4. Schedule a Single Sport-Focused Block of Training
You can become faster by separating your endurance and speed training into different blocks. You can give your faster mojo an even bigger boost by thinking and training like a single-sport athlete for about eight weeks either:
- At the end of your current season,while you still have your current, end-of-the-season fitness, but before your "faster block training;"
- Between the end of your faster block training and the start of your official training for your first A-race.
Warning: Don't Run a Marathon
Becoming a stronger runner (faster + more durable) is probably the most valuable improvement you can make in this sport. But don't use marathon training -- and racing, more specifically -- as your tool to becoming a stronger runner.
More: 9 Tips to Avoid Injuries All Season Long
Marathon training and racing is accompanied by a huge opportunity cost?the lost, or compromised, opportunity to become a faster runner and a faster cyclist.
5. Get Your Long Run and Ride in Every Week
As a long-course triathlete, or short course athlete looking to move to long-course distance next season, the most valuable recurring weekly training sessions you can have are an 80-minute long run and a two and a half hour-long ride.
More: 4 Great One-Hour Bike Workouts
You should do these sessions every week, no matter what.The exceptions are scheduled periods of downtime to reset your head and long periods of being sentenced to riding your bike on a trainer. There is almost never a reason to ride longer than about 90 minutes on a trainer.
Maintaining these weekly long bike and run volumes throughout the year create several powerful opportunities:
- The endurance and consistency to ramp things up on short notice to train for a half Ironman, or to use as an excellent head start for Ironman training;
- More likely to follow the "keep your volume low" guidance. If you've been knocking out weeks of 1:20/2:30 training sessions, you're less likely to be steered into jumping into your A-race training plan too early and more likely to keep building your fast versus your far.
- Facilitates the addition of social opportunities within your training week?it's much easier to find training victims for weekly 1:20/2:30 long runs and rides vs 2:00/4:00.
- Realigns your perspective of "long." If you've been knocking out week after week of 1:20 long runs, bumping to 1:45 or 2 hours isn't a huge mental stretch. The same is true for ramping up your long ride from 2:30 to 3:30 or 4 hours.
6. Schedule "Fun Volume Pops"
Rather than nickel and diming your family, and burning through valuable SAUs every week, schedule especially cool, big weekends way in advance.
We encourage our athletes to schedule big bike or triathlon weeks (or weekends). Go big for three to five, or more days, to give yourself an efficient endurance pop, and then get back to your regularly scheduled training.
More importantly, make it super cool, trick your friends into doing it with you or joining you for as much of it as they can.
In summary, you want to largely disengage your heads from the act of actually training for A-race(s) for much of your season:
- On the training front, this keeps your training volume relatively low for the majority of the season, creating the opportunity to get much faster.
- On the do-the-right-thing front, it keeps you sane, well-balanced, employed, and married (bonus!).
Search for your next triathlon.