Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!
Simulated Triathlons, Good Idea?
Now, my question is, whether doing another simulated triathlon this weekend is a good idea or should I just rely on bricks to build my endurance and preparation level?
Not having done a triathlon before, I wanted to be ‘decently’ prepared for my upcoming triathlon and hence, did a simulated triathlon last weekend (which was coincidentally the first time I did an open water swim). Now, my question is, whether doing another simulated triathlon this weekend is a good idea or should I just rely on bricks to build my endurance and preparation level?? I definitely do not want to run out of energy/enthusiasm for the big day! Any thoughts?
First and foremost, I want to congratulate you for getting out there and investing your time/energy into the world of triathlon-ing! It is a very rewarding sport…and very addictive at that (there are worse things we could be addicted to, aren’t there?)!
Now, to answer your question…I fully believe in sport specific training, and what better way to specifically train for your event than to perform an abridged version of the event in which you are about to participate!!
Brick workouts have their place in your training schedule. They are meant to prepare your body for the transition phases of each event (swim to bike and bike to run). Transitions from one race component to the other are trying because your body is going to utilize different muscles groups from one event to the other and will go through a short adaptation phase. Once over that hump, your body remembers how to bike when it’s time to bike and how to run when it’s time to run. It’s a bit of a shock to the muscles at first, but that is why we train in brick format for triathlons.
That being said, it is important to remember that muscles have memory. The human body is predisposed to adapt to its environment; therefore, changing your routine from day to day and week to week is VERY important to the training process. It’s a double edged sword of sorts. It’s WONDERFUL that our body adapts to its surroundings. When we start training, something that seems virtually impossible at first becomes almost natural and easy within weeks. That is the point where we change our workout and give our muscles a bit of shock treatment by doing speed work instead of a threshold run, biking hills instead of flats, or getting in a yoga class to focus on stretching and balance! All of these components are very important to triathlon training…as is the simulated triathlon!
You absolutely want to get in one or two simulated triathlons before the big day…and as I stated earlier, make it a shorter, less intense version of the event for which you are training. I would especially add a simulated triathlon into your schedule if it means it’s the only chance you are going to get to throw an open water swim into the works. Pools are a GREAT place to train, but they are a very different environment than a lake or ocean. Your simulated triathlons should be, at the most, a quarter of the distance/time you are going to take to complete your event. You also want to ensure that you are not going all out when doing your simulated triathlon. Keep your heart rate between 70% and 75% of your max. You should not feel exhausted after performing a simulated triathlon…just more confident of your ability and how AMAZING you are going to feel when you cross that finish line!! Good luck and happy simulating!
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