How to avoid overtraining when preparing for a long triathlon

The age of participants in triathlon competitions is from 18 to 80 years old. Many aim to simply finish, the most ambitious athletes aim for specific numbers and results. But both for these and for others, competent training without overload and injury is important.

Anton Chuchko, owner and head coach of the amateur sports team Ferrum Triathlon Club, explains how to avoid overtraining and prepare for the chosen start.

What to do before training

Before you start training and planning a load, you need to determine your fitness level. What should be done:

  • pass a medical examination: pass tests, consult a doctor if you have chronic illnesses, do an ECG at rest and in a state of stress, you can get tested to determine the pulse zones.
  • know the level of ANPO.
  • do an FTP test on a bicycle – this will let you know the average maximum power per hour.
  • know the value of the swolf in swimming (addition of the number of strokes and the time spent swimming in a pool).

It will be easier for an experienced athlete – he already has all these units and values. All that remains is to improve performance.

It is advisable to do all sports tests after the coach has put the correct technique in the three disciplines. You can do this difficult process yourself, but for this you need to videotape yourself and analyze the technique.

How to make a training plan

To avoid overtraining in triathlon, you need to have a year, semester, month and week training plan.

This will allow the preparation to be broken down into stages, where all competitions, camps and training cycles will be taken into account. Based on the tests, it will be possible to understand how to train, which weaknesses need to be improved in the first place.

How to avoid overtraining when preparing for a long triathlon
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Plan for the year

It is better to plan a start for the fall, since in winter it will be possible to pay more attention to muscle and technical training, to pass the necessary tests.

If possible, it is worth going to a training camp to improve aerobic qualities. At the winter training camp, training at the maximum heart rate is not necessary, during this period it is important to gently prepare the body for further work. Athletes who train at home can use a bike machine, track, pool, treadmill, arena, and gymnasium.

Every 2-3 weeks it is best to change the direction of the cycles. The body adapts to the load, so it is necessary to alternate recovery periods with development training.

In the spring, the first races appear, where you can check your form and try new distances, for example, 5-21 km races, duathlon or cycling. You can participate in such departures at least every weekend.

In summer, the competition period begins, the weather makes it possible to train regularly and increase volumes. We choose starts from the sprint to the “half” Ironman so that there is a break of 2 to 4 weeks between competitions. During this time, the body will recover, and it will be psychologically easier to tune into a long distance.

In August we organize a preparatory camp for Ironman for 10 to 20 days. The task is to gain maximum volumes, to feel self-confidence. It is important to adapt the equipment to open water, links between disciplines. It is necessary to determine the speeds, watts and pulse at which it is supposed to cover the entire “iron” distance. 15-20% of workouts perform above these indicators. In such a training camp, the training time can range from 5 to 8 hours a day.

Recovery is very important. For the whole period the weekend is not provided, but there must be fasting days. This is usually a light swim workout or a flat bike ride. Strong athletes can increase this workout to 21 days and do load days every sixth or seventh day, and beginners are advised to follow the 3 day load + 1 day recovery formula.

Such collection should end about a month before the main start.

Plan the week

4 running workouts, 3 cycling, 2 swimming. Some workouts are done with a brick, that is to say in a row, most often on a day off. Also, some workouts can be combined with power complexes.

What threatens overtraining

Overtraining in running can lead to serious injuries that will significantly interfere with preparation for triathlon.

Unlike swimming and cycling, to avoid overtraining, long runs should be avoided. Training for more than two hours will not bring much benefit, and shock loading can create preconditions for injury. It will be very disappointing to be forced to stop preparing for the most important departure.

How to avoid overtraining when preparing for a long triathlon
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Also, do not get carried away by the segments at maximum speeds, this increases the risk of injury. Remember that the body will be under great stress and any excessive activity can lead to overtraining.

Signs of overtraining

If you ignore these signals, you can get sick, hurt yourself, and lose a lot of form. You will have to build a formation from scratch and spend many months on it.

  1. Apathy, bad mood, refusal to go to training.
    2. Any pain in the body. They mean that the muscles and ligaments are overloaded, recovery procedures are needed.
    3. High heart rate even in easy training. In this case, you need to reduce the intensity and increase the recovery time.
    4. Dizziness, cold sweats, hunger pangs. This condition signals that the body lacks its own resources. It is necessary to reduce the volume and take sports nutrition with you.
    5. Sleep disturbances. It may be helpful to consult a doctor who will prescribe medication for relaxation and the additional production of melatonin.

How to exercise

The average triathlete trains almost every day: one hour on weekdays and on weekends, volume workouts starting at 90 minutes.

Of course, the volumes depend on the athlete’s abilities. Almost everything influences: work, family, pets, availability of sports facilities, financial conditions. But even if a person can train only 2 times a week, he will prepare for Ironman.

The training program will look like this: every day 15 minutes of energy complexes, a bulky Brick training: cycling + running for 3-4 hours. One Brick workout: run + swim for 2-3 hours. Of course, it will be necessary to make at least 2 complete collections.

But the most important thing is motivation and discipline.

In the fall, you need to reduce the training load by 30-40% if you have worked honestly all summer. 2-3 weeks before the start, volume and intense training can only harm, not improve form. For at least 3 weeks, strong athletes can complete the “half” of Ironman.

Read more: How to distribute the training load between the three disciplines in triathlon

How to recover during preparation

  • Elongation. Many people forget or don’t want to take the time to stretch, but it should be practiced every day. This improves recovery and reduces the risk of injury.
  • Massage is also better to do regularly.
  • Sauna. But it is not suitable for everyone, especially with intense training. You need to focus on your own feelings.
  • Sleep mode. Of course, sleep is the best restorer. It is necessary to observe the daily routine and sleep at least 8 hours.
  • Adequate nutrition. For some, a diet is necessary, it all depends on the characteristics of the physique.
  • Sports nutrition. Improves adaptation to the load, promotes rapid recovery. But to take sports nutrition, you must consult a sports doctor.

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