PRE-RACE PREP SETS COOL DOWN Aerobic/mental Sets OPTION 1 OPTION 2
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.