16 Feb Training Tips – by Matthe
– Consistency is key!
Triathlon is an endurance sport and an endurance base gets build over time. Putting in the hours consistently over months, years, decades is what it takes to build a solid endurance base.
– Train your weakest discipline!
It’s often a vicious circle; Athletes don’t like to train on their weakest discipline, and that’s why it stays their weakest discipline.
– Training is pacing, not racing!
1. In races you push your boundaries to the limit and after races you take it a few days easy to recover from the effort. You don’t have this luxury in training, because you have a few more training sessions lined up in the week. High intensity workouts and pushing your limits are important to get faster, but you have to limit the duration, so it does not leave you exhausted for 24 hours.
2. Knowing the different paces and how long you can sustain them is something you learn from training and which you can then apply in racing. Pacing yourself to last to the end of a session and the ability to push hard, hold a steady pace or take it easy and recover when required, will make your training sessions more effective too.
– Improve your skills/technique!
Having skills reduces energy expenditure. Having an efficient swimming technique, pedalling smoothly in the right bike position and running with the correct gait and posture, will make you swim, bike and run faster without extra effort or physical ability.
– Train your transitions!
- Zipping in and out of transition in the shortest amount of time is time gained without having to be fitter. Practice your transitions in training, to streamline the transition process.
- The transition from swim to bike to run, can make you suddenly feel out of breath or create other discomfort. Your body has to adapt to the new body position and using different muscles. By e.g. regularly running for 15min after your bike ride will make that transition easier.
– Nutrition and hydration are important in training too!
- Arriving at a session de-hydrated or not hydrating sufficiently during a session, affects your performance in training and therefore you may not get as much out of your training as you could have. Having a (healthy) snack before your early morning or evening session, prevents the wheels falling off the wagon halfway a session and leaves enough appetite for your breakfast/dinner afterwards.
- The rule ‘don’t try anything new in your race’ applies to hydration and nutrition too, so ideally you drink the same sports drink, gels and bars in training as you would in your race. That way you will know what drinks and food work for you.
– Log and measure!
Keep a log book of all your training. It does not have to be very detailed and can be just the discipline, duration and intensity. It gives you a honest view of the training effort you have put in, because you will find out it is often less than you think.
Measuring your times, pace, distance, cadence, output are all handy data that teach you something about your physical ability and skills. Note that it does not necessarily require the latest exercise watch; a simple stop watch and speedometer on the bike will do. Some athletes get highly motivated by keeping a logbook and collecting data as well.
– Train with others!
At least a few sessions a week, as it will motivate you to show up, push you harder in the high intensity sessions and breaks the isolation of training by yourself. Getting to know and hanging around like minded people is rather enjoyable, and provides often free access to a fountain of knowledge too.
– Get a coach!
Whether it is a personal coach or one you have to share with your team mates, having a coach that puts/keeps you on the right track in terms of exercise regimen and technique and is available to answer any questions you may have, will accelerate your progress and prevent you from learning-through-mistakes. Even though you will still make plenty!