Volume One Box Set
4-Week Swim Clinic
Sprint Distance Program
TTS Silver Coaching
Private Swim Lessons
Private Yoga Lesson
Private Run Session
TTS Bronze Coaching
Understanding & Applying Specificity to Triathlon
by Ian Murray
There are five key principles of training for athletic performance, and one of the most critical is Specificity. Running is addressed here, but this philosophy could be easily applied to swimming or cycling:
Let’s say a goal for next summer is to do an Olympic distance triathlon in 2 hours and 45 minutes. After breaking down the splits, that 2:45 goal depends upon the ability to run a 47 minute 10k off the bike. A 47 min 10k breaks down to a 7:52 per mile pace. This is the kind of detail that is needed to plan training accurately.
• Doing step class is not specific to running a 7:52 10k OTB (off the bike). Yes, to some extent a step class works aerobic fitness and muscular endurance and neuromuscular coordination and other things needed on race day, but it’s not running. Those hours in step class will not address the goal with accuracy.
• Doing 47 minutes on the elliptical trainer doesn’t equal a 47 minute run OTB. While the elliptical might be closer to running than step class it’s still not running.
• Running 4 miles fresh at 7:52 pace is not 10k OTB. Yes, it’s running (finally!), but this run comes up a little short, and it isn’t preceded by a bike ride. It’s a great workout that is specific to triathlon but it might be just workout that could be included in a long training plan to the goal.
The best plan is to refresh your spirit with lots of new and fun physical play in the off season, then progress to “general training”, then progress that to “specific training”. General training would include: short, frequent runs to prepare the body for the greater running loads to come. Gradual increase of the duration of those runs should build up to and beyond the event distance. Then, an increase of the pace of some runs so that race day pace is achieved and surpassed. Switching from general training to specific training is not like flicking a switch – it is a progressive blend. Specific training should include….
• Hill runs that mimic the topography of the race course.
• Runs involving speed: fartleks, steady state runs, and runs with speed repetitions & rest intervals.
• 10k run races where, since there’s no bike preceding, the pace should be roughly 5% faster or ~7:30 pace.
• Combo workouts (AKA bricks), so that you are running right after a bike ride, mimicking race day conditions.
Copyright Triathlon Training Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.