Lab rabbits

The goal of the experiment is to help the rabbits prepare for their key races next season.
Can a pre-built training plan really work?

What kind of training should goal-oriented triathletes do in the off-season to stay fit?

Can athletes with slightly different backgrounds and different 2007 race goals follow the same pre-built plan?

The editors at Triathlete magazine devised a scheme to have several athletes volunteer to be lab rabbits for the 2006 to 2007 off-season. The team at Active Trainer happily agreed to help with the experiment.

Donning white lab jackets, the Triathlete magazine and Active Trainer team decided to run the rabbits through a four-month training program and see what happens. For the experiment, the lab rabbits are all given the same training plan. Each rabbit has a different background, current level of fitness and a different 2007 race goal.

The goal of the experiment is to help the rabbits prepare for their key races next season -- and help you too. Yes, you. You can follow the same training plan as the lab rabbits or one of the other available online plans.

If you follow the same training plan the rabbits use, the column series and training plans take you from the end of the 2006 race season through a recovery period and through the end of your first pre-competitive training phase. At the end of the four month program, there is an optional half-marathon included. You can either enter a race or do your own training run.

At the end of the training plan is a fork in the road for the rabbits and for you. If you follow the same training plan as our rabbits, you will be ready to head into a pre-competitive phase of training for an Olympic distance race, a half-ironman race or an ironman-distance race.

You can see the training plans printed in the October 2006 through January 2007 issues of Triathlete magazine. Each issue has the detailed training plans and coaching tips for the athletes, and for readers, how to modify the training plans to meet personal needs.

To follow the progress of the rabbits as they manage work, family, friends and training go to Select any of the hot links in the right column to meet each of the six rabbits including Daniel Brizard, Skip Sullivan, Liz Towne, Sara Menefee, Edward L. Vescovi and Megan Hebert.

There are also links in the right section titled "Off-Season Training Plans," so you use the same online plan as the rabbits on the Active Trainer platform. If their training plan isn't quite what you're looking for, you can select a plan that better fits your needs by following one of the other plan links. Each link gives you an athlete profile and a preview of two weeks of training. Be sure to click on one of the workouts shown on any day to get all the details for that workout.

Once you select a training plan that fits your needs, enter the code LABRABBIT to get any of the base training plans for a special 20 percent-off discount price, available through October 31, 2006.

Once the plan is downloaded to your personal account, you can use the multiple tools provided by Active Trainer. You can modify or move workouts, log data and keep track of up to 12 daily vital signs to name just a few of the features. The stored data can be reviewed and analyzed so you can see your success.

Join Triathlete magazine, Active Trainer and our lab rabbits to get on track for some great off-season training.

Gale Bernhardt was the 2003 USA Triathlon Pan American Games and 2004 USA Triathlon Olympic coach for both the men's and women's teams. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's pre-built, easy-to-follow training plans. For more information, click here. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.

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