For those of you racing in the summer you will now be in your base training period. We are training to train rather than training to race. This phase will last until about 12 weeks before you’re a race. In the case of our Ironman UK and Outlaw competitors you will switch to a much more race specific phase at the middle to end of May. Meanwhile you are preparing your body for the stresses of that period and honing your technique to become efficient at the 3 disciplines.
The emphasis now is on aerobic endurance training and speed skills.
Aerobic endurance means long slow training session at your heart rate zone 2. Herein lies the problem. You need to know what your heart rate zones are. (See blog on testing). We coaches spend most of our effort at this time of year trying to encourage people to train slower. Long and slow means quicker recovery time and therefore more training opportunity. This reduces the risk of injury and is mentally ‘very nice’ training.
Speed skills training is vital. You need to have regular sessions focused on technique. This means running, biking and swimming faster. Try new techniques, get feedback from your coaches or video your training. You need to develop and embed good technique. If you spend hours of aerobic training perfecting poor technique then you will race below your potential. Every workout needs to focus on a specific aspect of technique. For example, even your long level 2 rides can be focused on an aspect of pedalling technique, body position or cadence.
If you an older or inexperienced trainer then 3 weeks of gradually increasing training load is followed by 1 week of very light work. Younger and experienced triathlete might do 4 weeks before an easy recovery week. In each week you should aim for a rest or recovery day. If you are fatigued, stressed or feeling unwell immediately let your body recover. Better to ease off a bit than get injured or sick.
As the base period progresses the efforts in terms of duration, number of repetitions and load will increase but only very gradually.
- Aerobic endurance workouts at level 2
- Speed skills in each discipline focused on developing efficient technique
- Planned rest days each week and recovery week every 3-4 weeks