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2013-09-29 4:40 PM

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Subject: trying to create my own training plan
Hi,

I am sure this question has been asked before and I'm sure it will get asked again. I did 3 tri's this year 2 sprints and an olympic. And decided it is time to try training for real. Up until this point I have been doing the activities, running, biking, and swimming so I was capable of completing the events and doing fairly well in my age group M 25-29. But I did none or very little speed work, drills, or technical stuff in any area.

This winter/offseason I would like to create some training plans to get me faster and stronger in all areas. Just not sure my best course of action. I can usually work out 5/6 days per week will have between 1.5 - 2 hrs weekdays and unlimited on sundays. I am not looking to spend a lot of $ on coaching but would be interested in a consultant potentially for some guidance. Books, plans, people I am interested in whatever will help me out!

Also forgot looking to do a variety of Sprints and olympics with a goal of finishing my season next yr with a half IM.

Thanks

Ray


2013-09-29 5:33 PM
in reply to: sunray1985

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Without getting into specifics, winter is the time to focus on lots of base building. If you want to do speedwork at all, you don't want to start building it into your training until the race season.


What are your strengths, weaknesses and specific goals for next season, and how much time do you have to dedicate to training?
2013-09-29 6:40 PM
in reply to: JZig

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Thanks for the response!

Weakness technically is swimming, as I have had the least training and know I have some issues with my stroke technique. As far as how I perform, I am fairly even I usually place higher in swimming and running, but I attribute that to many people being significantly stronger on the bike, however that may be a misconception on my part?

I have 1-2.5 hrs daily during the week depending on the day and sundays have plenty of time. Certain weekdays can add an additional workout.

Goals are to place in my ag for sprints and olympics, placed top 5 in smaller events this year. And I am looking to complete a half IM at the end of the season next year.

Basically I am looking to train properly to improve in all areas, this will be my first year off season and going into the races with actual expectations of doing well/getting faster. To this point have just done races here and there for fun.

This is an example time. The Great Six Flags Olympic. .9 mi swim - 28:56. 24 mi bike - 1:25:39.1 10 K run - 50:15. And I know I need to work on my transitions but I plan on checking out a couple clinics for that.

Ray

2013-09-29 6:58 PM
in reply to: sunray1985

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Before you jump into creating your own plan....There are some pretty good free ones on this site, and others that you can get for a fee far cheaper than a coach would charge with some of the pay memberships. I'm not sure what there is for sprint or Oly, but I've used the beginner HIM plan on BT and it would definitely get you in shape for Olys as well. Alternatively, if you wanted to invest in a book, there are plenty of books out there with decent plans; still cheaper than hiring a coach. Triathlon magazine sometimes has good ones as well.

I tend to modify existing plans when training for a standard tri (sprint, Oly, HIM), and create my own using mix and match if I'm not. For example, right now I'm training for a half marathon, basically doing a run focus following a Hal Higdon plan (mix of the intermediate and advanced since I'm kind of between levels) along with some maintenance for bike and swim (for sprint tris). I've done similar mix and match when training for a swim/run race (Oly plan with a bit of maintenance biking). Good sources for mix and match would be websites like Hal Higdon's (for running; many of his plans include cross-training days; they are useful guidelines for sensibly increasing mileage and intensity for all levels of runners), Jorge's winter bike program (on this website), and swim plan websites like mastersswimworkoutsbysaramclarty@blogspot.com.

One thing to keep in mind if you make your own plan--Keep track of the overall training load (time, numbers of hard sessions) and make sure it is reasonable and progresses at a modest rate. I find the training log on this site is very useful as you can easily see data like minutes of each sport per week. If you mix and match like I do, you are often using plans meant for pure runners, cyclists, or swimmers, but doing a hard workout in another sport on the days that are recovery days in their plans. You need to choose the key workouts that address your needs, but also balance volume and intensity in each sport so that you get the necessary recovery between long/hard sessions. It takes time and research and a certain degree of trial and error....this is why coaches get paid!

2013-09-29 8:08 PM
in reply to: sunray1985


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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Here is EXACTLY what you need:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Triathletes-Training-Bible-ebook/dp/B00BU...

It's great for planning. You start out planning and prioritizing yearly events, then decide on how many hours per week on average you will be training, then follow his recommended volumes for base, build, race, etc. Plug in workouts to work on the target areas he has you identify, and you're set for the year. Takes a bit of time to set up, but it's pretty much exactly what you're asking for.
2013-09-29 10:01 PM
in reply to: sunray1985

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
In the legal field there is a saying that "Whoever represents himself, has a fool for an attorney."

I think the same logic can be applied to triathlons and coaching. Now, I don't think everyone needs a coach - i.e., someone who is training to finish his first try-a-tri. However, if you are someone who is good looking to be faster, a coach is going to be able to give you the right exercises to maximize your potential. Having a coach isn't a sign of weakness, either. My coach has a coach.


2013-09-30 12:31 PM
in reply to: yazmaster

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Originally posted by yazmaster

Here is EXACTLY what you need:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Triathletes-Training-Bible-ebook/dp/B00BU...

It's great for planning. You start out planning and prioritizing yearly events, then decide on how many hours per week on average you will be training, then follow his recommended volumes for base, build, race, etc. Plug in workouts to work on the target areas he has you identify, and you're set for the year. Takes a bit of time to set up, but it's pretty much exactly what you're asking for.


Thanks! I picked it up and will see how it works out for me.
2013-09-30 12:38 PM
in reply to: sunray1985

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Good luck with the Training Bible but most athletes will find that it is incredibly difficult to take the information from this book and apply it to their training. It is not written in a manner that is user friendly for development of a training program but rather will get you through an annual training plan and macrocycles but when it comes to the microcycles and individual workouts it is not easy to do.

Shane
2013-09-30 12:44 PM
in reply to: sunray1985

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Honestly, I would never want to create my own plan. There are numerous free or very cheap plans available on the internet, even on this site. Those plans were created by people who presumably know what they are doing and have the time to create a cohesive plan. Reinventing the wheel always seems like excessive work to me. I recognize that for some, part of the fun is creating the plan but for me the fun is in the training and racing, not in poring over a spreadsheet of workouts.

I don't do my own taxes. I can. But there are people who are professionals who will help me get every deduction and stand by me if there is an issue with the IRS.

Pick out a free off-season plan. Start doing it while you are reading your "Triathlete's Bible." As you get more knowledgable about plans you can start modifying the workouts to customize the training more to your goals. One of the nice things about using someone else's plan is that you are accountable to it. If the training is on the plan, you do the training.
2013-09-30 12:57 PM
in reply to: wannabefaster

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Thanks for all the responses. To add additional info, I am actually looking forward to the process of creating my own plan. I am a professional coach in another sport, and I have been either training myself or training others for the last 15 years. And I think the process of creating the cycles and plans really give you the understanding of why you are training the way you are. And I will be able to develop into a better athlete the more I understand about the process.

So I will do basic base building for the next col/few weeks while i get through the bible and look at other plans and information. And once I develop my program i will get started on that!

Any more info you guys can give me is great!

Ray
2013-09-30 1:44 PM
in reply to: sunray1985

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Originally posted by sunray1985

Thanks for all the responses. To add additional info, I am actually looking forward to the process of creating my own plan. I am a professional coach in another sport, and I have been either training myself or training others for the last 15 years. And I think the process of creating the cycles and plans really give you the understanding of why you are training the way you are. And I will be able to develop into a better athlete the more I understand about the process.

So I will do basic base building for the next col/few weeks while i get through the bible and look at other plans and information. And once I develop my program i will get started on that!

Any more info you guys can give me is great!

Ray


To the bolded, it is quite possible that this experience and knowledge will result in you being even more frustrated when you start working through the Training Bible, especially if you have a solid grasp of exercise physiology.

Shane


2013-09-30 2:05 PM
in reply to: sunray1985

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan

Originally posted by sunray1985 ... looking to do a variety of Sprints and olympics with a goal of finishing my season next yr with a half IM. Thanks Ray

80% of it is just Volume and consistency. i.e. the amount of time you spend swimming, biking, running.  Build slowly over time, have down weeks for recovery, and remember these three rules:

Running:  Mostly easy, sometimes hard.

Biking:  sometimes easy, sometimes hard

Swimming:  mostly hard, sometimes easy.  (technique)

 

A coach will help you optimize, motivate, perhaps minimize the risk of injury.  But the 80% that's the volume part- that's up to you.  

2013-09-30 8:29 PM
in reply to: gsmacleod

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Have to echo Shane, but it my own way. There is little in athletics, if anything, that directly translates into triathlon training. I see great riders get roasted in the water and die on the run. I see great runners getting their a$$es handed to them on the bike. Gym rats who can't run for an hour, crossfit enthusiasts who drown in the water and hurt themselves running. Great swimmers who are only that. Sure if you are a specialist of particular talent, it might carry you so far, but never as far as you want. No offense, but you are not a specialist based on your times. You can, however do really well at this crazy sport, and will very likely enjoy it a hell of a lot.

Far too often, people approach this sport and look for the golden key that will magically take them from average (which should be noted is no small accomplishment in itself) to victor. The real truth is there is no such thing. I've played and been coached in several sports, and this is completely and frustratingly (at times) different. You will have to work harder than you ever expect, over a longer period than you can accept, and recognize your improvements and failures as they are, not in a framework of what you arbitrarily expect of yourself with no basis whatsoever. That being said, I sincerely don't want to discourage you in the slightest.

To answer your original request, you should create a plan that looks months out that ensures you run, bike and swim a lot. That's it for starters. You will in all likelihood figure out the rest if you are serious and committed. Your first plan should look incredibly daunting when you write it, and you should expect to revise it during the process. You should probably set your goals too high and have reality dictate what your goals should be. You will learn to listen to your body in a way you never have before, and manage its strengths and weaknesses smarter and smarter the more you do it. You will become informed in your own way on a number of topics, and seek greater knowledge when you prove yourself wrong, which you will do often. A coach is not always necessary in this sport in my opinion. Some of the happiest athletes manage themselves quite effectively and consider the process every bit as rewarding as the result. Your first plan will look foolish in comparison to your second and worse to your third, all of which you might compose in a single month. Own the process as you will own your results. This sport is wayyyyyyyy more spiritual than you might think on first inspection. If you don't love the journey, the destination will crush you.
2013-09-30 8:45 PM
in reply to: fisherman76

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
Interesting to get all the different perspectives. For me this is more about fun than about winning. I don't have specific performance goals, although I did mention them in my first post. The training plan is to help me measure what I am doing, provide accountability for me personally, and get to know more about myself biking, running, and swimming.

The bible may not end up being the answer but either way I will have no problem getting one plan and deciding its not good and adjusting to another all in the fun of it!

Keep the comments coming!

Ray
2013-09-30 8:52 PM
in reply to: fisherman76

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan

Originally posted by fisherman76 To answer your original request, you should create a plan that looks months out that ensures you run, bike and swim a lot. That's it for starters. You will in all likelihood figure out the rest if you are serious and committed. Your first plan should look incredibly daunting when you write it, and you should expect to revise it during the process. You should probably set your goals too high and have reality dictate what your goals should be. You will learn to listen to your body in a way you never have before, and manage its strengths and weaknesses smarter and smarter the more you do it. You will become informed in your own way on a number of topics, and seek greater knowledge when you prove yourself wrong, which you will do often. A coach is not always necessary in this sport in my opinion. Some of the happiest athletes manage themselves quite effectively and consider the process every bit as rewarding as the result. Your first plan will look foolish in comparison to your second and worse to your third, all of which you might compose in a single month. Own the process as you will own your results. This sport is wayyyyyyyy more spiritual than you might think on first inspection. If you don't love the journey, the destination will crush you.

Thanks for saving me some time.

x2

2013-10-01 7:39 AM
in reply to: sunray1985

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
I agree, the Triathlete's Training Bible is not the most user-friendly resource for the self-coached. It's a good read to increase your background knowledge about training principles, and the chapters on preparing for and executing a tri are extremely useful, but it's a little thin on specific workouts. I have basically coached myself since starting tri and have managed to podium in most of my races. It definitely helps to have a background in one or more of the sports (in my case, run and swim; I also coach swimming). I've also been fortunate to have had run and swim coaches in the past who really took the time to explain why we were doing what we were doing, including the basic principles of exercise physiology. Still, I spend a lot of time researching and looking at different plans, thinking about what approach is best for my current goals, and what's doable given my training situation here and my particular strengths and weaknesses. You really have to be willing to put in a lot of time reading books, articles, and online forums, and tinkering with plans, if you go the self-coached route but have ambitious goals.

I've chosen so far not to have a coach for economic and practical reasons (limited finances, no coach in country, working online with someone I'd never met who hadn't experienced my training situation would be difficult), and because I enjoy the challenge of "owning it" completely; having only myself to blame if things don't work out. I've also had situations in the past (with running) where having a coach was really counterproductive--they simply didn't get what made me tick, physically or mentally, and couldn't/wouldn't modify the approaches that may have worked with other athletes to meet my needs. A good coach will bring you places you never thought you could go; a bad one is worse than none at all.

It does take a lot of discipline and self-knowledge to author a plan and stick with it or modify it when needed without slacking, but I prefer that to getting assigned workouts and doing them--to me, the latter would feel like a job. I know some people prefer that simplicity, though. To me it's more of a creative process--less efficient, perhaps, but more free-form and satisfying.

Even if you don't end up using the services of a full-time coach, you might be able to find someone who's willing to sit down with you and help you hammer out a basic plan. I'd also recommend that if you're not an experienced swimmer, or even if you are, that you get periodic feedback on your technique from a master's program or coach. I actually coach swimming, and I still ask our head coach at school, or my master's coach in the US, for feedback from time to time. Video feedback is possible, but it's much more useful in real time, and all the swim books and sites in the world can't replace a good coach's feedback.

Random thoughts--hope at least something is useful!


2013-10-01 4:19 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: trying to create my own training plan
I will encourage you to read as much as you can. As a professional coach, especially if you have a physiology background, you'll have no trouble incorporating information into your current understanding.

1 caveat: "base" refers to aerobic development, not volume. Volume is one way of creating aerobic development, but ironically wintertime leaves generally less daylight & weather for the long stuff people have promoted as "winter" training.

Pick up a copy of Scientific Training for Triathletes by Phil Skiba as well, and read some original studies by the group at McMaster University as well as anything on EnduranceCorner by Alan Couzins & Gordo Byrne.

Have fun and let us know what you learn.
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