Monday, December 27, 2010

You Ask I tell

I am starting a semi-regular feature here, called, You Ask I Tell. I fielded the questions on Twitter and will answer them here on the blog.

Rhys Spencer asks, "How can I do well in an Ironman triathlon without any swim training?"

The reality for many age-group triathletes is that swim training takes up the most amount of time with the least bang for the buck and with perhaps the greatest inconvenience of the three sports that make up triathlon. I am saying that you do need to swim, but once you have elevated the swimming to a certain level it's really hard to take it to the next level . . and the next level really may be only a few minutes faster. What to do? Make sure your stroke is a as good as it can be. Make sure when you get in the pool you really make every interval and workout count. Make sure that you do straight 30 min and even 60min plus swims at IM race pace regularly. Most Master's swim programs will not have you doing this, but it's my feeling and the feeling of a few top triathlon coaches that I have spoken to who feel these are important workouts for the IM swim.

Larry Bradley asks "Why do we see Age-Group triathletes finishing in the top 10 of some 70.3 triathlons?"

There has been a very quick proliferation of the 70.3 races in the past few years and the size of the Pro pool of athletes has not grown accordingly. Once you drop away from the absolute best long-distance triathletes in the world, you get into a gray area where there may be a mingling of second and third tier Pro triathletes and the very best Age-Group triathletes. Some of these Age-Group triathletes are very fit and experienced and when they have a good day they are finishing in the top-10 of races.

Rob Colling asks, "What is your training advice for those of us triathletes in the freeziest of areas?"

You need to focus on what you can do and what you can't do. Because triathlon is made of of three sports there are a number of different ways to skin the cat here. However, I find that many triathletes tend to lament the fact that they can't cycle that much because of snow, cold and lack of light and to not focus on what sort of training can be done despite the weather. One approach for some is to forget triathlon almost completely and just cross-country ski. However, to make this really work, you need to really commit to the skiing. A couple times each month does not count. You need to commit to 3 - 4 ski sessions/week and really work it. No skiing for you? This is perhaps the best approach for the non- skier: Make the winter a huge run focus and/or swim focus. Winter weather, should have minimal impact how much and how often you can run or swim. Winter running, with the right apparel and right attitude, can be some of the best running of the year! They say that the base for great summer running performances is laid in the winter. What about the bike? Forget the mega long terribly boring trainer rides. Hit the bike trainer a couple times each week, but really make it count. No noodling around. Quick warm-up. Go hard for 20 -30 minutes and then warm down. Done!

Hope this helps.

You ask I tell. Any questions?

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Rob said...

Thanks, Steve. Those are some great tips.



Thanks for the original question. Keep the off season rolling. Keep it fresh and keep it interesting.