Nail Your Triathlon Goals in 2019 (By Setting the Right Ones)

Whether you dread or look forward to it, most athletes at least recognise the importance of setting goals.

But setting the right kind of goals, the ones that inspire action and positive change, can be tough.

1. Prioritise

We all want to have a better swim, bike, and run. But if you’ve been training for a while, you probably realise that prioritising is a must in order to continue to improve.

Instead of viewing it as a boring off-season, think of the winter as an exciting opportunity. You’ll never have the chance in May to put your run on autopilot while you bring up your bike, because too many races will interfere. Take advantage of this time period to improve your weaknesses.

2. Choose Performance Over Outcome

An example of a performance goal is to finish a run race with a time improvement instead of a certain placement. Keenan advises to pick your goal based on variables you can control as much as possible. For example: Don’t worry if the world champ in your age group shows up, focus on your own time rather than on your performance relative to theirs.

3. Work Backward

Start with your big goal for the season, then work backward to figure out what you should be doing between now and then. Keenan says to think of this as backward planning, or walking down a “set of stairs” with the bottom of the stairs representing your current fitness. This will help you determine goal checkpoints along the way. Smaller goals as you go will keep you accountable and the motivation high.

4. Be Specific

Not only does the goal, “improve swim form,” sound not fun, but it’s also really tough to measure. Choose an exciting goal with metrics to quantify your progress, like to improve your turnover by 10 percent.

5. Think In Terms of Big Payoff

By “big payoff” we mean getting the most you can out of your effort and time. For instance, if you’re new to cycling, you can probably make a lot of improvements with some focused training. Conversely if you’re a former competitive cyclist, then it probably makes more sense to focus on another sport.

In Summary:

  1. Keeping their goals to themselves. It’s important to let others know and ask for support to facilitate accountability, motivation, and helpful feedback.
  2. Trying to change too much too quickly. Don’t go “all-in” too fast and then risk getting overwhelmed or burned out.
  3. Lack of documentation. It’s not enough to think about a goal, it’s more effective to write it down, whether you use journaling or a tool on your phone.
  4. Setting unrealistic goals. You want your goal to be huge, but not impossible.
  5. Not putting in the work. Truly going after a long-term goal is about taking small actions on a daily basis to get slightly closer to the end result.

Perfect Your Gait

Combine speed work and technique training this winter and you will run faster and more efficiently, with fewer injuries.

Perhaps the biggest changes you’ll ever make as a runner will come from speed-work and improvements to your technique. These are the bedrocks of being a fast runner, but they take hard work and dedication. We’re here to help you fine-tune your gait so you expend less energy and avoid injury.

Plus we show you how to train at a variety of paces, so you’ll be fit and race ready for the triathlon season. Put these two things together and you’ll run like a demon this winter.

Your running style has a direct affect on how much energy you expend at a given speed. One way to improve your technique is to have your gait analysed by an expert with a video camera and a treadmill.

Research suggests that video feedback is an effective way of improving your gait, but it can take several video sessions to make a real difference.

Another method is visualisation or proprioceptive cue.

Brain Training For Runners.

To use these cues effectively you need to focus on them for hundreds or even thousands of consecutive strides on each run. So that means no more jogging along aimlessly, taking in the scenery and wondering what to have for dinner when you get home.

They will not work overnight either, because the movement patterns that influence your gait have been deeply ingrained over months and years of running. Also it takes a certain amount of staying power to realise the full benefits of this method.

With that in mind, here are five cues for you to try. You’ll get the best results if you use one at a time throughout the entire length of every run you do. You don’t need to master one before moving to the next, just pick a different cue for each run.

No matter how good your stride becomes, you’ll always benefit from using them regularly.

They’re also a great way of keeping your form sharp on race day, especially when you’re feeling fatigued.

Pulling the road

Imagine you’re running on an unmotorised treadmill. In order to keep running you need to pull the treadmill belt backwards with your feet. Visualise yourself doing the same thing with the road when you run outside.

Think about generating forward movement by pulling the road behind you with each foot to help you gain early thrust.

Falling forwards

Tilt your body slightly forwards as you run, but make sure you don’t bend at the waist. Tilt forwards from the ankles instead.

Experiment by over leaning to the point at which you feel like you might fall forwards. Then ease back to a point that feels comfortable and in control, but where gravity still seems to be pulling you forwards. This will help you avoid overstriding, because running with a slight forward tilt allows your feet to naturally land closer to your centre of gravity.

Bum squeezes

Just as your foot is about to make contact with the ground, contract the muscles in your buttock on that side of your body and keep it engaged throughout the ground contact phase of the stride. This will enable you to maintain greater stability in your hips, pelvis and lower spine and even your knees as you run.

Scooting

Imagine you’re running beneath a ceiling that is just two inches above your head. To avoid smacking your head on the ceiling you’ll need to run in a scooting manner by actively minimising the up-anddown movement of running. Simply think about thrusting your body forwards instead of upwards while running.

This will help you to run with greater stability by reducing any vertical impact forces.

Knee Axle

Imagine there’s an axle positioned between your knees that pushes your knees half an inch farther apart then they would normally be when you run. This helps you engage the hip flexors and external hip rotators, preventing internal rotation of the thigh, a common cause of injuries.

What to Eat Before Morning Training

Training in the morning is the only way that many athletes can fit workouts into their day and therefore knowing what to eat and how to fuel your body is very important.

What you should eat will depend on the type of training you plan on doing.

Low Intensity Steady State

When you’re planning a relatively low intensity steady state session, you may be able to do it in the fasted state. Fasted training simply involves exercising without fuel (in the morning before any food consumption).

The research into fasted training has shown that exercising with low muscle glycogen may pose significant benefits to endurance athletes due to molecular adaptations that occur in the muscle cells. These adaptions mean that athletes may be able to ‘train’ their body into utilising fat oxidation for energy production and subsequently spare muscle glycogen.

This could play an important role in optimising endurance performance as the sparing of muscle glycogen will help to delay fatigue. This mechanism provides rationale for why athletes might want to try fasted training; however it must be noted that fasted training should only be carried out for exercise of a low intensity.

Muscle glycogen is still extremely important for high intensity exercise and therefore no strenuous session should be completed in a fasted state. Fasted sessions should be no longer than 90 minutes and done no more than 2-3 times a week.

If you find fasted training too difficult, try eating a breakfast high in protein such as an omelette before these morning sessions.
It may help to relieve the hunger and make you feel psychologically more prepared for your session. If this doesn’t work, don’t stress! Fasted training isn’t for everyone and you can still make the most performance gains from fed training.

After these sessions, make sure you recover properly in a decent recovery meal (a proper breakfast!) as soon as possible after you finish. A great breakfast might be crumpets with jam and peanut butter with some water for hydration.

High intensity interval training or intense endurance session

These sessions place huge physiological demands on the body and therefore should not be done in the fasted state. Fuelling your muscles properly and maximising muscle glycogen stores will allow you to work to a much higher intensity; something which is very important for training adaptation.

Therefore, whilst fasted training may provide some benefits, it is very important that you do hard or strenuous sessions in the fed state to mirror race day efforts and maximise training potential.

If you’re an athlete that exercises at a high intensity in the morning, getting up even earlier to take on some fuel can be challenging. Food can take a long time to digest and therefore exercising just after you have eaten may leave you experiencing GI issues.

If you are happy to get up earlier and can stomach real food, aim for a breakfast high in carbohydrates with some added protein. A great example would be porridge with a banana and nut butter.

After these prolonged or intense sessions, it is important that you have a recovery strategy in place to encourage training adaptation. Try to get some nutrients in as quickly as possible. A great way to do this is in the form of recovery shakes. These typically contain both carbohydrates for muscle glycogen replenishment and protein to contribute to muscle growth and maintenance.

These can be consumed immediately after exercise to kick-start the recovery process. Remember to follow this with nutrient dense food at your next meal.

This should again include carbohydrates and protein (along with some vitamins and minerals!). A great option would be a baked potato with tuna and leafy green vegetables.

Strength Training

If you’re doing an early morning strength training session, you will want to aim for a breakfast high in protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

This is very important as you will wake up after an overnight fast in which muscle protein synthesis is dramatically reduced and therefore food stimulus is needed. Some good examples of breakfasts include an omelette or high protein yogurt with almonds. If you feel you need a bit of carbohydrate as well, try adding something small like a banana.

After your strength training, it is again very important to refuel and recover properly. Aim to take on some carbohydrates and some protein as soon as you can. A great way to do this would be to use a Recovery Bar as its protein content is ideal for post training recovery.

It also contains some carbohydrates, but not in a high dose such a Recovery Shake and is therefore ideal for sessions which don’t place huge demands on muscle glycogen. Again make sure you follow this with a proper recovery meal.

This should contain high protein and some carbohydrates for optimal recovery. A good option would be boiled eggs with a slice of wholegrain toast along with plenty of water for hydration.

 


www.sisuracing.co.uk

Straight Line Open Water Swim Tips

Lets start with the basics.

Breathing

Breathing is such an important part of straight-line swimming and it’s also the number one thing that stops people from reaching their swimming potential. I always start with breathing when I’m coaching, whether the person in the water is a beginner or a time-chaser.

When I am at the pool I often see people sprinting 50 metres, then having to stop for about two minutes just to get their breath back. They’re not unfit, they just need to be more efficient when they breathe. The most important thing to remember is that it should feel really natural.

The problem usually happens because you’ve taken in such a huge lung full of oxygen that your natural instinct is to get rid of the same amount that you have taken in, which means your breathing starts spiking up and down erratically, and that just isn’t sustainable over any kind of distance. If you were going for a jog you wouldn’t run for a bit, then stop and gulp for air, then run again. You’d breathe as you were going along; make it a part of what you were doing. Swimming should be the same.

The key is to keep your breathing relaxed and consistent, and you’ll be amazed by how much easier you’ll find swimming.
The trick is to breathe in through your mouth when your head is to the side, and breathe out through your nose when your head is in the water. And that’s it. It doesn’t matter whether you only breathe on one side or on both (bilaterally); the most important thing is just to stick to a regular rhythm, and take in only as much air as you actually need.

Like most things, efficient breathing can take a little bit of getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll feel so much more relaxed.

Body position

This is the thing that we find has the biggest impact on the people we’re coaching. There’s nothing more rewarding for me and David than watching someone feel the difference that the right body position can make to their swimming. It’s absolutely mind-blowing

Just like with breathing, getting this right means going against a natural instinct in this case, wanting to look forwards at all times to see where you’re going. The issue with doing this in the water is that it turns your body into a see-saw. When your head goes up, your legs go down and this means you’re battling against much more drag.

The good news is It’s really easy to sort out. Get your head into the right position and the rest of your body will follow, allowing you to swim further and faster.

To do this, you’ll need to start thinking about where your eyes are looking. What you want and it’ll feel a little odd to start with, but it gets easier very quickly is to be staring directly down at the bottom of the pool. This will make your legs come up automatically behind you, turning your body into a straight line. When you’re nice and flat there’s minimal drag, which means you can swim so much more easily. There will be a sweet spot that feels correct for you but start with your eyes directly down.

Once you’ve got your head into the right position, you can start thinking about rotation. This is a full-body movement, where you rotate your hips and shoulders around your spine at the same time. It comes from your core; thinking about snapping your hip on both sides as you move will really help.

Rotating efficiently means you get an extra bit of reach with every stroke which in turn means you’re doing fewer strokes and expending less energy. Think of it as “free” (or lazy!) swimming you’re getting something for nothing. Another big advantage is that your arms are having to do a little less work, which reduces your risk of shoulder pain, or even injury. Good news all round.

Propulsion

Once you’ve nailed breathing and body position, you can move onto the final piece of the straight-line swimming puzzle: propulsion.

What exactly is propulsion?

Propulsion is just how you move yourself forwards through the water. Anyone who swims will be using it to an extent, of course but if you want to make the process really efficient you need to think less about your legs and more about your arms.

When people start swimming they often think all their power is coming from their legs, because that’s the bit of them that’s getting really tired. In fact, the reason their legs are having to work so hard is probably because their body position isn’t great. If your head is up and your legs are trailing behind you through the water, you’re going to be having to kick really hard to make yourself flat through the water.

When you’re swimming, it’s your arms that should be doing most of the work and if you’ve got your body position right, you’ll find you can automatically focus your attention on them. You want to make sure every ounce of energy is going into your progress through the water.

What you need to do is imagine you’re moving the water through the centre line of your body pull through from your fingertips and engage your lats (the muscles that run all the way down your back; there’s a reason swimmers tend to develop powerful shoulders!) by bending your elbows when your hand enters the water.

The last thing to remember is that you don’t have to think about it all at once! Work on one aspect of straight-line swimming and then, once you’re feeling really comfortable with it, start practising the next. You’ll be amazed by how quickly it all starts to come together.

 

www.sisuracing.co.uk

 

Open Water Racing Tips

The Professional Triathlete does the sports for a living. The Age Grouper does it for the love. What can you as an age grouper learn from the Pro?

Don’t forget, they too started off in the amateur ranks and worked their way up to the elite level. They too needed guidance and had to learn from their predecessors. You can pick up some valuable ammo from the Pro’s when we go open water triathlon racing.

Position, Position, Position.

You can easily save up to 1 minute in your overall swim finish time simply by standing in the right place before the start. How is that possible you may ask?

How did to do it?

Stand in the right position before the start of the race.

How will position help you?

You get to swim with faster swimmers and more often than not, are virtually “pushed” from behind into a faster swim time. You also gain more self-confidence from swimming closer up front in the field, and that often delivers faster swim times. So, look out for a good starting position, it could shave minutes off your swim times

Warm-up before the plunge

You might notice that the pro’s often go through a rigorous swim warm-up routine before the start of any race they participate in. They need to be geared and ready to go when that gun goes off. Their heart rate will go from 70 bpm to 160bpm in less than 50m. Without a good warm-up routine, these pro’s will lack the firepower needed to swim hard from the start and by the time they find their rhythm, the race leaders will be long gone.

You never feel fantastically good when you first climb into a pool to start your swim training sets, do you? You need a couple of laps before you get into the groove and swim faster, right? The same rule applies to the races.

You cannot expect to swim fast if you dive into the water “cold”.

What you need to do is get in the water prior to the race start and swim for a few minutes. A couple of 20m sprints with some easy swimming in between should do the trick. We are talking maximum 5 minutes in the water before you get out and wait for the gun. You can certainly save at least 30 seconds plus by warming up adequately over an Olympic distance triathlon.

I do concede that at some events it may not be possible to get into the water and warm-up, either due to the water being extremely cold or due to the race organisers and logistics. You then need to take along a set of rubber cords and do some dry land swimming with the cords where you simulate the freestyle stroke and loosen up the arms and shoulder. Not the ideal, but certainly better than no warm-up at all.

Swim Straight

This sounds pretty self-explanatory. However, you would be amazed at how bad a triathletes navigational skills are when they plunge into the water. If you lack the skill to swim straight to the marker buoys, you could end up swimming as much as 200m further over a 1500m swim. That 200m “extra” swim distance can turn into at least a 4 minute plus add onto your finish time over the Olympic distance.

You need to be sure of the exact course yourself and not be content to rely on the athletes in front of you, hoping they will swim straight and you can just follow. Before the swim start, look for land markers on the route that you can use to navigate your way around the swim course. A good pair of goggles is also essential to ensure that your vision is not restricted and you can see the marker buoys easily enough. If your goggles do mist up or take in water during the swim, stop and take a few seconds to fix them, look up and make sure you are on the right “straight” line before continuing to swim on.

Draft

Yes it is legal to draft in the swim section of any triathlon. It does not produce the exact same benefits as drafting does say on a bicycle. But, it can certainly help you swim faster and save you energy during the race.

The idea is to find an athlete or pack of swimmers that are swimming slightly faster than you.

Then, hook in and try to swim off their pace.

The ideal position to draft off in the swim.

Swim either to the left or right of the swimmer in front of you.

Position your head around their knee/hip area. It does take some practice swimming so close to someone without actually hampering their stroke or yours. Second best spot to draft off would be to swim on someone’s feet. The only problem being the lack of vision as their kicking motion produces air bubbles which can make the swim extremely annoying and uncomfortable. Just off the feet and to the side of the swimmer in front of you is the better position to draft off with.

You will be amazed at how much easier it is to swim when the swimmer in front of you “toes” you around the swim course; It will make you much faster too. You often hear the war stories after the race of how someone” just missed” the swim pack in front of them. And, had they managed to get on the feet, how much faster their swim time would/could have been. They are not just talking big; Drafting in the swim can potentially save them and you both time and energy reserves at the next race stop.

Start fast! What?

This last trick relates directly to the trick of drafting off the swimmers in front of you. If you do not start fast, you often end up swimming with the slower swimmers and chasing for the entire swim. This is especially over the shorter distances of Sprint and Olympic triathlon. The problem with starting fast is that you need to train your body to be able to do it. Starting too fast for some will result in them “blowing” completely out in the water at the halfway point and limping home for their slowest swim times ever. You need to simulate a race start in training and open water swim practices.

“Fartlek” swim training

This is the best method of training your body to adapt to being able to start fast during a race. Then, settle down into a comfortable pace and rhythm (lowering your heart rate). After that, still being able to pick up the pace again near the end of the swim. Fartlek training requires you to swim fast, then slow, then fast again during training. These so-called mini speed intervals during some of your sets will help condition the body to adapt to the rigors of starting fast during the race and then swimming comfortably the rest of the way. If you can start fast and then remain comfortable for the rest of the swim, you will swim faster.

These 5 Open Water Swim tricks will go a long way toward helping you swim faster. They all seem pretty obvious. So, put them into practice and you will be sure to swim faster at the next race you do.

 

www.sisuracing.co.uk

Workout Wednesday – 2 x Power Session

Raise your power capacity with this explosive, unconventional sprint workout

Neuromuscular power is arguably the area of cycling most overlooked by triathletes. How often have you heard, ‘I’m not doing sprints in my races, so why do them while I train?’ The reality is that every cyclist and triathlete should incorporate neuromuscular training to allow for improvements in more race-specific areas of their power profile.

Bike power is a function of leg speed (via cadence) and torque. Working these two areas separately can combine to produce improvements in your neuromuscular power. Hence where the name 2 x Power is derived from.

By improving the power you can generate for short durations (for example, 1-second to 30-second intervals), you have allowed for and provided space for secondary improvements in other aspects of your power profile (for example, 20-minute and 60-minute best power).

An athlete who never trains their top-end (sprints, max cadence builds, etc.) lowers his/her ceiling for improvements elsewhere.

2 x Prong Power incorporates standing starts to target max torque, and max cadence builds to target max leg speed. Since these intervals put plenty of stress on the actual bike itself, 2 x Power is recommended as an outdoor workout, however, it can be done on a trainer if need-be.

Warm-Up

5 minutes easy spin (<55% of Functional Threshold Power, <3 Rate of Perceived Exertion)

Cadence Pyramid Warm-Up (All at 60-70% of FTP, 5 RPE)
1 minute @ 60rpm
1 minute @ 70rpm
1 minute @

80rpm
1 minute @ 90rpm
1 minute @ 100rpm
1 minute @ 110rpm
1 minute @ 120rpm
1 minute @ 110rpm
1 minute @ 100rpm
1 minute @ 90rpm
1 minute @ 80rpm
1 minute @ 70rpm
1 minute @ 60rpm
1 minute easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)
5 seconds sprint “opener” (90% of All Out)
5 minutes easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)

Main Set

30 seconds Standing Start*
8 minutes easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)
30 seconds Max Cadence Build**
5 minutes easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)
30 seconds Standing Start*
8 minutes easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)
30 seconds Max Cadence Build**
5 minutes easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)

Cool-down

4 minutes easy spin cool down (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)

* Standing Start – On a flat and safe stretch of road, shift down into a big gear (on standard gearing, this could be a 53/15), and roll to a near stop. You may have your hands in the drops, on the hoods, or on the bullhorns of a TT bike. Proceed into an all-out sprint attempting to get your cadence as high as possible. Stop after 30 seconds.

** Max Cadence Build – On a flat and safe stretch of road, shift into an easy gear (on standard gearing, this could be a 39/25). Begin a 30 second progressive cadence build, from 90rpm up, finishing at your absolute highest cadence at the 30 second mark. Stay seated for these efforts.

 

www.sisuracing.co.uk

 

5 Nutrition Changes to Boost Immunity and Reduce Injury

I recently had a question from a new athlete to Sisu Racing as part of them coming onboard to do with nutrition and injury and thought i would share this with you.

Q: Last year my season was riddled with injury and illness. How can I change my diet to stay healthy?

A: What we eat all day long, and specifically before and after training sessions or races, greatly affects our immunity and injury rates. Research shows athletes suffer from more cases of upper respiratory tract infections and injuries following heavy training or depletive racing. Here are my top five recommendations for boosting immunity and decreasing injury rate:

1) Try to eat at least three servings of brightly coloured (and varied) fruit daily.

Yes, bananas are ok before a workout, but blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, melons and plums are also good choices to get in the much-needed vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants to keep your body at its best.

Vow to include one serving of fruit with breakfast daily, and two for snacks. Or dice and add fruits to grain-based dishes (think couscous and apricots, wheat berries and blueberries, or quinoa and strawberries).

These are great for lunch or dinner, picnics or post-workout snacks. Smoothies made with 350/400g of whatever fruits you can find locally and low-fat milk or yogurt are great for breakfast, snacks or post-workout recovery.

Add greens (see No. 2) for extra credit! Add nuts or seeds (see No. 5) for double extra credit!

2) Vary your salad greens.

Don’t get stuck in a lettuce or spinach rut. Choose dandelion, mustard or turnip greens, kale and arugula as they are high in calcium, iron and antioxidants. Bonus: They taste great, especially fresh from a local farmers’ market or CSA. Salads are a great start, as are stir-fries with any of the above. Of course, kale chips are an easy and tasty snack, or you can blend greens in smoothies or add some to breakfast or dinner omelets.

3) Fuel your training with the right amount of carbohydrates.

Studies suggest that adequate carbohydrate intake before and during strenuous training can help counteract immunosuppression that is commonly seen following exhaustive exercise.

Eat a carbohydrate-rich meal or snack before all workouts (even the 5 a.m. sessions!). Be sure to take in 30–60 grams of carbohydrate per hour during prolonged training and follow this up with half your body weight in grams of carbs (e.g. 80 grams for a 160-pound triathlete) immediately following your workout to attenuate normal stress response to exercise and yield maximum immune-boosting results.

4) Recover with adequate protein (with above carbs) after workouts.

Most athletes should aim for 15–20 grams of protein during the 30-minute “recovery window” to optimize muscle recovery and ensure adequate protein intake throughout the day.

Include “good” fats in your diet.

5) The good fats will help to decrease inflammation, promote healing and recovery and help avoid injury. Add a serving of walnuts or ground flaxseed to cereals, snacks or smoothies. Include avocado or olive oil in salads and when cooking veggies for anti-inflammatory effects, and to boost your body’s absorption of key immune-boosting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

 

www.sisuracing.co.uk

Workout Wednesday – 4 Key Speed Sessions You Can Do Anywhere

Some athletes don’t like the track but do like speed work. If you are one of these athletes or can’t get to the track then we’ve got four key speed sessions you can do anywhere.

The Workout: VO2 Max Ladder

As we age, speed diminishes, so it’s important to incorporate some fast-paced sessions into your training, no matter your distance.

How to do it: The fast intervals should range between your 5K pace and 15 seconds per mile faster than 5K pace. After a 10- to 20-minute warm-up and 4 x 20-second strides, do two to four rounds of the following:

  • 3 x (30 seconds fast/30 seconds easy)

  • 2 x (45 seconds fast/45 seconds easy)

  • 1 x (60 seconds fast/2 minutes easy)

Cool down with 10 to 20 minutes of easy jogging.

The Workout: 10K and Half Marathon Pacers

You should try this one at least two weeks out from race day. Use your goal race pace for the intervals. This does not mean going faster on the shorter intervals and slowing on the longer intervals.

How to do it: After a 10- to 20-minute warm-up and 4 x 20-second strides, run the following set two times:

  • 2 minutes at race pace/1 minute easy

  • 4 minutes at race pace/2 minutes easy

  • 6 minutes at race pace/3 minutes easy

  • Half marathoners: Add in a second 6-minute interval after the second round

Cool down with 10 to 20 minutes of easy jogging.

The Workout: Road Loop Repeats

This workout is great for breaking up long tempos or transitioning from tempos and long runs to more intense workouts.

How to do it: After a 10- to 20-minute warm-up and a few quick strides, find a loop that is relatively flat and 1–2 miles long.

Run two to four repeats of each loop.

Run the first loop at a moderate intensity, around your half-marathon to marathon pace and make sure you are not very winded after the first loop. Take a 1:30- to 2:30-minute active rest between each loop. Your goal is to cut down your time on each loop while keeping the rest period constant.

Cool down with 10 to 20 minutes of easy jogging.

The Workout: Speed Ladder

This helps to build speed while also focusing on some strength.

How to do it: Warm up for 10 to 20 minutes with a few quick strides. Then find a flat area with minimal sharp turns. Don’t focus on a certain pace but rather aim to hit a desired effort level. Effort level on the way up should be at a four to five out of 10; on the way down, increase effort to a seven or eight.

  • Run hard for 30 seconds/jog easy for 60 seconds,

  • Run hard for 60 seconds/jog easy for 90 seconds

  • Run hard for 2 minutes/jog easy for 2:30

  • Run hard for 3 minutes/jog easy for 3:00

  • Run hard for 2 minutes/jog easy for 2:30

  • Run hard for 60 seconds/jog easy for 90 seconds

  • Run hard for 30 seconds/jog easy 60 seconds

Cool down with 10 to 20 minutes of easy jogging.

www.sisuracing.co.uk

7 Top Tips For Buying a New Wetsuit

If you are in the sport of TRI for the long term, sooner or later, you will be buying that wetsuit. Even if you venture from the colder climes and are quite comfortable swimming in cold water, there will be times when it might be compulsory to wear one at certain race events. Often the cost factor is one that determines which direction you will go in when considering the purchase of a wetsuit. There is the option of renting or borrowing one for a once-off event, which is totally understandable.

As mentioned before, if you take up the sport a little more seriously, a wetsuit purchase becomes quite important going forward. We list some tips you might want to take heed of when on the prowl for a neoprene body-suit

 

1. More expensive is not necessarily better.

For the average triathlete who considers their swim to be the worst discipline, an entry level suit will do just fine. The cheaper entry level suits are often thicker and more-hard wearing which means, if you look after it, you get more wear and tear out of the suit than the higher end suits that are made of less pliable/softer materials.

2. Your swimming experience is important here.

If you consider yourself a half decent swimmer, who has come from competitive pool swimming perhaps and now wants to partake in the sport of TRI, you may want to spend a little more and go mid to higher-end.

Why? Simple, the materials are softer meaning more flexible on the shoulder and upper body areas. They are also easier to get on and off which is crucial in T1 when you are looking to gain and not lose seconds. The better swimmers will want to spend extra on a wetsuit – don’t buy cheap at first – and then find you need to upgrade later on.

3. Buy your wetsuit when you are at your smallest.

A suit needs to fit super tight so perhaps buy one when you are at your thinnest. Possibly before the start of each summer or halfway in between. A suit will become “softer” and easier to get into as it takes on some wear-use. As long as it is not strangling you around the neckline and you can breathe comfortably, then the suit is right for you.

The sizing charts are often very accurate and if you stick 99% to these, you will end up buying the suit that is made for you unless you are out of proportion for some reason.

4. Don’t confuse claustrophobia with the suit being too tight.

We have seen many a triathlete panic when they put on the suit. Not because it’s necessarily too tight but because they almost suffer from some form of claustrophobia. Using a suit and getting comfortable in one requires time and training in one.

So take your time and use as often as possible. In time, with the correct mind-set in place, the suit will become something you start enjoy wearing as opposed to hating. Another tip here is to ensure that you’ve got the suit on correctly, as the suit may feel too tight if it isn’t on right. See our video below for instructions on how to put on a wetsuit correctly:

5. A good suit will make you swim faster.

For a fast pool swimmer, we estimate at least 5 seconds per 100m faster with the suit on. The less accomplished swimmer might benefit to the tune of 10 seconds plus. That is a lot of speed around the swim course with no extra effort put in. The more comfortable you feel in the suit, the more you will enjoy it with the benefits from the extreme buoyancy that each wetsuit provides

6. A triathlon wetsuit is totally different to a scuba or surfing wetsuit.

Don’t get too confused. A triathlon wetsuit is made to keep the water out and ensure you are fast. A surfing suit, on the other hand, is made to take water in and heat it up so you stay warm. They are heavier and rest assured you will not swim well in one. Rather spend the few extra bob and buy a quality TRI wetsuit.

7. Compare pricing and take advice from those that have been in the sport for a good few years. Their advice could end up saving you money.

 

www.sisuracing.co.uk

ITU-Style Bike Pace Change-Ups

This workout is best completed early in a training block, bridging the gap between early season power/speed development and more sustained VO2 max and threshold efforts.

These workouts break longer sets into small bouts, done above threshold with short rests in between.

The short bouts make sustaining a higher intensity possible, whereas the short rest intervals don’t allow heart rate to fully recover. In the end, you get a combined threshold workout aerobically and speed skill development neuromuscularly.

Ideally, this set should be done on a trainer to ensure consistency in effort and pacing. For the 20-second recovery between each bout, be sure you keep pedaling—don’t just stop completely. A major component of successfully completing this workout is managing the spike in heart rate through the short recovery.

Warm-up

10 minutes building Zone 1 to Zone 2
1 minute Zone 3
1 minute Zone 4
1 minute Zone 5
2 minutes Zone 2

Main Set

2 x 15 minutes of alternating 40 seconds in Zone 5-6 with 20 Seconds in Zone 1
5 minutes between sets in Zone 1

Cool-down
10 minutes in Zone 1-2

www.sisuracing.co.uk