This is the checklist that we use for equipment for swimrun when we are going to races. It can also act as an inspiration for what type of equipment you may need going forward in your commitment to the sport of swimrun.
You have probably trained a lot for your race, and with that commitment to swimrun, it would be a major stress to realize just before the start that you have forgotten something at home.
All in check
Having a checklist is a great way of taking control of the nervousness that comes with racing. So for you stop thinking about what gear you might have missed, this checklist will help you pack all the things you will need.
You can never control everything, the weather can change or the racecourse maybe has to be changed!?
But by using our checklist for the race day, you can rest and be assured that you have done everything that you can do. As it says on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
We like to think about endurance training as a journey – and all good journeys have some kind of plan, otherwise, you will never reach your final destination. To complete this journey, you’ll need to structure it over periods, so you get sustained improvement in performance over time. Starting slowly, and gradually building your fitness, in preparation for your main race.
This is the sixth in our series of articles on our training philosophy, check out the others here –
Training begins in relation to your main race, counting back from race day in your calendar. The first couple of weeks is not race-specific and is all about holistically building your fitness levels. Then, as your main race approaches, we crank it up and start to get sport and race focussed. We’ll set sub-goals throughout these periods, giving focus and structure to your training plan throughout. One such sub-goal might even be to get into structured training, which we often find is especially useful for people who are new to endurance training.
You must begin your training slowly and gradually build into more intense workouts. You have to give your body time to ease into the workload, or you put yourself at risk of overtraining, injury or burnout.
How to periodize training
You need to divide your season into different training blocks, which each serve different purposes, and all help you build towards your main race goal. Each training block is defined by their intensity and volume. It’s important to remember that it’s impossible to maintain peak fitness throughout the season, thus your aim should be to reach peak fitness at the right time.
Base training, your pre-season
All athletes need a pre-season that is defined by volume rather than intensity. It’s all about building a solid base of endurance, which will allow you to train more intensely later in the season. Just the same as footballers or basketball players need to gradually build their fitness ahead of the real season so too do endurance athletes. If you don’t go through this stage and head straight into intense training, then you run the risk of burnout or injury.
Build training, getting into race season
After the initial period of workouts focusing on your endurance, the second training block focusses on building muscular endurance. This means that you will work out at a higher intensity, and if we add intensity to the training, then we need to take the volume back a bit. Your body won’t be able to go all out during every session.
Your last training block will be race-specific – seeking to help you get into race shape and be able to do each sport at a race-specific speed. The final weeks before the race will focus on form and race prep.
Many people fail to recognize the importance of what happens after a race. You cannot keep your body in peak condition throughout the year, meaning that you have to take a step back and allow yourself to ‘become slow’ again. The aim of your training plan is to peak at your main race. Then, you need to let your body relax and start building your base fitness level, which will allow you to get better.
How we periodize our training plans
Our individualized endurance training plans (be it for triathlon, swimrun or any other endurance sport) are 12 weeks per macrocycle. They are available online and seek to increase volume or intensity, week by week.
Our pre-season training plan follows cycles of 3 weeks of ramping up (volume and intensity), followed by a recovery week. Many endurance athletes underestimate the value of pre-season, mistakenly assuming that they will somehow magically be prepared to go all out from the start. We don’t fall into that trap, incorporating a dedicated pre-season schedule into all our training programs, which ensures that you’re in tip-top shape at the right time.
Our race-specific programs build volume over three weeks and then have a recovery week. The final two weeks have less volume but are very race-specific. This race program brings together insights about duration, frequency, volume and intensity to help you achieve the goal that you set at the beginning of the season.
Our recovery weeks keep you active while allowing your body to recover in a structured way. Recovery is not about doing nothing! It’s about consolidating the fitness gains that you have made over the course of a season.
We also build test weeks into our training plans. The main reason that we do this is – that it allows us to calibrate your training levels continuously, so you always train with purpose and the right intensity. For more information on this, why not take a look at our article on training intensity. Test weeks also allow you to track your progress, keeping you motivated during the long endurance season. Finally, tests put pressure on you, which is the best way to replicate the feeling that you get on race day.
You can also swap one of the test weeks for a B- or C-race, offering another way to test your progress.
Do it right with a training plan
We passionately believe that our digital service will allow you to structure your race season better, and train smarter. Endurance training is all about doing the right things, doing them the right way, and doing them right consistently, and it’s impossible to do that without a plan. Our periodized training plans utilize the best available training practises to enable you to achieve your dreams.
So, don’t delay, sign up or fill in our assessment form today and add purpose to your endurance training program!
Goals are fundamental to success in everything – but are especially important to difficult things such as endurance training. They inspire us to be better and the thrill of achieving them will help you during the inevitable moments when you want to give up. We like to think of endurance training and racing as a journey, and a journey without a goal is unstructured and chaotic – possibly the worst way to approach endurance sports.
This is the third in our series of articles on our training philosophy, check out the others here –
Most endurance athletes like to structure their season around a specific end of season race, and then use the rest of the season to prepare for that main race. You don’t necessarily need to want to win that race or aim for a specific time, and for many, the fact that they are competing at a particular level is enough of a goal in itself. Success is relative – changing from season to season and athlete to athlete, just the same as you need an individualized training program to achieve your goals, you also need an individualized aim that is specific to you as an athlete.
Define your main race
In our previous article, we examined how to get to know yourself better as an athlete. Now, we’re going to look at how you set realistic goals for your endurance training and racing. The goal will be your main race, often called your A-race. So, let’s start by defining that. If you don’t know which competition you will have as your main race, then use the information in this article to find a competition that motivates you.
How to work out how much you need to train for a race
If you want to be an endurance athlete, then you must be willing to commit a certain amount of time to training each week. Figure out how much time you can spend training each week and use that to inform the goal that you choose.
We think that the following values function as a benchmark for your commitment to endurance training each week:
8-12 Sprint/Olympic/Middle distance
10-12 Middle and long distance
10-14 Long distance
Use these numbers as a rough guide – some people may need to train more, others less. It also depends on what you want to achieve in your particular race and how much endurance training you have done before.
Make your goal tangible
Then, you need to make your racing goal specific and quantifiable – honestly consider whether you simply want to participate in the race (try it out and finish the course), perform (perform a personal best), or compete (win your age group).
For example –
Participate – To complete an Ironman distance triathlon race.
Perform – Complete an Olympic distance triathlon in 2 hours, 40 minutes.
Compete – Win the 45-49 age group in a Sprint distance triathlon.
How to develop specific training goals
The next stage of the process is to develop specific training goals, which will allow you to achieve your main race goal.
So, for example, if you want to complete an Olympic distance triathlon in 2 hours, 40 minutes, you might develop the following training goals –
Milestone I want to be able to swim 1 kilometer in under 20:00 two months before the race, and for that, I need to improve my swimming skills.
Secondary race goals
In addition to the season’s regular testing, it can be a good idea to sign up for some preparatory competitions (B-races and C-races). The main purpose of these is to test your sub-goals, but they also allow you to practice putting all of the disciplines together. Competing in a race normally does wonders for performance and will allow you to really understand where you are on your endurance racing journey.
The three levels of going into a competition, as written above, participating, performing and competing, can also function as a build-up to your main goal. We often find that it’s useful to plan over several years. Your long-term (3 year) goal might be to participate and perform in an Ironman 70.3 (half Ironman distance). While your mid-term goal (2 years) might be to finish the same distance (A-race) and run several sprints (B-races) to fine tune. While your short-term (season/1 year) goal might be to begin a structured training program and to complete an Olympic distance race.
Bring order to your training
Our digital service is designed to help you achieve your dreams, by bringing order and structure and to your endurance training program. Setting goals is a vital part of this process, allowing us to create an individualized training program that will enable you to achieve your racing aims. If you’re ready to get started straight away, then sign up! Or check out the form below to begin the journey to make your endurance racing dreams come true!
We like to think of endurance training as a journey, which is as enrichening and beneficial to you as the final destination. Like any journey, if you do not know where you are, then it’s going to be much more difficult, or even impossible, to reach your end goal. It’s crucial that you discover the right starting point for your endurance training journey, or you risk failure.
Watch us talk about how to define your baseline
This is the second in our series of articles on our training philosophy, check out the others here –
It’s analogous to starting school – if a child is placed in a class with students that are five years older than them, then they’re probably not going to be able to do the work and will quickly become discouraged. While, if the same child is placed with younger students, then they will probably find the work too easy and get bored. In both situations the school has failed to define the right baseline for the child, leading to problems.
The same is true when you start endurance racing if you pick a training program that is too easy, then you’re likely to get bored and probably won’t be where you need to be for the big race at the end. While, if you select a training program that is too difficult, then you might become discouraged and give up.
The essence of endurance training
To begin with, you need to understand a little bit about the essence of endurance training – namely, consecutive, hard work, over a long period of time. There is no secret sauce, shortcut, or quick fix, the only way to achieve the things you want and be successful in your race is via commitment. If you’re new to endurance sports and want to do a long-distance race, then your training may stretch over several years. But you can also train for a couple of months and do a sprint distance.
Ways to define success
Many people have a limited idea of success in sport – believing that winning is the only thing that matters. However, we believe that this approach is fundamentally flawed, when it comes to endurance sports and like to think about success in three levels. The first, accomplish, means that you finish a race, the second, Personal Best, means that you perform better than you ever have before, and the third, Podium, means that you compete and try to win the race.
You are unique
We’re all unique, with different bodies, minds, and prerequisites, meaning that a one size fits all training plan will never work. Your training plan needs to be highly individualized, if you’re going to succeed, giving shape, structure, and purpose to your endurance training schedule.
How to define your endurance training baseline
To define your baseline, we will look at the following aspects –
Your mental makeup – Endurance training is as much mental as it is physical. No matter how fit you are, there are going to be moments when every fiber of your being tells you to stop moving. To be a successful endurance athlete, you must be able to overcome these mental obstacles.
Your physical makeup – Some people are natural endurance athletes and others have to work hard to become one. Whichever is this case for you, your physical makeup will have a profound effect on how you start endurance training.
Your abilities – Your abilities define, which skills you need to train. For example, if you’re an excellent cyclist but an average swimmer, then you may need to work harder on your swimming skills to complete a triathlon.
Regardless of your starting point and your goal, endurance training is all about commitment. You have to be willing to spend hours doing repetitive exercises over a long period of time – it’s impossible to avoid! For that to work, you need to have a balanced and positive mindset in combination with the right ambitions for you as an athlete.
Here are three questions that you need to think through before you start training.
Why endurance sport, and not something else? – An old saying states “A dog is for life and not just for Christmas” – trying to teach prospective pet owners that the amount of care and commitment that goes into owning a dog extends far beyond the period when it’s a cute puppy. The same is true of endurance sports, they don’t work as a one-month new year’s resolution that you can stop and then pick-up again. They take immense commitment and effort, which is why you really have to do some soul-searching and decide whether they’re right for you.
Am I willing to put the hours into training that is required? – If you’re not willing to put in the work, then you’ll fail.
Do I have the necessary support from friends and family? – Endurance training is hard; you’ll need plenty of emotional support from your friends and family to succeed. You need to have their support, or you will feel guilty when you train and end up working out in secret. Thus, we encourage truth and honesty from the start, because it may save you many problems further down the line.
Feel free to download (register below) and use our questionnaire to assess your mental skills. It is a perfect guide to point you in the right direction.
Our goal is for you to succeed, and for you to succeed, you need to prepare yourself and your loved ones. Your capacity to reach your goals is dependent on support from those around you. As Marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge puts it: “100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the entire team”.
Physical aspects of endurance training
Again, endurance training is repetitive. Sometimes you do the same thing over and over for hours on end. Your body’s capability to cope with the workload will increase over time during the unbroken sequence of workouts.
At the start of the season, we recommend that you do an initial test of functional strength and mobility. We do that because we believe that finding possible imbalances, or weaker spots at the beginning of the season can help you put together a strength routine that will help reduce the risk of injury.
Here are three questions that you need to think through before you start training.
Do I have any previous (sports)injuries that need treatment? If you do, then that could derail your season, or you may need an individualized training program that puts less stress on the previously injured part of your body.
Which, if any of my physical prerequisites can limit me? Understanding your physical limits are vital to success, obviously, you want to challenge them, but you need to do this in a structured way that avoids the dangers of injury and overtraining.
Do I need any special gear? Special running shoes or a bikefit? You need the right equipment if you’re going to be successful, it’s best to think about that as early as possible.
For you to reach your goal, it is important that your physical and mental abilities correspond with your ambition.
To better understand who you are as an endurance athlete, the next thing to do is to map out your background as an athlete. To start, try to fill out the form below.
Fill out the form in comparison to others you can compete with.
This should give you a rough idea of what you need to improve on, early on. It’s important to be realistic about your abilities, because if you overestimate or underestimate, then you may find it difficult to correct your training further down the line.
In a continuous effort to better understand your athletic profile, let us pose some statements regarding endurance, power, and mobility.
How well do the following statements fit you?
I am stronger at the end of a workout compared to my friends. I prefer longer races. (Endurance)
I have more muscle mass than others my age. I prefer to bike on a heavier gear with low cadence. (Power)
I am better at shorter intervals. I run with a high stride count, 180 strides per minute or above. (Mobility)
With this knowledge, it is much easier to calibrate your training based on your athletic profile. Say that you score high in endurance, but when it comes to biking or running uphill, you get tired. That would mean that you maybe need to focus on your power, training more muscular stamina (if that is your goal of course). As you define your goals and choose where you want to compete you should consider what your strengths are.
Start by assessing your mental skills. Feel free to download (register below) and use our questionnaire. It is a perfect guide to point you in the right direction.
When you have a better idea of where your baseline is, it’s time to examine “endurance training and racing” – most endurance seasons lead up to a big race. We want to help you to identify yours.