have the opportunity to increase your training volume
substantially from your normal level every once in a while due to
life circumstances. Maybe you're on vacation, the family is out
of town, or you're stranded in a strange town with just a couple
business meetings during the week. Whatever the reason, here are
a few issues to consider when you're ready to ramp it up.
load is a calculation of effort and duration. A 2 hour easy ride
is not as stressful as a 2 hour ride with a 1 hour time trial in
the middle. The day of or the day after the easy ride you could
still do a pretty hard run, but a hard run the day of or the day
after a tough bike is less likely to be a quality session and
increases your chances of injury. When you're planning out a big
period of training, you need to consider how the overall increase
in volume will affect your body. In other words, in a big period,
it is a generally good idea to decrease your effort within the
workouts as the duration of most workouts increases.
triathlon world, it is much safer to undertake a big increase in
your bike and swim volume then it is to make a big increase in
running volume. Running is more stressful on the body due to the
impact with the ground and adding 50 or 100% to your normal
amount of running could be a catalyst for an injury, even if you
decrease your effort substantially. Cycling and swimming are
weight supported exercises (no impact) and a 100% or more
increase in volume/time for a few days is realistic, provided you
adjust your effort levels accordingly.
you familiar with intensity factor (IF), training stress score
(TSS) other values you will find in the performance
management chart of Training Peaks might consider how many
points you accrue in a given week and plan your big week around
that - for the most part you could double up on your swim and
bike and make a small increase if any in the run. For example, if
within a normal training week you have around 500 TSS on the
bike, you might go to the 800-1200 range in a big week while keeping
the IF of each ride on the lower side (under 0.85). Advanced
athletes could include 1 or 2 rides breaking into the 0.85-0.95
range. The swimming calculation is not as exact (since creating a
wearable swimming power meter has yet to be done) but increasing
your yardage by 50-100% should be fine. Skip the 25s all out and
be aware of how your shoulders are doing.
run my recommendation is to keep the volume the same or just
slightly more than usual and limit any intervals to 'tempo' or
sub-threshold effort levels. The risk/reward calculation from
increasing your run training load substantially at the same time
you're increasing bike and swim training loads is just not worth
it. If you want to do a big run period, make that the primary
focus and use swimming and cycling purely as recovery sessions.
That's a different article.
world example for a big week is to sign up for a guided bike
tour. Some tours are tougher than others but a lot of them last
about a week, and cover 50+ miles per day with 1 or 2 planned
easy days within. As a triathlete, you're already meticulous
enough to plan out some runs and check the tour locations for
adequate swimming facilities to round out your big training week.
way is to join in on any of the spring or summer triathlon camps
that many coaching organizations put on. These are great because
the organizers understand the three sport mentality of triathlon
and can help you adjust to your personal needs.
If you decide to do your own big training
week, here is a sample plan:
mid distance ride and big swim
Day 2: mid distance run with a few light intervals, easy ride
Day 3: long ride, short t-run, short swim
Day 4: big swim, optional easy ride or run (this is the easy day)
Day 5: long run, short swim
Day 6: mid distance ride, big swim
Day 7: long ride, t-run
after a big period like this you'll want to use as a recovery
week, dropping your training load to 50-75% of normal levels.
That would include skipping threshold or over-threshold type
intervals and not racing that following weekend. You'll be tired
and your body will thank you for the recovery time. In the second
week, you'll start to feel better and competing in a race or
doing some testing should yield positive results.
impact of a big week like this will stay with you for a while,
provided you don't just sit on the couch for weeks after. Most
age group triathletes won't be able to do this more than 2-3
times per year, but if you have the chance, take it. Like anything
in life, there is a bit of risk involved in pushing outside your
current limits, but doing so with realistic planning is a great
way to boost your fitness and increase your long term