How Important is Base Training in Triathlon?
Heart Rate Training
Coach an athlete that was preparing for a ? marathon in December. I had him keeping the sports balanced and the schedule pretty moderate in volume. He is preparing for an IM in September and we are a long way from there in terms of ramping up the volume. He ended up missing the race due to a conflict with his final exam and ran the 13.1 miles by himself the next weekend. He ran a PR of 1:29. Considering he has never had a coach before, this really wasn?t a surprise. I would say that the coach is not the reason for the PR 95% of the time. Really, it?s just the consistency, and having someone to answer to. A few weeks later, this athlete has an emergency appendectomy operation on Christmas day. Good bye fitness right? Guess again.
Prior to the ? marathon he tested out at 25:00 for 3 miles on the track at an aerobic heart rate. Two weeks after the operation he was able to run another test, this time the result was 30:00. Not exactly what we were hoping for, four weeks before another ? marathon. Leading up to the race, his training consisted of nothing more then a few runs a week, nothing more then ninety minutes and nothing higher then a Zone 2 heart rate. He was still using his Computrainer and swimming two times a week. He was feeling better but not as fit as he did before the December ? marathon. We were shooting for something in the 1:32-1:35 range and he was to start out conservatively. When all was said and done he ran a 1:27! Another PR by 2 more minutes! Was it great coaching? Hardly. Was it the base training we did back in October through December? You betcha it was. I can?t wait to see how fast this athlete goes when he actually does some speed work and we taper him. My point? Instead of hammering away ? get your base miles in. The bigger engine you build, the faster you can go.
Michael Ricci is a USAT certified coach. He can be reached for personal coaching at firstname.lastname@example.org