Moreover, the longer the distance, the greater will be the time gap between the top athletes and the middle of the bunch.
What kind of fuel
Exercise intensity is largely due to available energy sources: it’s well known that fats are the largest fuel reservoir of the body, however, fat needs more oxygen to produce energy or they produce energy at a slower rate. For this reason, when the body needs to move fast, the energy production accounts on a mix of fats and carbo. The amount of carbo increases with speed but has a limited duration. This is the main reason of the higher intensity in the shorter distances.
How to workout for the different triathlon distances
We have already explained the physiology, which correlates to energy production and exercise intensity and duration. It’s now time to use this knowledge to design training plans for the different triathlon distances.
Considering that the shorter the race the higher the intensity, it’s intuitive that training for a sprint will require much more speed work and anaerobic threshold intervals than training for an Ironman.
General tips for triathlon training
However, a solid base of aerobic training in zone 1 and 2 is fundamental preparing for any triathlon distance, as well as strength sessions to prevent muscle loss that could occur with high volume aerobic program. Going deeper into training, it’s advisable for those going for the long half and full Ironman to extend training duration to two thirds of the racing distance in each single sport in different days of the week.
Outdoor sessions will focus more on general endurance and will prepare the body for the long haul increasing plasmatic volume, mitochondria and fat utilization.
Tips for the Sprint and the Olympic Triathlon
- Train the transitions with combined swim-race and bike-race sessions
- Take care of strength training because it is essential to develop power and therefore speed.
- Devote time to targeted training on cycle simulators and treadmills
Half Ironman and Ironman Tips
- Extend the training duration to 2/3 of the race distance in each sport on different days of the week.
- Take care of the carbohydrate load in the 2 days before the race
- Check the HR during the match both to avoid going too high in intensity and to understand if you are going into hunger crisis.
Their use allows to be extremely precise in the distribution of the load and to have a formidable effect on the muscles, another tangible benefit is the improvement of the running and cycling technique which translates into energy savings over long distances.