Getting Through a Plateau

It’s nothing new to hear a tri-athlete complain about doing very well in swimming, but not doing so well at running or cycling. It is also common for tri-athletes to have an excellent streak on the first two events but a disappointing streak on the third.



Turn A Weakness Around

Even the best tri-athletes experience this and this is a natural part of triathlon event. Therefore, what can we do to make a difference? How can we turn our weaknesses into strengths? How can we improve our swimming techniques and do the same for cycling and running?

Turning a weakness into a strength is no easy task but that does not mean it is impossible. When I was younger, I worked and lived in a bustling city. I spend six hours each week getting ready for my triathlon season. Despite my training environment being poor, I was forced to get into shape and turn my weaknesses into strength.

Sport Rotation

As I was preparing for my race season, I discovered a new method of training I fondly call “Sport Rotation”. I may have discovered it by accident but it worked wonders. My training schedule depended on the weather. Therefore, I had to work with it.

If you dissect the training program of the world’s best endurance athletes, you will notice that they tend to focus on one particular sport. They usually run twice a day or swim twice a day. The same thing can be said for cycling. When they ride their bikes, they ride for a few hours, take a break and ride for a few more hours again.

Shift Focus

Focusing on one sport at one time has honed your body’s ability to adapt to any new techniques. Therefore, if it’s your desire to do better and perform well in your triathlon season then you might want to start applying sport rotation in your training program.

If you have spent too much training and you noted no improvements in your sport then you have nothing to lose if you decide to try a different approach.

Change It Up

If you think that sport rotation can help you improve on the events that you consider as your weakness, then you might structure the program by focusing on one particular sport for three weeks or so, and then after three weeks spend a week without intense training.

After that week, you can spend another three weeks focusing on a different event and it goes on like cycle. However, you also have the option of using this technique over months, instead of weeks. The same principle applies even when you are training for months. After training for all three events, you can now go back to your regular, balanced training.

Use the Weather

Moreover, if you are training in an area where you have all four seasons, you can let the season dictate the flow of your training. Like focusing on running during November, swimming in January, and biking in March. However, you can make your training program flexible because the weather is unpredictable and you have to work around it to get your training done.

Get Started

Now, how do you get things started? Well, first you must decide which sport to focus on first. Take, for example, running. If your regular training involves running two to three days each week, you can increase it to five to six times with the fifth and sixth day spent running lightly.

As for the rest, continue training for it two days in a week. Apart from the drill sessions for the least focused sport, you may also want to add endurance sets for each sport. This will keep your body in perfect shape and hone your skills on each sport.

Switch It Back

Once your time frame for focusing on running is done, you can now switch to either swimming or biking. The same rules are applied like increasing the number of training days for one particular sport and adding endurance sets for the rest of the events. Whatever sport you are currently focusing on, see to it that you are taking it to the next level in order for this training program to work.

Swim Like A Fish

When you train for a particular sport, focus on it and assume the identity of an athlete who really trains for it. For example, if you are focusing on swimming then swim like a fish. Do not be afraid to swim with people who are faster and better than you are. Swim with them, observe their movements and posture, and learn as much as you can from them.

Run With Athletes

The same thing when you are concentrating on running. Be a runner and run with athletes who have spent their entire lives training for this sport. Learn from their ways by watching how they prepare for it.

You can also do the same if you are focusing on training for cycling. Go riding with more than one person; if possible go with a group. During this time you will learn alot from these people, and they will also help you turn your weaknesses in your strengths, thus perfectly preparing you for your upcoming race season.

Feel free to share your techniques for getting through a plateau below.

Good Luck!


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