January 24, 2018

Triathlon Workout Types

Types of triathlon workoutsWhen you go to do a swim, bike or run workout do you have any structure in mind or do you just head out the door and do what strikes you that day? If you do, you’re not using your time effectively. And since most of us need to make the most of our training time you should have a plan.

When I coach triathletes I tell them there are really four primary “types” of triathlon workouts: power, speed, endurance and recovery.

A power workout is designed primarily to build the muscles you use in that particular event. As an example, a good power workout if you’re using a bicycle trainer is a high effort, low cadence spin. This type of workout really burns the quads and improves your power when you’re climbing hills and cycling into the wind.

A speed workout is designed to get your muscles used to turning over quicker. A good example here is a treadmill workout where you do intervals and decrease the length of the interval while increasing the speed. Contrary to what many believe, speed workouts are essential even for those doing half and full Ironman distance races.

Endurance workouts help get you ready for long hard efforts. An example of a good endurance workout is three 1,500 yard/meter reps in the pool. It gets your body ready to go longer distances. And just like speed workouts, endurance workouts aren’t just for half and full Ironman distances. You should incorporate endurance workouts no matter what your racing distance.

Then, the recovery workout. Recovery, also known as active recovery, is designed to stay active and repair damaged muscles. I generally subscribe swimming as your active recovery. I’ve been doing this for years and it seems to work for me. As cycling and running work your lower body you can give your legs a rest while you work your upper body when you’re swimming. An easy bike ride is also a good form of active recovery. I don’t like running as a recovery workout because it’s too hard on the body.

So how do you apply this? At a minimum, you should be doing three swim, bike and run workouts each week. At times you may combine them but that means nine workouts per week. Seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

Therefore, if you do three cycling and three running workouts. That’s six. You should do one each of power, speed and endurance. Then, the recovery days will be your three swim days. In general, you won’t combine any cycling or running on swim days (unless you’re doing a brick).

To vary your swim workouts you can use paddles for your power workouts, do short intervals of 50s or 100s for your speed and do two to three 1,500s for your endurance workouts.

That’s it. Not too tough, but starting out with a purpose for each workout will definitely yield better results.

Indoor Cycling DVD

Triathica is introducing the first DVD in the Triathica Academy series: Power Up! Power Up! is a 60-minute spin workout designed to help build your leg strength to climb hills and power through the wind.

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