As with any fitness discipline, Triathlon training requires effort, perseverance and overload to ensure adaptation and progression. Being a multi discipline endurance event (Swim, Bike, Run), the training required also takes time and a high frequency of training throughout the week to ensure that all disciplines are worked on. Planning your individual training sessions and macro planner to best fit your weekly schedule is paramount to ensure a realistic programme plan that is achievable and you know you can fully commit to.
An effective and efficient triathlon training programme should be split into phases, leading up to peaking your physical condition to perform on ‘race day’ without fatigue from training efforts. My normal training period for an Olympic Distance is 12-14 weeks.
Building the foundations – The first phase to my training begins with aerobic training. Low intensity sessions that increase my body’s ability to swim, cycle or run for longer at a steady state.
Adaptation / Improving speeds – In this stage my training focuses on threshold training where speeds are important to ensure that I train my body to adapt it’s aerobic capacity. This requires me to train at intensities that will really make the lactic acid in my muscles kick in. But the results will be worth it.
Brick Training – This part of the training phase is crucial to ensure that the body becomes accustomed to performing at a higher intensity across at least 2 of the triathlon disciplines and can include transition training (improving how quickly it takes to transfer from swim to bike or bike to run).
Time Trials – Time trials are really beneficial both for individual disciplines and for overall time checks. They are a great way to improve overall fitness & performance, increase confidence & visualisation of ‘race day’ and keep track of time targets.
Strength & Conditioning, Nutrition & Rest – Often referred to as the 4th discipline, strength & conditioning training is really important within a triathlon training programme. Increasing strength, working on power and flexibility will not only decrease the chance of injury but increase muscular endurance performance, leading to reduced fatigue through training and the event. It can also support an increase in speed.
Nutrition and rest are vital to fuel the body correctly for the demands of training as well as allow time to recover, adapt and ensure that energy levels are at a ‘peak’ for race day.
Race Day – Preparing for your first ever triathlon can be quite a logistical task. There are a lot of things to remember! Ensuring your bike is tuned and ready to go, tri bars fitted, all swim gear arranged, energy bars and water bottles at the ready. There is normally quite a bit to do on arrival too, from registering to racking your bike and completing any pre race warm up routines. I always ensure I arrive to an event 1.5 hours before race time. There’s nothing worse than rushing and starting a race stressed and tense.