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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Tri Workouts

In case you missed my post on How NOT To Do Triathlon Strength Training, click here. In it, I talked about how many sets and reps you should do and how long to rest in between; the best types of exercises for triathletes; machines vs. free weights; and the best functional, compound movements in strength training for triathlon.

The Best Way To Do Triathlon Strength Training: Use exercises for triathlon strength training that require balance, stability, agility, and coordination. These will maximize your efforts and directly correlate to functional triathlon performance, because they include more muscles into the exercise: stabilizing muscles, core muscles, and neuromuscular/motor patterns the will improve all your triathlon techniques.

Triathlon Training Takes Focus

Triathlon Training Problem:

The other day, Jess and I went to the gym. It was one of those days where we just weren’t feeling it. After about 30 minutes of “jogging” on the treadmill, I looked over and saw that Jess was reading a magazine while “pedaling” on a stationary bike. It looked like she was going in slow motion. It must have been a good magazine because it seemed like she was more interested in what she was reading than in her workout.

We’ve all been there and had one of those days where it’s hard to push yourself and where you just don’t feel like working out. But triathlon training takes focus.

And it goes without saying that an athlete with more focus always trains and performs better. So what happens to you when you start losing focus on your triathlon goals? Well, for me I usually find myself doing workouts half-heartedly, skipping my strength training workout sessions, allowing

other things that are not priorities to take place, and slowly fall off the wagon…


Triathlon Training Solution: 

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Tri Workouts |

Start with a solid plan. Use it. Get your mental game on and get it done.

A great thing about triathlon training is the fact that you can choose between 3 different sports to train for on any given day. Or, you can choose strength training, or any combination of each! However, having (and using) a well thought out training plan not only holds you accountable, but also gives you the ability to track progress, providing feedback into any adjustments necessary.

Get creative and find ways to get your head in the game with each and every training session – especially your strength training workouts. When your goal is on the for front of your mind and you put a plan to reach that goal, triathlon training falls into place…perfectly.


The best way to do cardio for triathlon training 

Triathlon cardio & strength training problem:

I’m adding one more point here that is not exactly triathlon strength training, but it’s fresh on my mind. Yesterday, I did my “long, slow” session of the week. It was a run of a little more than 7 miles. (I’m training for an olympic triathlon as I write this.)

While this type of training run is so important for triathlete training, you don’t want it to be the only type of cardio training that you do.  And that’s exactly the rut I’ve found myself in.

All of my cardio training sessions have been steady and slow long distance runs and bikes…

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Tri Workouts |

Your cardio/endurance training session should have some variety just like your strength training workout plan. Most runners know the importance of using interval training, tempo training, hills, etc. to challenge their current pace and get faster. Going faster, especially with running, will also help improve form, technique, and efficiency.

Use those same techniques for your swim workouts and bike rides as well: change it up by throwing in some sprints and drills to the mix!

Triathlon Cardio & Strength Training Solution:

Interval training not only burns more fat, but it will crank up your performance in many different ways for triathlon training and performance. It doesn’t have to be very formal (i.e. Swim: 4 x 50 at 95%…), but make sure you have a method in place to turn up the speed for short bursts of time. Try starting with some sprints for 30 seconds, and as your endurance builds, increase to 1-2 minutes of sustained, high-intensity speed.

Question: “Is something better than nothing for triathlon strength training?”

Here’s my honest opinion: While strength training for triathletes is extremely beneficial, it can be also be disastrous if not carefully planned and executed in a scientific manner.

Bodybuilding type strength training is often imbalanced and tends to promote joint injuries. Training with heavy weight, few reps and long rest periods will only slow down triathletes. Furthermore, isolated muscular movements will not be very useful with enhancing techniques for a triathlete’s discipline.How To Get The Most Out Of Your Tri Workouts |

Keep in mind triathletes have different goals with their training than the average “gym-goer” and should therefore exercise with triathlon performance and injury prevention in mind.

No one wants to waste time doing strength training for triathlons if it’s not going to help you in your triathlon, right? So just make sure that if you are a triathlete who’s committed to a strength training plan, you continue to study, learn, and implement it properly.

Put a solid, well-rounded plan in place, and never go about it haphazardly. Hire a triathlon coach, find a mentor, or work out with an experienced triathlete. Then you’ll gain all the benefits of strength training for triathletes, get faster, go longer, blast your PR’s – all without any wasted efforts or injuries.

by Trainer Davey Anderson

About Author

Trainer DaveyTrainer Davey is an Orange County personal trainer at heart, but has since moved to Nashville and taken on the new challenge of triathlon training. Of course, he misses his home of Surf City...but Music City ain't so bad either!View all posts by Trainer Davey →