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Triathlon Training Explained | How To Structure Your Training Plan

Triathlon Training Explained | How To Structure Your Training Plan


(atmospheric music) – This is the first of our
Triathlon Training Explained show, powered by Training Peaks. Whether you’re a beginner
attempting your first triathlon or you’re an old hand to triathlon, we’re going to be answering
all those questions you just wish you knew the answers to. – Yes, everything from, such as what you should wear in a triathlon, through to more serious stuff like watts per kilo, training
zones and aerodynamics. – And that’s not all,
we’re going to be doing some investigations, getting
specialists in to help, talking to pros, getting sciencey and of course, talking from
our own personal experience. – Well, you can look forward
to the Triathlon Training Show Explained on a
Tuesday every fortnight, from a variety of different locations. – Yep, some weeks we’ll
be sat here in the set, and other weeks we’ll be
out and about field testing, basically wherever your questions take us. – Talking of questions,
we’ve already had a great variety sent into us, so I think it’s time we delve
in, and this week we’re going to be focusing on
structuring your training. (upbeat music) – Right, structuring your training. Now I’ve spent quite a lot of
time playing with this in my own training programme, but
I’ve also coached quite a few other triathletes, so
I’m really excited to get stuck into this. – Yeah, we’ve got plenty to talk about, and our first question is in,
from Glenn Smith, who asks how to structure your yearly
routine, with training blocks? – Right, well this is
quite interesting actually, so first thing’s first, I would suggest picking out your main
races through the year. Now, I used to prioritise
them in terms of A, B and C. So my A races would be highest
priority, and then C races lowest priority. And that will allow you to
like, tailor your training through the year, and
break it into blocks. And then this kind of, overview
of the year is what we call the Macrocycle, so we can
look down on those individual races, and how we build up
to them through the year, without getting too bogged down
in the specifics and all the details. Then the details come in
the Meso and Micro cycles, so the Mesocycles tend to be,
sort of around three weeks to five weeks, in length. And then, there they’re
made up by the Microcycles, which can be anything from a
few days to a week, but can be really focused on something specific, like trying to overload on
the bike for a few days, and that sort of thing. So, have you had any experience in this? – Yeah, I mean a lot. And one thing that we use a
lot in Pentathlon tended to be, I guess you would call it
a three week Mesocycle, because it was a four week
plan, but the fourth week was the easy week. So, and I personally liked
that as well, because I think three weeks is quite
manageable, mentally, as well as physically, and you know then
you’ve got that easy week, and then that would kind of
go into a Macrocycle of about three months normally, and then
the easy week then would be very easy at the end. – Okay, that’s interesting. Yeah, so we used to do it as, I mean personally my preference
was to do four weeks, and then a week, really quite easy, and the idea of that is that
you kind of, you absorb that four weeks, or however long it
is, you absorb that training, and the idea is then you
improve, and then you can, sort of climb the ladder, so
you’re continually sort of progressing. And the last week of each of
those blocks is, higher again. So, idea being, you get to
the race in the best shape possible. – Yep. – Okay, next question in
about training is from ValentinVale24, sent in over Instagram. They’ve asked, how do I combine
my triathlon training with strength training? On one hand they want to
improve their endurance, and then on the other hand,
they want to build up muscle. Is it possible to achieve both aims? – Well, it is a very common
question, and endurance is often thought of as the enemy to strength. But is it really? I think it’s time we went and
got some help on this one, and earlier, Mark popped down to meet strength and conditioning
coach, Kriss Hendy. – Right, this is Kriss Hendy
of Strength for Endurance, thanks for joining us, Kriss. – No worries mate, thank you. – Well, as the name suggests,
you’re used to focusing on working with strength,
alongside endurance sports. In fact you brought the likes
of Tim Van Berkel, who’s an Ironman and 70.3 winner,
and the Ironman 70.3 World Champion, Tim Reed. So firstly, I wanted
to pick your brains on, what would you suggest in
terms of combining strength training, alongside endurance sports? – I’d have to say it’s essential, you know we have lots of athletes who
are out there doing a lot of work, and we always bring it
back to three main principles. We talk about, just maintenance,
so obviously just having a good strength programme just
allows someone to be able to just keep the body ticking over. So we’re just sort of tightening
the screws, making sure that we are able to just keep
doing, repeating that work, week in week out. Then we also talk about
efficiency of movement, so we wanna, you know we’re
all looking to seek more efficiency, in how run, bike and swim. So with the strength training,
we’re able to sort of bring up, you know, again,
tighten the screws, and really work on form and technique. – [Mark] I guess activating
muscles and that sort of thing? – [Kriss] Yeah, exactly right. So we look at that, we really
look at that in the terms of improving the range of motion
like, joints, activating kind of dormant muscle
groups like the glutes, and upper back. And then we talk about
resilience, so that third thing. And resilience is obviously
that durability to be able to go long, go hard, but go
longer and longer, and actually finish the race. So, you know, having a good
strength, foundation of strength is just gonna allow you to do that. – My next one, we hear
athletes often worrying that they’re gonna build up
too much muscle mass for endurance sport. Is there much evidence behind this? – [Kriss] Well, it’s a
common misconception when it comes to, sort of, you know,
implementing a strength programme into your week. And it’s, it really is a
real misconception, because as an endurance athlete,
someone that’s doing probably 10, 15, 20 hours of endurance
based aerobic training, you’re doing everything
wrong to build muscle mass. Muscle mass is a completely
separate obsession, it takes, you’ve got to eat a lot,
you’ve got to eat a hell of a lot more. You’ve got to train a lot, lot harder. And when you’re looking at like,
an ideal amount of strength training, so two to three sessions a week, you just simply aren’t doing
enough strength training to build that muscle mass. So what we are looking to
do in that time though, is simply just develop the
structure of your joints. So we’re looking at,
technique, we’re looking at, when we do load the joint and add weight, we really are just looking
to build up the structure and stability of the joint, and
you really won’t be building any muscle tissue in the sense. – Well thanks for that Kriss,
some really interesting points there. And now it’s time for our
final question, and this one comes in from David Fowler. He asks, are the long, slow
winter miles dead, and is reverse periodisation with
early season HIIT the new norm? – Ooh, this is a really
interesting one, and I think firstly, we should just talk
about periodisation generally, before we get stuck into
reverse periodisation. And we have spoken about
this a little bit in our first question. Periodisation is about breaking
your training into blocks, throughout the year, or
throughout your season and off season. So you’re altering the
frequency, the intensity and the volume of your training, and
essentially, coming to your race in peak performance. – Yeah well typically
you can fit in sort of, three Macrocycles into a
season as a triathlete fairly comfortably. And then within those that
we spoke about earlier, you’ve got your Mesocycles,
so sort of three, four weeks, depending on what works with you. And then that is where you
do your overloading, so you’re working your body
harder than it’s used to, and then you have the recovery
period, where it has that chance to adapt, get
stronger and regenerate. And then hopefully at the
end of each of those periods, you’re gonna be fitter and
stronger than you were before. But it’s worth pointing out
that it’s not purely about results, it’s also about being
able to stay injury free, and importantly, making
sure you don’t over train. Well reverse periodisation
is basically the opposite, so the other way around, when
you’re focusing on those shorter, more intense sessions
during the Winter months, or the pre season training,
especially for the bike and the run. And then as you get closer
to your goal, to your race, you start to layer on those longer miles. And you know, they’re
completely opposite, and there’s pros and cons to both. – [Mark] Yeah, so firstly
let’s look at the pros of traditional periodisation. I guess one of the arguments
behind it is that you, I guess you build your
aerobic fitness, you’re better physically conditioned. So it minimises the risk of
injury, and then there is also the argument that you build a great base. So then later in the year you
can sort of layer on that, in terms of intensity and volume. – Now, well a pro, one of the
big pros in my point of view, for doing the reverse
periodisation, is in the Winter, when it’s like horrible
outside, and it’s dark, that’s when you can do shorter sessions. You know, perfectly suited
to training on the turbo, really working to improve your FTP. – [Mark] Which can be quite
motivating, in the Winter I guess, as well. – [Heather] Yeah, exactly. And then another pro which
kind of goes hand in hand with that, is as you’ve got to
start doing your longer miles it’s more into the Summer, so
you hope that that’s when your races are, and it’s daylight
outside, and maybe a bit warmer, and it’s nice to go
out and do long bike rides, and long runs then. – Yeah, I’ve actually tried
out reverse periodisation myself, and I know quite a
few pros that do the same. And it is worth nothing
it’s not for everyone, so I don’t think we can
sit here and say that reverse periodisation is the way forward. There, like we’ve just pointed
out, there’s pros and cons for both. One thing I would say is
that, reverse periodisation doesn’t mean that you cut out
all those longer aerobic miles unfortunately, it’s just switched around. And another really important
thing to note, is that actually reverse periodisation
means you go straight in on quite intense training, so
it does require quite a good, like base level of fitness. – [Heather] Well it is worth
bearing in mind though, that you can get carried away,
because you start out early feeling really good, and fresh, and then if you’re not careful,
you could run the risk of a bit of burnout, or just
losing that freshness. Well that brings us to
the end of our first Triathlon Training Explained show. And don’t forget, this is
your show, so we want to know your questions. If there’s something that’s
on your mind, something that’s been niggling you, or something
you just want to get to the bottom of, let us know. You can leave it in the comment
section below, or send in your questions over
Facebook, or on Twitter. – Yeah, and if you haven’t
done so already, you can subscribe to GTN to see
lots more of the GTN videos. You can do that by clicking
on the globe, just here, and we have spoken today a
little bit about training when, you know you’re limited for
time, and we actually have done a video, on what to do
when you’re short of time. – And we’ve also talked about
the importance of fitting strength training into your
programme, so if you want some ideas on some exercises
that you can have a go at, there’s a video for that just here.

8 comments on “Triathlon Training Explained | How To Structure Your Training Plan

  1. Let us know all of your triathlon training questions in the comments below 👇 We will try and answer as many of them as possible in the coming shows!

  2. I have been doing triathlon for a couple of years and these videos are a great source of information. Love them ! And where did you get the Kona helmet? Asking for a friend… lol

  3. Great video guys👍
    I’m a year out from Ironman Wales.
    How much should I be doing. I have a old leg injury which reoccurs so I’m going to be doing limited running. Last 4 months and just get through the run 😳😳

  4. Hello GTN, u gave such a huge tips to follow I appreciate it. Well, this is Tarun I'm a swimmer after 3 weeks from today I have Olympic triathlon, I'm bit worried abt bike which is of 40km. today I have done 20km for 1hr, so can u give me any tips for increasing my pase on bike. It'll be helpful for me.
    Thank you

  5. Do you recommend tune up races as part of a training plan? I'm 3 months out from a 140.6 and was thinking an Olympic and/or 70.3 distance race mixed in might help. Thanks!

  6. I am going to do a sprint triathlon this Sumer on a very hilly course should I use aero bars or not.

  7. So, the only thing I actually got out of the video for structuring my triathlon training plan was "Use a mesocycle" and "Use a macrocycle" because the last week is a rest week.

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