News Letter March 2011

Ok, I hope my January News Letter was helpful and that you now have a proper Race Plan for 2011.

The next step toward having a successful season is to approach your training the correct way; this means having a proper Training Plan that is specific to your ability, needs and goals.

This can be quite a daunting task and many athletes tend to stick to their normal routine regardless of whether it's doing the right thing or not. After all, doing `something' is better than not training at all.

Its confession time…

Is your training [plan/routine] specific to your ability, needs and goals and does it truly deliver results that you are happy with?

If you have answered NO to any part of this question, then you need to make some changes. Even if you are not aiming for elite performance, it's worth making changes if only to save the mind & body from getting bored or developing repetition injuries. This in itself may be enough to increase motivation and deliver better results.
Here are some top tips to help make your training more effective. They do not require a leap of faith but simply a willingness to try something new/different. Remember that basic training-principles can just as well be applied to running, cycling or swimming - if aiming for a duathlon or triathlon you will need to overlay each plan.

Speedy's Top Tip # 1
– Base and Build then Race.

Once you've got a race date in your calendar, divide the lead-time into Base and Build Phases. Base is where you should develop distance & duration; you should include a tiny bit of speed-work but the main focus of the Base Phase should be on reaching your full Training Distance (Race Distance plus 10%).

The Build Phase could be considered as the `icing on the cake' as it's predominantly about developing speed. If you've not got enough lead-time, drop the Build Phase and just focus on Base work.

Speedy's Top Tip # 2 – It's not all hard work!

As well as the hard effort, you should also plan for Recovery. This does not mean reducing activity to zero, but simply easing back so that the body can repair itself and develop a response to training. The exact level of cutback is relative to where you are in your training programme, thus a Recovery week near the end of your Base Phase will probably include more hours than your actual training at the start of your Base Phase. Any Recovery week should not include any high-intensity work or any long-distances; I suggest sticking to shorter volume-work and technique-work.

During Base Phase, the ratio of Training / Recovery might be 3:1 such that the fourth week of each month is reduced. During Build Phase, when training intensities are much higher you will need more recovery, hence the ratio might be 2:1 or even 1:1.

Speedy's Top Tip # 3 – Multisport, the priorities.

Always focus on your weakness…. but not at the total exclusion of other disciplines. No matter how little time you have, it's important to work on all disciplines, if only to maintain movement patterns and balance etc. Unfortunately the returns gained from training are different for each discipline, and this is mostly due to the technical requirement for each activity. For example, swimming is an activity at the thin-end of the wedge, which means it may not be worth trying to shave a few extra seconds from your split-time if it's going to require an extra 2-3 swim sessions per week. Having said this, there are still minimum levels of input needed if you are expecting to perform well. For Olympic distance triathlon, try to aim for: Swimming 2 hours per week, Cycling 4-6 hours, Running 3-4 hours.

Speedy's Top Tip # 4 – What to include.

As a minimum you should always include: Speed work, Distance/Duration work and Technique work.

If you're planning far enough in advance and have more time available for training, you should also include a fourth element, Volume work.

Adjust the mix between Speed and Distance/Duration according to your training phase.

Remember the two golden rules when developing distance: 1 – never increase more than 10% in one step (time or distance), 2 – never push/increase distance more than two consecutive weeks without allowing for adaptation.

In terms of the maximum distance for any single run or ride, this should not be more than one third of the total volume for that training week.

Speedy's Top Tip # 5 - Keep things simple.

Each element of training (speed, distance, technique & volume) has a specific job and you should keep workout sessions as simple as possible otherwise they become less effective. Speed work tends to be interval-based and you should progress the distances involved in a similar way as developing the distance for your longer/slower runs. If your speed work is effective you should feel a change in your levels of perceived effort which will then carry-over for longer distance runs. This is a highly simplistic view but a big aspect of speed-work is to develop tolerance to pain/discomfort.

It's simple, hey!

I hope these tips are helpful. If you would like any help or have any queries please get in contact.

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Happy racing!


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