Every coach, newspaper, and “athlete expert” has their own view on the most common training blunders to avoid.
1. A lack of periodization in training
Starting a race-specific training program without first establishing a foundation of basic fitness is akin to building a home on sand or on an unsteady foundation. Similarly, instead of following specific training phases based on your level of fitness, your racing schedule, and the types of races you will be competing in, doing “a little bit of everything” will only provide limited benefits and fitness gains.
2. Constantly training too hard
Many athletes believe that training should be difficult at all times. There are no fitness gains if it does not feel difficult. As a result, the majority of their workouts are categorized as “fairly difficult.” In actuality, this form of workout should be avoided for the most part, especially if the effort level is not correctly set. These “moderately difficult” activities have a very low return on your training time investment (fitness gains).
Knowing your heart rate training zones and using them to calibrate your workouts and intensity levels is a must at the very least. Keep in mind that your heart rate zones differ depending on the sport. This implies you’ll have separate zones for basketball, swimming, and running.
Establish your training zones with the help of a coach or a qualified lab. Bike power zones, as well as swimming and running tempo zones, are ideal for training. To get your training zones set up, work with a coach or go to a qualified lab. Bike power zones, as well as swimming and running tempo zones, are ideal for training.
3. There is never enough easy training.
Many athletes, as previously said, fail to train at lower intensities. Lower intensities refer to heart rates of 75 to 80% of maximum heart rate, or roughly 85% of lactate threshold heart rate. Lower-intensity training has a number of physiological advantages, including:
- An increase in mitochondrial density within muscle cells, which boosts energy storage and production.
- An increase in capillary density, allowing more blood to reach working muscles and waste (lactate) to be taken away.
- Increasing the heart’s stroke volume, which in turn leads to a larger cardiac output.
- When preparing for long-distance races, metabolizing fat as a key source of fuel is critical.
Low-intensity workouts do not have to be dull. They can easily be combined with form and drill training in all three triathlon disciplines, like single-leg drills on an indoor trainer. It’s a great approach to make the most of your training time by achieving multiple goals at once.
4. Never put in enough effort at the gym
Unless you’ve been working with a coach, chances are you’ve never exercised hard enough, or in a well-structured and planned manner. High-intensity training, such as VO2 max and anaerobic capacity workouts, and in some cases, neuromuscular power exercises, are essential for improving performance. Interval training routines are short, rapid, extremely effective, and enjoyable, but they must be properly and adequately scheduled. They provide the finest value for your champ!
When training at these levels, keep in mind that heart rate becomes less important. The reason for this is simple: when intervals are short, such as 60 seconds at VO2 max or 30 seconds at anaerobic capacity, heart rates of well-trained athletes will not reach VO2 max or anaerobic capacity due to the short interval period. Swimming and running pace zones, as well as bike power zones, should be employed instead because they are far more indicative of the desired intensity levels.
5. Focusing on speed when endurance should be the priority, and vice versa
What good is it to strive to swim, bike, or run quicker if we can’t keep up with them during events owing to a lack of muscle endurance? Is it better to focus on speed, speed endurance, muscle endurance, strength, or a combination of these? Knowing your pace regression rates is a good place to start. For example, how much does your running speed slow down as the distance between you and the finish line grows?
Measure the pace regression percentage between two simple running tests, such as an 800-meter and 1,600-meter all-out. If you’re nearing 20%, don’t bother with speed practice at all! Your main goal should be to improve muscle endurance.
6. Miles of poor quality
This is true for all lengths, but I’ll concentrate on ultra-distance training. Athletes often focus on the number of miles (or hours) rather than the quality of the run. That hour does not count if you have a 6-hour bike ride and must spend the beginning 30 minutes and last 30 minutes of your session going through town at a moderate speed before arriving to open roads.
So, how about some warm-up exercises? If you’re doing a tempo pace workout, you might only need a short one. You’ll also want to have the most accurate simulation of your long-distance race circumstances. Can you do it if you take a five- to ten-minute break two or three times to grab some water or nutrients, or to stretch your legs and back? Are you going to do it on the day of the race? Make sure that your training, particularly your lengthy exercises, is as close to race day as feasible.
7. Ignoring the weeks of recovery
You might not realize the significance of recovery weeks and the physiological adjustments that occur during these weeks. They’re referred to as “adaptation weeks.” Your body does not adjust to the training load and stress placed on it during training weeks if adaptation weeks are not included. Adaptation weeks are an important part of training that should not be overlooked.
Adaptation weeks are not to be confused with rest days or taper weeks. Each has a distinct function and set of advantages. Adaptation weeks occur every third or fourth week in a training plan and involve a significant reduction in exercise volume and, for the most part, intensity. If you ignore them, your fitness will quickly stagnate before deteriorating.
8. Neglecting to participate in a strength-training program
Many athletes underestimate or completely disregard strength training. Even when such activities are planned, strength training is frequently the first item to go during a training week. That’s bad because strength training is an important part of our overall fitness, our capacity to perform successfully, and our ability to avoid injuries. Regardless of the athletes’ skill level, it usually involves core workouts, plyometric activities, and weights. Hour-long workouts in that domain are extremely rare. Instead, athletes should schedule 20- to 45-minute exercises following swim sessions, when they are already at their health club, have access to suitable equipment, and can more readily do these strength routines.
9. A lack of realistic and attainable goals
It’s critical to have clear goals and expectations. It’s preferable if they’re founded on facts. Whether you run your first Olympic-distance race in 3.5 hours and are now aiming for a 3 hour, 10-minute finish in the next four months, or you want to run an ultra-distance PR in under 9 hours and 30 minutes, your goals should be well defined. As you go, you’ll need to understand where the improvements will come from.
Is it necessary for you to swim faster, and if so, by how much? Is it possible to take five minutes off your bike split, and if so, how does this translate into a significant wattage gain? Do you want to lessen the effect your bike has on your running speed? After you’ve identified your goals and where you want to improve your fitness, you’ll need to figure out what kind of training plan and framework you’ll need to meet them and track your progress. Then maintain a long-term perspective and focus. Allowing daily or even weekly workout outcomes, whether great or negative, to derail your long-term goals is a mistake. Concentrate on mastering everyday workout execution while keeping your long-term fitness goals in mind.
10. Efficiency of movement
Only when a person’s physiological and mechanical efficiency is at its peak can they reach peak sports performance. Adding cylinders to a poorly running engine while ignoring movement efficiency is like adding cylinders to a poorly running engine. It will simply exacerbate the problem. Make sure you’re working on your form and technique, which means making sure your muscles are firing at the right intensity, in the right order, and with the right range of motion to move your body as efficiently as possible. Mechanical efficiency will make you quicker, allow you to maintain faster paces with less energy consumption, and keep you injury-free. Getting a bike fit, swimming video analysis, running gait analysis, riding, and running are just a few of the apparent things you can take.