Doing a triathlon
is an incredibly physically challenging endeavor. Even a sprint triathlon typically lasts well over an hour and can leave you lying on the ground gasping for air. What people don’t see is all of the pain triathletes go through to be prepared to race their best on race day. As a triathlon coach I often tell my athletes this workout may be hard and you may hate me, but come race day you will thank me. This being said, every workout doesn’t need to be challenging to the point where you don’t enjoy it. In fact, I’m about to tell you about a secret workout that you can have fun with while having a key workout that will increase your performance.So what’s the secret? Over-speed work. That’s right, swimming, biking, and running at a much faster turnover than usual. Not only does this increase your coordination when it comes to muscle memory, but doing over-speed workouts increases your neuro-muscular utilization of motor units. Motor units are the nerves in your muscle cells that help your muscles “fire”. The more motor units you have and the better they are utilized, the faster you will be!Below is an example of an over-speed training workout for the each of the triathlon disciplines (swim, bike, and run). These workouts are all versions to the time crunched swim
, and run
articles but with an over-speed focus. Have fun with these! When your moving faster than normal you can’t help but smile as your swimming, biking, or running.Swim
: Over-speed set- 2000 yards or meters
Similar to “fast 50s” seen HERE
200 Drills (catch-up, one-arm drill)
20×50 at a maximum sustainable effort
4×50 swimming with fins at faster than race pace
Bike: Over-speed set- 55min (best performed on a trainer)
Similar to “high cadence bike spin” seen HERE.
15min warm-up spin spin
5min of single drills (30sec right leg, 30sec left leg, 30sec both legs)
Over-speed set: Spin at 90-100rpm in Z2-Z3 (aerobic effort: not hard, but not super easy) then increase the cadence to as fast as humanly possible for 1min (aim for 110+). Avoid rocking in the saddle and keep your upper body still.
Recover at 90-100rpm in Z2-Z3 for 2min. Repeat set 10 times for a total of 30 minutes
Slowly decrease in effort for a 10 minute cool-down
Run: Over-speed set w/hills
Similar to “hurricane” seen HERE.
After a 10-15min warm-up run
Sprint 30 seconds up hill and run (not sprint) back down the hill focusing on leg turn-over. If possible try to do this workout on soft dirt or grass. I do this workout on asphalt up the hill then for the downhill over-speed run I do it next to the road on a dirt path. Remember focus on leaning forward and leg speed turn-over, if your knees are hurting, stop immediately and check on your technique.
While at first these workouts may seem awkward, stick with it and come race day you will see these workouts pay off.