Triathlon Training: Are You Ready for an Ironman?

Explaining "Intervals"

Q. Dear Gale, I have just started one of your online training programs, and I have a request to make. Although I have biked off and on for years, I've never been serious until now. I'm ready to step up to a new level. Some of the language you use is unfamiliar to me, such as: "interval." To me, it means a break in the middle of a play—but it means something totally different in cycling and triathlon language. Can you help? I would really appreciate this, and I look forward to expanding my cycling and triathlon vocabulary.

A. Hi M. B.-
You ask a great question. Each sport does have its own language. Here is my definition of interval:

Interval: A specified amount of time between actions (either rest or exercise). Workouts that contain intervals typically have a series of work bouts (work intervals) where the athlete is attempting to achieve a specific exercise intensity. The work intervals are separated by specified rest periods (rest intervals).

Hope you have fun with the training plan. Let us know how it goes.

Getting Your Training on Track

Q. I'm a 45-year-old male who was using a random method of training for events last summer. In June, I finished a 70.3-distance race in about 7 hours, 30 minutes. Mid-September, I finished another event and my experience wasn't so good. Now that I've had a break, I want to look at doing a better job of establishing a routine for my tri training and also build some base fitness for 2008. I've started on my own, but I really have no clue what I'm doing. (Know that prior to this year I'd never even done a 5K, now I'm hooked on the sport.) I want to get a jump on my New Year's fitness, what plan would you recommend for me?

A. The best way to decide on a base training program is to study each one's description. Start with the main menu here. Click on the link for any of the plans and you will find an athlete profile, goals for the training plan, a two-week preview and a nice overview of the training plan's volume.

Preview the first two weeks and compare it to the training you've done in the past. Your current training level should be such that the first week looks very doable. Each week builds training volume and gets progressively more difficult. If the first week of the training plan you select looks too easy, try a more advanced one. The reverse is true if the first week looks too difficult.

Notice the plans have a range of weekly training hours and a note of how long the training plan lasts. Some of the base plans have a second phase of training. If you have the time to build more base fitness before your first race, these Phase 2 plans are a nice option.

Hope this helps and keep us posted on your athletic success.

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