To Manage Than Volume
Traditionally volume is a greatly adjusted variable as you build on each week for 3 to 5 weeks followed by a recovery week.
However this means you continually have to change your training pattern and your life to suit it.
An intensity based approach to priodisation is effective. By focusing on intensity and adjusting your work and rest intervals you can create a system that works better for real-world triathletes though because intensity is the easiest variable to adjust.
The 1 Hour Example:
In 1 hour you can train at an intensity that has virtually no adaptation response, or you could choose to push so hard you can barely move by the end of the hour as you lie there in a pool of sweat.
Both workouts have the same duration in terms of planning your logistics, but one has a seriously different training outcome. The advantage this means for you is that you know you will need to allocate a set amount of training time on a set day, making working your other commitments easy.
Specific adaptation to imposed demand (SAID) is the fundamental principle that should guide your training.
Imagine that you’ve performed a fitness test, and you know you can run a solid 8minute mile pace for 6 miles. If your goal is to run a 7:30minute mile pace for 6 miles you need to make your training specific to that goal. You need to run at and over that pace.
Too often I speak to frustrated athletes who can’t get faster. They do lots of training and are committed to achieving the results, its just the sessions they perform are not specific to their goal.
If your triathlon training sessions ask you to only ever run or cycle slowly (what many coaches call base miles), you will only ever get good at doing that. Going slowly. And if your goal is to go faster, then you will struggle.
So What Is The Most Effective Way To Get Fast In Training?
By training fast you will be able to race fast. Of course you can’t just expect to run your goal pace for the duration set immediately so the best method is interval training. This is the stop start method of training that allows you to go at or above your goal pace for a set period, with recovery intervals planned. An example would be 6x 2minute run at 10k goal pace, with 2minute recoveries.
The FITT principle is a good guide of the variables you can play with in terms of training. Frequency, Intensity, Time or duration and Type of exercise car all variables. In the 6x2minute session described it could be that you reduce your recovery intervals weekly (T) from 2 minutes to 90sec then 1min and so on until you are able to achieve the pace for your 10k with no rests.
With any training session specificity is key and you will do well to ask yourself ‘what do I want to achieve from this session?’
Say Goodby To Junk Miles And Embrace Intensity Based Training For Rapid Fitness Increases
Have you ever wondered why it is you train for hours but cant get faster?
As explained by the SAID principle, Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand is what all triathlon training sessions should be based on.
If you demand your body to work fast in training, you will be able to go fast in your triathlon. If you don’t you wont.
Frustratingly triathletes of all experiences accept traditional volume based training for their race, thinking more is better, but because they don’t stress the body in training they don’t perform as they wish in the event.
It appears that the longer the discipline the more this is true, and Ironman athletes are the worst offenders!
Not only do they commonly feel there is no need to go fast in training because their event is so long and ‘slow’, they compound the issue by doing masses and masses of volume, week in week out and with all the same variables.
People tell me ‘I don’t need interval sessions I just need to go longer’ and ‘I do this long route every week’ or ‘ I do these training sessions every week and I wouldn’t want to change them’.
Well, let me suggest this to you; if you like to ride your bike and have endless hours in the world to train (there is a place for this on those lovely weekends if time allows), your spouse is ok with you being out for hours each week, you don’t get bored and you are happy going slow, then that is fine.
If however you want to make your Ironman easier, faster, save time, keep your spouse and boss happy, train less and get better results then listen to the following 2 points.
1. Train Fast = Race Fast
The SAID principle applies to all aspects of life, and your tri training program should stress you according to your goals.
Look at this interval training graph. The blue line is speed, and the feint line behind the 3 long intervals is 20mph.
The athlete in question has an option of going out for a 6h ride, slow, long boring (unless there is a cake stop or a picnic of course) and risk getting into trouble with the neglected family.
Or she can make a very specific session, at and above target race pace, half the duration, and much better quality. She wants to race fast, so therefore trains fast.
2. Train fast: Make Easy, Faster.
With this in mind, not only will riding the 3×10 miles above target race pace will make race pace feel so much easier, but it also means she has time to relax afterwards to work on her recovery.
If she had ridden at 14mph for 6 hours, it would still be an admirable ride, but could she seriously expect to ride her goal event at 18-20mph if she never rides at that pace?
Ride fast, and your easy pace will be faster.
This might seem simple, but it works. Train fast: Race Fast. More time for life outside triathlon 🙂
Contact me or join the online triathlon coaching team if this sounds great to you! Try it to see if you like it with no obligation.
If you want more support but don’t fancy joining, why not register for my 5 step triathlon email course which covers the steps to take to achieve your perfect triathlon. Register in the side bar of my triathlon training blog.
Happy tri training! Nico.