Keeping it simple – triathlon training tips for age groupers
When did life become so busy and complicated! Why do we feel the need to try the latest training fad or diet, when in reality it should be a whole lot simpler if we just did the simple things the right way in the first place. Below are a few simple tips to keep you rolling in the right direction.
Strength and conditioning
Why is that strength and conditioning is the first thing to get shelved from our training schedule. As an age group athlete it should be one of the most important sessions of the week. If we keep flexible and strong then there is less chance we will miss those killer sessions we all love doing because we are struggling with an injury! Make time for 2 sessions a week no matter what and you will see the benefits in your training and racing.
Work on flexibility with some yoga moves to loosen your back, hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors. Target your weak areas with specific strengthening exercises and maintain a general strength routine to cover your major muscle groups, not forgetting your core.
You can achieve a simple time effective routine at home with a set of dumbells, a bungee cord and a rucksack with a suitable weight inside.
Eat your ‘Grandmas’ food aka REAL FOOD
I don’t know about you, but I grew up when there weren’t a whole lot of fast food options out there. You had 3 meals a day, no snacks and no junk food. You didn’t go hungry, you had enough energy to do want you wanted and you were not a stone over weight!
Now days you are bombarded with all sorts of diets, take this sports drink, take that recovery shake etc etc. Well folks it really is as simple as eating your Grandmas food. Which means real food, the classic meat and three veg for dinner. Porridge or something similar for breakfast and a nice homemade sandwich for lunch. If you have a hard session after work, have a banana or some other real piece of food before hand, not a sports bar!
So that’s, eat real food, 3 times a day, no processed crap, drink plenty of water.
Running shoe choice?
If you are like me you have probably tried all the running shoe fads over the years. Barefoot, minimal, traditional and super cushioned to name a few. My advise to the older or injury prone athlete, would be protect your joints at all costs. Go out and find the most cushioned and protective shoe that works for you. I still want to be able to run when I am 70+which means looking after myself and giving myself the best protection possible. My ‘go to’ shoes are
Hokas and Ons. In my opinion, both brands are the leaders in this field at the moment offering superbly cushioned shoes. Also, a reason why I’m stocking only these two brands at my tri shop.
Specific strength work for triathlon
As I said above, strength and conditioning should always be on the weekly plan, but I also like to include specific strength work for each discipline, which is as simple as adding extra resistance to your swim, bike and run.
- Swim with paddles
- Push a bigger gear than normal on the bike
- Run hills
Please be careful if you are adding strength sessions to your schedule, as with everything, build it in slowly. It’s super easy to wreck your shoulders with too much paddle work or ruin your knees with big gear mashing. Not to mention your lower legs with hill running.
Keep the consistency
I am lucky enough to train with some exceptional age group athletes at my local tri club (BRAT club). The one thing they all have in common? You guessed it – they hardly ever miss a session.
Don’t get to fixated on the detail, just make sure you can back up your training, day in day out.
Use it or lose it
As we get older it’s important to keep all of our systems firing. By default we pretty much keep our aerobic systems ticking over with steady training. But we quite often let our top end anaerobic system slide, especially in the off season, with no goals on the horizon. So, make sure you put the hammer down once a week to keep your top end primed and ready to fire.