Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - BY CLINT LIEN

AF­TER MONTHS OF train­ing, your big race is ap­proach­ing. With thou­sands of me­tres in the pool logged, it’s time to fo­cus in on some spe­cific prepa­ra­tion sets to en­sure you’ll be at your best come race day. But what should those sets look like?

My po­si­tion on prepa­ra­tion sets as pri­or­ity races ap­proach has evolved over the years.

I didn’t come into triathlon with a swim back­ground. My ca­reer in the wa­ter ended af­ter my third YMCA star. I was eight. When I started do­ing triathlons, the stan­dard prac­tice when it came to the fi­nal prepa­ra­tions be­fore a big race was to de­crease the num­ber of me­tres we were do­ing, but in­crease the in­ten­sity and the rest in­ter­val. We’d see sets like 6 x 50 m all out with two to three min­utes rest be­tween; 300 me­tres and you were all done.

Sets like that might have worked well for an event that lasted less than two min­utes, but for a swim that goes any­where from 17 min­utes up to an hour and a half or more, with a bike and run to fol­low, they may not have been ideal.

As time went on the ben­e­fits of spe­cific triathlon train­ing be­came ap­par­ent. My prep sets now don’t look a lot dif­fer­ent than the early sea­son sets I have my ath­letes do, but there are key dif­fer­ences. In the fi­nal 10 to 14 days be­fore that “A” race we drop to­tal me­tres and shorten rest intervals to “en­cour­age” the ath­lete to swim closer to their ac­tual race pace. Sev­eral times a week my ath­letes hit main sets that approximate the ef­fort and dis­tance of the up­com­ing race – and I like to keep it sim­ple. Some typ­i­cal prep sets look like this: 300 choice To work on both aer­o­bic fit­ness and men­tal prepa­ra­tion, I will of­ten put to­gether sets like these: 20 (stan­dard) 30 (half) 40 (full) x 100 with 10 SRI 10 (stan­dard) 15 (half) 20 (full) x 200 with 20 SRI

I have the ath­letes go through that set twice two weeks be­fore the race and once the week be­fore their big event.

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