July 21, 2010

Getting Back to Normal

Now that my mid-season break and cycling training block are over it’s time to get back to normal. First priority is to re-introduce swimming, running, and general strength training back into the program, all of which have been neglected during the weeks spent focused on cycling. This first week is a prep week where I’ll do some easy sessions in each discipline to evaluate my current fitness before developing a specific base training program. The number one key during the prep week is patience.

Even though I’ve been away from racing for almost two months my mind is still locked-on to more intense training. Consequently, it’s very important to plan specific training sessions that allow me to evaluate my fitness without going too hard to ensure the season doesn’t start with an injury. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Swimming: 1500 to 2000 yds with an emphasis on drills and mixed strokes. Include 4-6 50’s or 100’s at a moderate (aerobic) pace for time and remember to count your strokes. The combination of time and stroke count will give you a good measure of your current fitness relative to race fit performance.
  2. Bike: Trainer ride: Spin on the trainer at 90 rpm’s for an hour maintaining an aerobic HR…I use approximately 130bpm. Every five minutes increase the rpm’s to 110 and hold for 30″ to 1′. If your HR jumps up quickly and is slow to return to the aerobic level then easy base building riding will be the rule for the next few weeks. The same kind of session can be easy adapted to an outside ride on about a 15-20 mile course. Whether on the trainer or riding outside, try to maintain a cadence of around 90rpm’s. If your equipment doesn’t measure candence then you can do it manually by dropping an elbow down to touch your knee…your knee should touch your elbow 15 times in 10″.
  3. Run: Run about 20′-30′ and incorporate 5 x 20″ strides with a minute or two recovery. If the HR jumps up quickly and stays high then there are only slow runs for the next couple weeks. Spend this time working on technique by incorporating some basic running drills and focus on leg turnover…look to maintain 180 steps/minute or higher. For leg turnover count the number of times your left & right foot touches the ground in 20″ and multiple by 3.
  4. Strength training: Here the rule is always go easy at first…something I always seem to forget. Overtraining with weights in the first few sessions can cause tremendous soreness and make it quite difficult to do even easy swim, bike, or run sessions.

Whether getting back to training after a full transition period or a short break after racing, as an endurance athlete rebuilding your base is job one. The first step to rebuilding your aerobic base is evaluating your curent level of fitness before jumping into a full blown training program. Above are a few of the ways I go about it.

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