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Triathlon Training Fundamentals: The Three-Legged Stool of Success

Triathlon Training Fundamentals- The Three-Legged Stool of Success

 In our last article, we discussed the importance of a structured triathlon training plan. 

Structure is particularly vital, because there will always be days when you won’t feel like training at all.  Let’s not forget that triathlon training plans are actively designed to be challenging, and they take time and patience to complete.

Added to this is one simple fact: we’re all human.  Despite the healthy promises we make when we first sign up for a race, weeks later the lure of a boozy takeaway can feel much stronger than the urge to lace up our running shoes… especially if it’s raining!

But when you have training sessions pre-booked in your diary, and you know exactly what you’ve got to do for each one, you’ll be less likely to break the commitment you’ve made.

So, you need some structure, and then you just need to put in the work.  It’s as simple as that…

…or is it?

To train effectively for your triathlon, you need the right structure, and you have to do the right work.  Approached this way, your training plan has the potential not only to benefit your race performance, but to transform your life.

With this in mind, here are three fundamentals to help ensure your training plan sets you up for the best possible results.

(We refer to these fundamentals as “the three-legged stool of success” since each works in harmony with the others.  As in: if just one leg of your stool is missing, you won’t be able to sit down!)

Leg One: Be Consistent

We’ve all heard the old adage “slow and steady wins the race”.  And just like most sayings that gain immense popularity over time, it’s true.

You need to build your fitness and prepare your body for the demands of your chosen triathlon.  This won’t happen overnight, which means consistency is key.  In other words, you need to set your training days and sessions in advance, then show up for each one.

Of course, all this is easy to say… but when life is always so busy, how do you make sure you stick to your schedule, no matter what?

One solution is to ditch the idea that every session has to be long and arduous.  We’ve seen too many athletes try to cram all their training in at weekends, because they’ve told themselves they can’t spare enough time during the week.

We’re not saying longer training sessions aren’t important, because they are.  But quicker, shorter workouts will allow you to keep building up the fitness and stamina required for your race, whilst being much easier to fit into your daily routine.

Getting creative with your schedule will help you achieve the level of consistency needed for race success.  If you’re away on a business trip, for example, how about scheduling in a quick early morning run, or a training session in the hotel gym before dinner? 

Leg Two: Be Balanced

 As we’ve noted, structure feeds discipline, and frequency feeds consistency.

Now, it’s time to focus on balance. 

Many triathletes make the mistake of simply setting a total number of hours per week to train, without considering which type of workout each session should consist of.

Your training schedule should incorporate a balanced, regular mix of intensity and endurance-focused sessions that work towards your specific race goals.  The sessions should not only cover each triathlon discipline, but also boost essential fitness metrics, such as threshold, mental toughness, and aerobic capacity.

Prioritise intensity and volume in accordance with your ability and goals.  For most triathletes, the bike will be an immediate priority intensity-wise, as cycling is less traumatic on the tendons and joints.  Meanwhile, running fitness benefits from gradually increased volume and frequency.

 To maximise your results, don’t forget to track your performance religiously, so you can make adjustments to your training plan as needed.  Oh, and make sure you also instil balance when it comes to other areas of your life, such as sleep and nutrition.

Which brings us onto…

Leg Three: Be Recovered

This might seem counter-intuitive, but when you’re training long and hard, it’s actually during rest-and-repair time that your body becomes stronger!

Going all-out every day may seem tempting, but this approach is a recipe for burnout, both mentally and physically.  Your mood and motivation will plummet, and you’ll compromise the rest of your training through soreness and fatigue… until eventually, everything grinds to a halt.

So, how do you ensure you remain in the best possible race condition?

Sleep is an important recovery tool – perhaps the most important –  because it reduces stress and increases glycogen storage, which improves your body’s ability to rebuild and restore muscle. 

To further enhance your recovery, make sure you fuel your workouts with the right nourishment, and try to incorporate stretching, massage, or foam-rolling into your routine.

Join the Marauder Community for triathlon training tips and support

 If you haven’t signed up for a Marauder event yet, then we have to ask: what are you waiting for?

You’ll automatically join the Marauder Community, where you’ll discover a wealth of friendly support from first-timers and experienced triathletes alike. 

We’ve also recruited an official event-training partner: Total Tri Training (TTT), a UK-based triathlon and endurance sport coaching community headquartered in the North West of England.

TTT’s Senior Coach, Phil Ellison, will be sharing his own training tips with Marauder over the coming months, so keep checking in for the latest updates.

Our support doesn’t stop there, by the way. 

First: invite as many loved ones as you like to come and cheer you on during your race – the more, the merrier!

Second: there will be plenty of people and facilities on hand to make sure you’re equipped, refreshed, and protected throughout.  These include bike technicians, DIY pit stations, and emergency medical assistance.

Third: as a diverse group of athletes from various sporting backgrounds ourselves, we’ve personally seen to it that every Marauder event is challenging, inspirational… and fun.  

Why not come along to an upcoming race and experience the warm, welcoming atmosphere for yourself? 

(If you decide to sign up for a triathlon afterwards, we’ve got you!)