Don’t change ev­ery­thing at once Train at your race pace Big­ger work­outs re­quire longer re­cov­ery Prac­tice nu­tri­tion Train in your race po­si­tion

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

Ini­tially, make sub­tle changes to your pro­gram. In­cre­men­tally in­crease the dis­tance of your long rides and runs. Start with a 10 per cent in­crease in ei­ther time or dis­tance and build in two-week cy­cles. You will need to build your over­all aer­o­bic fit­ness to han­dle a longer event, so you need some longer ses­sions in your pro­gram. Add vol­ume through swimming. Swimming is a great way to build more aer­o­bic fit­ness with­out risk­ing in­jury. Your body must adapt to any change in your train­ing pro­gram over time.

You should be very con­fi­dent that you know what pace you are able to main­tain. To do this you need to train at the pace you plan to race re­peat­edly. Re­place some of the speed work­outs you did with spe­cific pace work­outs for your half-dis­tance race. Use a power me­tre on the bike and a GPS watch while run­ning to get fa­mil­iar with what your pace is go­ing to be. By race day you should no longer need them to set­tle into that pace. Fa­mil­iar­ize your­self with what pace will be too hard to main­tain – you need to be able to push your lim­its, but stay within them. Jump­ing up in dis­tance will re­quire longer work­outs that re­quire more time to re­cover. One com­mon mis­take when mov­ing up in dis­tance is try­ing to sched­ule too much train­ing ev­ery week. If you are adding vol­ume, or longer bouts of in­ten­sity, you need to ad­just your re­cov­ery time to match the level of fa­tigue you cre­ate from those work­outs.

Train­ing at half-dis­tance pace is chal­leng­ing. Halfdis­tance paced work­outs re­place a speed or tempo work­out that you cur­rently do for Olympic dis­tance train­ing and can also re­place your long ride or run. Bal­anc­ing the vol­ume and in­ten­sity for this type of train­ing is chal­leng­ing and re­quires more re­cov­ery.

You may find you need three days to re­cover from 40 min­utes of tempo run­ning whereas you re­cov­ered two days af­ter a 20-minute tempo work­out. Spac­ing your qual­ity work­outs fur­ther apart will be one of the big­gest changes to your half-dis­tance train­ing plan. You may con­sider adopt­ing a 10-day mi­cro­cy­cle in your train­ing, rather than sched­ul­ing things over seven days, in or­der to ad­e­quately re­cover be­tween work­outs.

Fu­elling for the half dis­tance is crit­i­cally im­por­tant as the race du­ra­tion can de­plete your en­ergy stores if you do not take in calo­ries. Teach your­self to fuel while rac­ing, while also train­ing your body to ab­sorb calo­ries dur­ing mul­ti­ple prac­tice ses­sions.

Plan­ning mul­ti­ple prac­tice ses­sions with a race nu­tri­tion plan will train your body to process calo­ries at race pace. These ses­sions will help you de­ter­mine whether you have the right nu­tri­tion prod­ucts on race day, too. Plan work­outs as a dress re­hearsal for race day. Start with your pre-race meal the night be­fore, eat your pre-race break­fast the morn­ing of and use your planned race day nu­tri­tion dur­ing the work­out. The more de­tail you put into your prepa­ra­tion, the fewer sur­prises you will en­counter. Your body can act slug­gish at 4 a.m., so the break­fast you can tol­er­ate early in the morn­ing may be dif­fer­ent than what you eat later on. These tiny details can make or break your race day suc­cess.

Of­ten ath­letes don’t train in the bike po­si­tion they plan for their race. If you are go­ing to race on a time trial bike, get pro­fes­sion­ally fit­ted for that bike be­fore you start your train­ing. Once you have your po­si­tion di­aled in, spend as much time as pos­si­ble rid­ing in the aero po­si­tion be­fore your race. All your hard intervals should be in the aero po­si­tion. Be care­ful to choose a po­si­tion that is ac­tu­ally sus­tain­able for your flex­i­bil­ity and strength. It takes years to adapt your body to ride in a low and com­pact po­si­tion, so don’t start out too low. If you are too low for your flex­i­bil­ity you will not gen­er­ate power and you will end up rid­ing slower in the race. A com­fort­able, sus­tain­able po­si­tion will al­ways be faster.

The changes you make to adapt your train­ing for the half dis­tance will ad­dress a longer day on the course. A longer race de­mands proper pac­ing, con­sis­tent nu­tri­tion and good biome­chan­ics to keep push­ing hard start to fin­ish. These three fac­tors should in­form your de­ci­sions on how to adapt your Olympic dis­tance train­ing pro­gram to have a great first half-dis­tance race.

Me­lanie Mc­quaid is a mul­ti­ple Iron­man 70.3 cham­pion and four-time Xterra world cham­pion.

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