Monday, April 8, 2013

Sprint Triathlon Training Update

It's less than 10 weeks away: 0.5 mile swim + 17.2 mile bike + 3.1 mile run = Sprint triathlon!

It can be challenging to find time to train with my variable work schedule. On any given week day, I work between 8 and 12 hours, and occasionally a few hours on the weekend, too. I enjoy my job and don't mind working a lot (the overtime is nice, too!), but it does make it hard to plan and accomplish daily workouts. I've been maintaining the following schedule for the past few weeks (for the most part):
  • 3-4x week cardio (swimming, biking, spinning, running, or elliptical)
  • 2-3x week strength (Mainly focusing on biceps, triceps, lats, shoulders, lower back, abs, chest, thighs and glutes.
With the cardio, my goal has increasingly shifted from pure length of time to quality. I've begun to focus more on interval training - periods of moderate activity interspersed with high intensity intervals.

I used to be a big fan of long cardio sessions. Part of that was from disordered eating behaviors, but part of it was because I truly thought that the benefit of a workout was directly proportional to its length. However, based on what I've read, it looks like interval training provides a lot of benefit in terms of return on the investment of time put into it.

The research is limited, but here's a sampling:

HIIT is Tme-Efficient and Effective, Study Suggests
A Healthy Mix of Rest and Motion 

Moving forward into the last 8 weeks of training, my weekly goals look like this:

  • Swim 1x a week, adding on an additional lap each time (this will put me at 30 laps by the time of the race - need to check and see if lengthwise this is at least equivalent to 0.5 miles or if I need to tack on more.  Swimming will be the most challenging. Initially, I thought I would do breaststroke since it is my strongest and fastest stroke, but from what I've learned it can be difficult not to kick people with the frog type motion of the legs during the open swim. I have read that when executed correctly, the front crawl is around 20% faster than breaststroke
  • Run 1-2x a week, preferably outdoors on a trail to minimize impact. One tempo run, one interval (fartlek) run. 30-45 minutes including walking time. Because of my lingering injury, I probably won't be running more than 1-3 miles at a time.
  • Outdoor bike ride 1x a week, 15 miles or so (should take 1.5 hours max) + a 55 minute spin class if I'm up to it. Biking is my strongest, so while I don't want to neglect training for it, I would be better to focus on running/swimming. 
  • Weight train the following muscle groups, at least 1x per week (fit in around cardio or solo): Triceps, biceps, shoulders, chest, back, abs.  I'm leaving the lower body out for the most part. With the running and biking, my legs are getting enough of a workout. Plus, I have limited time - better ROI on the upper half.
  • Finally...yoga once a week. I really, really enjoy yoga. It helps me to center and focus, and the stretching is therapeutic.  Plus, it hits some smaller muscles that are harder to target. 

From what I've read, I don't need to do a full sprint triathlon practice before the actual event, and in fact it is advisable not to, so I don't think I'll need to practice the full length.

It is getting closer.