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When to start next seasons training program?

I have just completed my 1st XT Tri (off road) on 24 September http://www.allabouttriathlons.co.uk/events_xtfestival__xtt-triathlon.html (off road) Swim 1.5k lake 00:29:40 Bike 24k MBT trail 01:17:32 Run 9k trail 00:43:15. All 3 discipline positions were equal.

For this I did a 12 week training programme of 3 x S, 3 x B, 3 x R, 2 yoga stretches, 1 mid section workout per week (11-12 hours) using a customized beginnertriathlete.com program.

I have taken a week off for R & R and now I am itching to get back into training. My next one is on 20th May '12 and my last will be 24 Sept 2012 which are similar distances. I will drop in some single sport/ duathlon races in the lead up to them.

My objective is to reduce my times by about 10% which will push me up about 70 places into the top 60 and about 10th in my age category (44 years old).

So the question is how do I structure my program.

I was inclined to do a 12,16 or 20 week race program of 3 x S, 3 x B, 3 x R, 2 yoga stretches, 2 mid section workout per week (11-12 hours).

But if so which length of race plan is optimum i.e. 12/16 or 20 and what do I do until then as keen to get going without risking being burnt out by the end of next season.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425

    Too many questions & so can only give answers to questions you didn't ask.

    For example your post season take it relatively easy preparation period is important and could be 16 weeks. Then your base period is vital before you start to build for races and could be 12 weeks. Your race build period could be 12 weeks which to me is about right. Many coaches and books use diffrent phrases for the 3 phases mentioned above as you move from general fitness through specific fitness to competitive fitness. It is all training so what do you actually mean by length of programme?

    If you want to maximise what you get out of what you put in you either need to access a good coach (face to face) which will probably cost or buy Joe Friels Triathlon Training Bible and work through it paragraph by paragraph, page by page. Not easy. Both these approaches should give you a structured progressive training plan.

    If you are simply after a well thought out 8 week pre-race programme have a look at the rather good Starting Out Triathlon by Paul Huddle & Rach Frey (expect to hear them commentate in Ironman Kona this weekend).

    Hope this sort of helps

  • gavinpgavinp Posts: 168
    Steady. Nice to see your all excited for next season You've got the right idea about a structured plan, but the ones you mention are going to be for next year working back from your first race. As race season doesn't start for some time yet, you'll need to do one of the following;

    A) Find a club that will hone your excitement over the next 2-4 months with some decent base training, eventually helping you with your race plans and structured race training.
    B) If your not joining a club then you need to structure you training around the type of races that your doing. If it's sprint races that float your boat for instance, you don't really need to be building up to 80+ mile bike rides every week. That would be just silly. Likewise for your swim and run, base you training around the distance that you are competing at.

    Hope that helps a little.

    Above all. Have fun
  • I think a main point here is intensity. Your post comes across as someone who is highly motivated to improve and is prepared to put in some solid time 12hrs. If you have a short lead in 12 wks then I suspect you might be just as likely to burn yourself out before race day as you would over 20 weeks. I am doing around 12 hrs per week now as part of my Pre Base and can cope with this, can you follow this through and take it up to around 20-22 hrs at the peak of the base period?

    This time of year is all about building the foundations for a sucessful season and that is about a low intensity sessions being very careful not to throw in too many harder efforts. One of the hardest things I find is knowing when to back off and still be confident that my previous levels of fitness will be there when I start to increase the intensity of my training later in the year. At present I am going on longer slow runs, a bit of trail running/walking and long slow bike rides taking in the views. For some the training might be intense, for others too easy but this is all relative to my abilities. I check my resting HR and how I feel daily and adjust things around that. Sometimes less is more. When I get to my weekly target like dinner time yesterday I enjoy the fact I have a day and a half off as reward. Because I have backed off with my running and cycling and that requires less mental focus, diverting my attention to improving my swim stroke through drills makes a lot of sense at this time of the year.

    I think you have to ask yourself the question do I want to race a lot or do I want to have a very good race window of a month or so which has in it my A and B race. If you really want to perform for a certain race then you have to accept that an annual peridization cycle is the best way forwards. If this is the case what is your A race? I am not too sure if your post is highlighting 2 races, I suspect it says I want to be excellent for a very long and extended period of time, this is simply not possible, the Pro's can't pull this trick off. Taking a periodization approach requires a lot of patience for motivated atheletes, mainly in backing off and then slowly building through the winter, and importantly in backing off to taper for your main couple of races.

    If you do not have this sort of patience, and many do not and are in it for the buzz of racing every couple of weeks or so your expectations would be great if everyone played the same game. It would be very hit or miss some weeks you come 10 places in front of a club mate a couple of weeks later they do the same to you. If you have this sort of patience I suspect the answer would have come to you and you needn't have put this post up, because I feel your post shows you have read up on training cycles. I suspect you know the answer as to what you should be doing now but simply don't like what it says, rather you want to be doing some 'proper training'. You do know what the consequence of your prefared strategy may be 'burn out' as you state. Remember training gains happen when we are resting and this is true on an annual basis as we need to give our bodies a break. If you are coming to this a very new and don't have a hard season under you still take things easy because to hammer it now is pointless because there are not that many great A races around over the Easter period, besides who is on their 'A' game at that time of year, would a top 10 age group placing be justifed as to your ability in the first race of the season if that was your peak. By pushing too much now you will be in danger of being very stale for the main part of the season come next year, steady does it.
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