Intelligent Triathlon Talk


12th June 2012, Issue No 8.


Welcome to Intelligent Triathlon Talk.

In this issue:

  • News Update: Mark's athlete Lucy Hall selected for GB Olympic team
  • Training Advice: VO2max swim set.
  • New On The Site: Interview with Lucy Hall


Mark's Squad News

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

This is a slightly delayed newsletter, due to waiting for the British Olympic team announcement.

One of the athletes Mark coaches, Lucy Hall has been selected alongside Helen Jenkins and Vicky Holland in the women’s team. This is a very exciting time for her: a home Olympics in her first year of racing as a senior.

This also means a very busy time for Mark, finalising Olympic preparations and travelling to some World Series races with Lucy to get some more big race experience under her belt, all whilst looking after the rest of his squad.

Since our last newsletter most of the squad has raced at the European Championships in Eilat, Israel. This was the first senior GB representation for both Lucy Hall and Mark Buckingham. Lucy led the swim and stayed in the lead bike group, before running into a 14th place finish. A good demonstration of her swim-bike strengths which made her a contender for Olympic selection.

Bucko finished 15th, with another member of the squad, Aaron Harris in 9th, and Adam Bowden in 14th. The squad managed to have a quick dip in the Dead Sea on the way back to the airport. You can see the photos on our Facebook page, along with photos from the San Diego and Madrid World Championship Series races.

There is a big block of racing coming now with 3 World Cups and 2 World Series races in the next 8 weeks for various members of the squad.

Mark’s also turned into something of a TV reporter, having acted as a ‘race-side’ commentator for the BBC during the San Diego and Madrid WCS races. We’ve discovered just how many people watch triathlon on TV, with all sorts of people saying they saw him!


Training Tip Of The Month

This time we’re going to give you an example of a swim set that you can adapt to suit your level.

This is a VO2max set to quickly develop aerobic fitness and get you used to the intensity of a race start.

After a decent warm up, the main set is:

  • 8 x 100m off 2 minutes
  • 5 minutes easy recovery
  • 8 x 75m off 1:35
  • 5 minutes easy swim recovery
  • 10 x 50m off 1:10

The aim of the session is that each rep is performed at the highest average sustainable speed. So not a 1rep max, but trying to average the best time you can for each part of the session.

So for example, our squad do the 8 x100m between 60 and 62s with a drop off of about 1 second from the fastest to slowest rep.

The idea is that you’re getting about 1:1 work to rest ratio. We get a slightly greater proportion of rest during the 50m so we can still swim fast speeds, despite the fatigue with it being the end of the session.

In swimming the technical component is much more significant than during cycling or running, which is why there is slightly more rest during the 50s.

You should always be looking to try to maintain good technique, just pushing over the limit of where it starts to fall away, in each part of the set.

Most people won’t swim these times, so don’t necessarily copy the session exactly, copy the principle.

Reps of more than 75 seconds don’t really allow the high intensity required to hit VO2max. If you can swim 75s for 100m, and this was on the limit, then you might just do 6 reps. If you swim slower, start with 75m, and then either follow with another set of 75m, or move to two sets of 50m.

There is a lot of hard swimming in there (suitable for highly trained athletes). If you’re not a highly trained swimmer, aim to get a minimum of 5 to 6 minutes worth of swimming in each block. Also, you might only do 1 or 2 blocks. So you might end up with something like 7x75s – rest – 8x50s – rest.

Aim for a work:rest ratio of 1:1, with a slightly longer rest on the 50m reps.

You have to be rested to do this session to really hit the times and put the effort in. This is a session to do leading into race season and during the race season. Its great for getting used to the intensity of race starts and being able to recover, and it develops aerobic fitness really quickly. DON’T over use it though – as a rough guide don’t do it more than once a week, and don’t do it during a race week.


Improve Your Swim Technique

Many of you will have come across the technical swim coaching experts Swim Smooth.

They have just brought out a new book, The Complete Coaching System For Swimmers And Triathletes written by Head Coach Paul Newsome and Adam Young.

The book contains Swim Smooth's complete coaching program, including how to develop your technique, how to find out what is holding you back so you can improve your stroke, complete drill sets with photos, flexibility and conditioning exercises, detailed training sessions, and how to improve your open water skills.

A great resource, and only £14.99/US$25. Here’s a link to find out more: The new Swim Smooth book


New On The Website

As well as answering lots of questions (see below) we have added an interview with GB Olympic triathlete Lucy Hall. You can see this and our other interviews here.

Ask the Coach

Since our last newsletter we have answered lots of questions. Got a question for us? Submit it to the website and check out other people’s questions - and our answers.
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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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