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5 Invisible Race Performance Enhancers

5 Invisible Race Performance Enhancers

The racing season has begun and we are barely one month into it and our new group of pros and age groupers alike are making every mistake in the book.

As this is a constant theme for most triathletes I thought I’d jot down five points to help:

1) Travel

a) Using your race as a family holiday.

I personally love this approach, however to travel the week before the race not only diminishes your performance but dampens the holiday as mum or dad (usually dad) are continually putting what they think they need in terms of rest, food and preparatory training first. I would suggest instead going into the race  late as possible, and then spending the following week or days enjoying the down time by doing fun things without the anxiety of having the race on your mind.

b) Flying to close destinations instead of driving.

If the race is less than 500km away I encourage all our athletes who can to drive to the destination. It is much less stressful than pulling your bike apart and putting it back together. The risk of bike damage on the voyage also tends to be greater on flights than in the car.

Secondly, while the flight might be only an hour, you put great stress on your immune system. You are in a different environment in the best case and at the worst you walk off the plane with the sickness of the guy 5 rows behind you!

2) Arrival

Another rookie mistake is thinking ‘I need to acclimatize as it’s very humid… Or hot… Or at altitude.’ So you have most people arriving 5-7 days early.

This is the worst possible time frame you can do. Yes, the body does start to acclimatise, but it only starts after 48-72 hours.
So you feel OK the first two days, then the body starts to say ‘Whoa, it’s gonna stay hot or humid so I better get used to this’ and the process begins. The 5-7 day range is often when people are at their flattest in the acclimatisation process. 72 hours later you see people climbing out of it shaking their heads ‘What went wrong? I feel great. I did everything right!’

No you didn’t. This is a recurring problem each season and continues to be ignored.

3)  Hotel

At home do you normally use an air conditioner? If not, this is dynamite. One must adapt to that type of cooling system. And if not it can kill your race by hour 4 of your first night there.

Is your hotel in a quiet area or is it above a pub that has a disco that finished ‘early’ at 2am?

Finally, If you come from a quiet household to staying in a three star hotel with 400 athletes – simple things like going to the buffet can be a stressful new experience. ‘Oh don’t be ridiculous’ I hear you say. But I can tell you having 35 athletes walking past your food looking at what you’re eating can create anxiety for even the coolest of ‘cool cats’ if you’re not used to it.

4) Pre-Race Food

Away from home we at restaurants. I’m sorry to all restauranteurs who are triathletes, but eating out in a new country is inevitably going to cause a greater incidence of let’s say food ‘problems’. I’m not calling it for food poisoning because normally it’s not, but something as little as a different spice on something can send you to the toilet more times than is good for you pre race.

We see many carbo loading with pizza making sure they are completely dehydrated for the next day’s race.
But no! We fight that with about 5 litres of water to make sure they are ‘extra’ hydrated.
This phenomenon usually starts three days before the race. Every race expo is like a competition of who can carry more water bottles, through the day. Meanwhile if it’s just water you are inadvertently washing all the minerals out, so by race day you’re depleted of potassium, magnesium and salt. Here comes the cramps!

We advise all our athletes that from 72 hours keep the food very bland indeed. Nothing spicy, nothing leafy and that waters bottle should have electrolytes in the water!

5) Course Inspection 

Most races set out their swim course and  make it a point to tell all to enjoy this great venue.

Sickness on race day often doesn’t come from the food but the open water swimming the last two days.
People think that the water is clean and crystal clear then it must be clear of germs. As a cleaner of many pools in my life, I can tell you I’ve seen pools that are crystal clear full of bacteria and I’ve seen pools that you can’t see the bottom of relatively safe. My advice as a coach is to avoid the open water until the day of the race. So then if there is something in it, it takes a day to incubate.

You will have heard many race directors say ‘the locals swim here and are never sick.’ That can be true. But it misses the point. The locals get used to it.

Now of course I’m going to get criticism from this article, but before you send in angry emails about how much I don’t know – consider how many times you have heard ‘I ate something that didn’t agree with me.’ It’s totally common in the Ironman finisher tent.


We call these five points invisible – as all your hard work can be brought undone by falling for one of the above problems that most in triathlon don’t even see coming. Hope it helps.


Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton and his squad at training Camp in Melbourne in May, and St.Moritz in June/July, 2018.

Group Training. What’s good for the goose may not be good for the gander.

Group Training. What’s good for the goose may not be good for the gander.

As Summer approaches in the northern hemisphere, athletes will begin to take advantage of nicer weather and look for opportunities to train outdoors, often with others.  For the past two seasons, primarily during warmer weather, I occasionally encounter a relatively large group of cyclists at some point during my Saturday long ride. The group’s size fluctuates from week to week, is comprised primarily of tri bike riders, and varies in ability level from beginner to experienced. Often, I will see them numerous times on a ride as they routinely stop to take breaks, let stragglers catch up, and who knows what else. Their group riding skills leave much to be desired also, as they regularly ride three or more abreast, and overlap wheels while riding in the aero position. After observing what I refer to as the “peloton” in action over an extended period, I got to know a few of the regular participants and they provided me with some basic information on how the group functioned. Some participants were registered for a Fall Ironman or 70.3 event together, and therefore were training together for the same events. Other participants were training with the group because they wanted to train with stronger riders to improve their own abilities. A smaller contingent joined in on the fun because they were convinced that the group must certainly be a legitimate way to train for Ironman or 70.3 events, as almost everyone in the group was wearing official Ironman apparel. I say that in jest, but not really. The “peloton” phenomenon is not unique to my neck of the woods. It is a common occurrence, and can be found in swimming and running circles as well. Why? Because misery loves company, birds of a feather flock together, and all those other catchy phrases that explain our need to congregate. Should we avoid being lured into group training at all costs, or should we seek out opportunities to share our suffering with others? The answer is yes, and yes.

Let’s begin with the perceived benefits of group training for individual sports. You get to socialize with people who have similar interests, while improving your health and well-being at the same time. Sometimes it seems easier to complete an arduous task when you aren’t doing it alone. You tell yourself that if others can do it, so can you. You also get to experience competition in the practice setting. Have you ever done a high intensity group run workout where you are just hanging on for dear life, but you won’t quit because you know that you are just as strong as the person running next to you, and if they can do it, so can you? Afterwards, you experience a feeling of euphoria, along with a heightened sense of self confidence that leads to numerous fitness breakthroughs shorty thereafter. In this case, the competitive nature often associated with group workouts pushed you to another level of performance. The group provides motivation for you to train. Hold on! You spent $5,000-10,000 on a new bike during the off season and you need MOTIVATION to train? What was your motivation to buy the bike? Ok then, maybe you believe the group holds you accountable to your promise of participating in a specific event with them, and you don’t want to let them down. The accountability factor mostly works best with weaker and/or less committed athletes who may be new to the sport. The stronger, more experienced athletes are usually highly disciplined and require no extrinsic motivation or accountability to follow their structured training plans. Peer pressure works with adults just as it does with teenagers, but not as much with self-absorbent competitive triathletes who have tasted success and are laser-focused on doing anything necessary to taste it again. The answer to whether one should venture into group training is contingent on the specific training needs of the athlete, and the specific training opportunities offered by the group. In short, the answer is specificity.

You are what you train to be. If you want to be a football player, then you need to practice playing football. In sport, training must be matched to the requirements of the sport to elicit the desired performance on game day.  A coach’s job is to design training so that it addresses the individual needs of the athlete. When athletes fail to execute their scheduled workouts, they short-circuit their desired fitness gains. This is what happens with group training when it doesn’t meet the specific needs of the individual athlete. It becomes random training. Group bike training is usually dominated by the strongest riders, and the workout will most likely meet only their specific training needs. In the case of the previously mentioned “peloton” group, the best athletes are held back, the weaker athletes are overextended, and a small percentage of the group comes somewhere close to meeting their specific training needs. Unless you happen to be in that small percentage, the workout becomes what is commonly referred to as “black hole” or “gray zone” training.  In such instances, for the strong riders the workout is too easy to improve fitness, and too hard to enhance recovery. For the weaker riders the workout is too hard to enhance recovery, and not easy enough to build fitness. Both might have been better off just watching a movie at home. In theory, these rides are planned as long aerobic training rides for Ironman or 70.3 events. The disparity in fitness levels within the group leads to erratic pacing and unplanned stops to allow those who can’t maintain contact with the group to catch up. Similar circumstances can occur with running groups as well. Athletes not being able to keep up with the main group can also present safety problems if workouts take place in secluded areas, or when it’s not yet daylight outside. Group swim workouts aren’t quite as complicated, unless it’s an open water swim, which presents unique safety issues regardless of whether you swim alone or in a group. Master’s swim programs are popular, but most are focused on developing and promoting traditional swim technique that doesn’t necessarily transfer over to triathlon. The key to effective group training for triathlon is to ensure that you can complete your prescribed workout, or at least meet your training objectives. Regardless of whether you train alone, or with a group, the primary objective is to complete your workout as prescribed. If you are inclined to do so in a group setting, you might consider the following suggestions to ensure achieving your objective:

Know the groups planned workout ahead of time so you can determine if it’s like yours, or if you can complete yours within the framework of the group workout. Don’t get caught up in the competitive nature of the group and allow it to disrupt your plan.
Ride alone, off the front of the group for efforts that require you to exceed those of the group.
Try to convince others to complete the group ride as a turbo trainer session. This way everyone can do their prescribed workouts without disrupting others. This also eliminates the tendency to ride someone’s wheel to rest when you are tired.
Settle for a group spin class as a last resort, as you should always try to ride your own bike when possible. Group spin classes using turbo trainers and your own bike would be more beneficial as long as the planned workout coincides with your prescribed workout
If you want to swim with a Master’s swim group, try to swim on a day when the group workout will coincide with yours (ie. speed day, aerobic day, etc.)
Group treadmill run sessions at the gym are great opportunities to train in a social setting and still get your individual workout done
Try and keep the group size as small as possible. Training with a few athletes of similar, or slightly superior ability and similar training objectives would most likely provide greater gains.

Ignore unsolicited training advice from “experts” in group training sessions when they try to convince you that you’d be better off doing the group workout instead of your own. If you have a coach that you trust, and total confidence in your training plan, you don’t need training advice from anyone else. There’s always going to be someone telling you that there is a better way to do something than the way you do it. The bottom line is that you should be training with a technique tailored to meet your individual specifications, and a plan that is designed to maximize the effectiveness of your technique. Excelling at anything usually requires that you are selfish to a certain degree. Always put YOUR training needs above those of the group if you want to stay on track to reach your goals.


Robert Taylor is a professional triathlon coach with over 30 years experience, and is available for coaching.

There’s No Such Thing as an Overnight Success

There’s No Such Thing as an Overnight Success

“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out” – R. Collier

It’s officially Spring in the northern hemisphere, and the 2018 triathlon season is now upon us. After scrutinizing last year’s performances, most of us have probably taken steps that we believe will lead to improved results during the upcoming season. One of the steps that we undertake on a yearly basis is goal setting. We identify performance outcomes that are used to define individual success when the dust settles after an event or an entire season. As triathletes, we need goals to serve as incentives for us to remain committed to such a demanding lifestyle of regular physical activity, and to validate the sacrifices that are deemed necessary to our successes. Unfortunately, goals often go unfulfilled due to circumstances that are totally within our control. We often come up short in our pursuits because we set unrealistic goals that are not attainable within our desired timeframe, or we direct our attention more towards the attainment of the goal instead of the pursuit of the goal.

Raise your hand if you, or someone you know has never finished within the top fifty percent of his or her age group in an Ironman race but has declared that one of this season’s goals is to qualify for the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona. History has shown that you will most likely need to finish in the top two percent of your age group to qualify for a Kona slot, so attaining your goal in one season is highly unlikely. Nonetheless, you download a popular Ironman training plan designed for elite and professional triathletes to get your game to another level because you have a few friends who are doing the same thing, and your ego won’t let you believe for one moment that you aren’t faster than any of your friends. Letting your ego and social influences formulate your goals will sabotage the season before you ever get out of the recliner. You need to take an objective inventory of your skills and determine what you are realistically capable of accomplishing in one season. Since our own biases and subjectivity will always creep in to skew our assessment, it might be best to enlist the services of a coach who will tell you what you NEED to hear instead of what you WANT to hear. Ideally, we want to set realistic “big picture” goals and then work backwards to develop a plan of attaining them. The big picture goals can be viewed as our destination, and we need regular check points along the way to ensure that we don’t get lost. To stay on the correct path, we develop check points in the form of short-term goals with the belief that if we focus only on getting to the next check point we will eventually end up at our destination. Outcome goals represent our destination, and process goals guide our journey.

Coach Robert working with athletes to set and attain realistic individual goals.

Outcome goals are big picture goals that are usually not under the control of the athlete due to their susceptibility to outside influences. Let’s say that your outcome goal for 2018 is to secure a Kona slot by finishing near the top of your age group at an Ironman qualifying event, and you believe that your season will be a failure if the goal is unfulfilled. If you develop the flu a week before your race and are unable to compete at the level required to qualify, then your season has been a failure according to your own definition of success. Your ability to secure the Kona slot is also dependent on how well, or poorly your competition performs, which is entirely out of your control. Outcome goals can also be overwhelming if you continually look to where you are trying to get and realize how far you need to go to get there. Although it isn’t recommended that athletes place too much emphasis on outcome goals, they are very important in serving as motivation to begin the journey.

There is no such thing as an overnight sensation. If you look closely enough you will find that great success stories are a culmination of small successes experienced on a regular basis over a period of time. Process goals enable athletes to train in an environment where they receive steady feedback used to continuously adjust the plan to meet fitness adaptations, and they also serve to facilitate the motivation-success cycle. The premise of the motivation-success cycle is that we set a short-term goal to motivate us to perform at a specific level and once we fulfill that goal we build on our success by setting our next short-term goal, and the cycle continues until we fulfill our big picture outcome goal. Simply progressing from one short-term goal to the next increases motivation and self-confidence on a regular basis. As we continue to progress through our training plan, the greater the likelihood of fulfilling our outcome goal. Although process goals help us build good habits, develop muscle memory, maintain focus, and are entirely within our control, there is one caveat. You must be relentless in your dedication to ensure that each process goal is fulfilled, and your commitment will usually be rewarded with small gains that may not be recognized and acknowledged by anyone other than yourself. Repetitive training doesn’t always have to be boring if you learn to track your improvements and celebrate the smallest of gains. Success is a habit built on doing the little things over and over. Chop wood, carry water. Small gains experienced on a regular basis add up to huge gains when all is said and done.

The greatest virtue a long-distance triathlete can possess is patience. Continuing to grind it out daily with the knowledge that you may see only miniscule gains, if any at all, requires patience and trust. You must have unwavering trust that your plan will get you where you want to go, and you must be patient enough to put in the work and use the smallest of gains to fuel your commitment to get up and do it all over again the next day. You can apply the same logic when developing your race plan. Break the race up into smaller, more manageable segments so you can use feedback to adjust your performance accordingly, and mentally celebrate the completion of each segment as a small victory. The day goes by much quicker when you are only thinking about the next few minutes instead of the next 8 to 17 hours. Whether training or racing, setting short-term goals allows us to celebrate small victories on a consistent basis, and who doesn’t like to win? Create an environment conducive to winning by setting realistic goals that can be attained through small, manageable efforts repeated day in and day out.


Robert Taylor is a professional triathlon coach with over 30 years experience. Join Rob in June at his next Triathlon Camp in the USA – Great Smoky Mountains Camp

The Art of Continuous Improvement

The Art of Continuous Improvement

The art of continuous improvement – how we develop the best training system in the world for everyone, not just the pros.

When I’m asked about certain changes in our athlete training protocol or techniques, I point out that our Trisutto Total Body Force method (TBF) is always open to be improved.

The strength of our training program is built on daily on deck workouts we do with the best athletes in the world, plus our ability to pass on positive improvements we see being made by athletes that are challenged by improvements in their weakest disciplines.

What does that really mean?

The best squad of pro athletes in the world are always carrying out experiments in all three disciplines. When we see a better way, or a positive outcome from these athletes, we pass this information on to our coaches, and hence on to our Trisutto athletes.

This is not the usual theoretical ‘let’s run a study on 6 age groupers’ that you read on a weekly basis on forums and in magazines. Instead, where we have athletes not seeing the improvements we believe is possible for them, then we experiment with training in specific areas. We search for innovative ways to overcome the ‘road block’ and to find a solution. If we find an improvement with that particular athlete, we try it out over a period of time with another athlete that may be struggling with the same impediment to improvement. If again we have another success story, we still don’t pass the information on, but try another athlete. If this is also successful, then we incorporate this knowledge into our training system, and pass the information on to our coaches to implement should they wish to do so.

This allows all of our athletes to be at the forefront of experiments that we conduct with our pro squad in all disciplines.

‘Our strength, and our consistent results are founded on 28 years of trial and error with the best athletes in the world.’

To give an example. Nicola Spirig has just undergone a 4 month (yes 4 month, not 4 day, not 4 week) experimental swimming technique change. During that time, some of the findings have seen two of our other pros switched to the same swim technique protocol, along with two of our coaches how have also unwittingly become Guinea Pigs.

All five have shown improvements in training. Three of the five have raced and also shown improvements. These are tests that are performed in a race situation, not in a lab. These findings are now already passed on to our coaches, and hence to athletes attending Trisutto training camps.

Our strength, and our consistent results are founded on 28 years of trial and error with the best athletes in the world. This has enabled us to develop our Trisutto TBF athlete training methodology, so we can pass on our best knowledge to athletes;  and also develop our Trisutto Academy to train aspiring coaches. Athletes and coaches can learn from our experience to get an edge in Triathlon.

We strive to be better than everyone else.  We strive to share our information, and do so only once I believe it can help enhance the performance of our athletes.

The Kaizen method of continuous improvement is an originally Japanese management concept for gradual / continuous change (improvement). Kaizen is actually a way of life philosophy, assuming that every aspect of our life deserves to be constantly improved.

If you have been advised to try a new development, whether that be swim, bike or run, then be assured that it is no new theory from a University class room, or a late night brain storm by a coach desperately ‘looking for clues’. Instead be assured it’s been road tested by not one, but a bunch of the best athletes in the world, well before it reaches your ears.


Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton and his squad at training Camp in Cyprus in April, and St.Moritz in June/July, 2018.

Article Photo Credits: James Mitchell Photography

Should I do the Birthday Set?

Should I do the Birthday Set?

The posting of Nicola and Celine’s birthday party set brought a number of enquiries from members of our trisutto family? Coach why didn’t we join the swim party? How come I had my birthday set and you gave me 48x100s?  I wanted to do The Birthday Set!

So let’s look at what it is, and the reasoning behind the different programs for different athletes.

The set is an old swim session primarily done by some great distance swimmers back in the 1970s. I used to watch Stephen Holland (1976 Olympic Games bronze medalist) in awe as he punched out 100 x 100m all on 1 minute 10 seconds long course. This created a bit of a craze with distance swimmers of the time. The hardest set of this type that I saw was done by Bobby Hackett (1976 Olympic Silver medallist). He swam 100 x 100y leaving on 1 minute (short course yards) in the USA, then told his coach it was a piece of cake. When his coach then asked ‘the tough guy’ to do a 1500y fly, he did so with ease, and then said ‘I’ll raise you one’ and did a second 1500y fly. He indeed was a tough guy.

So I brought the 100 x 100 set in my kit bag to Triathlon as well as a few others that were ‘frowned upon’ in Triathlon. We decided that it would be the birthday set in Trisutto.

However this is where we need to explain that it is not done for everyone and not even for all of the good swimmers if it doesn’t fit with their fitness. This session done at the wrong time can be very destructive.

  • take into consideration where you are in the build up to your program.
  • consider fitness levels. This is our third short pro training camp. We have had athletes with birthdays on the first two camps. However our fitness levels were not where we could cope with such a physical exertion to be a positive asset.
  • if you have a certain physical or stroke impediment no matter how fast you are as a swimmer, we don’t do this type of swim.

We may also use swim tools including large pull bouys to protect the shoulders from possible over use strain when swimming this (and other) sets. The ability of the swimmer doesn’t need to be a factor in not doing such an arduous session. However if one is a slow(er) swimmer then this is more than a swim session, it is an immune system test, much like a race. You will need to give yourself time to recover from it. Just as if 4km is your normal swim session, this session has also got to be treated like a race experience, and that smart rest is needed to help it be a positive to your work and not a negative.

Can it be a beneficial workout?
Of course. However it needs to be done when you are fit enough to cope, have a technique to cope with the physical strain, or use tools to alleviate that problem and help assist to make it manageable.

Happy birthday.

Join Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton and his squad at training Camp in Cyprus in April, and St.Moritz in June/July, 2018.

Your Limiter Is Not Going To Fix Itself!

Your Limiter Is Not Going To Fix Itself!

If you’ve ever watched beginning tennis players, you might have noticed the lengths to which they will go to avoid using the backhand stroke. They expend valuable energy doing everything within their power to run themselves into a position to hit a forehand because they lack confidence in their backhand. In tennis, this practice is referred to as “running around your backhand”. It’s no different in triathlon. Most triathletes enter the sport with greater experience in one discipline, and running seems to be the gateway activity more often than swimming or cycling. Because we tend to gravitate towards activities in which we excel, tri newbies will usually seek out opportunities to participate in their strongest discipline and avoiding activities in which they perceive themselves as inferior. Failing to address a weakness early in training will result in the athlete arriving at a dead-end on the road to progressive improvement. Every athlete enters the sport with at least one weakness, or limiter, which must be addressed for improvement to occur.

Recently, one of the athletes that I coach was telling me about a local triathlete that he described as being a very poor swimmer, an average cyclist, and an above average runner. When my athlete suggested to him that learning to properly swim for triathlon could greatly improve overall performance, the athlete responded that he wasn’t going to waste time on swimming next season and was going to focus his efforts on becoming an even faster runner to offset his weakness in the water. Employing this strategy would be the triathlon equivalent of running around your backhand. By the end of the tennis match you struggle to even hit the forehand proficiently due to the excess energy previously expended to avoid the backhand. Because triathlon is one sport comprised of three interrelated disciplines, your inefficiencies in one discipline will affect your performance in others.

Triathlon is one sport, not three. Training must be structured so that all three disciplines interact to facilitate maximum fitness gains, while at the same time promoting optimal recovery between workouts. Every athlete enters the sport with at least one limiter. Professional, elite, and top age group athletes may have limiters, but they are still highly proficient in each discipline. They do whatever it takes to eliminate their limiters, with the knowledge that they may only improve enough to minimize the damage done by competitors who look to exploit their weaknesses. Athletes who train for triathlon as one sport not only improve performance in their weakest discipline by addressing their limiters, the increased efficiency also allows them to redirect previously wasted energy to their stronger disciplines. For example, improved efficiency on the swim results in fresher legs on the bike. Stronger bike fitness combined with a more aerodynamic position will result in fresher legs for the run. Everything that you do in one discipline will impact what you do in the others.

The predominant limiter for triathletes is the swim because the sport is so technical, and most middle-age adults with jobs and families can’t commit the necessary time required to become proficient at using the traditional mainstream swim techniques. Even if they did have the time, the return on investment is relatively small in comparison to the time requirements for such minimal gains. They simply accept being weak swimmers, and register for triathlons that are wetsuit legal and/or include a current-assisted swim. Another option is to increase swim volume and continue to use the same inefficient form. The problem with this is that although you may experience a slight fitness bump from the extra time in the pool, you will also continue to reinforce weak swim form. Since most athletes only have a limited amount of training time, the extra time dedicated to swim volume detracts from the time that may be spent working on the bike and run.

Improvement on the bike is another matter altogether. Unlike swimming and running, athletes can buy speed on the bike. Aerodynamic carbon-fiber bikes, lightweight wheels, and aero helmets are purchased by athletes under the assumption that it is possible to shave minutes off Ironman and 70.3 race times without exerting any additional physical effort. What they don’t realize is that these technical innovations were designed by engineers for athletes who have maximized gains through training and proper bike position, and are searching for the extra seconds or minutes that only technology can provide. Fortunately for equipment manufacturers, the middle and back-of-the-pack triathletes are looking for these types of shortcuts to speed in lieu of training to improve their bike prowess. Is there anything more ridiculous than someone sitting up on a ten-thousand-dollar bike with a disc wheel, while wearing an aero helmet and riding 14 mph? Save yourself thousands of dollars and just learn to train and ride the bike properly for triathlon. As with the swim, some will attempt to improve bike fitness simply by increasing their training volume. Again, you may experience a slight fitness bump due to the increased volume, but you are reinforcing inefficient form and detracting from the time that you could have been swimming or running.

Let’s say you came from a swimming or biking background and the run is your limiter. You avoid addressing the issue by packing on lots of extra pool time, or time in the saddle to offset your running weakness. The problem with running in Ironman or 70.3 races is that you begin the run already tired. Those athletes who are stronger swimmers and bikers have the luxury of being less fatigued if they pace properly in their stronger disciplines. Spending inordinate amounts of valuable training time learning to run like a runner will not address the specific task of running in long distance triathlon. Neither will performing run technique drills designed for short and middle-distance runners. Your run success isn’t based simply on your run volume. It’s also dependent on swimming and biking proficiency, and how those workouts are structured to have crossover training effects on your run. The form that you will use in a long-distance triathlon will in no way resemble the perfect running technique taught by the experts for decades. Long distance triathlon running is not about going fast, it ‘s about going slow. Why would you train to race fast if you know with certainty that you will be running slow for the entire event? If you are going to address you run limiter do so in a manner that is specific to the needs of the events for which you plan to race.

How do you address your limiter without sacrificing the gains that you have made in the other disciplines? Obviously, you need to increase the quality time spent on your limiter to improve, but the trick is to do so without increasing your total training volume, while at the same time dedicating quality time to the other disciplines. The answer is a stimulus plan. Stimulus plans are designed to focus more quality training time on your limiter, but not at the expense of the other disciplines. The plans are followed for a brief period, and then you return to normal training with improved skills and a newfound confidence. Most coaches use stimulus plans in the off-season, pre-season, or just prior to an important training block. If you want to be a well-rounded triathlete, make the choice right now to stop running around your backhand and incorporate a stimulus plan into your early season training. If you want something bad enough, and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it, the possibilities are unlimited.


Robert Taylor is a professional triathlon coach with over 30 years experience. Join Rob at one of his upcoming triathlon camps in 2018; January in Lexington, South Carolina and his recently announced June Great Smoky Mountains Camp.

Trisutto Stimulus Plans are available to athletes of all abilities.