You'll all have heard one or more coaches talk about "periodisation" and "phases" in club sessions. Given that we are now in the process of changing our session plans from "Base" to "Build" phase, it's a useful moment to ensure that there is a basic understanding out there of what that actually means.
Periodisation of training is a very simple concept that states:
"the closer in time you get to the race, the more like the race your workouts must become".
So across the winter we focus on building up our endurance, improving flexibility & strength in the gym and generally getting fit without worrying about the specific demands of a triathlon itself. As we progress through the Spring and the race season starts to appear on the horizon, our training must begin to have more direct relevance to the pace, intensity and duration that we will be performing at/over in our chosen events. To that end we have in this last week started a process of measuring your Critical Swim Speed (CSS) in the pool in order that upcoming sessions can be based around your 1500m race pace - and sessions from now will include some elements of Open Water skills to prepare you for getting out there. Similarly, run sessions are moving to Hove Lawns where we will work on interval sessions that will train you specifically for 5km & 10km race distances. Saturday Velodrome sessions will have an increased focus on race pace work and will start to include transition practice (from this Saturday - be there!).
As the race season draws close we will move from Build to the Peak phase, when we will be honing transition skills, getting really comfortable swimming in Open Water, drafting, mass starts etc, riding in our race position at high intensity and running at race pace. After that - it's up to you!
For a brief but effective overview of triathlon periodisation from someone who really knows what they're talking about, check out Joe Friel's blog post.
So, from here on in things start to get exciting. It's time now to plan your season, if you haven't already. First and foremost, have you entered races? Triathlon is growing in popularity enormously and you need to get your entries in soon if you want to be sure of a place to show off your fitness & skills. If you're looking for focus, please consider the races in the Club Championships - you'll have lots of club support and you can be part of something bigger, with club prizes for all levels available at the season end. Beyond that, it's time to give some consideration to your race kit for 2014. You'll have your lovely Blue & Gold TriSuit, of course. What about a wetsuit? Have you sorted out your bike? Will you use cleats this year? What about aero-bars? Have you got run shoes that you're happy to race in? If you're using cleats on your bike, how about elastic laces for the running shoes?
Lots of things to think about (and they don't have to cost a lot of money) - and both coaches and other members in the club will be happy to advise on races, kit etc (at length, given the chance!). Whilst you're planning your events, do take advantage of and enjoy the training that BriTri can offer you. We'll give you the environment to get ready to race, if you put in the work.
I'm looking forward to seeing all of you in full flow this Summer. Let's bring it on!