A few SEAC athletes are planning to achieve some pretty big goals in the coming summer tri-season. To kick-off these goals the first part of the plan will be to target a solid 70.3 (or similar long course) race early in the season. The race is NOT to be an "A" priority race, but that shouldn't stop you setting a PB.
Just because it's not an A race does not mean you can't outperform your previous best. In fact with the right approach to your winter training and pre-season training you should be able to achieve a PB.
Because the race is a simple B or even a C priority race, your focus remains:
1. Finish the off-season training program - working on your weaknesses,
2. Train with your long-term goals front of mind - building a volume base, and
3. Continue to prioritise strength through most of the program
Time per week
Whether you can manage 6hrs, 10hrs or 18hrs per week the relative commitment will be be big.
For the sake of this discussion we will use a 15hrs week as an example.
An average of 15hrs per week is a very big commitment. However with proper life-planning the 15 hour per week structured program will be much less life-style intrusive than many other 10-12 hour training programs. How can this be?
The key is to understand your lifestyle and subsequent weekly schedule. Then simply work the training into the schedule in the most time-effective manner possible. To do this, start with the wasted time in you week which is usually:
Commute time, and
‘Commutraining’ is the best value training you can do. The key is understanding which sessions can be converted to commutraining and being organised. And a big component of being organised is having a training plan.
Meanwhile TV time is converted to strength training, mobility or sleep. Much of your mobility work can be done while watching TV or playing with the kids.
Better use of training time
The next efficiency gain comes with your SEAC membership. SEAC Studio allows you to ride at specific intensities, the correct cadence and the best effort duration. An hour in the Studio is worth 90 minutes on the road. The Studio also facilitates the combining of sessions such as specific strength before the ride or s swim off the bike.
Yes, this may sound like a blatant plug for SEAC Studio (www.seacstudio.com.au the smartest place to train in Sydney) however it is quite funny listening to people tell me they dont have the time to train ...and then seeing them on Strava ride in the morning from home to the park and back home for a total ride time of 90mins plus 2x outfit change and then commute to work and then a swim after work requiring 2x outfit changes etc.
You could simply ride/run to the SEAC, ride to your program and then swim off the bike. Shower, change and walk to work (or run/ride to work). You can even fit your pre-bike strength routine in before you ride and still take less time out of your busy day.
For a more detailed understanding of how to use SEAC Studio check out Why We Built SEAC Studio.
The all important allocation
We also need to keep in mind that 15 hours average is not the same for everyone. Some athletes work commitments fluctuate meaning they will do 8-9 hours some weeks and then 20-21 hours on other weeks weeks. Others have schedules that require regular 15 hour weeks, week after week. Both can work well.
How we allocate the 15 hours is a tricky task. To start with we subtract 90 minutes of strength (1 hour during the taper weeks and 2 hours during the recovery weeks). The remaining 13.30hrs is divided into swim 25%; bike 50%; and run 25%. Which roughly translates to 3.30hrs of swimming, 6.30hrs of bike and 3.30hrs of running.
Of course this allocation will shift week to week.
Most folks setting their own programs and even a few coaches will opt for a smaller swim time allocation. The arguement of course is that more time spent running and cycling will achieve bigger time gains. The argument against this line of thinking is extremely well documented, but for now I will sum up with ...bvllsh1t.
The benefits of swimming are great and swim fitness contributes to both the bike and the run. As such, we should use the entire swim time allocation. Run and bike times will shift primarily based on the long endurance session for each. More on the importance of swim training (especially for poor swimmers) can be founds here.
As we know all too well, every athlete is different. In the Studio we have strong cyclists who can run all day, but lack speed. We have the runners who have taken up cycling recently to do a triathlon. There are the guys that fade in the run. We have lads that can push massive watts, but can’t convert it to ground speed. Lasses that train to hard and race to easy. We have the injury prone and the bullet proof. Many have poor cycling technique resulting in wasted energy. And some can’t hold their aero position. Just about everyone needs to correct their swim stroke and find their feel for the water.
With these factors in mind we simply need to apply strength development, speed development, endurance development, strength-endurance and of course technique development. The latter two are arguably (you will lose) the most important and will offer the majority of athletes the most gain in the least time. However, most athletes will not choose to give these work-horses much training time unless they are explained/told (and told again).
During the 15 weeks there are 3 training blocks with 2 recovery (absorption) weeks and 2-3 taper weeks. That leaves just ten training weeks.
The first block is usually strength and strength-endurance focused. The second block we bring in a little speed. The final block is mainly endurance and race specific work. Although each block has a focus the overriding emphasis is always on consistency.
There are a number of races towards the end of the year that fit the bill. Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney will be the ‘B’ focus for many local athletes. As mentioned earlier, although it is a B race the opportunity to race harder and faster than you have before will be in your legs come race day. The actual race day along with the race specific training in the last few weeks will provide great training for your pacing and nutrition strategy.
The end of year B race allows you to go into the holiday season ready for the second phase of your training plan. We go back to strength and working on your weakness/es, but this time we have race fitness under our belts.
When it comes time to begin your build program for you’re A race in the new year you will be ready to rock-n-roll.
Please feel free to email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org