Building Up Your Peak Fitness for the Season Ahead

As we leave the cold weather behind us and hopefully a winter of base training and technique work, we can look forward to spring and those all-important races we signed up for some time last year! So it’s now time to build up our peak fitness to be ready for the race season ahead. Below the team at Challenge Tri Camp offer some advice on how to do this:

Create a training plan: Develop a comprehensive training plan that includes a mix of swim, bike, and run workouts, as well as strength training and rest days – these need to be specific to your events and be designed to allow a training stimulus and then a peaking stage as the event draws closer.Do this yourself or with a coach but every goal needs a plan.

Increase your intensity gradually: Gradually increasing the intensity of your harder workouts over several weeks will not only help to avoid injury and burnout but also allow slow continuous progression. For example if we had an athlete we wanted to be able to run 12 x 400m on the track we might start with 8 reps and built it to 10 and then 12 over 5-6 weeks. We would also look at adjusting recovery times between each set.

Focus on quality over quantity: Hopefully you have been over the winter months building up some endurance and distance across each discipline. Now as the racing season approaches we need to prioritise quality over quantity in your key sessions. Make sure you’re hitting the right intensities and heart rate zones to create a training stimulus, and that your technique is correct while doing so. As coaches this is the bread and butter part of our job, making sure our athletes are training smarter.

Incorporate brick workouts: Yes you might not have done one for a while, or evenever, but triathlon is a combination of swim, bike and run so as your event draws closer you need to be putting it all together. So it’s time to start putting two or more of the disciplines together in one workout and preparing your body for the unique demands of your race. Also a great time to practise those transitions!!

Add in hill training: Does your event have a hilly bike or run section? If so then some kind of hill training is essential to mimic your race conditions. Whether this is running hill repeats or long undulating rides, hill training is essential for improving your strength and endurance. And if your race is flat, still think about adding these sessions in for the benefits they provide.

Simulate race conditions: We just touched on this above regarding hills and the same goes for other training factors as well. Are you swimming in the sea and not used to waves? is it going to be a lot warmer than your current training temperatures? Whatever your race demands are, you need to think about these things and simulate race conditions in your training sessions. Get into the detail…even down to the time of day and what you eat before and during. Use these ‘race like sessions’ to prepare yourself mentally and physically for race day.

Open water swimming: Leading on from the above comment about swimming, if you know you are going to be swimming in open water and you do all your swim training in a pool, it will be very very useful to incorporate open water swims into your training to not only simulate race conditions if you can but also get used to your wetsuit (if wearing one) and not just swimming 25 or 50m at a time with a push off at each end! It is also a great time to practice sighting and navigating in the water, and getting used to swimming in a group and around other people.

Monitor your nutrition: Pay close attention to your nutrition not just for race day but for your general training build up to your big event. Ensure that you’re fuelling your body with the right types and amounts of food for the training demands you are placing on it.

Get enough rest and recovery: Along with fuelling correctly to be at your optimum, equally important is rest and recovery. Getting these correct is crucial for allowing your body to repair and rebuild after hard training sessions, so plan rest days and easy weeks into your build and taper stage of training. Along with this could be recovery workouts/active recovery so stretching, yoga or just a gentle swim with ,dare we say it no watch on!

Stay flexible and adaptable: Be flexible and adaptable in your training plan, adjusting it as necessary to accommodate unexpected challenges or changes in your schedule – we all have them so its key to allow for this and not to let it stress you out.

We hope these 10 tips help you and give you some things to think about and work on in the build-up to the season ahead. If you are not sure on anything or wanted more advise on how to train optimally to get the best out of the time you have available to train then please get in touch with Challenge Tri Camp.