Braveheart Coaching, San Diego, Calif.
For newcomers to triathlon I would suggest a minimum of two sessions in each sport per week is required, with the addition of a short run as part of a brick workout. This should add up to at least five to six hours of training. The focus, ultimately, needs to be on VO2 Max efforts for one session in each sport per week, with the other workouts being a more sustained race pace (or just below race pace) effort that incorporates some kind of strength element.
For athletes aiming at the half distance or longer, a minimum of 10 hours per week for half and 12 hours for full, with an emphasis on building longer bricks of four hours or more to build up to a half and six hours or more for a full-distance event. Key workouts for both should be longer bikes and runs that should include over-geared tempo intervals at just above race pace in each.
The indoor trainer is a very time-efficient tool as its easy to hop on the bike and not have mechanical issues and there’s no freewheeling, so every pedal stroke counts. VO2 Max sessions are very effective and can help with your endurance, too. Indoor swim benches like the vasa ergometer are amazing for triathletes that don’t have time to get to the pool. You can build strength and work on technique in as little as just 30 minutes. Gym work and core strength are essential, too, but can be completed in as little as just a few minutes per day.
It’s important to cycle your training – focus on having one big week every four to six weeks where you commit some extra time. This can be like a mini training camp – prepare your family, work and life to accommodate for these blocks of training.
Kerry Hale is a triathlete and freelance writer from Comox Valley, B.C.