See the graphic I have created below. Overload, Adaptation, Specificity & Reversibility are the keys to training. I have also added in a Performance Management Chart (PMC). It’s important to note that the PMC is displaying all 4 of those principles.
In the PMC you will note the gradual rise of fitness (blue line) as the athlete is in the overload / adaptation phase. You will also see it drop after a major race as the athlete recovers depicting reversibility.
The blue dots are indicating the specificity of training. You can see on the left of the PMC the athlete is in their winter base with lower fitness levels and lower blue dots. As they get into proper training, the fitness rises and the dots become higher showing training is becoming more intense.
The key to it all as your coach is getting the correct balance and timing right for all these factors as we lead into the races.
I’m quite often asked how much training someone should be doing for certain events. Answer is always “it depends” , but it’s definitely good to have a ball park figure in mind. I have a few rules of thumb when it comes to training loads.
1. Work out the total number of weekly hours based on experience in the sport.
2. Take into account “life” demands. Family needs, work, study, chill out time etc
3. Make sure we have enough hours to train correctly for the goal event. If the athlete doesn’t have enough hours, shorten the goal event.
4. Once I have my rough weekly hours number I use the 25/50/25 rule. 25% swim, 50% bike, 25% run.
5. If you are doing long course I try to match weekend numbers with weekday numbers. So if you are doing a 4 hour ride on the weekend then I try to get you doing 4 hours mid week spread out over 3 rides. Similar to run. If you are doing a 2 hour long run I’ll try to get you to match it mid-week.
6. For short course athletes I like the weekend long sessions to be all about the aerobic foundations for your mid-week intensity. Weekends can also be a chance to sneak a run off the bike in to train for the demands of competition.
7. I like Monday and Friday to be have a recovery focus. That can be passive recovery by means of a day off, or active recovery by means of easier aerobic based sessions.
8. Apply the 4 principles of training to develop the mix of the hours. This is the “art of coaching” part as it deals with the many issues life throws at us.
Its sometimes hard to know how hard to go in a set of intervals. My guide is firstly to remember that we work in a training zone. So T4 is a range between 96% and 102% of your Anaerobic Threshold. Depends on how you are feeling but if you have a set of 5x1km on the track its best to work into them. Start the first one a bit easier and get to the last one by incrementally getting quicker each one.
Being aware of your targets helps this of course. If you know your threshold pace on the run is 4min/km then start at 4:05 and work towards 3:55.
In training, TT’s are a great opportunity to practice race skills. I am looking for 100% commitment to them and I want you experiencing that bit of internal pressure that comes with the territory. I am then looking for you to switch that pressure to a process mindset. Feel the pressure , then get your head around your pacing and technique. Let the outcome be what it is.
TT’s also give me an idea of what your current Anaerobic Threshold is.