IN THIS EDITION…
- Freestyle audit for immediate improvement
- 3 proven VO2max workouts
- Why you need an overload training block
- Flexible fueling for faster racing
- How long before I benefit from a workout?
You’ve just performed a difficult threshold run. How long before you reap the benefits of that workout?
In this article coach Jeff Gaudette examines the 4 most common types of run workouts and explains when you can expect to realize their benefit after your body has responded and adapted to the training stress.
You’ll appreciate the nuanced analysis of speedwork, VO2max intervals, threshold sessions and long runs. Gaudette even provides a convenient chart that you can reference while planning your weekly workouts.
Of course how you respond to any specific workout is far different from how you develop and improve your energy systems over the long term. Nonetheless understanding how your body reacts to different types of run workouts will help you schedule your sessions and fine-tune your training load for maximal benefit.
OVERLOAD BY DESIGN
IRONMAN triathletes can derive great benefit from a training period that includes four or more consecutive days of cycling. Sometimes referred to as an “overload block,” it delivers massive physiological adaptations and helps build mental toughness.
Chris Case explores how to structure an overload block for maximum benefit. He maps out his day-by-day workouts from Thursday through Sunday, and discusses how best to manage your accumulating fatigue.
Through a combination of intervals designed to raise FTP, long aerobic rides, and sustained threshold efforts he keeps the volume and fatigue trending upwards. A successful overload block may require a full week of active recovery, but triathletes often find that it helps them bust through a training plateau and continue their improvement.
Skilled swimmers make freestyle look so easy and effortless, while newbies often emerge from their swim leg in a deep energy deficit because they’ve been fighting the water and struggling with their stroke the entire way.
Nearly every triathlete can improve their freestyle. Use this guide by coach Fares Ksebati to walk through the 6 essential components of your freestyle stroke. Consider each one in relation to your own technique (perhaps with the help of some cellphone videos or on-deck instruction), and identify the weak links in your mechanics.
Once you’ve isolated the specific issues, it becomes much easier to choose appropriate drills and workouts to correct them. You’ll be swimming faster in no time!
PICK IT UP
A major problem of many triathlon swimmers is overthinking their freestyle stroke. By trying to focus on too many cues for improving technique, their stroke rate drops and they develop deadspots that kill their speed.
One way to avoid this is to increase your stroke rate by training with the FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro. With this unobtrusive underwater metronome, you can aim to raise your turnover to 35 strokes per minute (or higher). Doing so will smooth out your power curve and increase your efficiency.
Additionally a higher turnover is more conducive for success in the open water where other swimmers, waves and chop frequently disrupt your forward momentum.
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Our ability to use oxygen while exercising – also known as aerobic capacity and measured as VO2max – is a key contributor to endurance performance.
Aerobic capacity can be improved by training at our maximal rate of oxygen consumption, but those sessions are challenging and, if not precisely controlled, can lead to burnout or injury.
Coach Matt Fitzgerald outlines 3 science-based workouts for improving VO2max.
These sessions allow you to accumulate time at very high effort by performing multiple short intervals at varying intensities. Include all three of these workouts into your training mix for variety while improving your aerobic capacity.
Your body never uses just one type of fuel. You’re always burning both carbs and fat, but the relative proportion of each varies according to performance intensity. As intensity increases, metabolism of carbohydrates increases and our ability to utilize fat decreases.
As coach Jim Rutberg says, we want to train ourselves to reach a higher percentage of maximum power while still primarily relying on fat for energy. Doing so preserves our limited glycogen stores for when we need them most, and helps us avoid stomach distress caused by overconsuming carbs during a race.
Human performance scientist Corinne Malcolm provides a comprehensive explanation of how your body balances its fuel sources. She also discusses how you might become a more fat-adapted triathlete through strategic carbohydrate periodization.
Consider her approach of combining various nutritional strategies to attain metabolic flexibility. Doing so could elevate your race day results to new heights.
- Easy as Hill
As you ease yourself back into higher intensity efforts, give this half-hill workout a try. It incorporates short duration intervals to build strength and speed, while reducing the risk of injury often associated with speedwork.
- 3 Strong Moves
We know: you’re pressed for time and find it difficult to integrate strength training into your weekly routine. Sports rehab specialist James Dunne has identified his top 3 bodyweight exercises for faster running. They’re designed to improve general strength, balance and lower leg conditioning. No more excuses!
After studying thousands of age group marathoners, a recent Northwestern University study found no link between running and hip and knee deterioration. Despite many doctors advising their patients to cut back on their mileage, running does not cause long-term “wear and tear” on the joints.