Find Your Long-Course Triathlon Training Formula

  • By Kim McDonald | Inside Triathlon Features Editor
  • Published Jul 24, 2013
  • Updated Jul 21, 2015 at 3:36 PM UTC
Cave on the bike at the 2012 Ironman World Championship. Photo: Kurt Hoy

Are you swimming, cycling and running efficiently?

Most top coaches put economy and efficiency high on their list when it comes to training their athletes for long-course triathlon—and for good reason. The more efficiently you swim, bike and run at a given effort level, the farther and faster you’ll go. Better economy also reduces the impact and strain on your muscles and joints. That means less risk of being sidelined by injuries while training for your big race. That’s important because being consistent in your training is essential if you want to build the necessary training volume to handle the physical demands of a long race.

In the Ironman, Kropelnicki says the primary limiter on race day for most people, especially those new to long-course racing, is their durability. “It’s not your aerobic engine or how fast you can run a 5K,” he says. “If you talk to anyone who’s had trouble in an Ironman, it’s usually because they’ve had to walk part of the marathon. It’s not because their heart rate is 170 and they can’t maintain it anymore. It’s because their legs are so shot that they’re walking and their heart rate is 60.”

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