Triathlon training plan

My triathlon training plan for 2013 is pretty much finished now.  I set my A races as Eagleman 70.3 and (hopefully) Vegas 70.3 (assuming I can qualify at Eagleman – more about this in the next post).  So, I’m running a pretty standard plan of  3 base cycles, 2 build cycles, and a bit of a unique taper leading into the race in early June.  After that, I’ll have 13 weeks until the race in Vegas.  In that time period, I plan to take at least a few days of the first week off.  Then I’ll slowly work my way back into training and hope to hit full stride by the following Monday.  I’ll do essentially a base week just to make sure the fitness is still there.  I’ll follow that with another 2 full build cycles and the same taper as before leading into Vegas.

I’m basing the full year off of a 525 hour total which should have me well fit for the 70.3 distance.  I’ve built my plan from an accumulation of tips from multiple sources over the years.  First and foremost, I started with Joe Friel‘s Triathlete’s Training Bible.  I’d highly recommend it.  In fact, if you are just starting out and don’t have someone setting up a plan for you (well, even if you do…), you have to read this book.  It gives so much insight into how your body works, how you can expect it to react, and what you need to do to be prepared for races.  It won’t make you win races, but it will give you the fundamental knowledge that you need to help you reach your potential, whatever level that might be.

Secondly, I also read the book Your Best Traithlon, also by Joe Friel.  This book dives into more specifics about which workouts to do when and gives more detailed examples of each week.  You could actually just follow the plan in the book if you were so inclined.  However, each athlete is unique and your adaptations to the work as well as your ability to do the work will be unique as well, so I’ve taken what works for me from his guidelines and I’ve mixed it together with what I’ve learned from several other guys I follow on twitter and other blogs.

My general format is very similar to what you’ll see in the aforementioned books in that I typically have a pretty standard 4 week periodization cycles (3weeks of hard work, 1 week recovery) all the way through the base and build phases.  I will occasionally recover earlier or later than scheduled if my body needs the rest or can handle the extra load respectively.  However, my taper period is a bit different than typically prescribed, but it is still evolving.  When I started, I followed the book’s plan in the final weeks before the race.  That meant I’d have a recovery week on the end of my second build cycle and I’d lead that straight into 2 taper weeks and then a race week which was even further reduced workload.  After doing that, I felt flat.  I didn’t have the energy or the mental drive to perform at the level I felt I should.  My race went OK.  I didn’t bonk and I actually had my best race of the year according to my USAT score (see here why I don’t necessarily believe that means what it should), but I knew I could and should have performed better than I did.

For 2012, I played around with my taper a bit and what worked best this time around was to have the recovery week at the end of the build cycle and then do a crash week.  I planned to “crash” whatever was going to be the stressor at each particular race.  For steelhead, the run was going to be most challenging for me, so I did a run crash week just after my build 2 recovery week.  That week I ran about 50% more than I had during any build week.  My intensity was low, but my volume was high.  The rest of the activity for swimming and biking was the same as as normal build week.

I followed that crash week with a taper and then a race week.  This allowed me to go into the race feeling much better about my preparation.  I was more mentally fresh and had my best 70.3 to date.  I plan to try to tweak my taper a bit more this year and see if I can improve upon it again.  I’m not quite sure how yet, but I’ll let you know as I get there.

Another great resource for information is Endurance Corner.  They have a great list of articles and they often go into quite a bit more of the mathematical detail behind training as well as the results of the training to show what works as well as what doesn’t work.  I’ve found their information often meshes very well with Joe Friel’s such that reading both sources has helped me to understand more about why my plan is set up how it is as well as given me the knowledge on how certain aspects (the taper) might be changed in order to work better for me.


Posted on December 9, 2012, in Nutrition, Recovery, Triathlon Training and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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