Filling in the Details of the Overall Plan
With the base-build-peak progression sketched out into training blocks, next assign your weekly training hours. Setting these numbers in advance allows you to manipulate training volume systematically. This helps to avoid doing too much one week and not enough on other weeks. It doses out your training in a manner that allows you to consistently ratchet up your fitness.
Crucially, setting the number of weekly training hours is dependent upon your background and current fitness level. You must start from where you currently are, and progress from there. Simply choosing training hours based on what someone else does or what you think you need to do for a given race distance overlooks your own unique situation.
Consider the average weekly training hours you put in over the previous season. That is your starting point. If you are looking to increase your training hours this season, use the 10 percent rule of thumb and increase your training hours accordingly. Although merely a “rule of thumb” (and not a precise formula), avoiding big jumps in training volume by limiting increases to about 10 percent from year to year is a safe way to proceed. It is best to take a long term view toward your progression in the sport and increase volume gradually over several years.
Trying to match what top athletes are doing can often lead to burn-out or injury. It takes elite athletes many years to work up to the training load they use. Likewise, trying to jump into the training volume required to race a long course event during your first season in the sport is not advised. Look long term and plan your progression over a few years rather than trying to do it all in one season. Start where you are currently.
With this in mind, input an appropriate number of training hours in the first week of your initial base training block—that is, an amount appropriate to your current fitness level. This means your pre-base training should sufficiently prepare you to step into this amount of training. From there, increase your hours by about 10 percent per week on the “up” weeks of each training block. For the “down” weeks, lower the volume by about a third to a half. In the build periods, your training hours level off or decrease as intensity builds. An example of this progression of weekly training hours can be seen in table 4-2.
|4||Base 1 (recovery)||6||Local 10K||C|
|8||Base 2 (recovery)||8|
|12||Build (recovery)||6||Dip N’ Dash||B|
With the weekly total training hours outlined, you can then specify weekly targets for the disciplines you’re training. You can also schedule in training hours for supplemental work, such as strength and flexibility training. A rule of thumb for balancing your training across the three disciplines of triathlon is to dedicate about 20 percent of your training time to swimming, 50 percent to cycling, and 30 percent to running. Keep in mind this is a general rule and works well for athletes who are fairly well balanced across the disciplines. But everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, so adjust these ratios depending upon your own needs. A mantra triathletes often use is train your weaknesses and race your strengths. If you are a weak cyclist but a strong runner, you may need to dedicate more training time to cycling. The point is to focus your training where you will reap the most rewards come race day, rather than simply indulging in what you are best at or what you like to do the most.
The point about “where you will reap the most rewards come race day” also needs to take into account how race splits in each discipline will contribute to your overall performance. You might be able to take a minute off your 1.5K swim time if you spend 5 hours extra in the pool each week. But if that takes away from, say, the time you are able to spend cycling, which translates into a slower bike split by 4 minutes; then your overall triathlon performance is worse off. It is not uncommon, for example, for some Ironman triathletes with a good swimming background to swim little more than many do to prepare for a sprint distance triathlon. They may lose a few minutes over what they could potentially swim for 2.4 miles, but in turn may gain tens of minutes or more by focusing their training on the bike and run. The key point is to know where your own strengths and weaknesses lie and where you should focus your training to gain the most benefit come race day.
Now that you have a big picture overview of your training season, the next chapter discusses how to implement your training.
TRAINING GUIDE CONTENTS
– Train with a Purpose
– The ABCs of Systematic Training
– The R&R of Training
– Begin with the End in Mind
2. Exercise Science Concepts
– Overreaching and Overtraining
– Energy Systems
– Aerobic Capacity
– Lactate Threshold
– Aerobic Threshold
– Muscle Fiber Types
3. Monitor Your Training Intensity
– What is Training Intensity?
– Key Indicators of Intensity
– Using Training Zones
– Training by Feel, or Perceived Exertion
– Training with Pace
– Training with Heart Rate
– Running with Power
4. Create Your Training Plan
– Prioritizing Your Events
– Overview of the Training Phases
– Choosing Your Periodization Schedule
– Filling in the Details of the Overall Plan
5. Create Your Weekly Workouts
– Creating Weekly Schedules
– Establishing and Developing Your Base
– Building Upon Your Base
– Peaking for Your Target Event
– Race Week and Race Day Warmup
6. Functional Strength
7. Recovery and Nutrition
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