January 23, 2018

Triathlon Tips: How To USe Marker Sets In Your Triathlon Training

Jarrett Pflieger

For extreme beginners in triathlon and other endurance sports, getting faster is easy, relatively speaking. Simply going out and exercising will make you more fit, usually no matter how it is structured. For athletes that already have a pretty good aerobic base, more strategy needs to go into planning workouts. Workouts should be designed to improve different aspects of an athlete’s performance and progress should be tracked in order to ensure your strategies are working.

I like to use the analogy of lifting weights. For a beginner, simply going and lifting weights will make you stronger and more fit, usually no matter how many sets, reps, and pounds you use. If your muscles are already fairly conditioned, it takes much more than just going and doing whatever you feel like. You need to plan your workouts, record your weights, reps, and sets and monitor your progress to make sure you are improving. If you are not, you will be able to identify and correct problems in your training.

The same goes for triathlon and multisport training. Marker sets are specific workouts you perform at different points in your training schedule to check if you are improving, or in some cases, regressing. The marker set for cycling could be a power test, a time trial, or a regular loop you like to ride in your area. The swim could be recording your time for a certain number of laps, or seeing how far you can swim in a certain amount of time. The same goes for the run. Just pick a good marker set workout and stick with it, performing it every few weeks, or once a month.

There are several indicators of improvement depending on the type of marker set you choose:

1. Faster time

2. Lower heart rate

3. Longer distance

4. Higher average power over a set distance or time

5. Lower perceived exertion

The most important thing is that the marker set stays consistent. If you do a time trial, use the same distance and course every time. If you record average power, ride for the same amount of time and keep your cadence the same throughout the set. Doing your marker sets indoors, especially on the bike, helps take many of the variables out of the equation.

By utilizing marker sets in your training, you could potentially:

- Improve at a faster rate by fine-tuning your training

- Save time by not wasting it with unproductive workouts

- Motivate yourself with tangible results

If you are not currently using marker sets, it may be something that will take your ability to the next level. Try it out and feel free to consult a coach or trainer if you are unsure about what to do. The USAT certified coaches here at Triathica are always here to help.

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