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Sprint and Standard Distance Triathlon Training
By Silas Cullen
Do you remember some of the close battles you had with friends and fellow competitors last season? That may be one of the strongest motivating factors to get stuck into training again now. Some questions may also start entering your head, ‘how can I go faster with the time I have available to train?’ Here are some strategies you can apply to your training right now to improve your ability to do just that!
Improving your swim
Improving your bike
Cycling speed in a triathlon is dependent on how hard you are working and the gear you are pushing. You can improve your ability to work hard by going hard. Most triathletes perform their first time trial (TT) of the season in their first race, the second TT in their second race and so on. So time trialing is a great way to improve during the season (speed work). The other determinant of speed is the gear you are able to push while time trialing. Of course you want to be able to push the biggest gear possible when you are working at your race effort and at your race cadence. For advanced athletes doing some big gear work is essential at this stage of the season to help maximise the gear you can push later on. Big gear work can be varied by effort, terrain, intervals and cadence. For some athletes changing two gears harder on the flat and pushing slightly harder may be the first stage. Others may be doing big gear uphill time trials in the aero bars. The strength endurance training that is right for you will not be right for most other people even if you are at the same performance level. Many athletes already do big gear work; you can pick them, they are the ones grinding along in races at low cadences and often struggle to run as fast as they used to. Pushing a big gear tires the muscles out fast that is why we do it in training to get a training effect of strength endurance. But if you do not maintain the ability to spin it will change the cadence you feel comfortable at when you race. This is where doing some over speed work (high cadence) training will help to ensure you do not develop bad technique or become a grinder who races at a low cadence. You might do 5min spinning at 110RPM then some specific big gear work and then another 5min at 110RPM. By doing this your neural system will remember how to spin while your muscular system learns how to push a big gear. You don’t want to be the athlete who rocks side to side all over their bike from doing big gear work with poor technique as it is very hard to correct once this happens. Talk to your coach about other drills you can do on the bike through this phase of your training and what to concentrate on as you carry out strength endurance work, it is amazing how much you can improve when this is performed correctly.
Improving your run
Work out which potential improvements apply to you and then focus your effort wisely. This will be the first step towards going faster in your events with the time you have available to train. Your coming season is going to be very enjoyable as you improve steadily with each event, have fun!
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