Intelligent Triathlon Talk

7th February 2012, Issue No 6.

Welcome to Intelligent Triathlon Talk.

In this issue:

  • News Update: Mark's squad return from a 3 week training camp – see one of their week’s training sessions
  • Training Advice: Pay attention to your recovery
  • New On The Site: Interviews with Sarah Haskins and Gwen Jorgensen

Mark's Squad News

(Mark is Performance Coach for British Triathlon’s High Performance Centre in Loughborough.)

Mark and his squad of triathletes on the British Triathlon Olympic Development Programme have just spent a very successful 3 weeks on a training camp in southern Spain. He updates us on how it went:

The aim of the camp for most of the athletes was to push their aerobic endurance onto another level. Having spent the last 3 months getting to an already decent level this was always going to be a high volume and tough camp.

It was also a new venue as we were looking for somewhere with a few more long climbs than places we had been before, for both cycling and running. We certainly found some as well!

One of the rides was 3300-m (11,000ft) of climbing in 110-km (68-m) and from our accommodation we could run up to 600-m (2000-ft) from sea-level in one continuous run.

This type of camp requires total commitment, not just to the training, but also the resting and recovery. This means the camp in itself is quite boring.

It is literally eat, sleep, train, foam roller and round again. There is no time for sight seeing or energy for other activities.

We accumulated 105 hours of training in 21 days of training, all of which was performed at a suitable quality. There were only a couple of sessions that we had to modify to manage the overall training load, and this is ~ 20% more training load than the athletes would normally manage in their home base.

Typical week on camp


  • 07:00 Swim 5k including 2.5k of LT2
  • 09:30 Back to bed for 40-min
  • 10:30 Bike 4hrs Extensive Endurance inc 3 x 20-min climbs done at LT1
  • 16:00 Run up to 60-min Extensive Endurance
  • 18:30 Dinner
  • 19:45 Foam roller and massage
  • 21:00 Bed


  • 09:30 Run Session (LT1 3 x 15min with 4-min active recovery)
  • 14:00 Swim Speed session 4K
  • 17:00 Run up to 40-min easy
  • 18:30 Dinner


  • 07:00 Swim 6.5k Extensive Endurance
  • 09:30 Back to bed for 40-min
  • 10:30 Bike 4hrs Extensive Endurance
  • 16:00 Run up to 60-min Extensive Endurance
  • 18:30 Dinner
  • 19:45 Foam roller and massage
  • 21:00 Bed


  • 08:00 Run Extensive Endurance up to 100-min
  • 11:00 Conditioning
  • 13:00 Swim Easy 4K
  • 15:00 Ride 2-hrs inc 20-min group through and off at end
  • 17:00 Run 2-min fast straight off bike
  • 18:30 Dinner
  • 19:45 Foam roller and massage
  • 21:00 Bed


  • 07:00 Swim 5K Tolerance session
  • 09:30 Back to bed for 40-min
  • 10:30 Bike 4hrs Extensive Endurance inc 3000-m climbing
  • 16:00 Run up to 60-min Extensive Endurance
  • 18:30 Dinner
  • 19:45 Foam roller and massage
  • 21:00 Bed


  • 09:30 Run Session LT2 development 30-min
  • 13:00 Ride up to easy 3-hrs
  • 17:00 Optional easy run
  • 18:30 Dinner
  • 19:45 Foam roller and massage
  • 21:00 Bed


  • 08:00 Run Long Extensive Endurance up to 100-min
  • 12:00 Swim easy 4.5K
  • 18:30 Dinner
  • 19:45 Foam roller and massage
  • 21:00 Bed

So hands up, who has read that and thought, “that looks interesting, I’ll have a go at that”? Now hands up who is part of our training group which has been building up to that for the last 3 months?

Thought there wouldn’t be many!

This is really just an interesting (well some might find it so) insight into what training a Pro who is racing Olympic distance drafting might do in their winter Base phase. Nothing more.

There is an interesting and relevant saying in cycling “don’t copy the pros power output, copy their cadence”. Basically this is saying if you are not a Pro you cannot ride as fast as them, and you shouldn’t try. However look at the technical things they do well and copy that - most people can benefit from this.

This example is the same. Most people couldn’t and shouldn’t do anything like the above programme, but look deeper and see the structure to the programme.

The athletes all travelled to this camp off a rest period, and will have up to 7 days of very light training after this camp. The programme has been designed so that there has been a building of training load and volume that makes this a natural, if tough progression. It fits into the winter periodization to build aerobic base, which once adapted to will stay with them for many weeks or months with limited top up.

We are now moving onto the next phase for pre-competition preparation. The first races for most of the athletes are about 5 – 7 weeks after this camp, so we now have time to start to reduce the volume and build in some intensity before they hit that start line.

Training Tip Of The Month

You’ll have noticed the daily foam rollering that took place on camp. Looking after yourself and doing everything you can to enhance your recovery from training will help you maintain consistent training.

We suggest you aim to use a foam roller (or even better a trigger point roller, you can get these on Amazon: The Grid Revolutionary Foam Roller) or other method of releasing muscle tension and improving mobility most days, but always after hard sessions. Spend 10 – 15 minutes targeting the big muscles groups (eg quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, shoulder area), looking for sore/tight areas you need to really focus on.

We have some examples of exercises for the shoulder area on our shoulder stability page. is a great website for finding all sorts of ways of improving your mobility and releasing tight muscles and joints.

For more advice on enhancing your recovery visit our training recovery page.

New On The Website

Since the last newsletter we have added interviews with Sarah Haskins and her coach Nate Kortuem, as well as 2012 Olympian Gwen Jorgensen. You can see these and our other interviews here.

There are also more training camps in our directory, so check it out if you're thinking about going on a camp in 2012.

Ask the Coach

Got a question for us? Submit it to the website and check out other people’s questions - and our answers.

Coming Up

We’ve started work on the epic task of putting some pages together about bike mechanics. Some filming and photography needs to be done to go with them, and hopefully these pages will be up by the time our next newsletter hits your inbox.
To keep up to date with every new page on the site subscribe to our RSS feed, ‘like’ us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
If you like this e-zine, please forward it to fellow triathletes who you think might be interested. If a friend did forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting this page. By doing so you'll also receive a copy of our free triathlon training planner.

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Please contact us.

See you next time!

Rhona & Mark

© 2012, Intelligent Triathlon Training, published by Rhona Pearce. Reproduction of any material from this newsletter without written permission is prohibited.

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