Challenge Roma 753 launches with unique distances

News

Inaugural Challenge race set for July in the Italian capital of Rome

The Challenge Family have announced a new event in Rome for 22-23 July 2017. The debut Challenge Roma 753 will host two days of competition, featuring a sprint and a atypical main race with distances approaching Challenge Half status.

The inaugural Challenge Roma 753 event will take place on July 22 and 23, 2017. The Saturday will feature a sprint trial. The main race is on the Sunday, with the distances (approved by the Federazione Italiana Triathlon) themed around the date of the foundation of Rome in 753 BC.

The swim course will take place in the artificial lake of Laghetto dell’Eur in the Municipio district in the south of the city and will consist of 1,753m. The 75,310m (75km) bike course will head towards ancient Ostia along a ‘smooth and easy’ route for the first 30 km before going back to the city centre. Finally, the race ends with a 17,530m (17.5km) run. The event takes over and adapts the previous Roma 753 event.

The race marks the first time that Challenge, whose Roth event we recently named as the greatest triathlon in the world, have proposed a format with these distances. The usual Challenge Half events boast a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run

More information about the inaugural Challenge Roma 753 is available at www.challenge-roma.com. Registration opens on 1 April 2017. 

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How to swim in choppy water

Training > Swim

Andy Bullock explains how to cope with sea swims when the water gets rough

Open-water swimming often presents a challenge, even for the most experienced of athletes, and very few thrive in these conditions. A choppy sea poses both physical challenges, such as technique adjustment and sighting, and mental challenges, such as building your self-belief.

When training, practise your sighting technique: look to be able to lift your eyes above the water and time this when one of your arms is out in front of you, allowing you to gently push down on the water. At the same time, increase your kick a little to help maintain your hips high in the water. 

When the sea is a little choppier you may need to lift your head a little higher out of the water to sight and, in doing so, your hips are likely to drop further, so only lift your head as much as you need to. 

Finally, it’s important to think about sighting at the top of a wave. This will give you the best opportunity to see as far as you can. Your basic sighting skills can be practised in both a pool and a lake ready for the big day. 

6 open-water swimming skills to practise in the pool

Water entry and exit in the sea are also important; think about diving through big waves and surfing in on the bigger waves. 

How to do a dolphin dive

 6 transition tips for exiting open-water

From a mental point of view, the most common area to work on is self-confidence and this can be built in many ways. As well as knowing that other people can swim in these conditions (‘If they can do it, so can I’), the best way to build your confidence is to experience the conditions yourself before the event. Knowledge that you have done it before is very useful in knowing you can do it again. 

So, for both physical and mental training, a well-planned recce of the race venue, or a venue with conditions close to those you will face, is a very useful tool in your training armoury – even if you can’t train regularly in the sea.

How to swim in a wetsuit

Open-water swim technique: the key components

Open-water swim technique: 11 common mistakes triathletes make

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Daniela Ryfs top 5 tips for racing and recovery

Training

Kona course record holder Daniela Ryf shares her top tips for racing and recovery

What mental strategies do you advise for our readers on Ironman race-day?

Stay in the moment and don’t think too much ahead. I always try to break down the race into little fractions. In the swim, try to concentrate on your stroke then the next buoy. Then try not to forget anything in transition. Then I motivate myself from aid station to aid station and just set little goals. When I’m on the bike I never think about the run.

What’s your advice for your developing mental strength and the ability to suffer pain? 

It’s not that I like pain. But it’s about accepting it and making it to your advantage. Because once you’re in that zone, if you can accept it and enjoy it your brain will forget it’s not in its comfort zone. This I mostly practise in training. I believe the key is to train harder than you race, and then you deal with it more successfully in the race.

What are your key tips for recovery? And how did you recuperate in the period between Roth and Switzerland in 2016?

I’m a big fan of essential oils. I have a special mix, which I mix in my massage oil and it helps me to recover quicker. Between Roth and Switzerland I did a lot of short swims, which helped prevent my muscles from tightening up. 

What are your essential tips on gear for racing Ironman?

Stay with what you know and trust. And don’t try new things for racing just because someone said you might be a few seconds faster with it. 

And what advice do you have for making the step-up from Olympic to long-course racing?

To be honest, long-course racing isn’t harder, it’s easier. You just go for longer! 

Daniela Ryf’s 3 key Ironman training sessions

220 named Daniela Ryf 8th greatest triathlete ever  and 9th greatest Kona athlete of all time

Found this useful? Then try these…

10 tips for taming your first Ironman

15 Ironman training sessions from the pros

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5 of the latest sports science news that will help you perform better

Training

Five new research studies, from afternoon napping benefits to why it’s worth resisting the urge to spin, that will help you perform better and race faster

RESIST THE URGE TO SPIN FAST

Recent research suggests that to increase your cycling strength you should pedal with a low cadence against a high resistance. Exercise physiologists had seven well-trained cyclists ride at 125% of their functional threshold power for 40secs with 20secs rest for 10 sets. They did this three times at 70, 90 and 110rpm. The subjects reported no change in perceived exertion, but creatine kinase levels (a hormone associated with muscle repair) was greater at 70rpm. Just remember that session-derived muscle breakdown should be followed by an easy day of training.

GO HIGH TO KEEP YOUR WEIGHT LOW

Looking to drop a few pounds for the tri season? It’s time to train high. Chinese researchers put groups of rodents through their paces for four weeks, having them scurry around at sea level or in a hypoxic atmosphere of 13.6% oxygen, equating to 3,500m altitude. The rodents’ fat content was higher in the rats who trained at sea level compared to the altitude group. This is partly due to the levels of leptin, the satiety hormone, surging at altitude while grehlin, the hunger hormone, remained unchanged. But 1,800m is recommended for humans.

SWIM, BIKE, RUN… REMEMBER

Research from Edge Hill University suggests that moderate-intensity exercise improves your short-term memory. When asked to remember a list of structural terms, including roof, door and wall, people who hadn’t completed a 30min cycle before the memory test were more likely to ‘remember’ associated words that weren’t on the list, such as window. Those who’d exercised, however, remembered more words and didn’t include false memories. The reason for this is reportedly down to exercise dissipating stress that’s been physiologically shown to impact upon memory.

NAPPING TO VICTORY

Nick Littlehales, the author of the recent best-seller Sleep, is a fan of afternoon naps, especially for athletes, and the practice has been given another boost by a new study. Thirty-one pro rugby players used fitness monitors during a 13-day pre-season camp to measure their sleep. The players who undertook daytime naps enjoyed an average 33mins more sleep each day and 30mins ‘better sleep’. The result: greater training benefits. If you can squeeze in even 10mins shut-eye each afternoon, you’ll improve your training efficiency without affecting sleep quality at night.

HOW TO HIT YOUR TARGETS

Most of us find it hard to squeeze in all our swim, bike and run training, let alone make time for recovery or anything else. But that’s a big mistake, reports Ben Raysmith, leading physio at the Australian Institute of Sport. Thirty-three track-and-field athletes were followed across five competition seasons, and Raysmith noted that the likelihood of one of the athletes achieving a performance goal increased seven-fold if they completed more than 80% of their planned sessions. Failure to do so, due to injury or illness, dramatically reduced their chances of success.

That’s why reducing your swim, bike and run time to accommodate injury-prevention work – think pilates or strength and conditioning – and getting sufficient rest and good nutrition is essential to maximise your triathlon performance. The Aussie team also observed that the majority of new injuries happened within the first month of the preparatory phase of training; in other words, start your 2017 campaign gently. Furthermore, the majority of illnesses occurred two months prior to an athlete’s goal event, suggesting that strategies to alleviate stress should play a part in your programme.

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How can I strengthen my glute muscles

Training > Injuries

If your knees often feel weak after training sessions, it could be due to a lack of glute strength. Nick Beer explains how to strengthen your glute muscles

Your knees take an absolute pounding when you train and perhaps more punishment than any other joints. When you run, your knees absorb more than twice our bodyweight with every foot strike. Thankfully, your knees experience less strain when swimming and cycling, but the forces generated when you’re pedalling and tumble-turning can still leave your knees feeling weak if you happen to over do it. 

It’s therefore essential that the muscles of your lower limbs are functioning at their optimum level – not only so they can help disperse the force generated when you train but also so they can keep your body in the correct biomechanical alignment.

A key muscle group to ensure your knees are kept strong and well conditioned are the gluteal muscles (maximus, medius and minimus) –your backside, in other words. These muscles are responsible for hip and thigh movement, keeping your torso erect and helping to maintain balance when you’re walking and running. They also support your knees when they’re extended, so it’s important that this muscle group is strong and well maintained. 

When you train too hard there’s a chance that your posture could become sloppy, causing your hips to drop when you run. The consequence of this is that your knees are subjected to more direct force, as your body isn’t strong enough to keep your knees in their correct alignment. Strong glutes are essential for preventing this from happening, so try exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts and single-leg step-ups. 

Before you perform the exercises mentioned, it’s important to get the glutes firing to maximise the exercises’ effect. Glute kicks are a great isolation exercise and ideal for your warm-up. Using a cable machine, or simply lying on your front on the floor, bend you knees and raise a leg in the air. Squeeze your glute for five seconds and then lower your leg down. Repeat this on each leg 10 times.

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Richard Murray crowned Super League Triathlon champ

News

Aussie Jake Birtwhistle wins day three’s Eliminator but Murray takes Super League Triathlon Hamilton Island title and scoops the $100,000 prize purse

With two stage victories under his belt Murray started day three of Super League Triathlon as the clear favourite to be crowned the overall winner. As long as he finished seventh or better the victory, and prize purse, would be his, but first he had to survive the Eliminator.

The Eliminator was a three stage race that saw athletes eliminated in each stage with race tactics playing as much a part as pure speed. Dual Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee was a pre-race casualty withdrawing from Eliminator as a result of illness.
 
In Eliminator stage one athletes were vying for a top 15 finish position to progress through to stage two. In familiar fashion, Richard Varga was first out of the water before athletes made their first ascent up a wet Mango Tree Corner on the bike leg. Following the afternoon down pour the slippery roads required strong bike handling skills and Ireland’s Ben Shaw hit the deck on the first hairpin turn of the bike course and was forced withdrew from the race. He was the first to be out of the race but it was Cameron Dye who was the first athlete to feel the wrath of Super League Triathlon’s Eliminator format as he finished in 16th place following the stage one run leg and was joined on the sidelines for stage 2 by Josh Amberger, Dmitry Polyanskiy, long course supremo’s Brent McMahon and Terrenzo Bozzone, New Zealand’s Daniel Hoy and Icelandic wildcard Sirgudur Orn Ragnarsson.
 
Richard Murray raced smartly in stage one remaining well within the front pack but did not push the pace. Mid-run Murray was in in 14th place and visibly seen counting the 13 athletes in front of him at the run turn to ensure he was in the optimal position to finish inside the top 15 in stage 1 without expending any more than he had to.
 
Stage two saw athletes battling for a top 10 position to progress through to the final stage of Eliminator.   In what had been a relatively quiet week, Rio bronze medallist Henri Schoeman came out to play early on the bike leg of stage two and pushed the pace, but it was Ryan Fisher who led out on the run and eyed off a stage 3 berth. A group of ten, including Murray, quickly formed at the front of the race before Norway’s Kristian Bluumenfelt led them across the line to claim his second stage win of the day.

 
Following the completion of stage two Richard Murray was interviewed in the recovery zone following stage two and appeared confident of a title win claiming he would attack the bike course – “big gear, no fear”, he said and predicted at 2:50 pace on the stage 3 run.
 
With 14 of the world’s finest athletes sidelined for stage 3 they became enthusiastic spectators as their fellow warriors took to the pontoon for Stage 3 start in a race that would decide who would take home the Eliminator title and the winners cheque of $100,000. At the start of stage three Murray stood atop the overall series leader board on 40 points with Mola his closest rival on 31 points. A seventh place or above finish would guarantee Murray the title.
 
Stage three would crown the winner of Eliminator and following a tight swim Australia’s Ryan Fisher went out hard on the bike to set up a 16 second lead into T2 knowing that if he were to claim Eliminator he had to gap the stronger runners. Fisher held on until lap two of the run, however, the run came down to the three dominant runners of Super League Hamilton Island with Murray, Mario Mola and Australian superstar Jake Birtwhistle quickly bridging the gap to Fisher and subsequently setting an incredible pace at the front. It was Mola who made the first break among the lead pack, dropping Murray in the process, but it was Birtwhistle who looked cool and calm as he sat on the Spaniard’s heels before unleashing a devastating sprint to claim the win and the Eliminator title from Mola and Murray.
 
But it was Murray, with a third-place finish in Eliminator and victories in Triple Mix and Equalizer, who was the big winner on the day amassing a total of 56 out of 60 points across the three days of racing to take home $100,000 and the Leonid Boguslavsky Champions Trophy as the overall winner of Super League Hamilton Island.
 
The top three finishers of Eliminator also made up the overall podium finishers for Super League Hamilton Island with Mario Mola in second place (49 points) taking home the second place cheque for $50,000 and Birtwhistle capping off an incredible race week with third place overall (48 points) and receiving $30,000.

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Murray stays top at Super League Tri

News

At the inaugural Super League Triathlon event in Australia South African Richard Murray remains top of the leaderboard with a victory on day 2 and is the overall leader going into the final day.

On day 2 the athletes raced The Equalizer; a two-stage race comprising an individual cycling time trial in Stage 1 in the morning, and a swim-run-swim-bike-run sequence as Stage 2 in the afternoon. Athletes were released onto the course in a pursuit format, with gaps between each athlete corresponding to the time lost to the Stage 1 winner.

The victor of day 1, South African Richard Murray started the afternoon with a 20-second deficit to Cameron Dye, who had been fastest cyclist in the morning’s individual time trial.

The first swim belonged to Australian Jake Birtwhistle, who overhauled his deficit to Dye and took control on the first run. Fellow Australian Ryan Fisher attacked out of the water to hang onto Birtwhistle’s shoulder. Murray emerged from the water in eighth place.

The two Aussies pushed the pace to drop Dye, while Murray picked up the pace with his chase group to bridge the gap. Eventually at the end of the first run the athletes formed a large lead group, and Javier Gomez took the front going into the run-to-swim transition.

Kristian Blummenfelt led into the water for the second swim, but Igor Polyanskiy showed his swim prowess, churning through to head into swim-to-bike transition first. His strong swim created a gap large enough to eliminate Brent McMahon, Terenzo Bozzone and Siggy Ragnarsson as the three were unable to mount their bikes within a minute after Polyanskiy had headed onto the cycle course.

“Unfortunately, the time difference this morning was too big to bridge,” said Ragnarsson. “The guys out front were putting on a really strong pace. I was hoping I could maybe catch up, at least get on the bike and finish the bike course, but it is how it is.”

Ryan Bailie attacked up Mango Tree Hill into the second lap of the bike leg, with Gomez going with him into the front. Gomez attempted to press the pace but on Lap 5, it was Bailie and Birtwhistle who went on the offensive this time up the hill. Their joint effort was enough to build more than a ten-second gap into the bike-to-run transition.

Murray stayed right inside the chase group and hit the run in third place. Again he chased down the race leaders, but this time asserted his ownership of the run right in Lap 1, overtaking Birtwhistle for first place. The blistering speed from the man who owns the triathlon 10-kilometer run record was enough to lap Josh Amberger, Dmitri Polyansky, Crisanto Grajales Valencia, Dye, Dan Hoy, and Alessandro Fabian.

Birtwhistle’s second place went unchallenged, but Mario Mola pipped Gomez to be the first Spaniard across the finish line.

Murray’s win gives him another 20 points to add to his initial 20 points from yesterday to give him a clear overall lead. Mola moves up the leaderboard to second overall, while Richard Varga has been relegated to third.

“It was not easy,” said Murray. “That was hard, man. Each day is getting harder and harder, and Bailie and Birtwhistle, those kids can run. Give it to them. They can swim as well! I’m very stoked, but I’m going to pay tomorrow for sure.”

Murray said he turned on the gas after overtaking the two Aussies to break them psychologically. He went so hard that he had difficulty remembering how many laps he had left to run. “Two kilometres is really long after the last few days. It wasn’t as hot as yesterday, but it was definitely hard out there.”

While Alistair Brownlee managed to stay in contact throughout Stage 2 of the Equalizer, he was not able to gain any traction on the leaderboard, staying in 19th place.

DAY 2 OFFICIAL RESULTS MAY BE DOWNLOADED FROM THE LINKS BELOW:
Equalizer Stage 1
Equalizer Stage 2

Watch Day 3 of Super League Hamilton Island live on www.superleaguetriathlon.com on March 19 at 16:30 AEST (06:30GMT)

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Murray wins opening round of Super League Triathlon

News

Richard Murray wins day one of inaugural Super League Triathlon in Australia

South African triathlete Richard Murray has won the first round of the inaugural Super League Triathlon’s first event, which saw the athletes racing the Triple Mix format. In this format athletes racing three stages, with ten minutes of rest counting down between each stage starting when the first finisher crosses the line. Stage 1 was swim-bike-run, Stage 2 run-bike-swim, and Stage 3 bike-swim-run.

$1.5 million dollar Super League Triathlon unveiled

 Murray finished Stage 1 in third place after hanging off the back on the bike and making up time on the run. Richard Varga (#12) led the swim through the first turn buoy with a clear lead through the 300-metre course. But once on the bike, the lead switched several times throughout the six laps to make up the 6-kilometer cycle course. Siggy Ragnarsson (#57) dropped out, leaving only 23 competitors who all stayed close on the last lap. Ryan Fisher (#10) led through the first lap of 250 meters, but in the end it was compatriot Jake Birtwhistle (#44) followed by Mario Mola (#03) and Murray who finished in the top three spots for Stage 1.

Stage 2 began with a run led out by triathlon greats Spencer Smith and Brad Bevan through a neutral zone. Athletes took position behind him according to their finish order from Stage 1. Ben Shaw (#73) and Birtwhistle led the rest of the field through all four run laps, running shoulder-to-shoulder into transition to get on their bikes. Fisher and Birtwhistle took the lead on the bike, with Alistair Brownlee dropped from the pack. However, Shaw crept up on Fisher and the two were first to hop off the bike and into the water. Varga’s swim prowess again took him into the lead but this time to take the Stage 2 victory, with Andrea Salvisberg (69) and Igor Polyanskiy (#77) in third.

The final stage of Triple Mix began on the bike with Robbie McEwen leading the athletes out through the neutral zone. Josh Amberger (#27) and Salvisberg made an early move and steadily built a 15-second gap through four laps. Brent McMahon (#83) led the chase pack, and Ryan Bailie (#39) made a huge effort to bridge the gap and entered the top three by the last lap. It was game over for Shaw as he overcooked the turnout of transition to crash out.

Salvisberg was first to the dismount line and made a flying leap off the pontoon and led through to the first can, but Varga once again surged through the water to take the lead, with Bailie on his shoulder. But in fifth place, Murray was waiting to strike. And strike he did, taking the lead, lapping a struggling Alistair Brownlee (#23) who was more than a minute back out of the swim, and chatting to the camera as he came down the finish chute. Varga and Bailie sprinted for second place, with the former edging the latter by a shoulder and then collapsing past the finish line.

Not only did Murray take the stage win, but also the overall win. Varga placed second even with the five-second bonuses he won for being first out of the water in Stage 1 and winning Stage 2. Bailie picked up the final spot on the podium.

“I planned to take it pretty easy on the first day, but then on the last run I noticed the favourites were behind me, so I knew it was my moment to go,” said Murray.  “I don’t think he [Alistair Brownlee] was in the best shape ever when he came here. I can’t say it wasn’t great, I’ve done it once before but I think he had an injury, maybe the heat got to him or something. It’s definitely not the usual Alistair Brownlee that you’d see every single day. I don’t feel awesome from lapping someone who’s probably going 50 percent or 70%.”

Murray will now focus on getting ready for the Eliminator format for Day 2 of Super League Hamilton Island, which will involve a time trial in the morning and more swimming, biking, and running in the afternoon. “I’m very happy with how it turned out and I’ll try to recover now and get ready through the next ten hours, because in ten hours’ time we’re doing the time trials. I hope I can get a good starting position for the afternoon out of that.”

Watch Day 2 of Super League Hamilton Island live on superleaguetriathlon.com on March 18 at 16:30 AEST (06:30GMT).

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How does exercise affect my heart

Training > Injuries

Mat Brett explains the key affects and adaptations exercise has on your cardiovascular system

Follow a structured endurance training programme with effective recovery between your sessions and you can expect your cardiovascular system, which includes your heart and blood vessels, to adapt in many ways. Here are some of the key ones that will affect your athletic performance…

Heart size

Your cardiac muscle will develop and your heart will grow in volume. Essentially, your heart will become larger and more powerful, so it’ll be able to pump more blood around your body.

Stroke volume

Your heart’s stroke volume is the amount of blood it pumps with every beat, and this will increase. That means that, for any given heart rate, your heart will pump more blood around your body than if you didn’t train.

Heart rate

As your heart becomes stronger, your heart rate will decrease for a given level of exercise. So, say you start off being able to run 10km in 45mins with an average heart rate of 150 beats per minute (bpm), after a period of regular training you might be able to run the same distance in the same time with an average heart rate of 140bpm. Or, if you
still run for 45mins with an average heart rate of 150bpm, you might go significantly further than 10km.

Your heart will pump more blood around your body with each heartbeat, so your resting heart rate will drop, too. A typical resting heart rate in adults is about 60-90 beats per minute (bpm) but many endurance athletes have lower figures. 

After a period of regular training, your heart rate will likely return to normal after exercise more quickly than previously, too.

Blood flow

Good aerobic training will ensure your working muscles get a higher blood supply during exercise. You’ll develop the network of capillaries – tiny blood vessels – in your muscles, so that they are able to receive oxygen, fuel and nutrients more effectively.

Blood volume

Training can increase your blood volume. This is largely down to more plasma but the number of red blood cells will also rise.

The triathlete’s complete guide to heart rate zone training

Best heart rate training zones for cycling

Best heart rate zones for running

Using heart rate variability to optimise triathlon training

Heart-rate variability: what it is and why you should measure it

Heart rate training: why early spikes happen

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12 weeks till triathlon raceday Heres how to prepare

The three months before your first race are crucial in ensuring you hit peak fitness at the right time, and it’s paramount that you start to make your training specific to your racing goals. With the goal to improve aerobic capacity over the winter months, the steady aerobic miles and the sessions can be quite general. But now it’s time to use your newly-developed aerobic fitness, focus it into race-specific training and, consequently, achieve a stronger-conditioned body for the races ahead.

Tri-specific training consists of a combination of water and land-based activities. These include open-water swimming (when the weather and water are warmer); open-water swim drills (in a swimming pool); swim-to-bike and bike-to-run brick sessions; and transition practice. Alongside this, it’s important to continue gym sessions focused on maintaining strength and preventing injuries, as well as focussing more attention towards nutrition to hit your target weight.

When including race-specific sessions in the training plan, it’s important that you build-up gradually and not push yourself too much, too early. After the winter months of aerobic training, increasing the intensity too quickly can shock the body and cause unnecessary injuries. By slowly upping the work rate, you enable your body to adapt to the extra training demands and allow enough time for fitness developments to take place.

Consistent practice of race-specific workouts will help to take away any overwhelming feelings and the fear you may have on race day. Experiencing these new physical challenges in training and creating different racing scenarios will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the way you view the race. By preparing meticulously and constantly practising racing skills, your confidence in your own ability will go from strength to strength.

 12 WEEKS TO GO

You’ve built up your aerobic fitness but now’s the time to gradually introduce tri-specific training variables without putting too much training stress on the body. After a few weeks you should be able to have a strong idea of any weaknesses and an appreciation for the demands of racing will be recognised.

 SWIM

Now’s the time to introduce open-water swim drills in the swimming pool. For example, swimming with your head above water and practising sighting in order to increase upper-body strength and awareness. Also aim to increase the swimming volume and shift to faster-paced efforts in the pool.

Sub-1hr session: open-water simulator

6 open-water swimming skills to practise in the pool

BIKE

Focus on developing strength and endurance. This can be achieved by adding Over Gear (big gear, low RPM) and Under Gear (light gear, high RPM) sessions into the training plan. Also introduce threshold (just below race pace) efforts on the turbo and practise riding hard in your bike position.

How to use your gears to improve cycling technique & strength

Sub-1hr bike workout: the big gear

 What is bike threshold training?

   

RUN

Adding a short run off the bike will help get you used to the ‘jelly leg’ sensation, before the brick sessions can progress into focused race-paced reps. It’s important to start off steady and build the duration until you feel comfortable and confident with the change in discipline.

 Improve your transitions – reduce T2 discomfort and go from bike to run more easily

   

GYM

Now that the work rate has stepped up, keeping your body in good condition is imperative in order to remain injury free. A continued focus on core exercises (plank and side plank), upper (press-ups) and lower body (squats and lunges) exercises are essential in maintaining consistent training.  

NUTRITION

As the training is steadily getting more intense, it’s crucial that the right nutrients are being replaced in the body after the sessions. Adding a protein and carbohydrate recovery shake straight after hard efforts will help accelerate the body’s recovery and repair muscle damage after exercise.

8 WEEKS TO GO

Bricks should now be a signature feature of your sessions,  but keep an eye on recovery…

Now that the race-specific sessions are starting to become a regular feature of your training plan, it’s time to increase the volume and distance of these workouts. The focus is on improving endurance and getting used to pushing the body under fatigue, while maintaining form and technique.

SWIM

Your open-water drills are in full swing and now’s the time to incorporate these skills into your swim stroke during high-intensity efforts. Replicating racing situations – such as swimming in a group, swimming on other athletes’ feet, and practising sighting – will help you stay relaxed and calm with other athletes around you on race day.

Open water swim: Crowd control tips

Three steps to better swim sighting

How to practise swim drafting

BIKE

Accessing the strength improvements from last month’s block, you should now focus these developments into race-paced intervals and time-trial workouts on the road. Simulating race distances at race pace, while practising relaxing at your threshold and maintaining power, is essential in conserving energy for the run.

Sub-1hr bike session: Build intervals

Sub-1hr session: race-pace ride

RUN

Brick sessions are now a signature feature in your training plan and now you can progress the volume, pace and distance of the run reps off the bike. Additionally, include longer paced runs of around 10-20mins (or more depending on ability) with the focus on improving endurance and having the confidence to run hard. 

Ultimate Bricks: Bike to Run

NUTRITION

Consuming recovery shakes after hard sessions should still be a priority. But now the sessions are getting longer and tougher, the addition of a carbohydrate drink on the bike and during run efforts should be consumed in order to maximise energy and performance levels. 

GYM TIPS

Continue on from last month’s conditioning but with more focus on foam rolling and stretching after sessions. Try to include a regular massage in order to promote recovery, as the muscles may be sore and need all the help they can get in order to repeat the sessions and maintain training consistency.

4 WEEKS TO GO

Race day is so close you can smell it. Time then to enter the open water in prep for the tri season…

The days are getting warmer and longer so the opportunity to swim in open water is now a viable option (if the water’s warm enough, of course!). Also this is the time to turn your attention towards speed and short interval sessions alongside transition practice, and creating a variety of racing scenarios to fully prepare you for next month’s racing.

SWIM

Specific swim sets that focus on sighting and swimming round the buoys in the lake can now begin. Place an emphasis on sprinting in and out of the buoys and taking the best swim line as you sight. Also, practise exiting the lake at speed, getting the wetsuit off as quickly as possible and even jumping on to your bike if there’s space.

Best technique for swimming round buoys in a triathlon

6 transition tips for exiting open-water

BIKE

It’s time to complement the hard work that’s been put into developing strength on the bike with short, fast sprint efforts (30-60secs) on the turbo with short recoveries. Also apply more attention to cycling skills: cornering, choosing the best line and accelerating out of the bends.

RUN

Mixing up the longer-paced efforts with short fast intervals will complement each other perfectly. Using a running track or on grass for reps of 30-60secs with plenty of rest will cement the hard work and bring you into race form.

GYM

Continued core exercises and stretching are essential in maintaining a healthy body. Adding running drills and swim/bike/run discipline-specific exercises to your gym programme will also be of benefit to ensure your body is kept well conditioned. These exercises will also go a long way to ensuring your body is able to absorb the high-intensity efforts that have been introduced.

NUTRITION

Now the races are getting closer it’s important that you tailor your nutrition to your racing. A week out from the race, increase your carbohydrate intake in order to sufficiently carb load and fuel your body. Also aim to maintain your
protein intake to prevent muscle wastage and preserve strength.

Protein: how much do you need?

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