The first step towards effective training is to add brick workouts. You begin with a bicycle routine and then go immediately into a run
. The idea is to train your body to adapt to running whilst lactic build up is in your legs. This is a difficult phase, which you need to master to optimize your triathlon performance. When you finish the bike leg and start the run
, your body should habitually fall into the best pace as quickly as possible. Typically, your body will take about 500m to recover as there will be lactic acid in your legs. After that, you can build pace and settle into your normal rhythm.
Running off the bike, or "Brick training" as its called, only needs to be done once a week. In addition, you don’t need to run
the entire distance you would in a race. Start small, and work up to longer distances. A typical rule of thumb for experienced triathletes is to run
10% of the distance covered in the preceeding bike session. ie. 60km ride followed by 6km run
Professional triathletes do not focus on bulking up muscle for strength, however optimum performance requires development and strengthening of core muscles, which support your body, especially when running. Avoid fatigue from weakening your performance during the run
by making core strength workouts a part of your regular training regime.
Simple body exercises with a set of dumbbells are sufficient. The key is to use different muscle groups to strengthen the muscles, so that they don’t tire fast during a run
. Triathletes should ensure their strength training
includes various floor workouts with small hand weights to focus on their core abdominal strength.
Weighted squats, lunges, sit-ups, step-ups, push-ups, planks and pull-ups are good strength training
exercises. Do them in sets of 4 minutes each. Begin with 10 seconds of workout, followed by 20 seconds rest. Over a fortnight increase it to 20 seconds of work out and only 10 seconds of rest. This interval training is designed to increase your heart rate, power and stamina.
Paddling a kayak is another great way to build core strength for runners that prefer to cross-train, and is one of the reasons that triathletes are often interested in other multisport events
and adventure racing during the winter/spring "off season".
Your Weekly Training Program
Understanding the basic components you need to work on as a triathlete is all you need to develop your own basic training program for any distance event. In terms of your run
sessions, you should be including long distance running, tempo runs, fartlek training, hill
running and one session of building core strength, to improve your running skills.
For most people, fitting in the necessary cycling, swimming, and running sessions can be a significant challenge and is for most triathletes one of the major challenges they face in staying committed to a training programme. Whilst you may need to focus on improving your run
, you may need to keep this in balance with the rest of your training requirements.
Most triathletes preparing for a race will aim to do 10 training sessions per week over a period of many months comprised as follows:3 Runs:-
1 long, 1 tempo, plus 1 either fartlek/interval repeats/hills3 Bike Rides:-
1 hills, 1 intensity ride, 1 long distance ride3 Swims:-
1 squad session in a pool, 1 solo pool session, and 1 open-water session1 Strength:-
Core strength/stretching or yoga
If improvements to your run
can be scheduled for a break in your race calendar you'll be able to dedicate more time for additional sessions. This subject will be covered in greater detail in upcoming articles in our training topic.