Success with Stamina
Success with Stamina
A little blog about being a triathlon coach. Here you'll find a little diary about my activities as a coach, the performances of the people I work with and my thoughts and opinions on what makes athletes faster for longer.

Sharpening up for shorter races

AndyBby AndyBMar 21st 2010
So to continue the story from my last blog. You've put in the time during the winter months training, wrapped up warm through the cold and dark and now you want to pick up the intensity to be swift in the warmer, sunnier conditions that come with the summer. The day for PB success is getting closer. So where next?

Interval sessions start to become a firm favourite during these times as well as the addition of brick training. While swim/bike and bike/run bricks are very important I'll start today with some tips on interval training and come back to the bricks in a future blog.

Sessions earlier in your race preparation (build/pre competition) phase should begin with shorter intervals and longer rests to allow your body to adjust to the higher intensity gradually. As the weeks go by the duration of the race pace efforts should increase towards the duration you expect to spend at this intensity during the race.

I recently posted, via my twitter account (andybtricoach, if you want to follow me), a link to an article on with some ideas to help boost your bike speed over an Olympic distance triathlon (

It's important to note that in the first workout (30/30s) it is recommended that athletes start with 10 repetitions for the first session and then increase it in subsequent sessions, an ideal way to gradually increase training intensity. Likewise in the second workout it would be possible to start with a fewer number of repetitions or with a greater recovery between each interval before either increasing the number of intervals or decreasing the rest between them.

Some people may be aware of these principles as DIRT


It is the manipulation of these factors that allow interval sessions to be created and targeted towards your ability and that allow you to develop your race fitness at a pace suitable to you. Be wary of the intensity at which you do your training effort. It should be based around your own perceived experience, heart rate, power or even a combination of the three (whichever is your weapon of choice, I tend to use power and perceived effort for the bike). Speed, outside on the bike at least, is influenced by too many factors to be a reliable measure of effort. Bare in mind that too many intervals of too long a duration at too high an intensity with too little recovery will start you on that slippery slope to over training so listen carefully to your body as you go through these sessions.

Remember these same principles can be applied to running and swimming and overall I would recommend that over a week, hard sessions like this are done two to three times in total (be that 2 bike and 1 run or 1 run and 2 bike) remembering that you can also adjust the intensity within the session if you feel that you are able to push harder or if an easier session is needed.

So go on, use your creative side to come up with your own combinations of intervals to get the best and most enjoyable training sessions that will boost your fitness and leave you flying to your PB this summer.
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