The Heart of the Matter, Part II

The Heart of the Matter, Part II

The Heart of the Matter II
Going from Base Training to Intensity Training

By now you’ve built your base and you want to move into some interval training. These workouts are hard but not so hard that you can’t walk the next day. Only hard enough that you work close to your LT (lactate threshold) zone. Most studies have shown that working at or below your LT will raise LT and you will recover quicker then training above LT. Since we are triathletes, we do have three sports to train for and a quick recovery is a good thing. Following is sample workout for LT training for running and biking.

For running, the time should be anywhere from three to five minutes with short periods of rest. It is not recommend that you do more then 20-30 minutes of LT training in a single session. An example workout would be 3 minutes at LT with ninety seconds of rest. The rest interval should be fifty percent of the interval to start out, and working your way down to twenty five percent. In our example say we run for three minutes at LT, we should then rest about ninety seconds. As we get fit we will see our heart rate come down to a comfortable level quicker, and therefore we will lower our resting interval to forty-five seconds (25%). The session should start out by doing three to five of these, and then add two additional reps each week. I would do up to 10 of repeats at most. So in reality, if you follow this program it would take you from four to five weeks. After that, it’s on to speed and that will be a topic for next issue.

For biking, since the stress is less on your joints akin to swimming, we can do more intervals. Therefore, we start out by doing five to ten minute intervals and repeating these anywhere from five to ten times. In the past some triathletes training for Ironman have done blocks of thirty minute intervals repeated two or three times. That is ninety minutes worth of intervals! But, in a race that can last anywhere from nine to seventeen hours this may not be a big deal. An example training schedule for the bike would be four minutes at LT repeated fives times in week 1, and working your way up to forty or fifty minutes by week five or so. In our example say we bike for four minutes at LT, we should then rest about two minutes. As we get fit we will we will lower our resting interval to one minute (25%).

Of course both these workouts that are recommended are relative to your current state of physical fitness. These should not be done unless you have at least twelve weeks of base behind you.

Michael Ricci is a USAT certified coach. He can be reached for personal coaching at


D3 Triathlon University 7 Part Beginner Series.

Your Complete Knowledge Center

Get all the tips, tricks and information YOU need to become the triathlete you want to be. Plus, get a FREE training plan for watching the videos!