Thursday, November 08, 2007

Summing up my view on how to race faster.

This comes from my friend Chris Whyte, with whom I've had the pleasure of debating with and learning from on the technicalities of triathlon training.

During one of our many forum based debates he posted this about the best way to better one's self at getting faster at the IM, or any ultra-distance, event.

Should you be racing short course as opposed to long course the RSP(race specific prep) would have you moving into intensity overload with appropriate rest placed within the framework of the plan.

Below is Chris' summation.

Framework for "Raising the left, filling the right"
(MVA note: raising the left means raising your sustainable speed on a speed/duration graph... the goal is to first get fast and then go long... long meaning filling the right)


Overall goals across all disciplines:

  1. Focus on achieving maximal training load
  2. Applying progressive overload
  3. Specificity

I dedicate the General Prep (GP) phase to raising the left and the RSP phase to filling the right.


1. Raise vVO2Max and pVO2Max and/or FTP and FT Pace -- Assessment of where to focus your time might leverage the concept of "Power Reserve."

Key workouts: FT intervals and/or VO2Max intervals

Note: Tricky part is balancing bike and run intervals (eg Can I actually do both bike and run VO2Max at the same time?)

2. Fill the remaining time with enough L1 (easy) and L2 (steady) to achieve maximal stimulus based on the athlete's time constraints.

3. Progressive overload is achieved through a structured increase in L4 and/or L5 interval work (across all disciplines).

4. Specificity training only exist in the form of doing your working interval sets in the aero position at race cadence.


  1. Training load shifts from low(er) volume, high(er) intensity to high(er) volume, low(er) intensity but our goal is to still achieve maximal stimulus.
  2. Focus on specificity requirements of your A race: race position, race cadence, variability (ie steady-state), etc.Key workouts: Long ride on tri bike only; Long run
  3. Progressive overload comes in the form of structured L3 and slight volume increases at L2.


MVA Note: If there's anything that I hope you can take away from this reading it's...

Before you go long it's best to be fast... because if you try going long before you are fast... then at what speed are you going long at?