By Dr Liz Scott
This may be your first season in triathlon and you are counting down to your first sprint distance event. You have no doubt been getting used to your new exercise regime and building your endurance on the bike, in the pool and on foot. 6 weeks out from your event should see a change in the focus of your training:
1. After an initial 6 weeks of low intensity endurance and skill sessions now is the right time to start to work a bit harder in your training. In one weekly workout of each discipline include intervals where you get out of breath! Start with an amount of time that you can just about manage and repeat this. For example in a run session this may be 3 x 3 mins working hard with 2 min recoveries in between. You should be working hard enough that you could answer a question if someone spoke to you – but it would be with a one or two word answer. Gradually increase the number of reps that you can do or increase time interval.
2. Time to think about your course – is it a hilly or rolling run or bike? Include training sessions using routes and rides that are similar to your race. So, for example, now is a good time to include hill repeats on the bike and out running if that is what you will need to tackle on race day.
3. Introduce some brick sessions into your training. The most useful brick session is a run straight after a bike ride. This gets your body used to the quick change in position and the way in which you are using your muscles as well as giving you the opportunity to practice your transitions! Start off with a short run say 5 mins and build up to half of your race distance.
4. With 6 weeks to go it is time to get into the open water if you can. Get used to your wetsuit and practice sighting, turning and swimming in a group. You can practice open water skills even if you cannot get to an open water venue – you can practice sighting and turning around buoys in your local pool.
5. Since you will be putting more effort or intensity into your training, take recovery weeks when your training is a little lighter – it is at this time that your strength and fitness will develop.
Follow these guidelines for the next 3 weeks and you will be prepared for the final phase of your training.
thetrilife.com is the UKs largest triathlon coaching company and offers training plans for sprint and standard distance triathlons as well as personal coaching and support triathletes of all levels of ability and experience