13 Training Schedules For Triathlons

13 Training Schedules For Triathlons

by Carlos Civit


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781456722999
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 03/24/2011
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

First Chapter

13 Training Schedules for Triathlons

By Carlos Civit


Copyright © 2011 Carlos Civit
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4567-2299-9

Chapter One


If you are reading this book, you probably know what a triathlon is, its origins and its modern formats, from the well-known Sprint Distance, (750m swim + T1 + 20kms bike ride + T2 + 5kms run), to the Olympic Distance also known as the International Distance (1500m swim+ T1 + 40kms bike ride + T2 + 10kms run), to the ½ Ironman distance (1900m swim+ T1 + 90kms bike ride + T2 + 21.1kms run) , to the "beast"; the Ironman (3.8km swim+ T1 + 180kms bike ride + T2 + 42.1kms run). Also worth mentioning are the triathlons with ITU format, or better known as drafting allowed races, and those where drafting is sanctioned with a Stop and go and 3' or 4' forced to rest at the T2 (bike/run transition) area. Actually, in this ever-growing worldwide sport, we find all kinds of distances, profiles, sizes, and formats, all with a common characteristic; you need to swim, bike and run at some point during the event.

Perhaps you are looking for help in your training. Possibly "how" or "when" to train involving key elements others have found useful and with which you may be able to identify. But before you start, there is something that must be mentioned.

There are only so many hours in a day that usually need to be arranged around school, work, family and the daily chores. It is necessary, therefore, to design a program that is specific to your needs (competitive or otherwise), and in many cases, will be personal and not transferable. Thus, total application of information of training plans found in this book, or any other source may not fit completely with your needs and may be difficult for the athlete to follow it to the letter. Nevertheless, the intent of this book is far from it.

Chapter Two


Did you ever notice that when you ask other athletes or friends about how they feel after their race, in a 90% of the cases you will get answers such as: "I had a bad race", " I only did it as a training day", "I met a friend during the race, we finished together" "I have an injury that is still bothering me" " I didn't train at all for the last few weeks," " I did a really long workout yesterday, and still feeling it", etc, etc. What is it about the human convention that we seem to come up with a multitude of excuses?

Many athletes put a lot of effort into training without carefully setting both a program and a goal. How fast do I want to race? How well can I perform? What is my real expectation, not only competing, but also training? So many times I hear "this is what I need to do", and then witness athletes failing over and over, trying to follow an unrealistic program. There is a huge difference between what needs to be done in order to accomplish a certain time or race performance, and what we truly physically are capable of. Not only because we may have our own physical limitations, but it may also happen that our lifestyles, won't allow us to perform as well as we really could do in a perfect situation. So we need to start being honest with ourselves. You may tell yourself you want to do an Ironman Distance, but you must also ask yourself whether it is possible given your specific lifestyle. Some other questions you may want to ponder are: Should my goal be for a shorter race that requires less training hours? Do I have responsibilities connected with family, business, job? Do I have a stressful life? Am I single, with a huge amount of free time?

Once you make the decision about the distance for which you want to train, there is another critical question to answer: How fast? Even though this is one of those questions that can only be answered after several weeks of specific training, it is also true, that to chose a certain path you need to know where to start from. As a trainer, I insist on clarity to the questions posed above so that we can develop a realistic training plan. In my first meeting with the athlete, I have noticed that almost 1 out of 2 seniors or advanced Age Groupers explain how good they used to be in his/her earlier sport career years, how fast they ran their best marathon, how fast they used to swim competitively at college, or even explain their battles on the weekend bike races. But, is it realistic to think that if you once were a fantastic athlete, you can be again? Is it realistic to think that if you once ran a marathon in 3 hours you are going to run that fast in a Triathlon? Well, that is a complex question, with a more difficult answer. Normally my experience tells me that it is hard for the majority of us to accomplish the same performance today that we accomplished in our glory days, based on 98% of the cases being attributed to lifestyle rather than capabilities. Because of this percentage rate, we must first be honest with ourselves and start just below our expectations. We always have time to modify the training, increasing our stamina and morale with each step we take.


Generally, it takes at least 5 years without interruption of well-planned training to peak in your sport. From that point, improvement will probably occur, but in smaller increments.

I once had a chat with one of my colleagues, and we came to the conclusion that some of the variables that influence your peak performance are as follows:

1. Talent

2. Physical Type of Body

3. Training.

4. Commitment

5. Knowledge and Experience in the Sport.

6. Environment

Chapter Three


In my earlier years as a cyclist, I remember well two of my training buddies, both with incredible talent for the sport, but in two totally different ways. I remember David Reartes, 2 overall in the Catalunya cyclocross championship and team member of numerous cycling teams during his career, perfect physique to fit on the bike, and probably one of the most talented athletes I ever trained with in terms of how he handled high intensity efforts. On a physical effort test, he always ranked among the best. He could really ham on the bike like no one else. One day, the two of us went for a long ride in the mountains. I remember about 1.5 hours into the ride and in one of the longest climbs of the day, he made his first move attacking me with unnatural force. In a few seconds after that, he had opened a gap of about 60 meters. Slowly, yard by yard, I could make my way back to his wheel, but not without reaching my anaerobic and mental limit. A few minutes later, he made his second move, as brutal as the first one with the same results. Then, his third and fourth attack, accomplished the same results as his first two. Finally, about 3 or 4 kilometers from the top, I gave it all I had left. I decided to attack him at least once before he left me in the dust. To my surprise, I saw him drop farther and farther back. On the top, once we regrouped, he told me that I was unbeatable. I responded with, "At what? It is not me, it is your lack of mental strength." Isn't it ironic that the most physically talented athlete can't perform at his best because of mental weakness? He gave up easily when things were not going exactly his way.

On the other hand, I remember Daniel Borras. He was kind of a "stocky" guy, always a little bit overweight, and not a great physically talented athlete. His best "weapon", though, was his mind. He was mentally capable to hold "the pace" as long as was needed, never failing, he was always there. If you ever had the intention of dropping him in a ride, you needed to be sure you could hold the pace till the end, because sooner or later he was going to be back on your wheel. More than once it happened to me that I relaxed after 15' to 20' break away, and in few minutes struggled with having him back again on my wheel.

In both cases we are talking about talented athletes, even though we need to classify them in completely different groups.


3.1.1 Physical talent type 1:

We all are born with certain physical characteristics, some of them will suit perfectly to the specific sport and some others won't. It could be any physical condition that gives us an obvious advantage over the others. For example, the guy who is 6 feet 6inches tall has an obvious physical advantage over someone who is 5feet 10 inches tall, if they both play basketball. A marathon runner with a muscle composition of 90% slow switch fibers has a physical advantage over the runner who has 50% fast and 50% slow switch fibers composition, etc. Based only on this type of talent, races would be always won by the athlete with the suitable physique specific for the sport. Fortunately, for us all, there are other aspects that are as important, or more important than the physical talent type 1 alone. Luck, talent type 2, and mental talent also contribute to advantage.

3.1.2 Physical talent type 2:

Many of us remember a triathlete from the '90 and early '00 and former Ironman World Cup Champion, Thomas Hellriegel. More than once, he mentioned the quantity of massive hours of hard work he was putting in weekly in order to win the Hawaii Ironman. He may not have the best physical talent 1 of all the triathletes, but he had the talent that allowed him to train as much as he needed to be the best, without getting sick, injured, or breaking down. And we will call it physical talent type 2. As a clear example, I will mention again my friend Dave Reartes. He was the kind of athlete that could train only 3 days a week and perform as well as the majority of the cyclists training 5 days a week. One of his problems, though, was that he was incapable to train consistently more than 4 or 5 days a week, without getting mental burnout or physically injured. On the other hand, myself and others could train every day of the week and never tear down or burnout. Therefore, the results were a better performance than Dave during races even though he was a stronger physical talent type 1 than we were.

3.1.3 Mental strength talent:

To describe this attribute in short, we can put it in the group of all athletes that have the ability to push themselves to their physical limit as long and as often as they need to.

Finally, it must be mentioned, that all of us have our own mix of the three type of talents above referenced in certain grades and quantities. Sometimes, they will be great enough to allow you to succeed as an elite athlete, and sometimes (in the majority of most of us) "just" at personal level.

Chapter Four



How many times have we been disappointed in a race after weeks and weeks of long, hard hours of training? Or, just the opposite, we wonder about what we did for the last few days or even weeks that brought us to such incredible shape. We may ask ourselves, was it what I ate? Training is the most difficult subject of any sport. Some of the questions we ask ourselves concern how we train. When to train? Where to train? Is it my training that determines how I race? Is the way I train going to make any difference? Definitely, YOU ARE WHAT YOU TRAIN, no more, no less. The question to answer, though, is to know what kind of training works for each athlete. How much quantity? How much speed workouts or drills should I do in a training week? What aspects of myself do I need to improve? How am I going to improve? This is not only the key, but also what makes training such a difficult subject.


In the last few years, I tried without success to compete at high levels again. Time after time, something got in my way. There was always something important that had to be done before my workouts, something that ended up making my workouts shorter and different. The funniest part of my story, is that those things went from aspects in my life as important as my daughter's birth to eventually, things as little and simple as watering the plants in my back yard (and you know there isn't any rush to water the backyard plants). The message is clear; I don't have the commitment I need to compete at the level I wish. I may have the talent. I may have the time. I definitely have the facilities and friends, but I don't possess that level of commitment anymore that is required to compete at high levels. Certain aspects of my life changed since my days of high-level competition. Whether they were wonderful or new situations, bad habits, the wanderings of a brilliant mind, they all competed for my attention and I felt intensive training was not as important as what ever else I may have wanted to do at the time.


San Diego has been, since the beginning of triathlon history, the "Mecca" of the triathletes. Why? One word, "environment". San Diego has EVERYTHING athletes need for training. Number One, starting with weather, San Diego is sunny and warm almost 365 days a year. Second, San Diego has facilities. There is a lap pool with a master swimming program running all day in each neighborhood. Third, the people: friendly and fit as far as the eye can see. Fourth, rides: bike teams and roads with bike length wherever you go. Top former triathlete, Jurgen Zack, told me once when we were training "this is the perfect place to train."

There are other aspects to consider when we talk about environment. Aspects like family, friends, job, money, or something as simple as equipment all play a role in training and success. All of them can have a positive or negative effect and all impact on our training therefore, on your race performance too.

Chapter Five


We only have a certain capacity to take stress. This stress, however, can come in different ways, shapes, and forms. Again, there is only that much we can take. Every athlete is different, and every athlete reacts to different activities in different ways. For example, on Sunday morning a group of friends and I used to go for a 3 hour ride where we put "the hammer down" two out of those three hours. For me, that did not increase my level of mental stress. But for some riders, it definitely did. On those days, it was easy for me to control what I ate and drank (as we all know food could be considered pleasure and therefore can be used to pacify your levels of stress) and my overall mood swings. Conversely, when we used to go for 6 to 7 hour rides, my stress level increased dramatically even though the intensity of the ride was much lower. On those days, and sometimes even the following day, it was hard for me to be disciplined with what I ate, or to control my poor mood due to the exhaustion. The reason, I have deduced, is because there is only so much we can self discipline and discipline is a kind of stress. As I said before, there is only so much we can control.

Stress is also accumulative. Some activities over and over and over, week after week, can produce mental burnout. If, on top of that, you have to keep training because a race is coming up, that could result in daily mental stress. Another example of stress, is knowing the following day's workout, this could provoke early symptoms of stress, leading you to a poor night of sleep. That's why some coaches prefer not allow to their athletes to know the full week's training schedule, keeping secret the daily training workout until the last minute. This way, they save the athlete from the pre-anxiety state.

But, as we said, stress comes in different forms and shapes. Suppose you are a competitive Age Grouper and you have been training for a specific race for 2 or 3 months. All of a sudden, your boss asks you to work extra hours or to travel more often or more days the following week. The first reaction of the athlete might be; "I don't want to lose my fitness level. Therefore, I will fit my training schedule in, wherever I can, in my already busy day." This busy schedule will increase the athlete's stress levels considerably possibly resulting in a fast burnout or a poor recovery from the workouts. One thing is for sure, the burnout will come. It may be a matter of time, but it will come. The timing depends in the ability of the athlete to deal with stress. As we already said, family issues, financial problems, and emotional problems could increase the levels of your stress as well. Therefore, it is important to manage the stress as effectively as you can until you can get back to your routine.


Excerpted from 13 Training Schedules for Triathlons by Carlos Civit Copyright © 2011 by Carlos Civit. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


PRE FACE:....................1
Chapter 1: UNDERSTANDING TRIATHLONS....................3
Chapter 2: MAKE A PLAN AND SET REALISTICS SPECTATIONS....................4
Chapter 3: TALENT....................7
Chapter 4: THE THREE FACTORS FOR SUCCESS....................10
Chapter 6: KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE IN THE SPORT....................19
Chapter 7: BASE TRAINING; THE FOUNDATION....................21
Chapter 9: SHORT, INTERMEDIATE, AND LONG TERM GOALS....................25
Chapter 10: BRAKING DOWN THE TRAINING BY COMPONENTS....................26
Chapter 11: WEIGHT TRAINING....................28
Chapter 12: THE PRINCIPLES OF TRAINING....................32
Chapter 13: OVER TRAINING....................35
Chapter 14: BREAKING DOWN THE SEASSON BY PHASES....................40
Chapter 15: HEART AND HEART RATE MONITORS....................46
Chapter 16: RECOVERING IS TRAINING TOO....................53
Chapter 17: INJURIES....................57
Chapter 18: FLUIDS AND FOOD....................59
Chapter 20: THE LOG BOOK....................76
Chapter 21: HEAT....................77
Chapter 22: MECHANICAL COMPONENTS....................78
Chapter 23: MOST COMMON QUESTIONS....................82

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