It might still seem too far away, but the new season will be fast upon us. So for experienced triathletes, who might already be dusting off their kit in anticipation, and for new triathletes, who are eager to take on a new challenge and see what all the fuss is about, this is the time to start working on your base fitness. Whether you’ve been training and racing for the last 20 years or it’s your first season, you should now be planning your training around key races and getting a strategy in place.
The best and most successful seasons are achieved after constructive and consistent training, and that all begins with the base phase. This first block or period of training does exactly what it’s says on the tin – the primary objective is to create a strong and solid base that allows you to train with greater volume when the time is right.
The other advantages of nailing the base phase is that it can help you become more resilient to injury; can allow you to develop a better understanding of which areas need greater attention; and, due to the lower-intensity approach, it creates lower levels of fatigue, which should assist you in completing the full schedule.
Crucial to a successful base phase is patience, being prepared to train at low-to-moderate intensities for large periods of time. The longer-term objective with this style of training is that it develops your ability to burn fat as a fuel. If you can do this, you’ll save the important carbohydrates for the really faster stuff. You’ll know if you’re getting the intensity right as you’ll be able to hold a conversation comfortably.
This eight-week phase is tailored towards those thinking of racing an Olympic-distance triathlon. The plan can work for experienced or new athletes irrespective of speed/power/pace, as the intensity is based on perceived effort and is therefore relative to the individual athlete. Key sessions include the longer, steady bike and runs that help to build distance and confidence. If you’re new to tri, see if you can tag along with a group that can show you the ropes. The variety in the training plan should help alleviate boredom as it includes endurance, tempo and interval sessions, so that all areas of your fitness.
4 tips from Dermott
1. Be patient for results
This is the base phase and race day is a long way off. Be confident in the knowledge that progress will happen.
2. Prep and recover right
Warm up and cool down around the main sets. Include stretching and foam roller work in your cool-down.
3. Set objectives
Set yourself daily, weekly and monthly targets and objectives to help you track your progress and maintain motivation.
4. Don’t skip it
No skipping the long stuff. Always remember Tim Don’s favourite refrain – winter miles = summer smiles!