Being more intelligent with your training
We all know how to swim, bike and run and most triathletes are fantastic at getting training done. The biggest problem that triathletes have is training too much and/or doing too much of the wrong type of training. The first way to avoid falling into this trap and to train more intelligently is to plan your season. Planning your season what does this involve?
How to start training intelligently
To start you need to choose your main races of the season and then work out how many weeks you have to train in the lead up to your main race. Once you have done this you can then break your season down into base, build, competition and recovery phases. After you have done this, you then need to look at the types of training that you need to get done during the specific phases.
The Base PhaseAs a rough guide, in the base phase you should look to get in more mileage at low intensity and include a well-planned strength and conditioning program. N.B. this does not mean that you want to go from 4-20 hours of training in one week, you need to build up the volume gradually.
The Build PhaseIn the build phase look to include training at a higher intensity whilst also doing some base low intensity sessions for endurance purposes, particularly if you are a long distance athlete. You should also look to progress your strength and conditioning program into one focused on explosive power as this will help with your speed work in all three disciplines.
The Competition PhaseThe competition phase should result in very focused training with the majority of sessions being high intensity at a slightly lower volume than that of the base and some of the build phase (the week before your race will obviously result in lower volume than for the rest of the competition phase).
The Recovery PhaseFinally the recovery phase, this should be a phase that you take very seriously if you are planning on having another big race again later in the season. If you underestimate the importance of recovery and you are very likely to shoot yourself in the foot for the rest of the season.
Time and effortSecondly, you need to carefully work out how much time you can really dedicate in terms of time and effort to the sport overall. Here it is essential that you consider the other areas of your life such as work, other hobbies, friends and family and how they all fit into your plans to train and then compete come race season.
Rest days are vital!
Thirdly, you must factor rest days into your plan. A consistently tired athlete is one which is not training intelligently. This also does not mean that during your rest day you go shopping all day, really do try to give your body a proper rest. When you are working 36 hours per week and training between 7-20 hours a week your workload is about double that of a Professional triathlete with no job so you must get the balance between rest and work right to stay in the game and perform.
Your support network
Finally, get your family and friends who you want as your support network for the year around the table and talk through your plans with them so that they know what is involved in your commitment to the sport. By doing this, you should eliminate most of the obstacles or at least be aware of those which may interfere with your training allowing you to be more intelligent with your training planning.
Now you are all set and ready to go at a basic level. If you still feel ensure and want more structure to your training then look into services such as training plans and coaching but remember to find the right plan or coach for you.