MAKING KONA ON 12 HOURS A WEEK
Listen in on any triathlon post-race or post-workout conversation, and you’re likely to hear lots about one of three topics. One is nutrition: how many kcal you should get for racing and training, how much you should drink, the validity of a sweat test and so on. Another black hole is the aerodynamics involved in the bike leg for half- and fulldistance races. And then there is the Holy Grail of all triathlon talk: how many hours should I train for a full-distance race and how many hours do I need to train to qualify for Kona?
With the answers to this last mystery ranging from “at least 20” to the almost philosophical “there is no answer to that question,” it’s clear that both athletes and coaches would rather invest the time spent questioning into real coaching and training. However, the results of a chat with former pro athlete and now Trisutto coach Joseph Spindler at a training camp in Mallorca (it can’t really get more triathlon jetset that this) stuck with me: an average of 12 hours per week, Spindler kept saying. You can actually qualify for Kona averaging a 12-hour-per-week regime? How is that possible?
“It is a very basic and structured approach,” explains Spindler. “However, it is not for everyone as the athletes need to be very diligent and doing quality training to really match the sets. They have to be very structured and very rational-thinking athletes. This is very important: it will not work with every type of athlete.”
So, if your main goal is to enjoy the outdoors and you don’t mind overdoing it here and there or skipping sessions, then Spindler’s approach may not be for you. However, if you still enjoy training outdoors, but the optimization of your training time in order to perform well is one of your top priorities (particularly if you have a busy life filled with work, family and social commitments), then his methodology could be a good fit.
Dominique Meier racing on 12 hours of training per week at Ironman Switzerland 2016 LEFT