After our last blog, Am I missing out, I have received feedback from several people who have been around Trisutto for a long time asking….,why the change? I would like to pass on the answer in more detail to not just them, but all of our regular readers.
Why the change from group to non-group training?
Up until 2006 my Triathlon squads were primary ITU Olympic distance athletes with a few exceptions who competed over long distance. However since this time, when I decided to go after the Ironman distance, our squads have been primarily long course athletes with the exception being a few short course athletes.
Last year we introduced age group athletes to our program also, thus thus adding a third category to our training regimes.
As previously stated it’s my conclusion that the longer distance events need to be trained at intensities that suit the actual athlete. Going outside that personal range has no benefit when racing from 4 to 12 hours. In fact I find it quite harmful to performance; thus there is very little need for head to head training, nor the psychological impairments that at times it brings.
So to with older athletes even going short, bashing oneself into submission. I find this gives a very short term and artificial improvement that can not be sustained long term. There are many reasons for that, however I’ll stick to laying down the motor patterns in a controlled environment for each discipline is superior and longer lasting than being one of the white knuckle brigade….‘because I’m tough’
The good news for me, is short course or long course and now age group athletes, don’t seek me out unless they are courageous. Those that are not, don’t last long in my squad, just as the ‘short term in a hurry’ athletes also don’t last long with me.
No pain no gain..?
We teach athletes to use their courage on race day, to have the courage at training to read their own body and listen to it, not override it because I can gut it out better than most.
‘No pain no gain’ is one of the stupidest mantras in sport, especially if one is training for a multi hour sport.
Short Course athletes have to adapt to the numbers to be competitive. 2003 ITU Triathlon World Champion, Emma Snowsill. Photo Credit: Triathlon.org
Know your Sport
When considering elite pro short course athletes, it is true that back in the day, just as it is now, we consider what levels need to be met to be competitive. Unlike our long course training where we train at paces that adapts to our bodies, in the short version we do the opposite, we have to adapt our bodies to the numbers that are required to be competitive.
Yes, I hear you saying that makes no sense, but in reality short course is not Triathlon.
Know your sport…, it is a wet run. Thus the first 200 metres of the swim is very, very important. You won’t swim your way into the event if you are not there at the first bouy. Just as today if your not a 29 min 10 km runner in the men’s race, you are not in the top 10. If you can’t crack 34 mins in the women’s, you too will be fighting it out for 11th.
These are facts not fiction; the realities of ITU life. So short course athletes need to work at speeds during the week that are above that pace to get adaptions. Being there from the start of the drafting races and having coached many of the champions of their generations, I have documented evidence of what it took on a weekly basis to win a world title. The speed needed in 1997 didn’t cut it in 2007 and 2007 doesn’t cut it now!
Adapting to the Realities
At Trisutto we have always adapted to the new realities of what it takes. I discovered early on that when we were training as a group for ironman the results were not as I wished. Sickness, tiredness, more injuries brought on by I’m sure the fatigue of going long, but also going head to head, This had me rethink our approach, along with the so many other differences needed between long course and short course racing.
Having people ‘doing their own pacing’ was a huge break through for me. Just as throwing away the stop watch or asking people for more effort when training also resulted in massive steps forward in the actual performances.
I know that for at least 5 of my great champions, taking off the power meters all the time and the heart rate monitors for most (the Angry Bird still uses a heart rate monitor), made them from good if neurotic athletes, to absolute kick arse champions. But how do I sell that to you budding triathletes against the wall of marketing Triathlon has become!
“Sutto , you got to move with the science “ …., but the science is killing the majority of the performance. It’ hindering.ones ability to know where their levels are. The reality is playing pinball on your bike trainer (which is the ‘new’ thing I’m told) is going to give you a short term hit and then burn you out completely.
Believe me, when you learn to read your own body and to have the courage to stick to your ‘gut feel’, you too will improve out of sight and enjoy the feeling of being free!
That’s the way I see it.
Feature Photo credit: Tahni Brown