Thanyapura Phuket’s Triathlon Head Coach Sergio Borges has given his top tips for reaching your peak performance when training for a triathlon.
Reaching your peak performance is always satisfying, but this doesn’t happen by accident. To reach your peak performance, you must endure months of hard work, structured training, and most importantly, plan every aspect of your race.
However, simply trying to race faster over an entire triathlon is too vague a goal. If you’re looking to reach your peak performance, and hit a PR (personal record), you need to consider the elements that can affect you. And since most of the time will be spent on the bike, after all, this is the longest leg of any triathlon, it’s the first place to look to see where you can make the biggest differences in your training.
You’ll be looking to maximize the benefits of all the things you can control and minimize the dangers from the things you cannot. This not only means consistent, progressive training, but also taking the time to analyze yourself, your equipment and your target race. By doing so you can prepare a plan to ensure you get the best out of yourself, your bike and all other triathlon elements when it matters most.
In other words, you are “stacking” together all the factors of a stellar performance so they drop into place perfectly on race day and carry you to a new PR.
How to reach your peak performance
Most improvements , and generally the biggest improvements, can be made in areas of weakness. For instance, getting to the pool regularly to work on your technique or shedding some excess weight to improve your running ability.
Eating right and fueling up well will also make a big difference, especially if you’re currently just surviving on junk or convenience food.
What you’re looking for is a handful of small improvements in as many areas as possible.
Although each one may not be big, when you put them all together the gains will soon add up.
How much difference can an improvement of 1% actually make? Over the course of 2 hours plus race, it can get you across the finish line a lot sooner than you might expect.
1% off a 2:30hr Olympic distance triathlon equates to 1:18 mins quicker.
1% off a 5:15hr half ironman race equates to 5:15 mins quicker
15 of a 13:30hr Ironman race equates to 8:06 mins quicker
Now, think of how much time you’ll save if you can make a 1% gain in more than one area…
But have one thing in mind: the amount of improvement depends upon on where you started.
If you’re a beginner, you could see your heart rate drop by 10% or more over each training session in a month. Conversely, a seasoned racer may find it takes a winter’s worth of training to make a 5% gain.
Technology-wise, changing from a conventional 36-spoke front wheel to a more aerodynamic race wheel could save you up to a minute over a 25 mile bike leg. That’s just one element of your journey to reaching your peak performance. If you combine that with drafting on the swim, an aerodynamic bike position, losing 4lbs of fat and using proper race nutrition, you could save up to 7 mins.
The gains are there to be had by all. They just require a little planning and a realistic appraisal of your abilities and goals. Look towards the areas where you know you can improve.
Work hard on these and make small advances in each and when added together you’ll shave minutes off your time.