T3Multisports is passionate about your training and development. Our goal is to provide different articles on all aspects of the sport of triathlon and cycling to include equipment, nutrition, strength training and general health information. All articles are for you the reader to review, question and find what is right for you.
Off-Season and Pre-Season Training Thoughts
Triathlon season has come to a close and now what should you do? Well, first I would say congratulate yourself for completing last season. Take some time to rest and recover, reflect on your past season and what you would like to accomplish next season. This is also a good time to consider school sports programs or a single sport’s club activity for variety and cross-training (doing something to work your other muscles) this will help improve your balance as an athlete.
Most importantly have fun and maintain some level of fitness; it will keep you healthy and prepare you for more structured training sessions in the future especially during pre-season conditioning. During the off-season one of your goals should be to address limiters (weaknesses) as they pertain to you the individual athlete. Remember all triathletes have limiters in each discipline.
Pre-season is the time when you should work on your overall physical conditioning for triathlon. You should include some strength training during this period. When I speak of strength training for youth; I am referring to using your own body weight, not free weights or machines…save that for your upper teen years or adulthood. What I am addressing here is developing the whole athlete. Stronger, well-rounded athletes tend to have less injuries and are able tolerate more structured specific training throughout the season. Body weight exercises include push-ups, pull-ups (palms facing away from you), chin ups (palms facing you), sit-ups, non- weighted squats and lunges, the use of a stability ball and associated exercises; these all build good strength without the use of weights.
As you continue your pre-season training you want to focus on the three disciplines of triathlon: Swim, Bike, and Run. This is the time to work on your good technique not speed; it is also a time you may want to seek out a coach for each sport or a USAT certified coach that has a youth specific focus. Using a qualified coach specializing in youth and junior development can help ensure you are getting the most out of your training program. Youth coaches observe the big picture and consider the physical and psychological develop of our young athletes.
Now to address your swim, bike and run workouts; they all should include a warm up, technique and drills, a main set and cool down. This training format tends to work best because it allows you to warm up the muscles that are going to be used throughout the training session and to avoid injury. It has been my experience that conducting technique and drills at the beginning of the training session when you are fresh and the most focused provide the best training value. Next comes the main set, the meat of these workouts may consist of multiple swim sets, cycling on a trainer or an outdoor course for time and running repeats on the track or just a measured course on the trails or some other soft surface. All of these workouts should be followed by a good cool down to bring the heart rate back down to normal and a good stretching session to finish out the workout.
Triathlon is a great sport; it is a life sport! Each one of you that participates in it or any multisport activity should be proud of your accomplishments. Enjoy the off season, train smart and safely. I look forward to seeing you at the races next season.
Boris Robinson is a USA Triathlon Level 2 Elite Coach, a USA Cycling Level II Coach, and a member of the National Council of Youth Sports.
Contact at: coachBoris@T3Multisports.com
Transitions: The need for free speed
Boris Robinson, USAT Level II Coach, ITU Level II Elite Coach
Most of you focus your triathlon training on the swim, bike and run; yet work on your transitions if you have time left over after training. Triathlon is three sports but five events: Swim, Transition one (T1), Bike, Transition 2 (T2) and Run. These two transitions are important parts of the sport and can make or break your race.
I have attended youth races and watched young athletes come out of the water in the top group, only to get caught by a number of slower swimmers because of slow transitions. What is the benefit of swimming fast only to get caught and in some cases passed in the transition area? I have seen triathletes sit down to put on socks, drink water or sports drink, even waste time tying their shoes while other athletes pass them by.
Transitions should be quick with the goal of getting out and on the course in the least amount of time. This is what I call “Free Speed” you don’t have to swim faster, bike faster or run faster. They don’t require hours of training or high mileage but they do require planning and practice. Once you have mastered the art of transition you will see significant reduction in the amount of time you spend in the transition area. Streamlining your transitions will also make the race a lot more fun.
I recommend laying out your gear just like you would for a race (in the order of use), since you transition from swim to bike (T1), I recommend your helmet be the first item you put on once you get to T1, it’s a safety issue as well as a rule; wear your helmet before you touch your bike. My motto is “no helmet, no ride.” Select a towel (something unique to help you spot your area) to lie on the ground, then lay out your gear for biking, and then the run. Most experienced triathletes have their shoes clipped into the pedals on the bike (if you have clipless pedals), so you really only have your helmet and sunglasses to put on before you un-rack your bike and head to the mount line. I also recommend you get lace locks or Yankz to replace the regular laces in your running shoes; this will speed up your transitions. You should get a race number belt and clip your number to it; since you must have your race number on it is easy to clip on a race belt than putting on a t-shirt with the number pinned to the front. Once you have laid out your gear for the bike, then lie out your run gear; running shoes, race number belt and hat if you wear one.
Once you gear is laid out in the order of use, you should walk to the swim entrance into the transition area and get a good mental picture of where your bike is racked. Next you should move to the bike exit/entrance and look back to your rack making a mental note of where your rack is in relation to the bike entrance. Transition areas look very different once a race starts and you should have specific landmarks or reference points that will not move to help you locate your rack.
Using these simple techniques and practicing them at least on a weekly basis will improve your transition time and get you out biking and running much faster.
Good luck with your racing!