5 Timesaving Training Tips for Triathletes
This might not matter to you if you're more interested in sticking to a plan than improving your fitness or performance. However, if you're struggling to improve your triathlon performance, it might be time to switch things up.
You must change your normal routine to get an adaptive response from your body.
Change the Order of Long Weekend Workouts1 of 6
Triathletes with a Monday-through-Friday work schedule often do long workouts on the weekend. Depending on personal preference and family obligations, many people will do a long ride on Saturdays and a long run on Sundays. This routine gives the feeling of running on legs that are fatigued from a long ride the day before. Running fast (relative to race distance) on tired legs is a skill that the best triathletes develop.
If this is your usual routine, try switching the order. Try doing a long run Saturday and a long ride on Sunday. Pay close attention to your run pace. Can you keep a higher average pace on Saturdays, compared to your normal Sunday long run, for the same heart rate cost?
Eliminate Two Sports for One Week2 of 6
Participating in a weeklong bike tour and eliminating swim and run workouts bumps up cycling volume and is a great way to boost endurance. Many triathletes can significantly increase cycling volume with less risk of injury than doing the same with running or swimming.
This strategy is much easier to do when there's a reason for it. For example, when travel takes triathletes to locations where a pool or access to a bike is not available, only running workouts are scheduled. A week of swimming only is less common, but can be just as effective. Usually, this strategy is a result of some type of injury that forces triathletes away from running and cycling.
When focusing on one sport, be cautious to not overdo volume and intensity. Be aware of the signals your body gives you, and rest if needed.
Schedule Intervals for the End of a Long Workout3 of 6
Instead of doing an interval workout during the week, replace it with a form workout or an aerobic maintenance session, and move the interval training to the end of a long workout on the weekend.
For example, if your plan calls for a cycling workout that includes 4 to 5 repetitions of 4 minutes (with 1-minute recoveries) at lactate threshold heart rate, power or pace on Wednesday, replace that with an easy ride or single-leg drills. Move the intervals to the last 30 to 60 minutes of your long weekend ride. Strive for a strong finish on the long ride because learning to control intensity can be beneficial on race day.
Put All the Quality in One Sport4 of 6
If your weekly plan has one speed workout in each sport, try putting all of the quality work into a single sport. For example, make swimming and running workouts completely aerobic and put all of your intensity or interval work into two or three bike workouts.
Be certain you're rested for those quality workouts so you can produce the best possible power or speed for your goal intensity in that training period. If you try this method, focus on one of the other sports in subsequent weeks.
Pull the Long Run Out of the Weekend5 of 6
Scheduling the long run and long ride on back-to-back days is common, but try structuring your week to separate the two by 48 hours. Try running long on Thursday and riding long on Saturday or Sunday. This strategy allows your legs to be relatively fresh for both workouts.