Be Competitive on Just 10 Hours a Week

A clear and precise strategy is important when training within a limited time period.

You want to be the best triathlete you can be. Whether you're aiming for Kona or setting your sights on the next finish line, we are all competitive on some level.

However, the quest for better-faster-lighter can be all-consuming if we aren't careful. Nowhere is this more evident than with training time.

Even though most age-groupers have limited training time to achieve their goals, our sport is full of stories of those who put in mega-hours and drive their bodies beyond the limit. You needn't get sucked into this vicious cycle to achieve the desired results. Believe it or not, all of this is possible with only 10 hours of training each week.

Creating a Strategy

There is constant debate over what constitutes an effective program: tons of miles (volume) or miles that hurt tons (intensity). Most people are more fired up about the type of training they do than they are about the results they are getting.

In other words, being able to say you did a seven-hour ride is apparently more important than whether the ride actually resulted in any tangible training benefit. Remember: There are no prizes on race day for what you did in training. Since you are operating with a limited time window, your strategy has to be clear and precise.

  1. List your priorities: This includes personal, professional and athletic goals. Your list should cover all three areas because your athletic life doesn't exist in a vacuum; you shouldn't plan as if there is nothing else. Keep this list displayed in a prominent area and review it often.

  2. Outline your weekly schedule: With your goals set, the next step is to draft a basic weekly schedule. Avoid listing every non-work moment as an opportunity to train--refer to the priorities above if you lose focus. A basic "10 Hours" schedule will have athletes putting in an hour a day during the week, then three hours on Saturday and two hours on Sunday. Be sure to keep any Master's swim workouts or group-exercise sessions in mind as you plan. Group training is a great way to stay motivated and on schedule.

  3. Define your athletic focus: The third and final step--defining your athletic focus--has two main components. On the macro level, you need to determine your key event for the year, as this will guide your training. If you are planning on doing a half-Iron distance race at the end of the year, then your training will be specific to that event, regardless of other races you might compete in during the year. On the micro level, you will need to analyze that particular event and determine which areas of your training require the most fine-tuning to be ready for race day.

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