IN THIS EDITION…
- Why fartleks are ideal for triathletes
- Body rotation: the key to faster freestyle
- You need to be doing over-unders
- How to avoid intensity blindness
- 10 truths for faster bike splits
For many of us, getting faster on the bike is the best way to significantly improve our IRONMAN finish time.
These days there are plenty of devices, diets and hacks that promise to improve our cycling but, as coach Chris Carmichael reminds us, these are often distractions that prevent us from making real progress.
Getting faster isn’t complicated, but there are no shortcuts. Apply his 10 fundamental truths about bike training to your own program and watch your bike splits drop.
AVOID INTENSITY BLINDNESS
Research has confirmed that training 80% of the time at lower intensities, and just 20% at higher efforts, delivers optimal benefits to endurance athletes.
However, many of us spend most of our training in the “messy middle,” at moderate intensities that prevent us from realizing the full benefits of our workouts.
According to coach Matt Fitzgerald, properly managing an 80/20 program starts with slowing down what you perceive to be low intensity sessions. Most of us tend to train slightly too hard, shifting us into that moderate intensity rut.
Follow Fitzgerald’s useful tips to get training intensity under control, and watch your progress accelerate.
Did you know that, in properly executed freestyle, the hips do not rotate at the same time as the shoulders?
You can perfect the transfer of energy between the arms and legs during your freestyle stroke – generating more power — with a short pause in your body rotation. This will help you stay taller and more streamlined for longer, preserving speed.
Check out this interesting video that illustrates the nuances of this critical skill, and learn useful drills and cues to improve body rotation for faster swimming.
TECHNIQUE IS EVERYTHING
The secret to better swimming is an obsessive commitment to improving your technique. The purpose-built swim products by FINIS will get you there faster.
Their first-to-market Stability Snorkel teaches proper head position and facilitates critical drills.
A wide variety of Paddles helps to optimize hand entry & exit, and various phases of the catch and pull.
The innovative design of their Edge Fins promotes a kick that starts at the hips and not at the knees.
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HURTS SO GOOD
If you want to improve how you manage the accumulation of lactate while cycling at or above your FTP, then consider the over-under workout.
The “over” segments of the workout flood your body with lactate and other metabolic byproducts (which can be quite uncomfortable!), and the “under” segments allow a brief and partial recovery.
With repeated over-under workouts, your body becomes more efficient at lactate management. You’ll also accrue significant time at high intensity, and develop mental toughness.
If you’re ready to tackle this challenging workout, then check out these 4 over-under formats offered by Meghan Kelley.
For developing aerobic capacity and improving running efficiency, it’s hard to beat the fartlek session.
Devised by Finnish coaches in the 1930’s, it’s become a mainstay of competitive runners and triathletes everywhere.
Unlike typical intervals, where it’s common to stop between efforts, fartlek workouts blend a variety of nonstop efforts to challenge multiple energy systems in one extended session.
Olympic coach Ben Bright thinks fartleks are ideal for triathletes, because they require you to run well when fatigued… Just like after getting off the bike during a race. Give his favorite fartlek workout a try and you’ll quickly understand the power of this classic session.
- Better in the Open
Jan Sibbersen holds the Hawaii IRONMAN swim record and now heads his own wetsuit company. He recently released a beautiful series of short videos designed to improve your triathlon swimming proficiency. Apply his practical tips for more speed and confidence in open water.
- Purposeful Fatigue
In this fantastic Twitter thread, coach Steve Magness describes how to properly manage your effort throughout a HIIT workout to maximize the high intensity stimulus, reinforce good mechanics, and make the entire workout count.
- Up We Go
Inject some power into your run with regular hill repeats scheduled into your workout rotation. This diabolical hill pyramid will definitely build strength and speed that you can call on during the later stages of your next IRONMAN run.