Consistency is the secret of success – “Consistency maketh the athlete” – If you can’t be consistent over a week then be consistent over a two week block. Remember, little and often is better than training erratically with one or two weeks on and one or two weeks off. .
The 10% to 12% rule applies to increasing distance and speed with consolidating every fourth or fifth week for two to four weeks.
Always finish a long zone 1 and 2 running/bike session as if you could do a bit more but you don’t.
Apply the 20/80 ratio to your training week (polarised training)– 80% in zones 1 and 2 and 20% in Zones 4 and 5. In other words you can’t do the zones 1 and 2 slow enough and the zones 4 and 5 hard enough. However, with swimming being low impact you can have a 50/50 balance.
Train with a bias towards your weakness. For example, if you are a good runner but weak on swimming and cycling there’s no point putting a lot of running sessions in your weekly plan when you need more time to work on your cycling and swimming with your limited time.
Running – Take time to do short drill work which focuses on foot planting and keeping good form. Remember, bad running form will find you out in the end with injuries.
Swimming – Have someone video you above and under the water, so you can address any obvious flaws that are preventing you from swimming efficiently and effectively.
Swimming – Let the technique dictate your pace rather than pushing as hard as you can with poor technique. As your technique improves so will your speed.
Coming from being a fit runner to a cyclist – Be careful, as your fitness will result in you hitting a good speed on the bike relatively quickly but with poor technique of pushing down on the peddles rather than a circular motion you will be prone to knee injuries. You will need to practice drills for this and add strength and conditioning for the knees.
Train to a plan – Have a focus of what you are doing for each session which fits in with your overall plan for your A events. If you don’t, you may end up with dead miles.
Post Training Recovery – Make sure you have a protein drink within twenty minutes after a training session for quicker recovery. I often have a full fat hot chocolate with a banana. Also, have a pre-made recovery meal ready to stop the temptation of filling up on easy to reach junk food.
Everyday nutrition – Keep it simple! If you are planning on a long bike ride over two hours have a carb based breakfast and afterwards protein down by eating protein bias food and drink. Remember to vary your protein meals – eggs, meat, fish, beans, etc. However, remember you’re not a hermit, so treat yourself every now and then but don’t go mad.
Nutrition on the bike for long ride events – Whatever your chosen nutrition is on the bike look at roughly 70 – 85 grams of carbs an hour depending on your weight. The sooner you find out what works for you the better.
Sleep – This makes such a difference to your recovery, so try and get as close to eight hours of quality sleep as possible each night.
Strength and Conditioning – Get one or two short twenty to thirty sessions done in a week that will prevent injuries. Add skipping, as it is great for your foot fall when running, as it’s nearly impossible to heel strike.
Don’t compare your progress or achievements to others but rather compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Focus on the long term as well – Have a progressive, consistent and realistic plan that fits in with your family, work and friends commitments.
Join a club with like-minded people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
Learn to taper properly. This is a skill that many athletes find the hardest to put into practice.This is partly to do with being addicted to training and the false notion that you are loosing fitness during the taper.
Take vitamin D supplements all year round but especially in the autumn and winter months.
If you are training more than eight hours a week have a sports massage once a month to ensure your muscles aren’t getting too twisted.
Always stretch off properly for at least fifteen minutes after a run and bike ride.
Events – Choose no more than three A events in which you are excited about competing in and then enter B and C races which will help you reach your A event goals in the best condition you can be in.
At the end of the season always have a three to six week break from triathlon events and do other things such as walking in the countryside, badminton, squash, etc. All at recreational level of course.
Listen to your body – For example, if there is a lot of stress in your life take more recovery days. If you’re feeling fatigued take a day or two to recover. Plans are guides and should be adapted to everyday stresses and strains of life as well as training load.
Have fun and remember why you are doing this. For for me it has always been about enhancing my life.