triathlon

Coach Tom's journey to Ironman 70.3, Indoor training, Training and nutrition, triathlon

Ironman 70.3 New Zealand, the FSA Way – Blog 3


No Comments

In the third installment of coach Tom’s blog series on using the FSA Coaching principles to train for the Ironman 70.3 NZ in March, we look at the use of intelligent and targeted training to make the most of the time and the tools available to you.

Fitting in a high intensity bike session after the kids have gone to bed…

You’re all busy people, right?  You’d love to have 35 hours a week to train, just like the pros do.  Heck, you might even be as good as them if you trained that much… 

But anyway, in the real world you’ve probably got about half the time that you’d really like to train and even then it’s early in the morning or late at night when all the other priorities are sorted.  And that’s OK.  I totally get this.  There are those who are lucky enough to be in a position to put their training above everything else in there life.  For the rest of us, we have to make our training and race work as part of our wider life and responsibilities.

We want to get the most bang for our buck and that’s where intelligent and targeted training comes in.  Intelligent and targeted training, in this context, means:

  • Training at the right intensities (which means a bit more testing than you might like…)
  • Using training time efficiently and effectively
  • Tracking progress and using feedback to tweak and refine
  • Using (but not being a slave to) gadgets, tech and data
Tracking progress with good, old-fashioned data

Here at FSA Coaching, we’re big on the use of data, feedback and testing to get the most from our training. We use TrainingPeaks, which is a fantastic tool for planning, monitoring and tracking progress. It allows our athletes to track their training, see what they’ve got coming up, make sure they’re training at the right intensities and, probably most importantly, provide a subjective comment on how a training session felt.

But as with any data-driven method, the outputs are only as good as the data you put in.  And that’s where the testing and intensity-setting comes in.  As part of any well planned training programme, it’s critical to test regularly to see how things are going and to tweak training intensities.  We try to test every 4-6 weeks (maybe a little less frequently for FTP testing – it hurts…) as part of a regular cycle of periodised training.  Tweaking intensities makes sure we’re always pushing the ceiling up a little higher.

  • We regularly test our athletes for:
    • Critical Swim Speed (CSS);
    • Functional Threshold Power (FTP); and
    • Threshold run pace.

In my build up to Ironman 70.3 NZ in March next year, that’s exactly what I’m doing.  I’ve been swimming my 3x300m CSS tests in the pool, suffering through the FTP test on Zwift and running threshold tests at the track.

FTP testing….brutal

With each test, I’m using the feedback to amend my training zones (hopefully upwards…!) for swimming, biking and running.  I’m using the cold, hard facts of the results from my training and testing to build confidence that the training is working and I’m heading in the right direction.

In the next blog, I’ll update you on some of the early season events I’ve been using to tweak and refine the race plan before the big race goals later in the summer.

Enter your email to receive notifications from the FSA Coaching Blog

Join 8 other followers

Coach Tom's journey to Ironman 70.3, Mental conditioning, Training and nutrition, triathlon

Ironman 70.3 New Zealand, the FSA Way – Blog 2


No Comments

In the second installment of coach Tom’s blog series on using the FSA Coaching principles to train for the Ironman 70.3 NZ in March, we look at season planning, build up races and structuring the training year.

In the first blogpost in this series, I talked about the 5 principles of the FSA Coaching method.

Those 5 principles, nice and simply, are (in no particular order):

  1. Training should be fun and purposeful;
  2. Athletes should understand their goals and the path to achieving them;
  3. Make the most of your time through intelligent and targeted training;
  4. Train to race through race simulation; and (most importantly)
  5. Enjoy the process!

In this post, I’ll talk a bit about how we use the purposeful training and race simulation parts of those principles to plan a training and racing season.  As with any season, this year I’ve got major goal races, some other races that I fancy doing, small local races that would probably be fun and heaps of other commitments and plans that everything needs to fit around.  This is where season planning comes in.  Season planning is important to ensure our training and racing is optimised, to make sure our triathlon lives are realistic and compatible with the rest of our lives, and to ensure we know where we’re going with the season ahead.

Purposeful training

Untitled
TrainingPeaks Annual Training Plan

I always use the Annual Training Plan (ATP) function in TrainingPeaks to plan out a season.  It’s an awesome tool for scheduling races, building a season and focusing on individual weekly training needs for a fully-periodised plan.

With the ATP function, you plug in your A (major goal), B (important build up) and C (just for fun) races, work out want shape you want to be in for your A races, and work backwards from there.

Once you’ve got your ATP nailed, you have a roadmap to your goal race.  Each week in the ATP has the areas to focus on clearly set out.  You can then start developing and planning the individual weeks to help you on the way.  Having this  ‘line-of-sight’ from the run session your about to do this morning to your goal race 6 months down the line is the ultimate in understanding your training and making sure it is purposeful and targeted.

Training to race by racing to train

The second part of this blogpost about season planning focuses on the value of lots of racing in the build up to your goal race.  Build up races serve a whole heap of purposes:

  1. Check your current fitness levels in a fun, competitive environment – let’s face it: smashing out a fast aquathlon is waaaay more fun than doing an FTP test in your basement…
  2. Practice race nutrition through trial and error – you’ve all heard “nothing new on race day” before, but that doesn’t stretch to C-priority build up races.  These are exactly the time to try something new and dial in your race nutrition through trial and error.
  3. Minimise the anxiety and nerves through experience and practice – anythingUntitled that reduces the fear and anxiety of a big race through familiarity and experience will help you stay focused, level-headed and confident when the goal race comes around.  For many, this will be getting more open-water swim experience in a crowded, race-like environment.  But it could equally be practicing transitions, running off the bike and anything else.
  4. Have some fun with your mates – Racing short, inconsequential events is fun.  Nuff said.

Too often, I’ve seen Ironman athletes line up on race day having done 1, maybe 2, half in the build-up, almost paralysed by the fear of what’s ahead.  Don’t be that guy/girl.  Race often, race for fun, race for experience and you will feel more confident, more relaxed and more ready to take on whatever the day is about to throw at you as a result.  I guarantee it.

My own approach

So what does this all mean for my own build up to Ironman 70.3 NZ in March?  Well, I’ve dialed in my ATP and I know exactly what I need to do in each training block, each week and each session; I’ll use each session for the specific purpose it has been designed towards the goal race; and I’ll be racing often (Rotorua Quarter Ironman, Kinloch Triathlon, as many of the Wellington SplashandDash events as possible, heaps of 5ks and Parkruns) and not worrying too much about the outcome of those races.

In the next blogpost,  I’ll look at the need for training to be intelligent and targeted.  For many age-group athletes, this means making the most of the time and the tools available to you.  You might call it getting the most bang for your buck.

Never miss a post

If you want to make sure you never miss a post from the FSA Coaching blog, subscribe below and join me on my journey to Ironman 70.3 NZ in Taupō in March!  I’d also love to hear your comments or thoughts on this series of blogs so please leave a comment or get in touch!

Enter your email to receive notifications from the FSA Coaching Blog

Join 8 other followers

Coach Tom's journey to Ironman 70.3, Mental conditioning, Training and nutrition, triathlon

Ironman 70.3 New Zealand, the FSA Way – Blog 1


1 Comment

UntitledThose of you that saw my recent Instagram post will have seen that I’m going to be using the principles of the coaching method I’ve developed for FSA Coaching to train for the Ironman 70.3 NZ in March, blogging my progress on the way.  That’s five months to develop my endurance base, hone my 70.3 race skills, strengthen my core and develop my mental aptitude, all while striving to be the best father and husband I can be, working the day job and helping my fabulous FSA Coaching athletes achieve their triathlon goals.  Sounds pretty full on, but that’s where I’m hoping the principles of the FSA Coaching method will help me navigate through this potentially complex maze!

So, in this first blog post in the series, I thought I’d set out just what the principles of the FSA Coaching method are.  As the Instagram post said:

At FSA Coaching, we are all about #triathlon training being full of #fun, #spirit and #adventure. We also believe in maximising #trainingefficiency using #metrics, #tools and #trainingaidsExpect to see lots of #mtb, #TrainingPeaks metrics, #zwift workouts, #timetrial specific training, #openwaterswimming, #100m repeats, #intervaltraining, #trailrunning, build up #races and more.

Nice and simply, the FSA Coaching principles are:

  1. Training should be fun and purposeful;
  2. Athletes should understand their goals and the path to achieving them;
  3. Make the most of your time through intelligent and targeted training;
  4. Train to race through race simulation; and (most importantly)
  5. Enjoy the process!

Hopefully these principles are pretty self explanatory, but in future blog posts I’ll expand on each of these principles and explain how they guide my _IGP5940training and how they manifest themselves in the training week.  They’re a complementary bunch of principles that fit well together, help me get the most out of my sport.

If you want to make sure you never miss a post from the FSA Coaching blog, subscribe below and join me on my journey to Ironman 70.3 NZ in Taupō in March!  I’d also love to hear your comments or thoughts on this series of blogs so please leave a comment or get in touch!

Enter your email to receive notifications from the FSA Coaching Blog

Join 8 other followers