D3 Pro Tips: Five Tips for Getting the Most out of your Triahlon Training Time
D3 Pro Tips: Five Tips for Getting the Most out of your Training Time
For triathletes of all levels finding enough time to train represents one of the biggest challenges in our sport. Realistically most athletes don?t have 20 to 30 hours per week of training to reach the top ranks. Trying to train for three sports, work, spend time with the family will leave no time for anything else. Why do we hear of so many top age groupers able to compete at such a high level with such limited schedules? Here are five tips that will help you see the most return on your available training hours.
No junk miles. We have all heard this before, but what does this mean? Junk miles are any training that is not race specific. For example: a six or 7 hour ride when you plan to ride 5 hours in your next IM is not a race specific workout. A more effective option to consider might be a 4 to 5 hour ride with some IM specific intensity. For running, a long set of 400?s on the track may not be as beneficial to an IM athlete as a tempo run or mile repeats with a shorter rest interval.
The other type of junk miles may include too much time spent in zone 1 (lowest intensity). For an athlete with limited time it may be better to swim an hour than ride an hour easy in zone 1.
Have a weekly plan structured around key workouts. Whatever your race distance there will be specific key workouts that your training will be planned around. Each workout should have a goal and purpose. Ask yourself before each workout and when planning workouts what will be accomplished from that session.
A weekly plan may include a long ride, a long run, a bike intensity session, a run intensity session and swim sessions. If you can manage to hit these key workouts you will see the largest gain in fitness. These workouts (as few as 6) may only consume 8 to 12 hours of a week, but will provide you with 80 to 90% of your fitness. All the other workouts are icing on the cake and if there is no time for them it won?t make a big difference in your race fitness.
Keep a daily log of all your workouts. A training record is a helpful tool when looking back to see what works and what doesn?t work for you. Erase any workouts from your previous training periods that don?t produce results. If in doubt throw it out is a good motto when planning workouts. If you have had a stellar race it?s helpful to look back to the preceding weeks to see what you did. Having a coach to look at your program through someone else?s eyes may help trim the fat from your total training hours.
Intensity over volume will bring fitness to a higher level than volume over intensity. Don?t throw volume out the door, but if you do all or most of your cycling at 15 to 18 m.p.h. you won?t race at 22 to 24 m.p.h.
Time management. Can you run to the pool instead of drive? Or ride to work, run at lunch. These may not be options for everyone but it does help to free up some time otherwise spent in transit to and from workouts. I know some triathletes that ride or run to their kid?s soccer games or other activities. If you can learn to be creative with your training, the possibilities are endless.
With the right balance of intensity and endurance training in your program, you?ll see some great results in 2008! Good luck!
Curt Chesney is a professional triathlete who balances training with a full time job and young family. He coaches with D3 Multisport and can be reached for coaching at firstname.lastname@example.org