Tagged: training plan

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #27: Race-day training

I am a firm believer in efficiency and effectiveness in training. I don’t have the time, energy or attention span to plough away for mile after mile racking up insane training volumes. Sign me up for those things that allow me to achieve more in less time and have fun while doing so!

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of those tips that will kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expenditure of time or money. How are you going to reach your goals?

Today is #27: Race-day training

Prepare for race day with race-specific training eg open water swimming for triathletes

The triathlon season is long and there are many miles to be covered on the road to race day. Along the way do not neglect your race-specific training. What are the things that will save you minutes on race day and help you outperform your expectations?

Adapt your training to the course you plan on conquering. Get plenty of open water training done and be sure to note if the swim is in a lake or sea which can offer very different conditions on race day. Is the bike/run course hilly? Make sure you are training on hills otherwise the effort on race day will surprise you.

Open water swimming is far different and more chaotic than pool swimming. Be sure to tackle the currents, waves, lack of visibility of open water swimming. Work on your sighting so you do not end up swimming extra distance!

Brick workouts should be incorporated into your training. Swim and then bike, bike and then run. Help your muscles adapt to the changeover.

Nutrition is another element you can practice. What will your pre-race breakfast be? What snacks and fluids will you take during the race (be it in transition or on the bike)? Experiment with various foods and brands. You will like the taste of some and your body will reject others – make sure you find which ones before you ruin your race! Find out when and what quantity you should consume in and around your race – that is equally important. Nutrition can make a big difference.

Get your nutrition right for triathlon race day

Equipment is another variable that can make a difference. While a $10,000 carbon bike will help your cycling time, not all of us can afford that investment. Plus you’re doing it to push yourself anyway, right?! With so much equipment there are lots of choices and a lot of margin for error. What socks are comfortable and do not give you blisters? Do you have a pair of goggles that fit well and are comfortable? Are they tinted in case of sunny conditions and do you have a spare pair in case one breaks? Do you have a comfortable cap for the run and tri shorts? What sunglasses will you wear? These are all smaller items that will not make you faster, but knowing them will determine your comfort level and minimize stress in race week and on the day itself.

Practice your transitions – knowing your routine and making it second nature will be the difference between a 45 second transition and a 3 minute one, which in turn could be the difference between hitting your goal time or missing it. Practice what works for you in terms of order of events, whether to eat or not, do you put on socks for the bike, do you dry off with a towel or air dry? etc, etc.

Learn to fix a flat – Murphy’s Law will dictate that you will NEVER get a flat in training but halfway through the bike leg, BOTH your tyres will pop! Be prepared. Don’t end up sitting by the side of the road waiting for bike support to arrive!

Preparing the smaller, seemingly less significant items will give you the mental confidence to race hard. Free your brain from stress and focus on racing hard and fast!

What tips would you add to the list?

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: 
Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3:
 Ask an Expert
#4: 
Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: 
Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: 
Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: 
Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: 
Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: 
Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24:
 
Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)
#25: Kick!
#26: Sprint!

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31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #26: Sprint!

I am a firm believer in efficiency and effectiveness in training. I don’t have the time, energy or attention span to plough away for mile after mile racking up insane training volumes. I want to do what I can to get faster and stronger in the time that I have – and then proceed with my social life. Sign me up for those things that allow me to achieve more in less time.

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of those tips that will kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expenditure of time or money. With one month down so far this year, what are you doing to improve your performance? How are you going to reach your goals?

Today is #26: Sprint!

The assumption for triathletes is that you have to do huge volumes at aerobic pace in order to be ready for a race. While being able to sustain a pace for long periods of time is important, and aerobic training provides the base for your season, sprint training plays an important role in triathlon.

Studies have shown that sprinting helps strengthen your muscles and increase the power and efficiency of each stride or stroke. This goes for all three of the disciplines.

For runners, one of the benefits of sprinting is muscle fiber recruitment. Increasing your fast twitch muscle fibers and enabling them for work will help with maintaining a hard pace when your slow twitch fibers fatigue.

On the bike as well as in the pool – sprinting develops the intensity and power of each allowing you to get more out of each stroke. Translate some of that power that to slower speeds and allow yourself to get more out of each stroke.

And if nothing else, sprinting offers variety to your workout. It’s great as part of a warm-up progression, after a long main set or the core of a shorter more intense workout. Recruit your teammates and do relays. The competition is fun and will encourage you to maximize your training speeds!

A sprint workout involves shorter distances at higher speeds with longer rest intervals. Total volumes in a sprint session will be lower due to the increased rest.

There are injury concerns with sprinting given the high intensity and a relative lack of experience. Do a longer warm-up and build into the sprints. Do not do sprint workouts back-to-back, allow yourself to recover.

Get sprinting and give yourself stronger muscles and an extra couple of gears.

What tips would you add to the list? What have I not covered yet?

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: 
Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3:
 Ask an Expert
#4: 
Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: 
Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: 
Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: 
Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: 
Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: 
Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24:
 
Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)
#25: Kick!

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #24 Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)

Woah! How is it February already? Time really does fly, reminding me of the urgency to do what I can to get faster and stronger in the time that I have.

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of tips you can apply in your daily triathlon training in order to kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expense in time or money.

With one month down so far this year, what are you doing to improve your performance? What tips would you add to the list?

Today is #24: Be Persistent and Patient

The triathlon season is long but is like building a skyscraper - take your training plan step by step

Approach your triathlon season like building a skyscraper – with patience and persistence. One window pane at a time! (photo: David Marcel’s flickr)

In triathlon, the season is long and the training sessions are too. 3/6/9 months of toiling in three different sports – and bricks. 5,000 yards in the pool, 10 mile runs, 4 hours on the bike. Seemingly endless at times, it’s hard to persevere when tiredness kicks in.

One of the keys to success in triathlon is being persistent – and consistent – over the course of a very long season.

When training loads peak it is hard to get out of bed, we feel heavy and sluggish, every muscle and joint aches and mentally you just don’t want to go another yard.

However, do everything you can to maintain forward progress. Yes, it’s tough, you might feel you are performing below peak but everything contributes to your race day performance.

It is like building a skyscraper – the foundations take ages but eventually your season takes shape as improvements start revealing themselves. Then as your training plan progresses you add on the windows one by one, until you top out and the job is done – you’re ready to kick ass in a race.

And race day is only a small number of days and weeks away. The adage “time flies” applies to the long triathlon season as well (even if you’re not having fun!). Summer season and race day will come all too quickly. Prepare yourself by being consistent in training throughout your program.

The key is not dwelling on your mistakes or “bad sessions” but to keep trying and keep fighting. Remember your goals.

Enjoy the process, it is not always fun, it is likely tough, but enjoy the progress you make, the milestones you achieve and enjoy the sport, your teammates, the endorphins.

One element that helps me keep going is tracking my progress. By writing down my training performance, I can see in black and white how much faster I am compared to last month or year. It’s a great motivator.

By being persistent and patient, eventually we all finish building the skyscraper. So, don’t give up, just like this Peruvian llama. You will reap the benefits on race day – guaranteed.

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18:  Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!

Five Keys to Triathlon Success

On top of consistent hard work – and the key word there is consistent – here are a few tools to increase the effectiveness of your training. It’s funny how far the little things go.

1)      Write down your goals. It might be to finish the race, learn to swim, win your age group or qualify for Nationals. Whatever they are, they will help you get up in the early morning when it’s snowing, and keep you going when the pain seems unbearable, or you just can’t master that piece of technique. Remember why you are doing this, and stay determined to achieve those goals.

2)     Learn from others. Train with people who are better athletes than you. Hire a coach or scour youtube for videos. Eat magazines for breakfast and apply the lessons to your training. It does not have to cost you a fortune, but you will learn loads and progress more while training with others. Be it their expertise or experience, or just pushing yourself while training with them. Make it fun by having a team.

3)     Write a plan & stick to it. Decide on which days you will swim, bike, run and do core/gym work. Stick to it. Don’t give yourself reasons to skip a session. Don’t wait until tomorrow to do that work out. Make it a part of your routine. Trust me, it makes it all the more rewarding. And don’t forget those days off to enjoy doing nothing, eating junk food and staying up late. Enjoy the process!

4)    Get stuck in! Don’tprocrastinate over the hard parts. Hate cycling? Jump on your bike on the weekend and go for long rides. Scared of the water? Dive on in. Get swimming lessons and gradually conquer that fear. Your strengths will take care of themselves (but don’t neglect them!). Turn your weaker events into solid ones and enjoy the process of conquering those challenges.

5)     Enjoy rewards along the way. Take a day off. Have a glass of wine after a good workout. Enjoy that dessert and the lie-in. Go for a training camp at a dream location. Get a massage. Instead of a run have a game of soccer with your friends, or make a day at the beach with family after an open water swim. Keep yourself motivated, make training part of your life. I can’t emphasize it enough, enjoy the training as you work hard towards your goal. You’ve earned each and every reward.