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15
November
2021

How to balance triathlete’s training demands.

Multi-sport athletes with work and family commitments need balance in their lives to keep all the balls in the air at the same time.

 

 

Drop any, and discontent may appear, inconsistency will encroach and we suddenly have an unhappy athlete.    

But having the right balance, an athlete will have a better opportunity of attaining their goals. The French would call this balance “équilibre” and would extend, not only across all your training, but into your life away from sport and beyond. 

 

Variety is the spice of … training 

Whilst having more than one sporting discipline to master can seem daunting, it can also break up the monotony of routine. Just think of a paddler in a canoe. He/she has one stroke rotation which is repeated and repeated. There isn’t even any changes in terrain that a cyclist would experience. The only variation would be the power of the paddling and stroke rate. 

On the other hand, triathletes have 3 disciplines; but wait, what about the transition stage, then there’s S&C and then nutrition and then ….. 

 

 

 

 

The temptation would be to close our eyes to everything other than our strong traits. Focus on those and hope everything will, somehow, get better. 

 

Know Your-Self & Plan Accordingly

Whilst doing some R&R at the end of the racing season you’d start planning next year’s campaign. 

Successful athletes would have identified which areas they need to spend more time practising and then re-evaluating their performances and adjusting their training to keep improving those targeted areas. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses so training time in each of the components will be individualised. 

The great balancing act will include rest period. Overuse injuries, illnesses etc will eventually lead to time off training. The total amount of training hours but 1 week off because of illness or 3 weeks off because of an injury means a lot of missed sessions. 

 

Value Added S&C 

Your plan will probably include a strong list of major gains targets. Getting stronger and faster would be high up amongst these priorities and to achieve this a Strength & Conditioning program is essential. 2 to 3 times a week throughout the winter (October – end of March) period followed by regular sessions during the racing season.   

Technique and body form are critical to ensure maximum safety and will allow you to increase loading over time. 

I hear you say: “Not another thing I’ve got to do!! What do you want me to drop?” And I agree, this is probably the biggest barrier to committing to a successful S&C program. However, not developing your S&C could lead to a lack of progress or potentially developing imbalances and injuries. 

This is the balance act and where your commitment to developing strength and speed is really tested.     

Sports Scientists, those clever people and not the ones with pointy hats and long flowing beards, have found that athletes who reduce their endurance training by up to 20% and introduce 2-3 S&C sessions a week will always make greater gains than those who do not include S&C exercises. They have also found that athletes who do not reduce the amount of endurance training in order to accommodate the S&C achieve worst results. These findings will help you balance S&C with all the other disciplines.

 

Conclusion 

Sports specific training, cyclists just cycling, swimmers just swimming, triathletes just swim/bike/run is good up to a point but will not find those major gains which will bring you towards the level you may wish in obtain.   

 

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