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Triathlon Troubleshooter

  • By T.J. Murphy
  • Published Dec 7, 2012
  • Updated Oct 31, 2014 at 4:40 PM UTC
Illustration by Oliver Baker.


Top triathlon coaches from across the country arm you with tips to implement in the off-season for fixing some common swim-bike-run issues.

I’m stuck on a plateau the size of Kansas.

You may have all the aerobic base a triathlete could ask for but you just can’t get your swimming, biking and running into a high gear.

Solution: Take the “fast before far” approach this off-season. Cautiously sprinkle in some speedwork, says James Loring, a triathlon coach based in Ontario, Canada. “If a triathlete has several years of mileage but not much intensity, the first question I ask is, ‘How durable is the athlete?’ They may not have the neuromuscular background to handle an injection of speed without getting injured.” In these cases, Loring likes to introduce speed with a gradual and progressive approach. “It could be sprinkling in 30-second pick-ups into their daily workouts.” As the triathlete gets the hang of these easy sprints, Loring will add speed-enhancement sessions such as tempo work and interval training. If your plateau is primarily in one area, do a two-week block where you do that sport—even just 20 minutes—every day.

RELATED: Conquer Your Swim Weakness

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FILED UNDER: Training

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