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TrainingZone

Train smart. race fast. technique

fit & start

contents

This month

do a diy bike fit in 8 steps

split your long run right

start your 70.3 plan now

Get your road bike fit right with this straightforward guide

Use running research to nail your final discipline over long races

The first six weeks of your 2014 Ironman 70.3 training

banish your swim injuries

fuel your sport with veg

improve your swim timing

The simple rules you need to keep your shoulders strong

Take our expert advice to eat right for your training without meat

Lose your swim coordination to make it better when it counts


Trew Stories

roll down, not over

go with the roll of the dice and you could soon find yourself in kona, says Steve Trew ometimes, even when you’ve planned perfectly, things just don’t go right. It’s a roll of the dice. Stuff happens, and you have to deal with it. I’m not long back from Ford Ironman Cozumel, Mexico, and it would be fair to say that the weather was not quite what you’d expect from the brochures! So much so that the race organisers had to make a judgment call, quite rightly in my very humble opinion, about safety on the swim course. A hard ocean swell, very strong winds and a deceptive current meant that the rectangular 3.8km route had to be changed to a one-way 3.1km swim along the coast. And then the gods of weather and triathlon conspired. Race day dawned calm and flat. The current, which was expected to be no help to the swimmers, turned into an (almost) raging torrent. Result? The top swimmers emerged in just over half an hour rather than just under-50 minutes as anticipated. But the safety call had to be

Illustration Peter Greenwood

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made and had to be made early.

Roll over? Or turn up?

The mind can be a funny old thing, and the mind can play wonderful tricks. When you hear that the swim course has been changed, all sorts of terrible thoughts occur: it’s too dangerous, I’ll lose time, I’ll struggle, I won’t make it. Or the positive thoughts: it’s shorter, how much time will I gain? Think how the top swimmers like Amanda Stevens and Rachel Joyce will have dealt with the course shortening on their strongest discipline. In short – it’s changed, deal with it! It’s your decision: turn up and attack or roll over and give up. Even with the loss of their advantage, there was no way that Rachel and Amanda would even contemplate rolling over, and they took first and second place at the race.

on a roll for the race roll-down

Even when the race is over, being on a roll

still continues. For Hawaii Ironman qualification, there are a number of slots for each particular event, and the slots will be allocated to age groups depending on the number of athletes in each age group. So maybe just one slot say, for men in the 70-74 age group, and possibly seven or eight for men in the 35-39 age group. You have to be at the slot allocation meeting to take up your start in Kona, you have to pay there and then. No excuses, no way out, no lay down and roll over. It goes something like this: “Women’s 30 to 34 age group, there are five slots available for Kona. First slot by right...” and then the athlete’s name. “Yes!” Cue one very happy triathlete, lots of clapping, whooping, handshakes and kisses. Then second, third and to the last slot. But, and it really is a HUGE but, if the qualifying athlete isn’t there, or doesn’t want to accept the Kona start, then that place goes into the roll down. And this is where it gets interesting. Slot allocation lasts for one hour. The names of any no-shows are called one final time, and then it’s roll-down time. Let’s go back to our example of the women’s 30-34 age group. Let’s say that one athlete has decided not to accept their slot. The name of the sixth-placed athlete (effectively the first reserve) is called out and an even happier triathlete shouts “Yes!” and gratefully accepts. Or, if sixth place doesn’t want it, the offer rolls down to seventh, eighth, and so on until it’s claimed. But still it isn’t over (no fat lady singing just yet). This is where it gets even more interesting. Let’s say that there is just one slot available for men’s 70-74 age group and the winner of that age group doesn’t want his Kona place. No worries, but he – the winner – is the only competitor in that age group. There is no roll down therefore in that age group, so the roll down then goes to the biggest age group in the same sex. If the biggest age group is the men 35-39 years and seven slots have been allocated by right, the newly available 70-74 slot goes to them; so position number eight has a chance, and if he’s not there, then ninth and so on. Complicated!? Just a little, but the real crunch comes when finishers near to possible roll down don’t turn up for their outside chance of a slot, and it can roll down to 14th, 15th or even lower. Moral of the story? Turn up and pray! Don’t roll over!

Steve Trew Coach & commentator Steve never, ever rolls over. First of all the weight of his stomach makes it difficult and if he ever did get started, he’d never stop. Steve is an advisory coach for Speedo and can be reached for all things tri on trew@personalbest.demon.co.uk.


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APRIL 2014

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TrainingZone

Explained

How to pace an Ironman run

team talk: reaching the top

Use new research on pacing to stave off muscle damage and fatigue in your next long race, says Phil Mosley

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f you’ve ever done an Ironman or any long-distance triathlon, you’ll know how hard the marathon run feels. Even if you’ve only watched one, you’ll still have some idea. You’ll have seen plenty of athletes broken and walking, or shuffling at best. Even our own columnist, pro athlete Phil Graves, found it a slog. After finishing 4th at Ironman Lanzarote in 2013 he said: “I ran the first half of the marathon in about make it work

Phil Mosley Coaching editor

four steps to better pacing in your ironman race

There’s no hard or fast rule, but most people aim to run really long – 18 miles or more – four or five times in training for an Ironman. 70

1:28 – a pace that felt steady – and then, as you do in an Ironman, slowed down from there. Over the next 90 minutes I went to some very dark places that I don’t want to revisit in a while, but I got across that line.” The truth is, no matter how hard you train, it’ll always be tough and most triathletes training for an Ironmandistance race are aware that good pacing could make or break their race, especially in the final discipline.

To pace your run well, you need to be bike-fit too. Volume is key. In the last 10 weeks before your IM try to do a weekly ride of between four and six hours.

However, some new research has shed new light on the importance of adopting a conservative pacing strategy when you’re racing long. Published in the journal PLoS One, the research focused on athletes who competed in the world’s most challenging ultra-marathon, the Tor des Geants in Italy. This gruelling event involves running 322 kilometres over mountains, with 24,000 metres of positive and negative elevation change. The researchers compared these athletes with another group who’d completed a shorter Alpine ultra-marathon – comparatively short at 166km in length! They found that runners in the longer race had lower levels of muscle damage and inflammation, despite the fact that they ran almost twice the distance as those who did the shorter event. The researchers made the following conclusion: “Such extreme exercise seems to induce a relative muscle preservation process, due likely to a protective anticipatory pacing strategy during the first half.” This implies that the athletes in the longer event paced it more carefully from the start. And that even with extreme distances of 166 and 322 kilometres, small differences in exercise intensity significantly influence muscle fatigue levels. When you consider how much time is lost when your Ironman run turns into an Ironman walk, it may be worth applying some of the lessons from this study. Muscle damage is a major performance limiter that could be the difference between success and failure on your big day, and judging it poorly could mean the race you’ve spent months preparing for goes down the pan. It’s not like having low energy, when downing some Coke might improve things. Once you have sore legs, they seldom feel better, only worse. Until you finish that is.

APRIL 2014

Make a note of the average paces of your long runs. Use a GPS to measure your route while you’re learning to pace by ‘feel’.

Then work out your average pace across all of these runs, ignoring any when you ran particularly fast or particularly slow.

Aim to run at this pace, or slightly below it, on race day. Don’t worry if people overtake you at first – you’ll catch them up later.


TrainingZone the water leads to excessive internal arm rotation. When you consider that the average swimmer does about 3,200 strokes per hour, you can see why this might eventually lead to acute pain in the shoulder and an overuse injury. Instead of entering thumb first, change your technique to enter with a flat hand, fingertips spearing the water first.

quick guide

Banish swim injuries now Steer clear of shoulder problems from swimming with Adam Young’s guide to avoiding four common culprits

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f you’re a triathlete, the chances are that you’ve experienced shoulder pain or discomfort at some point in your swimming life. Though the culprit can be down to issues such as using hand paddles with insufficient shoulder strength or simply doing too much too soon, nine times out of 10 it will be down to your stroke technique. Correcting your technique is not actually that difficult, but you do need to know what to look for and work diligently to improve in these areas. If available, video analysis is a great tool for this because it really helps you identify what you personally need to work on. Otherwise, these four simple tips will help you avoid bad technique and painful shoulders.

1

Body Rotation

2

Hand Placement

To avoid shoulder pain, you need to develop a good, symmetrical body rotation by swimming with a bilateral breathing pattern (every three strokes). Without this you will end up swimming with a flat torso on the water’s surface, causing your arms to swing around the side during the recovery phase. This swinging action causes shoulder joint impingement and rotator cuff issues, which could put you out of action for weeks. Try the ‘unco’ body rotation drill on page 77 to help you develop good full body rotation and avoid damaging your shoulders. Though it used to be a commonly taught freestyle technique, a thumb-first entry into

Make it work for you

Try breathing every three strokes for at least 80% of your training sessions. This can feel uncomfortable at first, like you’re holding your breath for too long. The key is to exhale properly while your face is underwater, so that you can inhale on every third stroke. Unilateral breathing is useful in some race situations but for a healthy, balanced freestyle stroke technique, bilateral breathing is the way to go in training.

3

Swimming Posture

4

Catch and Pull Through

Poor posture in the water can lead to shoulder impingement. This can be improved by working on flexibility in the muscles at the front of the shoulder and chest. Doing this, together with improved stabilisation of the muscles at the back of the shoulder, improves posture and removes crossover at the front of the stroke, which is something that also harms your swimming efficiency. To introduce better posture while you swim, think ‘shoulders back, chest forward’. Improved alignment and posture means that the power of the pull phase is dramatically improved because you are now applying propulsion straight backwards, the direction that will send you forwards as efficiently as possible.

Without the use of video analysis, many swimmers are unaware of how they pull through under the water. Typically they will do this with either a dropped elbow or with a very straight arm. This puts excess strain on the shoulder muscles, because the majority of the pull through phase is spent pushing down on the water, rather than pressing back on it to move yourself forward. Working to develop a high elbow catch technique with enhanced swimming posture helps you to utilise the larger, more powerful muscle groups of your chest and upper back, rather than relying upon the shoulders. One-armed drills or swimming ‘catch-up’ – pausing with both hands in front of you before taking alternating strokes – can allow you to watch yourself and help you keep your elbow high and shoulders free from niggling injuries.

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TrainingZone Technique

Get your road bike fit right

Pick up your performance and increase comfort with this DIY bike fit guide from Phil Mosley Seat fore/aft

Put your bike on a turbo, making sure it’s level. Have a helper stop the crank-arms horizontally, then place a plumb line just below the kneecap – it should bisect or be slightly behind the pedal axle.

Saddle height

Stand facing a wall with a book between your legs. Mark a pencil line where the top of the book meets the wall then measure from the floor. Multiply by 109% for your pedal axle to saddle height.

Frame size

If your measurements fall between two manufacturer-specified sizes, measure your arm span fingertip to fingertip and minus your height. If your arm span is less than your height, choose the smaller.

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TrainingZone

team talk: racing long

Stem length

Stem lengths vary, but as a rough guide, you should be able to have your hands on the hoods with an approximate 30-degree bend in your elbows when you are in your normal riding position.

If you’re training for Ironman and planning rides of five hours or more, that might alter your set-up. Raising the front end slightly can ease pressure on your back – or you might choose to go the other way and get fitted on a TT bike to save drag and energy.

Handlebar rotation

Start with the tops of the bars in a horizontal position and then fine tune the rotation of the bars and height of the brake hoods until your hands rest comfortably on them.

Handlebar width

Handlebar width should be as close as possible to that of your shoulders. Narrower bars could be more aerodynamic, but prioritise comfort and control first.

Liz Hufton Editor

Handlebar height

As a starting point, set your bars at roughly the height of the saddle. You can slowly progress to a racier, flat-backed, lower bar set-up as you adapt and flexibility improves.

Cleat position

Mark the ball of your foot with tape on the outside of each shoe. Place the centre of each cleat 5 to 7mm behind that point. Start with cleats straight and gradually adjust the angle for comfort.

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training plan

Half Iron Distance anyone? Build your middle-distance training consistency and fitness with this six-week plan from Phil Mosley

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ensure that you are fit and ready to go should you consider a Half Ironman distance event overseas somewhere. Once you’ve conquered sprint- and Olympic-distance triathlons, the next race on the triathlon tick-list is a big one. Consisting of a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run, middledistance triathlons (also called Ironman 70.3 or Half Ironman) are anything but easy. Yes, it’s probably possible to blag your way around one if you’re already fit for an Olympic-

he local summer season may almost be over but that does not mean the world of triathlon goes to sleep for 6 months. There are mounds of events in exotic locations right around the globe that you can sink your teeth into if budget allows and you plan to travel sometime soon. Build your middle-distance training consistency and fitness with this six-week Half Iron Distance plan from Phil Mosley. This programme will 6 week plan

training zones guide

Description Heart Rate (%Max)

Rpe 1-10

Accumulated Intensity

z1 Recovery

55-70

<2

1-6hrs

Easy

z2 Endurance

70-75

2-3

1-3hrs

Steady

z3 Tempo

75-80

3-4

50-90mins

Comfortable

z4 Threshold

80-88

4-6

10-60mins

Uncomfortable

z5 Vo2 max

89-100

>7

12-30mins

Hard to very hard

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key WU Warm up, MAIN Main set, WD Warm down, FC Front crawl, PULL Front crawl with a pullbuoy float between your thighs, KICK Kick with a float held out in front, Z1 Training Zone 1, Z2 Training Zone 2 Z3 Training Zone 3, Z4 Training Zone 4, Z5 Training Zone 5, DRILL Your preference of swim technique drill, BUILD Do each rep slightly faster than the previous

is this plan for you?

Goal Build base fitness and training consistency for an Ironman 70.3 triathlon Timescale 6 weeks Start point Cycle 90mins, Run 45mins, Swim 800m Level Intermediate to advanced

distance tri, but you’ll suffer like a dog in the process. If you want to enjoy the experience and race to your potential, you’ll need to train specifically – and early – for it. The main aim for Ironman 70.3 is to improve your speed endurance; getting good at going quite hard for quite a long time. It’s easier said than done, but this six-week winter training plan will get you started. At this stage it’s all about getting into a solid training routine. Beyond these initial six weeks, the idea is to stick with the routine but build up your key sessions gradually, month by month. This means your fitness will increase at a nice steady rate and you’ll hopefully avoid injury and excessive fatigue. We’ll publish another Ironman 70.3 training plan later on, taking you up to race day. There are sessions to do from Monday to Sunday, but you can swap the days around if you need to. The important thing is that you do most of the workouts consistently each week while allowing yourself adequate time to recover. Listen to your body too. If you feel excessively tired, take it easy for a few days. Ironman 70.3 training is best suited to intermediate or advanced triathletes, rather than complete beginners. Having said that, some people choose a Half Iron distance triathlon for their first ever race. All things are possible, but we don’t necessarily recommend this approach unless you have a solid background in swimming, cycling or running. This training plan takes around nine hours per week (if you do all the workouts) and will gradually increase in volume (mainly at weekends). For simplicity’s sake the swims are given as main set only; you should incorporate a warm-up and warmdown too. You should also check out the Key and Training Zones sections left, so you know what the abbreviations mean.

Photo: Nicky Loh / Getty Images

TrainingZone


TrainingZone Essential Workout

Week 1

Day

Mon

Swim (recovery)

MAIN All in Z2 with 30secs rests: 400m FC, 400m as (25m KICK, 75m FC), 400m PULL, 200m as (25m DRILL/25m FC)

Tue

Bike (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 60secs accelerating from Z3 to Z5 MAIN 4x800m in Z4 to Z5 with 90secs recoveries WD 5mins in Z1

Strength

MAIN Group Pilates or core stability class

Wed

Run (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 60secs accelerating from Z3 to Z5 MAIN 4x800m in Z4 to Z5 with 90secs rests WD 5mins in Z1

Swim (endurance)

MAIN All with 10secs rests: 250m FC Z1, 50m FC Z3, 200m PULL Z1, 100m FC Z3, 150m FC Z1, 150m PULL Z3, 100m FC Z1, 200m FC Z3, 50m FC Z1, 250m PULL Z3

Thur

Bike (strength)

WU 10mins in Z2, 2mins in Z3 MAIN 3x8mins in Z3 at low cadence (big gear, 60rpm) +2mins recoveries WD 5mins in Z1

Stretch

Fri

Swim (speed)

MAIN 8x50m FC BUILD +15secs rests, 2x200m PULL Z4 +60secs rests, 4x100m FC Z4 +30secs rests

Run (strength)

Sat

Bike (endurance)

WU 30mins in Z2 MAIN 30mins in Z3 WD 30mins in Z2

recovery

Sun

Run (endurance)

Off road if possible for 45mins. Run in Zone 2, but pick up the pace to upper Zone 3 for the last 15mins

recovery

Week 2

Mon

Week 3

optional Workout

recovery

recovery

Group yoga or stretch class

Run 30mins in Z2 to Z3. Choose a hilly route

recovery

Tue

Bike (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 5mins as (20secs in Z5, 40secs in Z1) MAIN 4x4mins in Z4 to Z5 +3mins recoveries WD 5mins in Z1

Strength

Group Pilates or core stability class

Wed

Run (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 3x20secs in Z4 MAIN 3x(5x200m) in Z4 to Z5 with 20secs rests between reps and 3mins between sets WD 5mins in Z1

Swim (endurance)

MAIN 400m PULL Z3 +30secs rest, 2x200m FC Z3 +20secs rests, 2x150m PULL Z3 +15secs rests, 2x100m FC Z3 +10secs rests

Thur

Bike (strength)

WU 10mins in Z2, 2mins in Z3 MAIN 2x12mins in Z3 at low cadence (big gear, 60rpm) +2mins recovery WD 5mins in Z1

Stretch

Group yoga or stretch class

MAIN 10x100m FC as (100m in Z5/100m in Z2) +15secs rests

Run (strength)

Run 30mins in Z2 to Z3. Choose a hilly route

Fri

Swim (speed)

Sat

Bike (endurance)

WU 30mins in Z2 MAIN 20mins in Z3, 5mins in Z1, 15mins in Z3 WD 30mins in Z2

recovery

Sun

Run (endurance)

Off road if possible for 50mins. Run in Zone 2, but pick up the pace to Zone 3 for the last 15mins

recovery

Mon

Swim (recovery)

MAIN All in Z2 with 30secs rests: 400m as (25m KICK, 75m FC), 400m as (25m DRILL/25m FC), 400m PULL, 400m mixed strokes

recovery

Tue

Bike (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 5mins as (20secs in Z5, 40secs in Z1) MAIN 25mins in Z4 WD 5mins in Z1

Strength

Group Pilates or core stability class

Wed

Run (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 60secs accelerating from Z3 to Z5 MAIN 3x1,000m in Z4 to Z5 with 2mins rests between reps WD 5mins in Z1

Swim (endurance)

MAIN 4x200m FC in Z3 +30secs rests, 4x100m PULL in Z3 +20secs rests, 8x50m FC in Z3 +10secs rests

Thur

Bike (strength)

WU 10mins in Z2, 2mins in Z3 MAIN 15mins Z3 in big gear at 60rpm, 2mins easy spin, 10mins Z3 at low cadence (big gear, 60rpm) WD 5mins spin in Z1

Stretch

Group yoga or stretch class

Swim (speed)

MAIN 4x100m FC BUILD +15secs rests, 200m PULL Z4 +45secs rests, 200m FC Z2 +45secs rest, 2x100m PULL Z4 +30secs rest

Run (strength)

Run 30mins in Z2 to Z3. Choose a hilly route

Sat

Bike (endurance)

WU 40mins in Z2 MAIN 20mins in Z3, 5mins in Z1, 15mins in Z3 WD 30mins in Z2

recovery

Sun

Run (endurance)

Off road if possible for 55mins. Run in Zone 2, but pick up the pace to Zone 3 for the last 15mins

recovery

Fri

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Week 5

Week 4

TrainingZone Day

essential Workout

optional Workout

Mon

recovery

recovery

Tue

Bike (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 5mins as (20secs in Z5, 40secs in Z1) MAIN 6x3mins in Z4 to Z5 +2mins recoveries WD 5mins in Z1

Strength

Group Pilates or core stability class

Wed

Run (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 3x20secs in Z4 MAIN 10x400m in Z4 to Z5 with 2mins jog/walk between reps WD 5mins in Z1

Swim (endurance)

MAIN 400m PULL Z2, 3x100m FC Z3 +10secs rests, 300m PULL Z2, 2x100m FC Z3 +10secs rests, 200m KICK as (25 in Z2, 25 in Z3)

Thur

Bike (strength)

WU 10mins in Z2, 2mins in Z3 MAIN 5x5mins Z3 at low cadence (big gear, 60rpm) with 60secs easy spin recoveries WD 5mins spin in Z1

Stretch

Group yoga or stretch class

Fri

Swim (speed)

MAIN 4x(200m PULL Z2 +15secs rest, 4x50FC Z5 +30secs rest)

Run (strength)

Run 40mins in Z2 to Z3. Choose a hilly route

Sat

Bike (endurance)

WU 40mins in Z2 MAIN 20mins in Z3, 5mins in Z1, 20mins in Z3 WD 35mins in Z2

recovery

Sun

Run (endurance)

Off road if possible for 1hour. Run in Zone 2, but pick up the pace to Zone 3 for the last 15mins

recovery

Mon

Swim (recovery)

MAIN All in Z2 with 30secs rests: 3x400m as (100m FC, 100m KICK, 100m PULL, 100m DRILL)

recovery

Tue

Bike (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 5mins as (20secs in Z5, 40secs in Z1) MAIN 15mins in upper Z3, 2mins in Z2, 15mins in Z4 WD 5mins in Z1

Strength

Group Pilates or core stability class

Wed

Run (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 60secs accelerating from Z3 to Z5 MAIN 2x400m, 2x800m, 2x400m all in Z4 to Z5 with 2mins rests between reps WD 5mins in Z1

Swim (endurance)

MAIN 400m FC Z2 +20secs rest, 2x200m PULL Z3 +10secs rests, 200m KICK in Z3, 2x150m PULL Z3 +10secs rests, 200m FC Z2

Thur

Bike (strength)

WU 10mins in Z2, 2mins in Z3 MAIN 15mins Z3 at low cadence (big gear, 60rpm), 2mins easy spin, 15mins Z3 at low cadence (big gear, 60rpm) WD 5mins spin in Z1

Stretch

Group yoga or stretch class

Fri

Swim (speed)

MAIN 8x50m FC BUILD +15secs rests, 100m KICK Z3, 4x100m PULL BUILD +15secs rests, 100m KICK Z3, 4x50FC BUILD +10secs rests, 100m KICK Z3

Run (strength)

Run 40mins in Z2 to Z3. Choose a hilly route

Sat

Bike (endurance)

WU 50mins in Z2 MAIN 20mins in Z3, 5mins in Z1, 20mins in Z3 WD 35mins in Z2

recovery

Sun

Run (endurance)

Off road if possible for 1hour5mins. Run in Zone 2, but pick up the pace to Zone 3 for the last 15mins

recovery

Week 6

Mon

76

recovery

recovery

Tue

Bike (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 5mins as (20secs in Z5, 40secs in Z1) MAIN 1,2,3,4,3,2,1mins in Z4 to Z5 +90secs recoveries WD 5mins in Z1

Strength

Group Pilates or core stability class

Wed

Run (speed)

WU 10mins in Z2, 3x20secs in Z4 MAIN 5x400m in Z5 +60secs rests, 3mins in Z1, 5x400m in Z5 +60secs rests WD 5mins in Z1

Swim (endurance)

MAIN 5x250m as (100m FC Z2, 50m FC Z4, 100m PULL Z2) +30secs rests

Thur

Bike (strength)

WU 10mins in Z2, 2mins in Z3 MAIN 5x5mins Z3 at low cadence (big gear, 60rpm) with 60secs easy spin recoveries WD 5mins spin in Z1

Stretch

Group yoga or stretch class

Fri

Swim (speed)

MAIN All with 30secs rests: 3x100m FC Z4, 300m PULL Z2, 2x100m FC Z4, 200m PULL Z2, 100m FC Z4

Run (strength)

Run 40mins in Z2 to Z3. Choose a hilly route

Sat

Bike (endurance)

WU 60mins in Z2 MAIN 20mins in Z3, 5mins in Z1, 20mins in Z3 WD 35mins in Z2

recovery

Sun

Run (endurance)

Off road if possible for 1hour10mins. Run in Zone 2, but pick up the pace to Zone 3 for the last 20mins

recovery

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TrainingZone

2

3

1

Fundamentals

Improve your stroke timing Move more fluidly through the water with the unco swimming drill Timing your catch, pull, rotation and breathing to perfection is fundamental to freestyle technique and the ‘unco’ – uncoordinated – drill can be the key to unlocking your swimspeed potential. It’s best to integrate the drill into your warm up in to promote good technique in the rest of your session and before fatigue sets in so that you can maintain good form. 1 PUSH OFF, ARM DOWN

Push off from the wall normally, using swim fins

to maintain propulsion, then pull one hand down to rest by your side and begin stroking with the other arm, with a gentle kick to balance and move you down the pool. 2 BREATHE AND ROTATE

Breathe on the opposite side to your stroking arm on every stroke to promote good body rotation. Make sure you rotate fully on both sides, getting your non-stroking shoulder tilted to about 45 degrees just as with your stroking arm. It’s this regular

side-to-side rotation (keeping shoulders, hips and ankle in line horizontally) that lets you slice through the water with minimal resistance and gain greater reach – and therefore propulsion – during your full stroke. 3 USE A NORMAL RECOVERY

With the rotation in place, your arm should recover cleanly over the top of the water, allowing you to spear the water for your next stroke. When you’re first starting out with the unco drill, take a break at

the end of each length and swap arms every 25m.

NOW REPEAT

It’s natural to find the unco drill tricky to begin with but as you improve and then master a smooth, controlled and continuous unco technique, so too the timing of your full stroke will become honed, leading to faster splits and better efficiency. Mix up unco sets with swimming to let the drill filter into your stroke.

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Words: Tom Ballard

UNCO YOUR WARM-UP

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TrainingZone myth, which has caused us to pause when considering tucking in, should be banished. Luckily people are now realising the value of cholesterol to the human body. Make eggs a regular part of your weekly diet. They’re absolutely perfect for post-training recovery on wholegrain toast with a small glass of fresh orange juice to enhance iron absorption.

Going meat-free needn’t affect your tri career. Sally Pinnegar shows you why a veggie diet is all you need

Words: Sally Pinnegar Photo: Corbis

C

ontrary to many athletes’ popular belief, being a vegetarian triathlete is not difficult or dangerous; it may even boost your performance level. Vegetarians are often more aware of good nutrition than their meat-eating counterparts; many meat eaters get nutrition wrong – being a veggie does not give exclusive rights to nutritional deficiencies! It’s a common misconception that veggies lack protein, but that’s not the case at all. A good combination of vegetarian foods provides all the amino acids to make complete protein, alongside dairy products and eggs. A couple of things to look out for are iron and vitamin B12 deficiency; these are easily addressed with a healthy diet; and there’s no need for supplements.

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APRIL 2014

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Get Enough Protein

Eat grains and pulses. Protein is made of 22 amino acids, eight of which we have to eat because they’re not made by the body. These are called ‘essential amino acids’. Animal protein has the full set but vegetable proteins only have a partial set; various plant-based foods provide different aminos and must be combined. Eating grains with pulses provides a full set, for example beans on toast or rice with chickpeas. Quinoa is an excellent source of veggie protein. You don’t even have to eat these at the same meal, as long as you eat them all within a week.

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Embrace eggs

Don’t be afraid of eggs. Eggs are little power packs of complete protein, vitamins and minerals. The whole egg-cholesterol

Get Milk

4

PUMP SOME IRON

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THINK BEFORE YOU EAT

Drink your milk. One large glass of milk gives you almost all the vitamin B12 you need for a day. Choose full fat unhomogenised milk; it’s only actually around three percent fat and is more natural than the processed, homogenised kind. Look at fitnaturally.co.uk for a blog piece about why you should drink unhomogenised milk. Milk is great recovery food after training too, just add some decent chocolate powder and a little sugar with some crushed ice and you can save loads of money on expensive, unnatural, unnecessary recovery gloop!

quick guide

The meat-free triathlon diet

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Make it work for you

For a real power veggie lunch, mix 60g of cooked quinoa with a chopped avocado, baby tomatoes, spinach leaves, 50g of feta cheese, some chopped beetroot and 100g of tinned chickpeas. Use a good punchy French-style dressing. Have this with a glass of milk and you have it all covered!

Being a mineral lost in sweat, iron is a key nutrient for triathletes, whether vegetarian or not. An easy way to get iron is from fortified breakfast cereals, which are ideal before or after training foods. Other iron-rich veggie foods include eggs, chickpeas, lentils, beans, green leafy vegetables, nuts and dried fruit such as apricots and dates. Have them with a small glass of fresh orange juice or some vitamin-C-rich food to help iron absorption. Be careful about what you eat before training. Veggie diets are usually high in fibre, which is great for health but doesn’t sit well before vigorous exercise, particularly running. You may find your body’s eject system kicks in fairly sharpish! The night and morning before any key session, try keeping the fibre down a bit; so pasta with tomato sauce would be a good choice the night before and porridge – which has a different kind of fibre – or toast and peanut butter as pre-session brekkie.

Triathlon Plus Training Zone April Fit and Start  
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