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Old 11-19-10, 09:50 PM   #1
deadprez012
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The Art of Balance

I have a "please help me" thread in the 41 so I'm just venting here.

I suck at creating a training schedule that addresses all the things I want to do well next season. The last three weeks were spent preparing for that half at the sacrifice of valuable riding time. Going out for the "fun" club crit tonight showed me just how ill-advised that was.

My swim training is pretty high quality these days...but now that the half is done, I haven't run a single time all week.

There are lots of great books on this, I know; I've read a few of them. This is just about getting my head on straight and fixing the situation!

So, here's to balance (or a complete, total, utter lack thereof) in training: be awesome at one thing and suffer at all else...or be average at everything. Ugh.
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Old 11-21-10, 09:59 AM   #2
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Okay, a non-rant post related to the above.

I got a lead to another forum and did some lurking there and have found the following; I would appreciate more experienced triathletes' opinions on this idea.

Running should receive 70% of your focus, assuming you swim "well enough" (defined as ~1:10 IM swim time for the Endurance Nation training plan) and have reasonable cycling fitness. The logic here is that, no matter how crum your swim or how crap your bike, if you can run at or near your PRs in running events off the bike, you will be a better triathlete.

This is, of course, in direct contrast to the logic that I've received from a few other triguys. Namely, that biking is half or more of the total time in a tri and so it should receive the most focus because you can make the most ground there. Then, that your swim can suck and your run just be OK.

Discuss.
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Old 11-21-10, 06:06 PM   #3
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Well the riddle you're wrestling with is the classic tri conundrum. How to be good at everything.
I'm no expert but I can understand your problem and FWIW - here are a couple of "truths" that I've learnt and train by which might help you solve your riddle. I might be completely deluded but they help me. A race is almost never won on the swim, occasionally on the bike, mostly on the run - assuming that you're close enough to run down the fast bikers. Balance is the key.

1 x major workout per discipline per week. for me this currently means a 4km swim, 90 km bike and hour plus run. The other, smaller workouts fit in after this.
Space the major workouts so you get at least a day in between.
Intervals are a great way to train, particularly for the bike and swim. You can cut down a lot of riding/swim time but being structured and going harder on an interval program.
Swimming is the least likely to injure you via overtraining, followed by cycling with running the most likely. Once you can swim fast, you can kind of park swimming to a degree and then focus on the other disciplines while just keeping your swimming in tune.
Here is a program from a the 2010 35-40 KONA age group champ, Damien Angus from firstoffthebike.com - read about how he plays to his strengths: http://www.firstoffthebike.com/inter...s-and-training

Check the interesting comment at the bottom about the balance between bike and run: to run 20% of what you bike each week. I've heard this + swim 7.5 - 10 % as well. Thus a routine might be: bike 150km, run 30km, swim 7-10km

Any help?

Last edited by 900aero; 11-21-10 at 06:45 PM. Reason: update
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Old 11-21-10, 09:29 PM   #4
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That's interesting. It sounds perfectly feasible, but it doesn't look like any one event is getting primary focus. I like that about the plan. My question, of course, is how to structure this part...
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Originally Posted by 900aero
The other, smaller workouts fit in after this.
What have you been doing for these auxiliary workouts and what kind of results are you seeing?
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Old 11-22-10, 03:34 PM   #5
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I'm haunting this thread and learning much. Keep the advice coming!
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Old 11-22-10, 09:36 PM   #6
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Smaller workouts might look like this:
Swim: 2-3 2.5km pool sessions or an ocean swim + pool session. Time spent in open water is very important. You need to know how to swim in chop, currents and navigate by landmark without stopping or breaking your stroke.
Bike: 20-40km sessions, often broken into intervals. Also include my commute ( when I do it) as this is about 40km each way but broken up by a train trip. Also do a wind trainer session or two most weeks and these are usually interval/output based as my trainer has a watt metre.
Run: Smaller & on different surfaces. I like to barefoot beach run with the dog and find this is helping me build up lower leg & foot strength. Also a really nice way to start/finish the day. You could put in a barefoot session on grass too. Definitely still do some road sessions though

One thing I should be clear about is that I am very much an amateur, novice triathlete. I used to be a reasonable ( state level) swimmer & runner but I have never biked competitively and have LOTS of work to get up to speed. I would like to be competitive in my age group at sprint/olympic distance over this season and next.

Any help?
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Old 11-23-10, 06:20 AM   #7
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deadprez012 as answered here and in the road racing forum, the training required for crits and TT's require totally different approaches. You have to decide which you want to focus on more, otherwise you will be okay at the various sports but master of none...

I disagree to only focus on the run at the expense of the bike or swim. Biggest gains are always made focussing on your weakest link. If you are already a strong runner, if you can't keep up in the swim and loose more time on the bike these days you won't be able to run down such a deficit. As the other fast guys are too far in front and won't be that slow runners either!

Yes you can loose a huge amount of time with a shocking run, but being stronger on the bike means you can ride faster for less energy and have more left for the run. If you neglect your bike training, you will use up more energy to get the the end of the ride. It won't matter how good a runner you are if the tank is already near empty...

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I used to be a reasonable ( state level) swimmer & runner but I have never biked competitively and have LOTS of work to get up to speed. I would like to be competitive in my age group at sprint/olympic distance over this season and next.
Sounds above like you have the right plan in place. Given your background, focussing on the bike to raise your FTP is where the best gains will come. So longer intervals - 2or 3*20min at FTP / 20+ minute hill climbs plus a bike run-brick at minimum weekly will be your bread and butter sessions...
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Old 11-23-10, 08:24 AM   #8
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deadprez012 as answered here and in the road racing forum, the training required for crits and TT's require totally different approaches. You have to decide which you want to focus on more, otherwise you will be okay at the various sports but master of none...
You're right, and I very much acknowledge that. I'm devoting my serious training to TT work. Quite honestly, I'm pretty average at the TT compared to our cycling and tri club members so I'm truly looking to make that exceptional. My run is strong and my bike can clearly become strong. Right now, my swim is weak. (No longer terrible, but really weak.)

So my program has looked like 4 swims per week. Two of them are maximizing my consistency and stroke mechanics so 2-3 circuits of 100m, 75m, 50m, & 25m. Two are 10x50 on 1:30. And I'm gradually gaining endurance.

My running is consistently twice per week: one day of 10x150m or 10x400m hills and one LSD day, typically 9-11 miles.

My biking is...inconsistent. So I'll probably be doing the workout I got from the 33 (the hill intervals). But I'm still looking for something to do on the flats (without a power meter or HRM). Ideas?
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Old 11-23-10, 10:19 AM   #9
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I don't know which distance you are training for but from your words, it appears as though your run is strong so no gross improvement there. With swimming being your weakness, I think you should be swimming longer distances. I think you should not be so concern with swimming a 50 on 1:30 but more of distance starting with 150 or 200 pyramids. As for the biking, trifuel.com has some good and intensive workouts on the training pages.

Last edited by travelmama; 11-23-10 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 11-24-10, 06:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
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My biking is...inconsistent. So I'll probably be doing the workout I got from the 33 (the hill intervals). But I'm still looking for something to do on the flats (without a power meter or HRM). Ideas?
Consistency and specificity is key! You can do your 2*20 min intervals etc on the flat without the power meter or HRM (though a cheap HRM would help a lot!) as long as you get good using the rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Find a circuit / stretch of road where you won’t have to stop and go out riding at a solid pace for the interval period, have a short rest and repeat. The second 20 minutes will hurt, but you should have held back just enough to not die in the last 5 minutes. Naturally you can start with other shorter combinations to get used to the effort required, so 4*10, 3*15 etc all work too.

Some discussions and details of RPE relating to HR and power

http://www.trainingpeaks.com/gale/2T...gIntensity.doc
http://www.trainingpeaks.com/hunter/...ing_levels.pdf

If you don’t have big climbs near Lubbock TX, you can use ideally strong non blustery headwinds to replicate the extra resistance that climbing offers.
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Old 11-29-10, 10:59 AM   #11
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@Travelmama & @Dalai

Those might have been the most valuable resources I've read in weeks. Trifuel led me to a lot of answers as to how to maximize my off-season and the specific relationships between RPE & power were incredible. As a trainer, I have gobs of experience with RPE & HR, so that wasn't so bad to begin with, but the association with power will help a lot.

Thank you for those!

By the way...

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If you don’t have big climbs near Lubbock TX, you can use ideally strong non blustery headwinds to replicate the extra resistance that climbing offers.
Yeah...I have plenty of that. Will do. But I remember a quote I read somewhere about the mental game of riding wind-- "You can see the end of a hill. You can't see the end of the wind."
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Old 12-05-10, 08:39 PM   #12
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Great info here. subscribed.
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Old 12-06-10, 10:02 PM   #13
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Updates for those who care to know--I've been running 3-4 times/week (this is my running season) working toward 3.5 min/km over 10K (intervals, tempo runs, hills, one easy run each week). More important, I've devoted my swim time to long drills (100+m continuous drills) twice/week. I went for an "easy" swim yesterday and could feel some serious improvement to my comfort in the water and during my stroke. First continuous 200m I've done without help or pause...ever.

Also, been doing long intervals (10-18min each, repeat 2-3 times) on the bike 1/week and quick, power intervals (10x3min) 1/week as well as an easy day. My test statistic has been my 20K TT (last measured at 31:44 on a stationary roughly 2 weeks ago, shooting for sub-29). I'll be retesting on Dec 15; so early because I'm off to vacation the next day and won't have consistent saddle time for 3 weeks.

I've felt a lot of good things just from training consistently--my most recent commute, head-on into 18mph wind, matched my best ever time with the wind at my back. Not the most accurate or consistent statistic, but I still think that's just from pushing myself a few times per week and taking real rest days.
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Old 12-13-10, 04:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadprez012 View Post
Updates for those who care to know--I've been running 3-4 times/week (this is my running season) working toward 3.5 min/km over 10K (intervals, tempo runs, hills, one easy run each week). More important, I've devoted my swim time to long drills (100+m continuous drills) twice/week. I went for an "easy" swim yesterday and could feel some serious improvement to my comfort in the water and during my stroke. First continuous 200m I've done without help or pause...ever.

Also, been doing long intervals (10-18min each, repeat 2-3 times) on the bike 1/week and quick, power intervals (10x3min) 1/week as well as an easy day. My test statistic has been my 20K TT (last measured at 31:44 on a stationary roughly 2 weeks ago, shooting for sub-29). I'll be retesting on Dec 15; so early because I'm off to vacation the next day and won't have consistent saddle time for 3 weeks.

I've felt a lot of good things just from training consistently--my most recent commute, head-on into 18mph wind, matched my best ever time with the wind at my back. Not the most accurate or consistent statistic, but I still think that's just from pushing myself a few times per week and taking real rest days.
How is your training coming along and which distance are you training for?
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Old 12-13-10, 09:11 PM   #15
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Training looks good right now, thank you for asking!

In place of an HRM (which I'll pick up when I come back from vacation), I've been doing my ~30-45 minute, zone 3/zone 4 intervals on a stationary bike twice/week and getting my other "fun" or long rides in when I can get out of the house. Most training days have been devoted to running--tempo runs thrice per week (started at 400m, now at 1000s with a decent 5K tune-up just the other day) and sprints at least once per week. In the last 7 days, I have done a poor job of getting in the water, with just one good workout.

Events lined up for the season are 2 sprints about 3 months apart with an Olympic in between if my fitness allows for it. If it doesn't, three sprints, March, May and June. Also, training-related events include a 10K on New Year's Eve, 4mi runs both Jan & Feb (shooting for serious PRs at these three), and a 15K in early March; some collegiate cycling events Jan & Feb (races and 2 40K TTs).

Have a challenging season ahead yourself?
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Old 12-16-10, 11:23 AM   #16
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Impressive race calender you have laid out. I haven't such a challenging upcoming season but am considering a, 10k swim and a half marathon in March before traveling to South Africa for Ironman. Having done Ironman Cozumel a few weeks ago I am still on the fence about signing up. I enjoyed the swim and the crowd support so the notion of returning is keeping me up at night.
Your running is strong which will help your cycling but the swim is important. Is the pool that you swim at indoors and are you doing any kind of drill work?
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Old 12-16-10, 11:37 AM   #17
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The pool is indoors until March then we switch to the outdoor pool. In the last three days (trying to get all I can before today's flight) I've been in the water for about 1000yd of work each day. Between 500-700 of these have been drills--fingertip drag, catch-up, six-kick roll, kicking sets, and breathing exercises. I was told that I would be better off to spend my time on technique since I can build endurance faster than I can correct stroke deficiencies. Am I right here?

IM Cozumel? A gent I met during my half-marathon some weeks ago by the name of Heath was in training for that. Apparently he was going for 3 days before and 3 after, for race prep and...some good times. Similar situation for you? Also, how was the overall experience?
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Old 12-16-10, 07:09 PM   #18
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What you have been told is absolutely correct. Work on technique first and foremost. I have quite a few coaches with various forms of swim education but for most, the main priority is technique. Without proper technique, you will swim on fumes sooner than needed. Just like with most things, once you get the fundamentals down, the rest comes naturally such as the endurance. I asked about the drill work because I wanted to suggest all that you mentioned. Being a former short stroke unilateral swimmer, I found that finger trip dragging helped me to really stretch out my stroke and pace my bilateral breathing.
I was on Cozumel for 6 days (4 days prior to and 2 days after). I left early in the morning to go to the mainland to catch some sights.
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