Rather than having our endurance athletes bike 5+ hours or run 2+ hours (no matter the fitness level), we utilize the beginning phase of our training plans to get our athletes stronger through strength training. The main goal of any training plan is consistency and many times, the idea of "base" building includes lots of long steady (or slow) miles and much time is wasted when the body can be getting stronger. We find many athletes are 14,16 or 20 weeks out from race day and spend their weekends riding 5+ hours or running 2+ hours as "base" prep. Sure, we understand that you must have good endurance to "survive" endurance training for a half or full Ironman and there needs to be long workouts for mental and physical training but the idea is not to just do them but to do them well with a plan and a purpose.
Once a strong foundation is in place, then it's time to get faster. This is where we encourage our athletes to consider their long-term goals as well longevity in the sport of triathlons (or running). Rather than signing up for endurance races because of the challenge now, get yourself faster over the next 4, 6, or even 12 months so that when you commit to your goal of finishing or racing in an endurance event, you not only have a strong template to work with but one that is faster than 6, 12 or 24 months prior.
I realize that it's super easy to register for races and often times, you sign up for a race because it is the right time in your lifetime and I love that. But to ensure a consistent and healthy journey to your starting line, it's important that you are always patient with your journey and also progress gradually. Too much too soon is not a great equation and because most athletes want a body that can get faster and stronger over time, trying to train at high intensity during "long" workouts is not the most effective or efficient way to metabolize fuel OR to enjoy consistency with training.
Sure, you can train all day and talk about it on your blog or social media.
But, as a coach, I want to see you execute on race day and put all that training to good use.
Endurance triathlon racing takes a lot of time, commitment, money and effort so it's is not about how fast or strong you were in training during a long bike or run but instead, how you can put those sports together, following a swim and also how you can digest/absorb nutrition to postpone fatigue and meet metabolic and hydration needs.
And most importantly, as an age group athlete, how you can balance the training with life.
For our camp workout on day #3:
7:15am meet at NTC.
7:45am start workout
Bike - 3 hour rolling hill interval bike:
(athletes fueled with Infinit SPEED or GO FAR and I helped each athlete with scoops per bottle. All athletes were required to carry 3 bottles with them and encouraged to drink every 10-15 minutes).
(we always focus on normalized lap power for intervals but because of rolling terrain the normalized power helps for better pacing)
(So proud of my campers - EVERY athlete ran off the bike!)
We regrouped back at the NTC. Athletes had the opportunity to use NAPALM which I love as an easy and effective fuel on the run.
I had our normal snacks - Kind bars, coconut water, water, whey and vegan protein powder as well as sliced oranges and strawberries as well as a special treat from Trimarni athlete Sara who delivered homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for our campers. Thank you Sara!!!)
I knew our campers would be tired for they had several workouts within 2.5 days of training in them so our afternoon swim (long course) was more of active recovery. Also, because our athletes were tired (Karel and me, too!) it was important that I stressed the importance of proper planning of workouts. Sure, you can do workouts just because they are on the schedule but the swim was not a "workout" designed for training purposes. Just a reminder when you are trying to balance training with life, sometimes it's better to rest if you are feeling tired later in the day and get a good meal in your system and good night of sleep and get yourself together for a great workout the next day (instead of just going through the motions for an evening workout after a long day). It's all about balance.
100 focusing on head position
3 x 100's w/ fins - drills (catch-up and finger tip drag)
MS 3x's: no fins
200 smooth swimming
4 x 50's w/ 10 sec rest (#1-2 build to fast. #3-4 1/2 pool fast, 1/2 pool EZ)
With almost a half IM distance triathlon completed on Saturday after 4.5 hours of training on Friday and around 2.5 hours of training on Thursday, I wanted to be sure my athletes had fueled and happy tummies for Sunday so a family-owned, local Italian restaurant was the perfect place to eat an early dinner (reservations for 5pm) and to enjoy a motivational talk with 5-year Trimarni coaching athlete Gary (65 years old) who is a top age group sprint and olympic distance triathlete in Clearwater.
Thank you Gary for inspiring us all!