Stop worrying about what session you should do, should you use power, are hill reps better than H.I.T.S. Is heart rate a better training measure than perceived effort. Stop playing online planning routes, measuring vertical elevation, average heart rate and just go and train. Swim, bike and run. I learned a couple of years ago that the quickest way to get faster was to go do the work (not buying the fancy ass tri bike. Although that being said buying the bike wont hurt)
There’s a place for all the measuring, mapping, analyzing and studying and it’s after the session is done. The same goes for looking for the marginal gains like ceramic bearings, lightweight parts, fancy lubes and race tyres and tubes. They are the finishing touches. To get fast first we must get out and do the work.
When I started working with a coach in 2011 to chase a Kona slot the first thing he did was more than double my weekly volume. Almost instantly I got faster. There’s so many metrics to look at regarding training. Tools and toys that will claim to make you faster (Don’t forget I own the tri shop and sell all this stuff) and often they will help but Ironman in particular rewards lots and lots of training much more than spending lots of time analyzing the training. The marginal gains should only be chased after you’ve already gotten a good hold on the low hanging fruit like volume, strength work, good solid nutrition and recovery and by recovery I mean sleep not spending a big chunk of money on the recovery boots (although a couple of my friends swear by them they are still the add-ons to go after once you’ve done all the basic stuff)
Don’t get me wrong I am a big believer in ticking all the boxes, bike & wheel choice, tyres, tubes, chain, runners, bike shoes, clothing, bike fit all come in for scrutiny and examination to get every extra advantage but they are all small potatoes compared to the big jobbies like the long swim, bike and run every week.
I have written a report examining how 5 of the most successful Irish Ironman triathletes have qualified for Kona an incredible 29 times. You can access it free here.
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