Having triathlon training plans that are drawn up thinking of you and your personal needs and goals in mind are the best kind. Having good plans can be the difference between achieving those goals and being frustrated with your progress. But with so many plans online available how do you know which ones are any good? While different coaches and athletes will have their own opinions about that, here are some things to consider.
- No new training or methods on a race day.
- Keeping plans realistic.
- Each session and training plan should have a clear purpose so you know why you need to do what you are doing and you can focus on the outcome. Otherwise, sessions can become meaningless.
- There should always be a combination of preparation or warm-up, then the main set, then a cool down. Missing the prep or cool down can lead to issues with recovery, injury and shorten the time you have to train over the long term.
- A good triathlon training plan should have you working harder in the second half of your training session so you get used to pushing hard when you are at the end of your race and you need to push through.
- The plans should have a good balance between endurance and strength training. Be careful when the program is overly focused on the volume of training as that can get monotonous and that increases the change of injury. There should be a mix of interval training, longer sessions, and strength work as well as working on cycling, swimming and running.
- The training should help develop muscle memory so your muscles learn how to do certain things and how to respond to certain situations in training, and then also do the same during your race. Repetition in the triathlon training plans is a part of that.
- A brick session weekly rather than delayed later in the training. A brick session is one where there is essentially a double training session and you go from one sport to another, often moving from your ride to the run. Many training plans put this in the last few weeks before a race. But a better plan would start your training on moving from one section of the race to another from the very start. It is a skill and the better athletes have it in their programs early on.
- Be wary of any triathlon training plan that focuses heavily on running and is too light on biking and swimming. While running is the hardest part on the body it makes better sense to train all of the disciplines. Also, it is a fact that running is the hardest to recover from and a weak runner training hard on just the running is going to have problems recovering and maintaining the training schedule.
- Also, make sure it suits your commitments and what you are capable of. There is no point in having a plan designed for an experienced athlete if you are a beginner. It needs to suit your lifestyle and your skill and fitness level.
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