This time of year is typically a transitional period and for many triathletes. It can be used as an opportunity to recover from a tough season. It also provides time to reflect on and systematically review the season, including your goals, motivations and to review your triathlon training plan. This allows you to plan your winter training in order to ensure that next season is better than ever.
Why is it important to review your triathlon training plan? There is a simple saying in coaching: ‘insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting change.’ If you have achieved your goals, it is important to understand what has contributed to this success so you can work progressively towards new targets next year. If you have had a less successful season, it is important to reflect objectively on what may have contributed to this and how you can change things to maintain it next year.
Success doesn’t just result from hard work, it comes from working smart. This involves reviewing training and performance, learning from and trying to repeat the things that contributed to successes and learning from and trying to remove and performance-limiting factors. Successful individuals spend time learning from things that went well and the factors that contributed to these positive outcomes, so that they can repeat them and maintain consistency.
Before reviewing your triathlon training plan, your goals and season in detail, it is helpful to collect all the relevant data available so that your review is objective, and so that performance changes are quantifiable. It will offer ideas of how you might change your preparation and racing.
Race Performance Summary:
1. Log your best times over each distance
2. Heart rate and power data from specific training, test sessions or races
3. Pre-race preparation routines
4. Race plans/strategies
5. Technical data (For example, underwater swim footage and analysis / bike fit)
6. Training log
7. Nutrition practices, body weight, body composition data
8. Coaching feedback
9. Health / injuries
Using some or all of the information you gathered you can start to objectively reflect on and evaluate your season. This is personal to you and should be done in the context of your goals. For example, if your goals were to have fun in the sport and to complete your first triathlon this may simply be a case of: “I just wanted to finish my first triathlon.” If your goals were more specific and performance focused, this review may be more detailed
Put everything together to assess your current strengths and weaknesses and identify opportunities to take your performance to the next level. For each discipline of triathlon and other performance factors (you can simplify or add to these) objectively rate yourself on a scale of 1-5. Now you have a basis of where to start your improvments.
Planning is a critical step towards success in everything you do. Set and train to realistic goals for next season and maximize the return on your investment. When you review your triathlon training plan, you can use the information below to set out your successful plan for next season.
1. Set Your Goals
• Identify two to three realistic season goals for next year.
• Be specific in setting your goals.
• Identify how you are going to measure success.
• Identify a timeframe for your goals.
2. Prioritize Your Races
• Plan out the races you want to do in 2014.
• Prioritize three key “A” races and possibly some “B” races that you want to do.
• Other races might be considered as “C” races and used as training days and high intensity workouts.
3. Structure Your Training
• Be specific about structuring your training. This may involve getting support from a coach.
• Work to maintain your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses in winter training.
• If you are technically strong, focus on the physical development. If you are technically weak, seek coaching assistance or you may be compounding poor technique with a higher risk of injury and stagnant improvement.
• If you train well, but race poorly, look at your race and mental preparation and work on these points.
4. Plan The Detail
• Draft an overview training plan. It’s a good idea get some help doing this from a coach. For a free consult, contact
• Working back from your key races, plan in the training you need to do to achieve your racing goals. Keep in mind that as you go, you may need to adapt your training where necessary. Pre-written plans are written “for all” and do not address needs specific to each athlete, therefore making them simply a guideline.
• Being flexible is essential. You need to be prepared to modify your plan if you get injured or if other factors change what you can invest in your preparation and racing.