Your body responds best to a consistent training pattern and as such you should look to train consistently week in and week out all year round. Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to training and try not to do a lot of training one week then next to nothing the next few weeks. You will see better results doing slightly less training but doing it consistently rather than being over optimistic about what training you can do.
Set yourself Short, Medium and Long term goals and measure progress against them
Set goals that are realistic and within your control and measure your progress against them on a regular basis to make sure you are on track. You will find this keeps you focussed and will provide you with motivation. Don’t be afraid to reward yourself when you reach one of your goals.
Have a plan and record your sessions
Have a structured training and race plan for the season and keep a record of your training. Having a plan will give you focus and method to your training and will enable you to better fit your training into your lifestyle. By recording your training you can monitor what is working and what is not and adjust accordingly. You can also look back and see what training produced your best results.
Don’t try to make up for missed sessions
Most people have to balance work and family life with our training and racing and sometimes that means missing training sessions. Don’t be tempted to cram in missed sessions as this can lead to excessive fatigue and stress which will impact on future training.
Triathlon is an aerobic sport, don’t push yourself hard every session
Triathlon is essentially an aerobic sport and as such you need to develop your aerobic energy systems, most of your training needs to be focussed on this. You do need to undertake some anaerobic training as you will race in an anaerobic state at times but the majority of your training should be aerobic.
Build volume and intensity gradually
You will need to increase the volume and intensity of your training in order to bring about improvements in your performance. Make sure that you only increase these gradually; you risk injury and overtraining if you suddenly increase volume and/or intensity by a significant amount.
Don’t forget recovery
Your body gets stronger as a result of recovering from the stresses induced upon it by a training session. You need to ensure that you allow your body to recover from the training stress. If you don’t, the training will just continue to stress and fatigue your body to the point where you pick up an injury or succumb to overtraining syndrome. Rest days also allow your mind to recover as well as your body. Make sure you build adequate recovery into your training schedule.
Practice skills and technique
Training harder and longer will enable you to improve your performance – to a degree. Training sessions focussed on developing skills and technique will also help you improve and will make you more efficient and less prone to injury. Strength and conditioning sessions will also aid performance and recovery.
Think about hydration and nutrition
Training puts stress and strain on your body and you need to ensure you are providing yourself with sufficient energy and fluid to cope with those stresses. Consider both hydration and nutrition pre, during and post training. A good diet will provide you with the energy and nutrients to help you recover properly from your training session and set you up for the next session. Make sure you consider your hydration and nutrition needs when planning your training. If you are racing longer distances you should have a hydration and nutrition plan for your race – practice this during your training.
Never forget why you are doing the sport
Make sure you enjoy your training – it makes things so much easier. Try not to become a slave to the sport, it is a part of your life; don’t let it become your life! Sometimes you will need to do sessions you don’t enjoy and to ensure you are doing the right training for you, you may find yourself training alone, mix these sessions up with group/club sessions and doing sessions you enjoy. Don’t forget recovery – rest days are days where you can let your hair down and forget the sport.