The Triathlon Op­ti­mum Per­cent­age Strat­egy (TOPS)

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - KONA PREVIEW -

of­fers the op­ti­mal bal­ance be­tween swim, bike and run that min­i­mizes break­down at any point in the race while in­creas­ing like­li­hood of the best pos­si­ble per­for­mance.

First, we’ll ad­mit many ef­fec­tive train­ing and rac­ing vari­ables ex­ist al­ready to make any one of top pros at Kona the win­ner. What vari­ables?

The great­est triath­letes in the world that come to Kona with vi­sions of vic­tory have ded­i­cated un­prece­dented hours to train­ing, in­tense guid­ance of top coaches, bring with them the high­est tech swim, bike and run rac­ing gear, a drilled-down nutri­tion plan, have spent time train­ing at al­ti­tude, rac­ing their peers, an­a­lyz­ing com­peti­tors’ per­for­mances at other races, and done ev­ery­thing they can to find an edge to

THE PATH TO IDEN­TI­FY­ING TOPS, A TRIATH­LETES’ WIN­NING EDGE

ex­e­cute at just the right time.

They are laser fo­cused on num­bers, num­bers, num­bers. Dis­tance, sets, re­peats, bricks, ses­sion length, tim­ing. And, fi­nally, they are in supremely out­stand­ing shape. I’d say that at least five male and five fe­male ath­letes ar­rive in Kona with a strong chance to win.

So what new strat­egy can make the dif­fer­ence on race day? That’s where TOPS comes in.

“THEY ARE LASER FO­CUSED ON NUM­BERS, NUM­BERS, NUM­BERS.

DIS­TANCE, SETS, RE­PEATS, BRICKS, SES­SION LENGTH, TIM­ING.”

“MANY OF THE BLAZ­INGLY IM­PRES­SIVE CY­CLISTS GOT ON TO THE RUN COURSE WITH LESS THAN STEL­LAR FORM.”

When I be­gan fol­low­ing triathlon, and Kona in par­tic­u­lar, 20 years ago, it seemed that win­ning the bike leg – crush­ing it, ac­tu­ally – was a strat­egy pur­sued by many of the first ath­letes out of the wa­ter. Thomas Hell­riegel and Jur­gen Zack were ex­am­ples of triath­letes renowned for their prow­ess on the bike. They sure made an im­pres­sion on TV au­di­ences and cy­clists who de­cided chas­ing them in hot pur­suit was the ap­pro­pri­ate. It was if there was an award for ar­riv­ing fastest into T2.

Guess what? Many of the blaz­ingly im­pres­sive cy­clists got on to the run course with less than stel­lar form. Sure they would be in the lead, but the strat­egy for them at that time was: hold off the other guys as long as pos­si­ble.

Peter Reid rac­ing in Kona 2005

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