Triathlon Training -Planning
Training for a triathlon without an organized plan will not insure you come back for more.
You need a solid design to finish and feel good. One of life's greatest gifts is achieving something that doesn't come easy.
For me the triathlon is not a sport, it's a lifestyle. I have balanced my life around it. At this time, my relationship and work take a higher priority. For others, family will top the list. You will have to determine for yourself how much time or what sacrifices you'll make to
achieve your goal. Being single at the time, I could devote
the 30-40 hours a week it takes to train for an Ironman distance. Of course I had other interests, some to stimulate my mind and other activities to calm it. I can't emphasize enough that for me it's a spiritual, mental, physical and social lifestyle.
Triathlon Training Tools
- A Journal or Log with pencil, to keep track of where you've been and where you can go. To avoid injury it's important not to increase workloads too much too soon.
- Dave Scott's or another Pro's Triathlon Book to use as a guide
- Equipment check list
Triathlon Planning Basics
Planning to do a triathlon takes prioritizing and dedication to the goal. Anyone can probably do a sprint or short course triathlon with a few months training, but anything serious like a full Ironman takes at least a year's training in my honest opinion. Everything being equal, a fit marathoner, biker or swimmer could tackle a half Ironman and complete it with 6 months of training. They might fare ok in a full Ironman
with 6 months training depending on their abilities and the speed in which they complete it.
Professional triathletes weekly mileages total as much as 400 miles for the bike, 70 miles for the run, and 15 miles in the swim. Which is proof that if you can survive the training, the race is frosting on the cake. These training distances
take 40+ hours per week.
The goal for a successful triathlon will be to reach a weekly base of three times the distance you want to race and hold it for 6-8 weeks, then sharpen skills with speed workouts (1 each run and bike) for 4 wks and then taper 1-2 weeks before the race.
Everyone has their strong and weak sports, and need to develop the weaker sport. For me it was swimming so I joined a master's team to get the regular instructions to improve my stroke. And for biking I went on group rides and slowly learned
bike etiquette, jargon and equipment.
Adjust Your Training
Adjusting your daily training schedule when needed is the key to success. If you feel tired
physically or mentally, take a break and be fresher the next day. There are other certain clues to tell when to avoid over-training. Abnormally high heart in the morning, an inability to sleep,
or rapid weight loss are signs. I took my pulse every morning before getting out of bed to see how my body was recovering. It's important to find that balance of the mental, physical and spiritual.
Creating situations that resemble race day are very effective in optimizing a race plan. Practicing your transitions, and brick workouts or combining two sports back to back, can help you reduce your times and prime your body. The body doesn't switch from biking to running gracefully without teaching it.
Visulize in your mind what the day will be like.
Some call it visualization, and it's an important part of preparing your body for the stresses to come. Nervousness and that sleepless night are all parts of the survival instinct so go with it and enjoy the excitement. Butterflies are indications that the body is preparing to protect itself.
Using your race day checklist, lay out all your gear in the space provided and go over the sequence you'll follow. Make sure your towel is there to wipe your feet of gravel.
Put your bike in low gear, have your helmet with gloves and sunglasses right there on top for the bike transition. Your running shoes should be opened up and have quick lace locks to reduce time. Half un-wrap your Power Bars now. Not wearing socks might initially save time but you could lose it if running becomes painful due to blisters.
During the Race
If you plan to finish in the optimum time you should try and pace yourself.
Two ways to tell if you're pacing properly are:
1.) using a heart rate monitor or
2.) going by the perceived effort method.
The first is easy enough if you have a heart rate monitor. The second is probably easier still, you just don't go so fast you feel like dying. Some keep within the ability to speak in a normal tone while riding or biking. Many have had better results using the perceived effort method than using a heart rate monitor that held them back due to conservative estimates.
Remember that if one plan falls through, that doesn't mean the whole day is shot. Lost goggles, flat tires, blisters, these all happen and make for an interesting day. But don't let them ruin your event, it's the stuff great stories are made of.
After the Triathlon
If you bit off more than you can chew or even if you didn't, you might not be enthusiastic about another triathlon real soon, but if statistics are any indication, you'll be back for more. So you might want to remember where you had trouble or things that will make you faster next time. Did you feel comfortable in the swim? Had you practiced your transitions so they seemed second nature? Was spending all day in the aero-position too hard on your back? And did your legs feel like spaghetti fresh off the bike? What do you need to plan in your training next time? Now is the time to take note.
One key to having happiness in your life is to find something that gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning -- hulaman