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training and recovery

i have decided to take up triathlon this year as a hobby for health, fitness and a bit of competition, I need a bit off a buzz in my life. In for London Sprint Triathlon in July.
Anyway,I am reasonably fit but i'm now structuring my training plan around the 3 sports,I made up an 8 week plan at the moment where I am trying to build a base fitness, so that in March I can step it up a notch, Basically what im doing at the moment is all indoor training,
3 x Spin/RPM classes per week.
3 x sesssions at the pool per week where I am doing roughly 100 lengths (2.5k) per session.
and a beginner 10k running plan which I am running aprox 4 times per week! (running is by far my weakest sport).
On top of this I do a couple of Pilates, and Body Combat classes per week just to mix it up a bit and help my really bad flexability!
Anyway I have been reading a bit about recovery and this has made me wonder, how long should I be leaving between training sessions?
to simplify would it be acceptable to train 6 days per week as long as I left it 48 hrs between disiplines (except running because I need to do it 2 days in a row once a week) as I work contintal shifts so its not easy to follow a standardised structured plan!
Hope all this makes sense.



  • Blimey! Do you not work??
  • bobby18bobby18 Posts: 15
    I do work, its a continental shift pattern which is 2 x 12 hour dayshifts, 2 x 12 hour nightshifts followed by 4 days off basically my i live my life on an 8 day cycle! I can manage my time to get training in though i dont just want to over train on my 4 days off so i try to put an hour a day in while im on shift too! Due to my shifts i work most weekends so its not easy to join cycling clubs etc so i do all my training on my own!

  • Hi,

    one rest day per week during normal training is a must. Performance gains are achieved only during recovery. If you keep training without letting your body to relax, your performance level will start to decrease after a while. I would recommend you to take one day f from training every week. Furthermore, it is preferable to train for example three weeks with high training load and then take one week easier (recovery week). During this recovery week you should only do basic workouts and recovery trainings.

    When a competition is getting closer and the training intensity gets high, you can also train only two weeks and then take one recovery week.

    The golden rule is: the worst you can do, is to train too much. It takes a lot of time to recover from an overtraining syndrome.
  • Couldn't agree more with the comment above. Recovery is a huge part of everyday training. There's no point being fit if you're not healthy. Mark Allen once said "Triathletes don't need to be told when to train, but when not to train".

    2 swims, 2 bikes and 2 runs a week is actually sufficient for completing any distance. Other athletes will say this is too low, but after a working week, family commitments and other hobbies, this is more than ample!

    Obviously if you wanted to really push yourself ie. qualify for world champs/become pro then of course you'd have to train more. But we are everyday folk after all.

    Hope this helps,
  • bobby18bobby18 Posts: 15
    Thanks for the replies guys, some really good information there,

    Finntrainer, I like the idea of 3 high intensity weeks followed by a low easy week, I think I could really make that work for me, also I do take a day off each week! How do you know if you have over training syndrome?
    The one thing I cant find any info on is, how much rest do I need between types of training, could I cycle, swim and run every day for 6 days then rest or would it be best to give a days rest between dicaplines?

    DanTheTriMan, I agree that 6 training sessions per week is probably ample but as a newby I think maybe an eagerness to do well inspires me to train as hard as I can. I know I can swim, cycle, and run the distances but what I dont know is if I can do them all together, its that fear that makes me want to put the extra training hours in.

  • Yeah I've started doing this 3 weeks on 1 week off idea. I got it from the book "Going Long" by Joe Friel & Gordon Byrn. Its a great way for me to avoid a burnout

    So I'm doing something like this over a 4 week month at the moment:

    Week 1: Shorter distance workouts / intervals / hills / threshold /strength work etc through the week, and a large bike session at the weekend.
    Week 2: Short distance workouts / intervals / hills / threshold / strength work etc through the week, and a long run at the weekend.
    Week 3: Short distance workouts / intervals / hills / threshold / strength work etc through the week, and a long swim or brick session at the weekend.
    Week 4: Rest week. (Still training but about 50% of what I'd normally be doing)

    As the lighter nights come in I'll be able to do more longer sessions through the week but I'm happy doing this for now
  • Hi Bobby,

    One useful method for monitoring your training load is taking your morning heart rate. You can find a blog post on that on blog. I will also write blog post about different training methods/workouts and specific recovery periods between these training methods/workouts.

    One thing to remember is that the training sessions during a week also has to be in right order. When your body is recovered then it will ready to receive high intensity training and recover from it. When your body starts to get tired the high intensity trainings should be avoided. Therefore it is important to variate the training load during a week. I usually try to build up two peaks in a week. A basic trayning week could look like this:

    Sunday: REST
    Wednesday: LOW INTENSITY
    Saturday: LOW INTENSITY.

    Remember: do not mix training intensity with training volume. Low intensity may also mean high training volume and high intensity low volume!!!
  • bobby18bobby18 Posts: 15
    Thanks Finntrainer,

    The training seems to becoming very scientific for me to follow especially on my shifts but I am keen to try to get the most out of my training!
    I am still quite novice to training but trying to educate myself about how to go about getting the best results. When you say high intensity low volume - low intensity, high volume would an example of that be to say cycle 15 miles as fast as I can versus to cycle 50 miles at a leisurely pace?

    As my training goes I am managing to get about 8 -12 hours per week but my initial plan was to just basically get some mileage in all 3 sports to increase my fitness in each, and initially lose some weight! Should I be increasing my intensity at least once a week in each to improve?

    Thanks for all the information and I hope this makes sense!

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  • RhonaRhona Posts: 2
    Hi Bobby,

    I think you've had a lot of your question(s) answered already, but in response to some that maybe haven't:

    How do you know if you have overtrained?
    There are several symptoms of this such as:
    Persistent muscle soreness
    Persistent fatigue
    Elevated resting heart rate
    Increased susceptibility to infections
    Increased incidence of injuries
    Loss of motivation
    Decreased appetite
    Weight loss
    Sleep deprivation

    To help you spot if things are starting to go wrong you can monitor things such as:
    Morning resting heart rate
    Morning body mass
    Hydration status
    Sleep quality
    Daily rating of fatigue

    Any sudden changes or a continual drop in body mass, rise in resting heart rate, poor sleep and rising ratings of fatigue = time to rest!

    Basically just listen to your body - if you're struggling for energy, feeling tired, every session is hard work then maybe you need to ease off a bit.

    Check out this webpage on training recovery: http://www.intelligent-triathlon-training.com/training-recovery.html - lots of useful information about different types of fatigue as well as things you can do to enhance/speed up recovery between sessions.

    Hope that helps!
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