Intelligent Triathlon Talk

3rd April 2012, Issue No 7.

Welcome to Intelligent Triathlon Talk.

In this issue:

  • News Update: Mark's squad launch their season with a successful trip to South America and Florida.
  • Training Advice: Optimise Race Performance – get those last few weeks of training right.
  • New On The Site: Interviews with Jarrod Shoemaker and Beth Walsh.

Mark's Squad News

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

Since last time Mark and most of his squad embarked on a 2.5 week trip that took in races in Peru, Ecuador and Florida.

The purpose of these races was to gain some points to help with world rankings and to get some early season racing under the belt to practice race skills that you forget through the winter without the pressure of competition to reinforce them.

It is also Lucy Hall’s first season racing Olympic distance at senior level having moved up from sprint races in the junior ranks so it was a good chance for her to gain experience racing over the longer distance.

The women’s race in Lima was in the hottest part of the day, and despite their best attempts of covering up and applying sunblock, both girls (Lucy and Abbie Thorrington) got severely sunburnt backs. Lucy managed to cope with the heat and finished an admirable 3rd – her first podium finish.

The sunburn forced the two girls to have unscheduled rest during the week between the Lima race and the next race in Ecuador. This meant they started the second race with much less training and practice than normal. In Ecuador they both performed exceptionally well, with both girls dominating the swim and bike, taking nearly a 5 minute lead into T2, with Lucy going on to win.

This has led us to revise how we might taper in future races, with the athletes now having more confidence in doing less than they would normally be prepared to do in the week leading into a race. After narrowly missing out on a podium in Lima, Adam Bowden and some of the other guys from the group moved on to race in Clermont, Florida where he again just missed out on the podium. They all finished top 10 and gained valuable racing skills.

Adam had an exceptional swim, putting it down to his fear of the alligators that might be about, figuring they’d go for the slower swimmers if they fancied a meal during the race!

Most of the squad achieved their main objective of improving their rankings, so all in all it was a successful trip.

The squad returned home to Loughborough to the news that 6 of the squad of 8 were named in the European Championship Elite team, racing in Eilat, Israel in April.

Training Tip Of The Month

For many of you the race season will have started or be starting soon, so our tip this time is about how to maximise your performance through getting your preparation right in those last couple of weeks before a race.

Any training in the last 2 weeks before a race can only influence form, not fitness.

What do we mean by this?

Well, fitness is relatively stable – the physiological changes you have made to your body take time to develop, and these changes aren’t lost immediately you stop training.

Form is how that fitness presents itself on any given day. If you are really tired and perform badly in training or a race, this isn’t necessarily representative of your fitness, just your form on that day.

The day when you have an amazing training session or race is when your fitness is showing its true potential.

So the aim of any taper before a race is to get you into that state. Therefore the training you do during the last 2 weeks before a race is about influencing form, not fitness.

So how do you do this?

It is different for everyone. Some people need lots of rest. Others find they need to be in a training rhythm – not tired but training regularly. Some find they need to do speed work.

This is when you can reap the benefits of keeping a training diary. Look back and see when you were going really well in training, and what you did in the couple of weeks prior to this. You don’t necessarily want to replicate this exactly but you are looking for a pattern – eg more rest, fewer sessions, less intensity etc.

If you don’t know what works for you, then try something different in the lead up to each race this season. Record what you do and evaluate how it worked.

To understand the general principles of tapering for a race and how to make this work for you, have a read of our tapering for competition page.

New On The Website

Since our last edition, we have continued interviewing (Jarrod Shoemaker and Beth Walsh are the latest additions), answering questions and adding to our training camp directory. You can see all the interviews here.

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

Last time we said we hoped to have our bike mechanics pages up by the time this newsletter came out.

Well, the pages are written, but Mark is waiting for his new bike to arrive to be able to film some videos to illustrate the page. He didn’t want you all to see his knackered old bike…..

These pages and videos will be ready for the next issue (fingers crossed…).

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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