Should I modify my training programme to include zone 2 this late in the season?
Hi all,I'm in my second (1st serious) year of triathlon, and I've gone down a line of thinking that I hear is quite common:"The faster and harder I train, the faster I'll be come race season".
Here's an example of my training programme, which has changed little since October. My main targets are sprint and olympic distance triathlons, towards the end of May through to mid June.M: WeightsT: am - Core and Flex pm - Hour intense swimW: pm - Club RideT: pm - Running intervals (250m - 1500m)F: am - Spinning intervals pm - Hour swimS: RestS: Club RideI don't run more than once a week to avoid shin splints and my technique isn't good enough to allow me to do long steady swims. Therefore, my only "Long Steady" work is on the bike on Wednesday and Sunday. However, I always get tempted into going with the fast group, meaning I hang on the back for 2-3 hours and am absolutely shattered when I get back.I have been reading a lot recently (and now understand the science behind it) that Zone 2 work is absolutely critical to endurance athletes, and I have done almost none of it through the season.
Zone 2 is certainly something I'll make an effort to incorporate into my training over next winter, but is it too late now? If you think I will benefit from Zone 2 training now, how many sessions a week should i do and for how long to benefit come my target races? Would I be better keeping up the intervals as always?I really appreciate any advice. Let me know if what I've said isn't clear.
For Sprint/Olympic distance races you don't need to be going more than three hours on the bike. It's good to be pushed on the bike so keep hanging off the back at this time of the year. It'll be good for you BUT, don't forget to have the odd easy ride (your zone 2) where you look around (rathe than face down at the tarmac/wheel in front), take it easy and ENJOY the ride. You'll call this your recovery/zone 2 ride that you will do every 3-4 weeks.
Running however, requires that easy zone 2 run weekly (i.e. you should be able to talk all the way through without panting too hard) to build strength/stamina into your legs. You still need to be doing these all the way through the season (in my opinion) - though for you, a long easy run doesn't need to be more than 1 - 1.5hours (you are only doing Sprints and Olympic distances after all).
Swimming? Well, again you don't need to be doing 'long' swims (unless you mean getting up to your race distance and swimming at race pace closer to your races..) you would benefit from doing a technique session at least once a week as well as endurance/speed sessions. To get better/faster at swimming you are going to need to do more than two sessions a week i'm afraid. 3-4 is more like it.
Hope this helps a little.