Can you achieve your personal best with a sprint triathlon training program that requires only 4 hours a week or less? You may be surprised, but the answer is yes. Many people assume that getting fast requires long hours. This misconception is compounded by popular triathlon literature which states that the majority of your training should be "long slow distance", and that intensity can be potentially harmful to your development.
let's look at where these ideas originated, then we'll talk about how we can overcome these old ideas with new ideas for triathlon training that will save you time AND make you faster!
Initially exercise physiologists believed that the best way to improve your maximal oxygen uptake was with long slow, overdistance exercises. While it's true that your VO2 max will improve with a regimented training plan of 6 weeks or more of long endurance paced workouts, recent studies have proven that there are faster ways of achieving an even greater increase in your VO2 max.
The second reason that age group triathletes like you and I have been taught to follow the "endurance intensity" triathlon training plans is that this is what the pros do. Professional endurance athletes like marathoners, bike racers and triathletes are able both physically and time wise, to do an incredibly large volume of training compared to the rest of the working world.
People are always enthusiastic to copy or model the plans that the pros use...and as a result, triathletes tend to follow the "long slow distance" base training model of triathlon training.
When time strapped, age group triathletes like the rest of us need to create our own training program, it beneficial to make a plan that will maximize our time spent training. We don't have adequate time to do long periods of "base miles", either for biking, running or swimming.
In this case, the volume of "long slow endurance" needs to be made up for with intensity. It's OK to keep your weekend or mid-week long ride or run. But the other workouts during the week can and should be a balanced mix of tempo, threshold and VO2 max work (also referred to as Zones 3-5 by many coaches and athletes).
The specific interval sets, durations, repetitions and frequency is determined by what phase of training your in, how long before your next event and your current fitness level.
By substituting intensity for traditional volume, the training stress can be raised to such a level that even on four hours a week you can create or modify a sprint triathlon training plan that will help you reach your personal best.
For examples of sprint triathlon training plans that incorporate intensity into run, bike and swim workouts to help you reach your personal best, sign up for the Forging the Athlete newsletter and receive a free 20 Page Triathlon Training Guide and First Time Finishers Sprint Triathlon Training plan as well.
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