With just over eight weeks until race day your general endurance should be well established and the staple workouts of your training week – long swim, long bike and long run – should start to become quite comfortable. You will be achieving your desired durations with greater ease. The period of training prior to now is normally referred to as the ‘base endurance building phase’ and hopefully you’ve spent the last few months gradually increasing your weekly training volumes for either the half or full distance events so that you’ve developed a strong fitness base.
Now that this general endurance base is established you can move into a more specific endurance phase. This is normally called the ‘build phase’ and the major difference is that you should start to identify some individual workouts and begin to execute them at the intensity you intend racing at over terrain similar to the Challenge Wanaka course. Not every workout in the week should be at predicted race day intensity but I recommend portions of your weekly long swim, bike and run should now start to be conducted as you hope to do on race day. Initially use smaller interval periods of 15-20mins followed by easier periods or recovery exercise. Over the next 6 weeks the build intervals should be extended with the easy periods of recovery exercise reducing so that mid to late December you’re able to conduct up to 75% of the duration of each of your weekly long workouts at approximately race effort.
The intensity of training during this build period should be either “at” or “just above” your predicted race effort. How you determine this race pace intensity is through trial and error in training or by consultation with your coach. It is best to work this out now before race day to avoid meltdowns! The need for super hard training is not relevant now as training for a long distance triathlon is about building fitness at perceived race intensity and not above this.
For those athletes new to this distance of racing then the build period intensity may be exactly the same as their base endurance training phase as it’s always best for novice athletes to perform at training speed on race day to ensure finishing rather than hoping they can go 25% faster and blow up. For those athletes the build phase then represents a chance to do race simulations and start to put together swim, bike, run workouts with very short changeovers or transitions between each discipline to mimic race day.
The build phase is also you’re chance to develop your personal nutrition strategy for race day. Each athlete is so very different in terms of their nutritional and hydration needs and what they can each tolerate when exercising differs. The amount of energy expended per hour, your personal sweat rates and electrolyte losses should be addressed over the next few weeks by working out what works best for you. Your stomach will tell you quite quickly if you’ve over-eaten or hydrated as will your muscles if you’ve under-eaten or not drunk the right amounts of fluid.
The stomach is very sensitive when under exercise stress as blood is drawn away to the working muscles which impacts on our digestive capacity. We absolutely need to take on board calories as we go and working out your nutrition plan should happen before race day.
High 5 is the nutrition sponsor for the event so this will be what’s available on the course on race day. I would recommend you purchase some of this product before then to see if it works for you. High 5 has a specialised carbohydrate profile in their drinks which could allow for more and better carbohydrate absorption but I encourage you find out if it works for you before the big day.
The build phase should start to come to a conclusion towards the end of December when you enter the ‘peak period’ and you should be starting to think about conducting a few mini race simulations to fine tune your race fitness. More on Peak Period to come………..
Thanks to Bevan McKinnon and the team at fitter.co.nz for these training tips.