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Training Issues

I followed a training program up until my first tri on Memorial day. Since then I’ve been mixing things up as I felt appropriate. A little speed work, some hills, long stuff, threshold etc. No periodization at all just pretty much trying to increase the volume. Now that I’m following Matt Fitzgerald’s Olympic program level 7, I have some questions:

  • Prior to following this program my swims averaged about 3000 yds and were pretty intense (10 x 200 etc). Now the training program has me averaging about 2500 yds per swim. Should I stick with the lower volume, or adjust the workouts to what I’m used to???
  • My long term goal isn’t to compete in sprints or even olympic tris, so even though that is what I’m focusing on now as I build to half and ironman fitness, should I be following plans designed for longer distances? Some people have warned me that doing so would mean a sacrifice of speed work, which would mean slower sprints and olys and others have told me that training for 70.3 when all I plan on doing is an Olympic would just leave me better prepared for the Oly.
  • Lastly, as a relative newbie, how much free range should I be exercising in adjusting my training plan. I went for a 70 mile bike ride yesterday and no Olympic  plan that I’ve seen calls for such distance. Was I hurting myself by doing it?

I’d really love your thoughts here, regardless of you level of expertise. I rely on you guys so much more than you know. So many of you have been an inspiration to me and I know how much knowledge is out there and truly appreciate your help sorting it all out.

To what extent do you adjust your training plans?


About paddyb76

Aspiring triathlete and endurance athlete. Husband, father and teacher. Always seeking a better life.


7 thoughts on “Training Issues

  1. Yo dude shoot me and emaill and we’ll discuss

    Posted by Feerlessfood | August 3, 2011, 10:56 pm
  2. If you are working off of plan then stick to it because it is all intertwined. It is not a one day schedule but a plan that takes into account rest/recovery along with speed work and endurance work.

    My coach had me training for HIM even though I had Olympics in there, and I can feel the schedule getting skewed toward an IM while doing Olys and HIMs until then but they also include plenty of rest/recovery and low volume weeks as well to allow the body to adapt.

    Posted by Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race | August 4, 2011, 11:13 am
  3. Pretty much what Jason said. Ultimately, I feel that your body will tell you what you can and can’t do. I was training for an IM this year and did a HIM as speed work and took over 20min off previous years time. So, 70 miles for an OLY hurting you? NO.

    I personally feel everyone is different. Fitzgerald’s plan is hard core, no need to add anything on that one. Our plan is very weak and has minimal long bike rides, so we kept piling more on KNOWING we would be screwed if we didn’t.

    Don’t go too crazy on your plans, trust that the plan is a journey with an end goal. Don’t choose a plan expecting multiple huge milestones, you need a coach to adapt your training for that (3rd person perspective on your training and results).

    Posted by Matt Oravec | August 4, 2011, 2:47 pm
    • Makes sense Matt. Fitz’s plan has a ton of speed and interval work, particularly for the runs. The swims are short as I said, but after the other stuff, I find that I’m about out of gas anyway when the swim comes around. Do you have a coach? What are your opinions of them?

      Posted by paddyb76 | August 4, 2011, 10:40 pm
  4. First of all, yeah, what Jason & Matt said.

    Second, Fitzgeralds plan is pretty tough – it is good, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t do anything that intense. You very well could be more of a go-getter than I am though. I am in it to finish and reach the goals I set for myself, that is it. I don’t really care what everyone else is doing, so I guess I am saying, I only compete with myself and don’t look at my standing at the end of a race. It is TOTALLY OK and cool to do that, I just don’t.

    The thing is – you can’t be the best at every distance. You need to know what your goals really are. If you want to be fast at Oly/sprint level….then you want the speedwork, probably quite a bit of it. But if your goal is HIM or IM – you need the endurance. Speed work too, but really, you need the longer sustained effort swims. So that means, Yes, your Oly/Sprint times might not be so fast because you didn’t do as much speedwork, but you can swim much longer.

    No one goes balls out for 1.2 or 2.4 miles really, especially when you have 56/112 miles to bike and 13.1/26.2 miles to run after. You should swim for distance so that when you get out, you are NOT tired. Like, if your energy is a glass of water on HIM/IM day, you want the swim to be like a sip from that glass, not a big gulp. You need the rest of that glass for your bike and run.

    Really the best advice is to trust the plan, listen to your body, and when race day comes, relax and enjoy the day.

    Posted by caratunkgirl | August 4, 2011, 3:14 pm
    • The “energy is a glass of water” analogy is perhaps the greatest ever! Everything you’re saying makes sense, figuring out what my goals are has been a struggle for me from the beginning. It’s tough when you can’t have it all.

      Posted by paddyb76 | August 4, 2011, 10:42 pm

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