Make sure you train smart! Scrap the ‘garbage yardage’ as the Americans would say.
Choose your ‘A Race’ for the year and plan your training around this. UTC training sessions can be adapted to everyone’s needs but to ensure you peak at the right time for your race of the year you need to be smart about your training both with and without the club.
Rest is an important part of training that shouldn’t be overlooked so you need to build this in to your plan.
You also need to build up your training sensibly to avoid ‘panic training’ and injuries.
There are multiple periodisation models that you can use but here’s some basic pointers:
- Triathlon often becomes a way of life if you’re doing a big endurance event so you need to start by looking at when your event is, where you’re at now and how much time you have before the race/when you’re going to start race specific training. The time period between now/the start of your training and your race is your ‘Macro Cycle’. This is often a year long (but could be less), unless you’re going to the Olympics; in which case this will be 4 years.
- You will then need to split your calendar in to Base, Build, Race and Recovery periods (other models may use different titles). These are known as ‘Meso Cycles’. You will also need to taper before your race so this can come within the Race period.
- Finally, Meso Cycles are then split in to ‘Micro Cycles’. Commonly a Micro Cycle would be one week.
Here’s a visual example from British Triathlon:
- You then need to consider the Volume, Intensity and Specificity of Micro Cycles and individual training sessions in each of these phases. Always consider what the aim is for each period and whether your training session is achieving this.
For example, during the Base phase you might be doing LSD (long slow distance) training to ensure you have a good aerobic base to start with. Following this, in the Build phase, you may be incorporating speed work e.g. interval sessions at the track, hill reps on the bike etc. During the Build phase you are increasing your training level. Consider whether your aim is to increase your distance or improve your speed, then organise your training to achieve this.
- Ensure you plan at least one rest day per week/per Micro Cycle. Rest days don’t have to be days where you become a couch potato, you could schedule in stretching, a Pilates class, yoga or a sports massage for example. Get a diary and plan when you are doing your swim session(s), when your rest day is, when you are cycling etc. If you are not a morning person don’t schedule in a 10 mile run at 5am, be realistic and gradually build upon what you already do. This way you are setting yourself up to succeed!
- As well as a rest day you will also need to plan in rest weeks during your Meso Cycles. A rest week does not mean that you do nothing for an entire week. A rest week is in fact a week where you reduce the intensity or volume of training to allow your body some recovery before increasing your training again. Here’s a diagram to show why:
There are a few ways you can plan your rest/recovery weeks:
A and B show an increase in training over 2 and 4 weeks respectively before a rest week. This would then be repeated and would look like this:
C is an alternative method where your rest week comes before your hardest training weeks. There is no right or wrong, it’s simply what works best for you.
Across the entire Macro Cycle your training will look something like this:
You might also find the information on this webpage helpful:
If you don’t plan your rest and recovery appropriately you are at risk of overtraining, which is illustrated in this diagram: