The Balancing act of Triathlon

I am now about a month into my training for a triathlon. While training, I am trying extensively to apply my knowledge of coaching and training to how I train.

First I would like to say is wow!! It is way different from bike racing. Involving three sports really starts to play havoc on recovery and workout progression. The balance of training around how the previous days workout becomes much more difficult. One of the hardest difficulties for me has been the running. I have do some research around and looked at how to better balance all three sports.

Running does really seam to be the limiting factor. The reason I say this is because even if you are coming from a running background, injury prevention in running is the biggest challenge. It is crucial you let your body recover from the run before attempting another run workout. Cycling is also part of this balance. I am finding it easier to place an easy bike day after a run day to help with some active recovery. For me, Not being able to go out and do a hard bike day after a seemingly easy run day can be frustrating.

From my experience and some of the research I have done here are some tips for a bringing balance into a triathlon training program.

1)  Invest in a good running shop! Become their friends and take lots of time to find the right  shoe and insole for you. Also take time to read about good running habits.

2) I recommend using a easy bike / swim / or stretch day after a run workout. For the novice to even intermediate triathlete I would caution against back to back run days.

3) Use running intensity sparingly. This does not mean completely ignore it however. I would recommend that more often than not high intensity workouts be on bike. For a novice triathlete and runner, use intensity maybe every other week, and a bit more during a taper period. For more intermediate you could introduce a brief (20-30) of hard running per week. Speed work is very helpful to runners, it can be for triathletes as well. Again use with caution.

4) Run mileage and volume should only be bumped up 3-6% every week. Unlike cycling which is far easier to recover from, only small bumps should be used.

But what about swimming? Luckily it is the only sport of the three that does not involve the lower body. I use these workouts almost independently from cycling and running as far as muscle and joint recovery go. When planning swimming, plan it more as the overall volume in terms of how taxing on the aerobic system it can be.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan


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