Triathletes who want to get faster might mistakenly think they have to add more to their already full training schedule or neglect their endurance regimen—two approaches that can lead to overtraining, injuries and burnout.
More: 5 Things to Do at the End of Triathlon Season
There is a better way, and one which will allow you to improve your time, maintain your endurance training and keep your family and friends happy. Follow these six tips to plan your next triathlon race season.
1. Train Yourself Not to Train for the Big Race
The nature of long-course triathlon is that we have to register for these races months and months, up to a year, in advance. This approach guarantees mental burnout at some point in your season if you're not prepared.
More: How to Avoid Burnout
You can avoid this by putting smaller races, training events, and other cool stuff on the calendar about every four to 12 weeks.
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When you schedule your year like this, you aren't training for The Big Race --at least in your own mind-- until about 12 weeks out.
Rather, you're moving from one cool event to the next, building your fitness and preserving your head for the race preparation phase, where everything is much more important.
2. Build Your Fast First
The best way for you to get faster is to separate your desire for speedy from the requirement that you must work on endurance for a specific race.
Add a block of training to your calendar that tackles speed training and make sure it's well away from endurance and distance training.
3. Keep Training Volume Low as Long as Possible
Keeping your training volume low as long as you can is the key to achieving the first two tips. Generally, athletes should keep their overall training volume (the sum of swim, bike, and run volume) fixed for the majority of the year and instead manage the intensity and details of each individual workout.
More: How to Balance Your Training Volume
Lower training volume:
- Creates the opportunity to trade volume for intensity—going faster, within the context of low volume and therefore more recovery available, makes you faster;
- Preserves your head. See Tip No. 1 above;
- Conserves SAUs (Spousal Approval Units)—rather than nickel and diming your family every Saturday from now through the end of time, just fix that long ride at two to three hours and ride as hard as possible. Cap your Wednesday morning run at 45 minutes, or whatever is easily accommodated within your schedule, and then manage the details within this fixed 45-minute run.