The Seven Steps to Getting Faster!

At some point, triathletes who are striving to become better and stronger, encounter bouts of worry about their performance. Oftentimes, these athletes voice out their concerns to professionals such as their coaches.

They inquire why they do not seem to get faster no matter how hard they train. These question arise; “is there something wrong with the way I train?” or; “what else can I do to improve my performance?”

Questions are Normal

These queries are acceptable and, in fact, usual. The answer always depends. It is a fact that performing the same level of workout, such as running the same distance repetitively every single day bores the body and it eventually stops getting stronger primarily because the level of stress is always the same.

The performance does not improve but rather reaches a plateau. Furthermore, making significant and abrupt progressions when the body is not yet ready, or conditioned for it can lead to fatigue and even injury. There are seven steps that can help improve training, and get the body in great shape in time for a triathlon.

Back to Basics

It is always best to get back to the basics. Think of how an athlete can improve his or her performance in any sport such as swimming, running and others. The answer is fairly simple – change the stress level applied to the body at each phase of the training as it adapts. This can be done by increasing the volume, speed, strength or resistance. Increasing the intensity of the exercises may be done in small doses.

Too much progression can overwhelm the body and lead to fatigue and even serious muscle injuries. Planning is very important in order to make gradual and well-calculated progressions. This is important in giving the body the right amount of a boost to perform better. For instance, building a plan that will allow an athlete to swim, bike and run during the same day is a good start.

Adapt and Progress

It should be understood that there is no need to follow a particular schedule or protocol. Instead, train with an open mind and progress when the body is ready to take that extra load. Do not progress with the program unless you have already adapted to the previous cycle.

Adaptation is all about making progressions only when the body is ready. It is not dictated by the calendar. Plotting the calendar as to when to take the training to the next level can lead to unrealistic goals, that will only lead to negative results. Instead, go after a natural progression. This is dictated by the body’s performance and condition to a certain level of training.

To get better and faster, follow these simple steps:

1. Have your baseline figures ready prior to starting the training

Know your starting point. This is the only way you can track your progress. For example, get started with a specific set and start from there. Take note of your starting level in order to determine your progress later on. This can be a good indicator on how you will make the necessary adjustments later on. In biking, for example, you can take note of 10-12 mile TT. Simply take your average heart rate (HR) and time over the course. For running, you can run for 5k or 10k and determine threshold HR and pace.

2. Perform regular test to determine if your training plan is going well

Take note of your baseline set and then make it a point to re-test your self every 4 or 6 weeks. Create a schedule for your test just to track how much you are responding to your training.

3. Come up with a Training Stress

Do not be afraid of changing things such as your level of effort, distance, pace, Heart Rate and other relevant factors. Routine may be good to condition your body but performing the same type and level of activity every single day of the week is not a good idea for any athlete who wants to become better. Instead, create a challenge that can give your body the extra boost by changing the speed, duration, distance and so on. If you are running for 1 and half hours for two weeks and it has become easier for you, challenge yourself to 1 hour and 45 minutes or run for an hour only but at a faster pace.

4. Step Up and Challenge yourself

Do not be afraid to make changes in your training routine. Get out of the comfort zone and give your body that boost. Allow your body to improve and perform better when you are ready to take that extra load. This is the only way you can be stronger and better. As your body adapts to a certain level of stress, get ready for the next level.

5. Do not take every expert’s advice and apply everything to your training

Initiating different training and applying a new theory every now and then will not enable your body to adapt to new stress. Instead, it will just keep on re-starting and it will remain tired. Follow a single plan that you believe in and you know that is realistic and applicable enough to your training style. Stick with it for 3 months noting your progress and how you respond to it. If it is not working, that is the time to change course or to talk to a professional to get some advice.

6. Keep things simple

Come up with a challenging routine that will leave you tired but not worn out and wasted. Perform this for 2 to 3 weeks and then have a recovery week. Start again and this time, increase the effort, volume, intensity or frequency of the set.

7. Go easy on the easy days – don’t take the fun out of your training!

Organize and plan your training and give your body that much needed break. Train hard but allow your body to rest and just enjoy what you are doing. Allow your body to appreciate light activities as much as it can perform heavy ones. When your body is not exhausted, you can adapt easily and make progressions faster. Challenge is important but having those “easy days” makes training more worthwhile, and fun.



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