If you are looking to set yourself up for a successful season, you need a solid training plan. This plan can come from a personal coach, a professionally designed standard plan, or you can create one on your own. To get your best result, you should not just go out and simply “wing it.” In the event you aren’t able to hire a coach and can’t find any standard canned plan you can work with, you will need to create one yourself. Here are some tips on how you can go about successfully creating a training plan to get the most out of your triathlon season.
Be realistic about your training time and fitness goals
Before you can ever start to set up a training program, take some time to think about what training time you will have available. You also need to think about where you are along the fitness spectrum and what it will take to get you to the level you desire. In other words, if you are currently running 12 minute miles, you simply cannot expect you will be running 7 minute miles in 3 months.
Add frequency before duration
One of the basic principles to building your training is to add frequency before duration. In other words, if you are running just 2 days a week for 3 miles per run, before you start increasing the 3 mile runs, add another day to your plan. A general rule of thumb would be 3 workouts in each of the 3 disciplines per week which leaves you with 9 workouts per week. Now, this can be adjusted based on experience, fitness level and goals, but it provides a good starting point.
Set A and B races
There are likely many races you would like to do. Some might be tradition, some offering a course or conditions that favor your abilities, or your team or friends just may convince you to do one. It is really OK to race quite a bit, but please keep in mind that not all races are going to be PRs or have an optimal result. Depending on the athlete, one may be able to peak 2 or 3 times per season. The key is really to plan those peaks around the A races. In other words, some races can be for fun or for practice and some races can be where you really throw it all out there and see what you can do.
Include Adequate Recovery Time
If you take nothing else away from this article, take this: You MUST build in recovery time to your plan. How much time and how frequent you need to recovery depends on a lot of factors. However, training for days and days on end without a break is sure to lead to an injury or overtraining. Keep in mind a rest day is just that. You cannot always just go do an “easy swim” or “easy run” and call that a rest day.
Start With The End In Mind
In order for you to effectively map out a solid training plan, you absolutely must start with the big “A” race. What is the number one thing you want to accomplish this season? Start there. Then, you should work backwards from that event race date to figure out when your long workouts should be, when your recovery weeks should be and everything else in the middle.
Spend More Time in Your Weakest Discipline
As simple as this may sound, you should “work your weakness.” In reality, most triathletes do the opposite. They spend MORE time in the discipline they like the most and the reason they like it the most is usually because they are better at that one than the others! However, for optimal performance and results, you need to spend more time in your weakness than you think.
Re-Assess Regularly and Make Adjustments as You Go
One of the biggest problems with a standard “canned” training plan that you can find in a book or online is that it cannot help you make adjustments throughout the training season. One of the BEST reasons for hiring a coach is that you have someone who can watch what you are doing in your training day by day and can adjust the plan to work on the things you need most. If you are creating a plan on your own, make sure that you are tracking your progress and are adjusting the sessions (intensity, frequency and duration), as necessary in order to achieve your goals.
Bottom line: make sure you are following some sort of structure. Just because a workout day/time/group training fits your schedule doesn’t always mean it makes sense for you to “fit it in.” Be focused in your training and hone in on those goals. When you take the time to map out a plan, you will achieve more success. If you need some assistance in planning out your racing and training goals, contact me. Together, we can map out a plan to make your season a huge success!
Train Right, Tri Right,