Top 10 triathlon training mistakes

triathlon trainingThe biggest mistakes most triathletes make when they are triathlon training are mostly felt when in a race situation. Here’s some advice on how to stop making the ten most frequent triathlon mistakes from Thanyapura’s Head Triathlon Coach Sergio Borges, when triathlon training.

All athletes, whether they are beginners or athletes, want to improve their performance so that they can compete in a race. The biggest improvements come when you stop making mistakes. However, there are many mistakes you can avoid to make your triathlon training smoother.

The causes for mistakes like these are usually caused when misinterpreting instructions. But, more often, it’s the enthusiasm that makes an athlete their own worst enemy.

I’m not saying being over passionate about triathlon training is a bad thing at all.

Determination to perform well when triathlon training is great, but sometimes that enthusiasm can make you make misguided decisions.

If you’re prepared, you can do your best to avoid these mistakes. So, here is a list of the top 10 triathlon training mistakes.

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Top 10 triathlon training mistakes

1 – Increasing triathlon training volume too fast

You can improve quickly when you start training. In particular, for the more experienced age group athletes who are returning to sport after a long break of little or no activity.

But don’t start thinking “if some training is good, more must be better”. This type of path will lead you to over training or injury. Limit your increase in volume to 3 to 5 percent of your total weekly load, and make sure you take a week to recover after three weeks.

2 – Don’t rely on technology – instead of technique and training

There are loads of very expensive gadgets available. While some can help to make a difference, these gadgets can never substitute from proper training and good technique while triathlon training.

Optimizing your potential takes time, so try to be patient. Focus on working on your bike technique, your swimming stroke, and your running. Do this while slowly increasing the distance and speed you train at. These improvements will come in time.

3 – Focusing too much on your strongest discipline

The better you are at something, the easier it is to do, and the more you enjoy to do it. However, when this happens there is a danger of you neglecting to practice the things you are not good at in favour of the things you are better at.

Every session during triathlon training is an opportunity for you to get a competitive edge over other people. This is where you can improve some aspect of your swim, bike and run performance. Don’t ignore the disciplines where you are strong but make improvements in areas where you aren’t strong.

Work your hardest on your weaknesses and your strengths will take care of themselves.

4 – Not stretching and failing to prevent injury

It’s easy to imagine you’re invincible when your triathlon training is going well. But over time you will find out how easy it is, and how frustrating it is, to get injured. Take your time to start off with so that you can develop flexibility and build up a strong core, and lower back muscles. Speak to an experienced personal training to get a musculo skeletal screening, so that you can measure your stability and flexibility in your key problem areas – hips, back, ankles and shoulders.

They can use this important information to suggest strength and conditioning programs to help prevent injuries and enhance performance.

5 – Not doing speed work when triathlon training

Triathlon is an endurance sport, but it’s also a race, which means speed training when triathlon training is critical. Speed can help to make the difference when you compete and participate in an event.

Your race preparation isn’t complete if you don’t incorporate some high-speed training with some slow work aimed at increasing your aerobic efficiency. When you speed train, it has two benefits. Firstly, it gets you accustomed to racing at speed, so you don’t stick at training pace on race day. Secondly, a higher speed means your base speed will increase.

6 – Training hard isn’t an excuse to eat junk food all the time

What you eat today affects your swim, cycle and run tomorrow. If you eat junk then you will perform badly. You must put high-quality fuel in your body if you want top performances.

7 – Not taking time to recover during triathlon training

You must give your body a chance to recover and adapt to the change in your training before you get injured.

This means that you have to rest and recover. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat well and stretch.

Massages, taking Jacuzzi baths and doing some different sports for fun are helpful too.

Good recovery increases the rate at which your body adapts to the stress you put it under during training. The benefits of this are – you can train harder (quality) and you can train more (quantity)

Everyone becomes tired after lots of training but that isn’t a bad thing. But carrying fatigue from one session to another is a sign of a problem. Recovery is about monitoring your fatigue so that you can overcome it.

Sleep is one of the most, if not the most, important element. Get enough sleep each night so you are fully rested, even if you have to take more naps during the day.

8 – Training at too high of intensity

It is so easy to get overwork when training as you get carried away. You have to learn to be disciplined and only do the training you are meant to be doing at the level you’re suppose to do it.

If you work too hard, then you will put your body under too much stress and it won’t recovery as quickly, or fully from it.

There are several ways that you can measure your training level and intensity, including training at a specific pace, timing your efforts, or even using a heart rate monitor. You can measure your training intensity in various ways. It is not how fast or far you go, it is how hard you work. That is the key to training well.

9 – Not planning an integrated, balanced triathlon training program

When you are triathlon training, it is important to remember it is not just a swimming race, followed by a bike race and then a running race. Each section has its own physical and mental demands. But ultimately they should all feed into one cohesive triathlon training unit.

If you treat each separately, it can cause problems. For example, a hard swim puts just as much stress on your body as a difficult run. So don’t make the mistake of thinking two hard sessions in one day is a wise idea just because they’re different disciplines and use different muscles. Make sure you integrate your training so you can balance out the demands of each individual sport. These improvements in each will be brought together on race day.

10 – Be realistic about your ability 

Not everyone has the same ability or level of fitness when they start triathlon training. If you are coming back from a long period away, or just starting, remember to take it easy. If you jump in straight away and try to train like an Olympian you will end up on a long injury break.

You can learn a lot from watching top athletes and mimicking the way they do things in triathlon training. But their huge success is based on years and years spent gradually adapting to and increasing their triathlon training. It is not a good idea to apply their regime to yourself in the hope of replicating their level of performance. Apply only that which is appropriate to you and your training background.


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