Triathlon Training Tips and Misconceptions

Here are a few Triathlon training tips and misconceptions to think about regardless of what stage you happen to be at in the sport.

The best way for an individual to train for a triathlon will most likely depend on the level of ability in the three sport disciplines involved.

Needless to say, there is no set answer on exactly how to train for a triathlon because triathlon training programs are best structured in a way that more training time is dedicated to the discipline that requires the most improvement.

Everyone has a different set of circumstances and come into the sport with varying degrees of knowledge, overall fitness, and athletic ability and for that reason alone it makes no sense that triathlon training plans are a one-size-fits-all.

For instance if a person is a poor swimmer but a great runner it would be wise to spend some extra time refining their swim stroke and a little less time on running.

Triathlon is a more complex sport than most others because it requires the athlete to become proficient at many skills. Actually that’s one of the more desirable features of becoming a triathlete. It’s a great way to cross-train and learn new skills at the same time.

Just how a person trains for a triathlon also depends on what level they intend to compete at.

If swimming is new to someone planning to take up triathlon they will have to spend quite a lot of time in the beginning simply learning how to swim before they actually begin a structured triathlon swim training program.

If a person is already an accomplished swimmer, then realistically they can easily get by on three swim workouts a week. As a matter of fact, I have found over the years that three training sessions a week for each event is just about perfect. training tips and misconceptions

spend extra time working on your weakest discipline.

Proper rest and recovery is vitally important and a minimum of two full rest days per week would be a wise choice in the early stages of a triathlon career and that still leaves five days a week to train.

So assuming you are going to train three times per week per discipline you will have nine workout sessions in those five days.

That means that some of the days will be dual sessions. For instance, swim-bike, swim-run, or maybe bike-run. The trick is to balance the nine sessions through-out the five days to ensure that you train in all three disciplines.

It would even work well to rest three days and train for four early in the season(and your career) and incorporate a fifth training day a few months down the road as you get fitter and your race date gets closer.

There is really no hard and fast rule.

There’s no reason you can’t get by on two bike training sessions, two run sessions, and three swim sessions if you opt for three full rest days a week.

If you are a strong swimmer, than just swim twice and run or bike three times. Either way you will easily be able to fit seven training sessions into four training days if nine sessions feels like it’s too much for you to begin with.

Triathlon training also depends quite a lot on what the goals of the individual are.

Someone training for an Ironman Triathlon will train far differently than someone training for their first sprint distance triathlon. Also, the longer the distance you are racing, the more time you will most likely spend training, however there are exceptions to this.

Making the jump from a Sprint Triathlon to a Half Ironman is a big leap, but the step up from a Half Ironman to a full Ironman is very doable without having to increase your training all that much.

If you have trained diligently for a 70.3 Ironman and crossed the finish line in a race then it’s not really that big a step up in training to take on the full Ironman.

There is a huge misconception out there about this.

Just because you are going from a Half Ironman to a full does not mean you double all your training distances and have to commit twice the amount of time to training. That’s a flawed way of thinking that has kept many people from realizing their Ironman dream. training tips and misconceptions

Do it your way.

They mistakenly thing they simply will be unable to commit all the extra time to training that is required to go from a half to full Ironman.

Sure, you might want to go out on a hundred mile bike ride just once six or eight weeks before your Ironman to get used to being on your bike that long, and you may want to do a two mile swim a few times in training just to bolster your confidence and prove to yourself that you can do it, but I would bet the farm that anyone who can finish a Half Ironman could take on the full Ironman a few months later and reach the finish line.

Dave Scott won six Ironman Hawaii Championships and claimed that if you can do half of all the Ironman distances in training(separately) and feel like you still had something left after each session, you should be ready to take on the Ironman.

My thoughts exactly.

In other words you don’t really need to swim 2.4 miles day after day, bike 112 miles over and over again, or run the marathon distance once a month when you are making the step up from the half to full Ironman.

You just don’t need it.

There are many triathlon training tips and misconceptions out there, so put lots of thought into how you want to approach your triathlon career and do what’s best for you, your level of ability, and your own personal triathlon goals and don’t fall into the trap of blindly doing what everyone else is doing.


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