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3 Reasons to keep a training diary + download

workout journal

A training diary is a great tool to use to see your progress in training. Have the workouts given the results you’re after, or if not. What needs to be changed?

Quantifying training

communication always takes place on the recipient’s terms. And this is true, even when we are talking with ourselves. When back-tracking in your notes in your journal, you need to understand what it was that you wanted to communicate. The numbers are great! And serve as a big part of your quantification of sports. But, you also need communication in the form of words to get the big picture. So, write comments, even if not long ones, so that your feelings can be read out as well.

Get in on the action

So, why don’t all athletes keep a training diary? Well, two main reasons come to mind. The first being that after a workout, a lot of us start rushing to our next activity. The second is that the athlete doesn’t yet know how valuable that information is!

3 reasons to use a training diary

  • Keeps structure when forgetful.
  • A basis for analysis and adjustments.
  • Keeps you motivated.

The diary will show you what you have done, and gives you an overlook of how structured you are.

Training is about how often, how hard, and how long you should train. And if you continuously fill in your stats after your sessions. You will sooner than later start to see patterns. For example, what does, or does not work for you. To be able to analyze your ups and downs over time, it’s a good idea to not only rely on your memory alone. 

In periods, your motivation for training may dip. And as a result of this, you may start to take out sessions from your training schedule. Looking at your diary, you can see if the plan and your reality differs. If that’s the case, then you won’t be surprised when the results don’t come.

So, in a sense, your training diary will hold you accountable for your training and success.

  • Keep Up swimrun BASE is the first step in your swimrun training plan. In this 12-week program, you will build your heart and lungs, or - your aerobic base - as well as your technique.
    34,00 incl. VAT / month for 3 months
  • Start triathlon training with Keep Up Triathlon BASE
    34,00 incl. VAT / month for 3 months

Our training programs don’t promise you success. They are a tool for you, but you supply the work in the workouts!

What works for you?

We have created a digital training diary that you can download and use (it’s free!).

endurance journal

In the diary, you fill out sport and duration. In addition, you will keep track of:

  • Resting heart rate – A great way to keep track of your overall health.
  • Sleep quality – Nothing compares recovery wise to a good night’s sleep.
  • Motivation – Training is supposed to be fun, and thus motivating to do.
  • Training quality – Keep track of how you felt during the session.
  • Stress in life – The body doesn’t react differently to stress from work or from workouts. Keep track of your wellbeing.

Are you more of an analog person, there is something special about the paper and pen. We supply a diary with all our training programs for you to fill out in connection with your session.

Download your diary

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Triathlon brick training explained

triathlon brick training

What is a brick session?

Triathlon brick training is a way of making training more race-like. And it is a great way to shake up the monotony of training. Brick sessions are a workout where you first ride your bike and follow up with a run directly after.

There are many benefits to doing your brick-sessions.

TOT team

Why is it called a brick session?

Well, there are many theories as to why it is called a brick. One popular explanation is that the name comes from your legs feeling like bricks when starting running after you get off the bike.

How often should you do it?

This all depends on your experience as a triathlete, what distance you are racing, and your goal. 

Short distance triathletes often do far more brick sessions than long-distance triathletes. This is because of the fast-paced racing that they do. And because at those speeds, every second count. So working on fast transitions is crucial. For triathletes who focuses on the Ironman-distance, the speed in transitions aren’t as important. With that said, even if you are a long-distance triathlete, you should still plan for a couple of brick-sessions.

You have to take your goal into consideration. Are you going for the podium? Then every second count.

How far should it be?

Again, depending on your chosen race distance.

Sprint- and Olympic-distance racers, the brick workouts will be in the range of half your race distance up to race-distance. If you are training to race a half-ironman, you’ll probably do brick-sessions that are about 25-50% of your race distance. Being a long-distance triathlete, the brick-sessions becomes less important per se, but the “big days” becomes even more important.

What can triathlon brick training look like?

  • Plan your T2
  • Place all your gear for the transition in order.
  • Do your bike session
  • Last five minutes of your bike, start planning your transition.
  • Do a transition putting on your run-gear.
  • Go out for a run. 
triathlon brick training

What is the purpose of a brick session?

As with everything in training. You need to have a purpose with it, otherwise, what is the point of doing it? 

There are many benefits to doing your brick-sessions. The purposes can vary, for example here are a couple of things that you can focus on during the brick:

  • Getting comfortable in the transition from bike to run.
  • Getting the feel for going out for the run on tired legs.
  • Break the monotony of your regular training regiment.

Train with us

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Big days – A part of triathlon training

Training in race like conditions

Your training should become more like racing the closer you get to your goal. So whether you are racing short- middle- or long distance. You need to get the feeling for how your body and mind will react simulating race-mode. Welcome to your Big day of training!


Triathlon doesn’t build character. It reveals it.

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During the build phase of our training programs, our clients have a planned Big day, where we simulate racing, but in a way so that it won’t take away from the following sessions. We have one Big day during the race-specific training, that one being even more like your planned race day.

The sessions, as in the swim, the bike and the run is the easy part. With sessions being somewhat straight forward. The focus here is not just training in a high volume. Instead, you want to dial in your plan for everything surrounding your race day.

Swimming

Triathlete open water training

Wake up early and have the breakfast you are planning on having. As an example, Most Ironman races start at 07:00, so to simulate that. Wake up at 04:30 to eat a light breakfast. At 07, start your swim as racelike as possible. If you plan on sprinting the start, do it in training as well. 

After the swim, take a 90-minute break. Eat a light snack, and stay off of your feet. 

Biking

Bike training for triathlon

Depending on your planned race-distance and ambition, this ride will be a little bit different. But as a general rule, ride at your planned race effort for 80% of the time it will take you to bike during competition.

Since biking is such a big part of the triathlon, around 50% of the time at the race will be spent in the saddle. You need to be focused during this part. Not only should you try to ride at race intensity. You should also take in energy like you where racing. Your mind will wander off, that’s normal. When it happens, don’t beat yourself up. Just get back into it. Ask yourself these questions: Am I thirsty? Do I need more energy? Is my power output dialed in? How’s my breathing? How do my legs feel?

After the bike ride, take a 60 to 90-minute break. Eat something light, mostly liquids. Keep off of your feet.

Running

Run training for triathlon

Depending on what distance you are racing. Your run should be between 20-30 minutes (sprint), 1 hour (middle) or 2 hours (long-distance).

Start your run slow. You will probably be quite stiff from the bike leg. Don’t worry, you will get into it! Wear what you will be wearing during racing. Same shoes, same clothes and other gear you are planning on wearing on race day. It is a good idea to plan your run so that you come back to a place where you can have your own energy station multiple times. 

It’s the same as with the bike. You want to keep focused and ask yourself these questions often: Am I thirsty? Do I need more energy? Is my power output dialed in? How’s my breathing? How do my legs feel?

Ending your Big day

When you have finished your run, take some time to come back from your race-mode. This has truly been a BIG DAY. And now you will have gained lots of insights into how it will feel like, and what works for you. Make a list, writing down some learnings on what worked for you.

“Winning doesn’t always mean getting in first place, it means getting the best out of yourself”

Meb Keflezighi

Saturdays are perfect

Planning your big days, try to do it on Saturdays. Then you can take Sunday off and do other things. I suggest one of these two activities:

  • Bake something from scratch and treat your loved ones with the newly baked goods.
  • Ask somebody to teach you about their passion, and if they want to share it with you.

Read more about triathlon training

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Triathlon transitions – not a place, a part of racing

The transition in triathlon

Lost in transition

The transition area is the big, chaotic place where the “fourth sport” in triathlon takes place. This is where all your gear is between the sports, and where you change gear during racing. The times that you spend in this area during racing are called T1 and T2. And stand for transition one (swim to bike) and transition two (bike to run).

You have trained well and shaved time off of all the disciplines, but maybe haven’t practiced the transitions, losing time and momentum during this part of the race?

Time to talk about planning and preparing your transitions. We like to put time into our training programs to work on these skills.

Coming to the transition area

When arriving at the transition area, look for landmarks that can help you find your spot in it coming in from the swim and bike. So it will be easier to navigate when your race mode is on. 

Unpack your things, and structure all the gear so that you have easy access to everything and don’t need to start looking for things during the race. 

Did you remember to pack everything? Download our race day checklist so you won’t forget anything!

Transition 1 – swim to bike

Coming out of the water, take the goggles and swim cap of. And pull down the zipper on your wetsuit. Look for your landmark, and start navigating to your spot. When you arrive at your bike-rack, Take the wetsuit off and place it where it is not in the way for your bike or run gear. Put your helmet on, and then your race belt with your bib placed on your back. Depending on if your shoes are on your bike, or not. Put them on, or unrack the bike and head off to the bike-on area. Remember that it is not allowed to ride your bike inside the transition area.

Transition 2 – Bike to run

The last couple of K’s on the bike should be a time where you prepare your body for running. Loosen up your legs and take in some needed nutrition. 

Arriving at the bike off-sign. Get off your bike and look for that landmark again. Lead your bike back to the bike rack, and rack it. The take your helmet off and place it so that it won’t be in the way for any other racers. Put on your running shoes, and other gear you like to have during the run (hat, sunglasses et cetera). Flip your race belt around, placing your bib on the front of your body, and off you go!


Good luck with the run-leg. The finish line awaits!

– TOT Team
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Free trial week of triathlon training

Free triathlon training plan

Triathlon is as much a sport as it is a lifestyle. And with that comes structured training in three different sports. And the most important, to be able to find the time for your social life and recovery.

Start training with us

Based on how your situation and ambition, we deliver an individual plan for your triathlon training and racing. It starts with you, and for your training to become relevant and worth doing, we need you to answer a couple of questions. So please, fill out the form below.

  • Background

  • In case we need to contact you for follow up questions.
  • Training

  • Enter the date you think you are ready to start with your test week.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • A rule of thumb: Sprint (6-10h), Olympic (8-12h), Ironman 70.3 (8-14h), Ironman (10-14h)
  • Racing

  • If you have not yet decided, enter an approximate date.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • Other

Tips on how to choose your training volume

Everybody can train super hard, but the road to success in triathlon training comes with balance. You can read our series on how we structure our training programs and everyday life here.

When you define your training volume, our recommendation is,

  • Sprint distance, 6-10 hours
  • Olympic distance, 8-12 hours
  • Ironman 70.3 distance, 8-14 hours
  • Ironman distance, 10-14 hours


“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just finish the race it’s up to you.”

Dave scott/

Triathlon training explained – The structure of your training week

Triathlon training explained

During the session, we will walk you through a typical week of triathlon training. And discuss topics like how to structure your season, as well as how much, how often, and how hard you should train.:::To download a free week of triathlon training, please go to our website (http://bit.ly/2WtiKuH) and register.

Posted by TOT Triathlon on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

In the video above, we discuss how we structure a training week. Note that this week that we are using is situated in the pre-season, for a person that likes to train for eight hours per week. The Week will look a little bit different depending on what information you are posting in the form above. So, depending on your strengths and areas of improvement, plus how many hours per week you are able to train. Your sessions will be different. BUT, the structure of your training week will look quite like this!

Looking at a session

Bike workout explained

In your free trial week, or if you are training with us. You will see that our sessions are formed in such a way so that regardless of sport. The look and structure are the same. See the above picture as a map of how to read it.

What you need for triathlon training

General,

  • Must have: Heart rate monitor for zone training (like a Garmin watch or equivalent)

Swim,

  • Must have: Swimsuit, goggles and swim cap
  • Nice to have: Wetsuit, paddles, pull buoy and fins

Bike,

  • Must have: Bicycle and helmet
  • Nice to have: So many other things!

Run,

  • Must have: Running shoes

Let’s go

Maybe I am biased, but triathlon training is the most fun you can have. So don’t wait, join the community and share the joy!

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Triathlon vs swimrun – The wetsuits

triathlon vs swimrun wetsuit

Wetsuits are a science all by them selfs. What difference is there between different wetsuit, and can you wear a triathlon wetsuit for a swimrun or a swimrun wetsuit for an open water swimming race? In this article, we try to explain the differences and walk through the neoprene jungle.

What is a swimrun wetsuit?

Swimrun wetsuits have the zipper on the front end of the suit, and sometimes they have two zippers – one in front and one in the back for easy dressing/undressing. It is also nicer to have zipped down in front during running, both for cooling down and the breathing. 

Legs are cut above the knees, and the material at the hip is often very thin and soft to enhance the running. Arms on the wetsuit can be long or short, or even detachable. To each their own.  These suits are designed not only for swimming but running in them as well. Therefore, they are not solely optimized for swimming. They often have pockets where you can carry your mandatory equipment.

What is a triathlon wetsuit?

Wetsuits used in triathlons are the same as wetsuits for open water swimming. There are multiple types of suits depending on what type of swimmer you are, more or less buoyancy and mobility depending on the model and your needs. Rules stipulate that a wetsuit used in a triathlon or open water swimming can’t be thicker than five millimeters.

Triathlon vs swimrun wetsuits

So what is the difference between a triathlon vs swimrun wetsuit? In triathlon, there are rules regarding the thickness of the materials used, and the suit can not be thicker than five millimeters giving the swimmer an unfair advantage due to the buoyancy. Since there is no governing body in the swimrun world. Suits can be designed with float panels as thick as you like. Ranging from no extra float aid to maxed out suits with 8 millimeters of neoprene. 

Can I use one wetsuit for both sports?

Can I use my swimrun wetsuit if I want to participate in a triathlon? Sadly, there is not a yes or no answer to this question. Instead, you have to look at your swimrun wetsuit. There are rules regarding some aspects of a wetsuit used in a triathlon. The first is: Is your swimrun wetsuit thicker than five millimeters? If so, it is not allowed. Triathlon wetsuits can’t be thicker than five millimeters. Today, most swimrun wetsuits are thinner than that, but there are still models that cater to the swimmer who likes more buoyancy in their wetsuit. 

I personally have seen people use swimrun wetsuits at races without being disqualified, and if you are not competing for the podium, and instead are in it for the fun of racing. The race marshalls won’t say anything. But to be on the safe side, call the race organization beforehand and check if they are ok with it. I bet that they are more keen on seeing you on the starting line and having a great experience than turning you down because of your wetsuit.

Are you interested in training for a triathlon or swimrun race? Fill out the form below!

  • Background

  • In case we need to contact you for follow up questions.
  • Training

  • Enter the date you think you are ready to start with structured training.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • A rule of thumb: Sprint (6-10h), Olympic (8-12h), Ironman 70.3 (8-14h), Ironman (10-14h)
  • Racing

  • If you have not yet decided, enter an approximate date.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • Other

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Mandatory equipment for swimming

Mandatory equipment for swimrun

Mandatory equipment for swimming? Almost all races have mandatory equipment for the swim section. And here are some of the usual things to bring. Be sure to read the race information beforehand. 

Do you want to be sure that you have everything you need for your big race? Download the equipment for swimrun – checklist and/or the Triathlon race day checklist

There are differences between sport. In swimrun for example, you will need more equipment due to safety. Since you and your racing partner need to be able to help yourself and each other waiting for aid to arrive. In triathlon, you are seldom far from safety boats or land. Here we take a look at the equipment that usually is part of the mandatory equipment for races.

Mandatory equipment

First aid kit

  • The first aid kit consists of a pressure bandage and adhesive dressing (as a minimum). There are swimrun marketed options if you don’t buy that kind. Take some time to waterproof your first aid kit. If the situation calls for its use. Be prepared! 

Whistle

  • Calling for help can be difficult at sea or when in pain in the woods. It is easier to blow a whistle to get attention. Therefore it is crucial to have it within reach at all times. 

Compass

  • Compass for swimrun. Some races have it as a piece of mandatory equipment (the ÖtillÖ World Championship for one). Some modern sports watches carry a compass function. But check with the race director or athlete contact before you arrive if that is an option. 

Wetsuit

  • Covered in a separate post.  

Swim cap

  • Supplied by the race organization, must be worn during all swims. If you need to wear an extra swim cap or neoprene headband, wear it underneath.  

In triathlon, however, there is less equipment that is mandatory and more regulations around the actual equipment that is allowed. But, there is still some equipment that you will need. And that is that you wear your swim cap for the whole swim, and recommended is the use of a wetsuit. The wetsuit is as said not mandatory but recommended by the race organizations. Wear it between 15,9 degrees Celsius and 22 degrees in ITU races, and up to 24,5 degrees celsius in Ironman races

In swimming races, the mandatory equipment is at a bare minimum. Use the swim cap supplied by the race organization. And often, it is not written, but mandatory because of decency is a swimsuit covering your privates.  

Read more about endurance sports

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5 easy steps to create your endurance training program

An introduction to TOT Endurance training philosophy, which helps you create your endurance training program in 5 easy steps.

Anyone who’s ever met an endurance athlete knows that they can be pretty single-minded – they love training and racing and tend to do it hard and often. However, we don’t necessarily believe that this is a fruitful approach. Yes, training is absolutely vital to success in swimrun and triathlon, but what about the quality of that training? 

Let’s face it, training can be pretty addictive, and most athletes enjoy the rush that they get from pushing themselves. However, like everything, this can become a negative, when done to excess. Unfortunately, we meet with too many athletes that assume that if they are not completely exhausted after each training session, then it was a waste of time. Add to this that it is all too common to train in a somewhat random fashion, without a clear race goal or training plan. 

These problems are often compounded when people are new to endurance sports – training for a big race can be a daunting task and if you don’t do it the right way, then you may find it difficult to achieve your goals or even worse, overtraining and getting injured. Note that the above is very common if an athlete trains without structure.

We believe that we can help – by enabling endurance athletes to add structure, shape, and purpose to their endurance training program. Simplifying the things that you need to do to succeed and then helping to design an individual training plan that will allow you to achieve what you want. Thus, we started TOT Endurance, with its sub-brands TOT Triathlon and TOT Swimrun – to help you to train smarter. 

This is the introduction to our article series on how to create your endurance training program and our philosophy about how we formulate our training plans.

Our training philosophy

We like to think about endurance training as a journey – not the kind of journey that you take to work, when all the matters is getting from point a to point b as quickly as possible, but the kind of journey that you take when you are backpacking, where the things that you do along the way are as enrichening as the destination itself.

Our training philosophy builds upon this insight, seeking to give structure, organization, and purpose to your training and racing season. So that you can be as motivated about the training, as you are about the big challenge at the end of it.

The journey is never easy, whether you plan to compete in triathlon or swimrun, whether the race is short, medium or long, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned endurance athlete – you’re always going to face challenges along the way. However, those challenges become infinitely more daunting, if you approach your endurance training program in a chaotic manner.

Yet, it’s difficult and time-consuming to come up with a dedicated training plan. We all face real-world demands from family and work, not to mention all the other unexpected things that can spring up over the course of a season. Sprinkle endurance training on top and you have a serious balancing act on your hands. Professional athletes have teams of coaches and other specialists, so they can just focus on their training schedule, but that isn’t available to most people. 

We want to simplify and democratize endurance sports, opening them up to a far larger pool of people – because we passionately believe that with the right guidance anyone can achieve their endurance goals.

This is where our digital service comes in, acting like a digital coach that gives your endurance training purpose and helps you to achieve your goals. It designs an individual endurance training program based on your needs and allows you to take your training to the next level.

5 steps to successful training and racing

If you’re going to balance everyday life with the rigors of endurance training and racing, then you need a plan. This plan can be complicated or simple, but it needs to be realistic and well thought out. To help you discover this plan, we’ve developed five simple steps that will help you define your starting point, your goal, and your journey to get there. We’ll also help you answer how much, how often, and how hard you should workout. Then collate it all into a dedicated individual endurance training program.

In the following articles, we’ll walk you through – 

How to start endurance training – The best way to begin anything is with a realistic assessment of your own abilities – there’s no point in starting an astrophysics course without basic knowledge of maths. The same is true of endurance training, you need to have a realistic understanding of your physical and mental abilities, so you can make a good self-assessment and start at the right level.

Endurance training and racing – Most training seasons revolve around a main race. So, how do you identify it, and what are your training objectives? Do you have a specific time in mind or would completing it be an achievement in itself?

Training volume in endurance sports – You’ll need to slowly build up your capacity over the course of the season, via a series of training sessions. But how many hours do you need to train to achieve your goal – how much and how often do you need to work out?

Endurance training zones – The intensity of your training is vital. Whether you base your training on heart rate, pace or effect, your training zones are the foundation for all training and racing. How hard do you need to work out? How can you avoid overtraining?

Endurance training plan – Most things in life are about quality rather than quantity. Thus, you need to periodize your training. Training for training’s sake is much less helpful than targeted training with a specific purpose. This is why an individual training plan, with different phases, is so important. When do you train what?

Welcome to TOT Endurance

Read more about endurance training

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Individual triathlon training plan

Our free individual triathlon training plan will structure your triathlon season. It will answer how much, how often, and how hard you should train.

Whether you are a beginner and ask yourself – how to start triathlon training? – or a seasoned triathlete or endurance athlete, we know that you want to make the most out of your training effort.

So, for your training to become relevant, motivating, and also to help prepare for an upcoming triathlon race, you are served by an individual triathlon training plan.

How to structure triathlon training?

We help you to structure your training and racing season. Our coaching is based on your experience in triathlon, your current physical capacity, and your goal. Out of this, we provide you with a periodized triathlon training plan.

Your individual training program will then guide you in how much, how often, and how hard you should train.

Sign up for your own triathlon training plan

If you want our help to structure your training, register your information in the form below. We will then send you a recommended structure for free.

If you are a swimrunner, use this form instead.

  • Background

  • In case we need to contact you for follow up questions.
  • Training

  • Enter the date you think you are ready to start with structured training.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • A rule of thumb: Sprint (6-10h), Olympic (8-12h), Ironman 70.3 (8-14h), Ironman (10-14h)
  • Racing

  • If you have not yet decided, enter an approximate date.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • Other

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Training volume in endurance sports

We discuss how much and how often you need to train during your endurance training season, by focusing on the frequency and duration of your workouts.

We all have an unfortunate habit of assuming that more is always better – more knowledge is better than less knowledge, more money is better than less money, a faster car is better than a slower car. This problem is often more pronounced in successful people, who have spent their entire lives doing more and getting more out of the world. However, despite working in many situations, more isn’t always better. More has the potential to lead to a reduction in quality while doing things to excess can also lead to problems such as addiction.


This is the fourth in our series of articles on our training philosophy, check out the others here –

  1. Our philosophy
  2. How to start endurance training – define your baseline
  3. Endurance training and racing – finding your goal
  4. Training volume in endurance sports
  5. Endurance training zones – intensity in endurance racing
  6. Endurance training plan – how to periodize training

Endurance athletes are particularly prone to such thinking – planning to run for 26 miles, swim for 2.4 miles, and cycle for 112 miles, clearly shows that a person sees some value in the concept of more! This often extends to the volume of training an athlete does – it’s only natural to assume that 12 hours training is better than 11 hours training because 12 is more than 11. However, that fails to take a holistic approach to a training schedule – focussing on the quantity of training, rather than the quality of training.

Quantity vs quality

This debate between quantity and quality occurs in numerous other aspects of our lives. We usually come down on the side of quantity, because it’s much easier to identify quantity than it is quality. Imagine that you are working as a manager in a company and you have a choice between two prospective employees – one will do 40 hours of average work a week, while the other will do 2 hours of exceptional work each week and sit around doing nothing for the other 38 hours.

Every instinct in your body will probably tell you to hire, the worker who will do 40 hours each week because that is a greater quantity and thus, sounds better. However, in many cases, you may actually be better off getting the 2 hours of exceptional work, illustrating the difficulty that we have of selecting high-quality over, high quantity.

Volume vs intensity

The debate between quality and quantity in endurance sports can be simply expressed as – training volume (how much and how often) vs training intensity (how hard). Clearly, both are important, and you will never be able to complete an endurance race without some training volume. However, we believe that the intensity of your training is more important than how much you train. We think that you should judge success according to the quality of the training that you do, as opposed to the amount that you do.

So, instead of seeking to increase the amount that you train each week, we believe that you should seek to improve the quality of your training over time. This is why a periodized training plan is so vital, it allows you to improve the quality of your training in a coherent way and gives structure to your overall schedule. Endurance sports are all about doing the right things, doing them right, and doing them right consistently!

Enjoy the journey

This approach will save you time because you won’t have to keep adding volume to your training schedule each week; ensure that you don’t over-train; and allow you to stay motivated for your training each week. Endurance training is a journey, and you have to enjoy the journey because racing is a very small part of your overall commitment to endurance sports.

Every athlete has training they enjoy and training they do because they have to, and they don’t enjoy so much. Do the training you love, remind yourself why you do it and hopefully, it’ll all come good for you.

Alistair Brownlee, double Olympic champion in triathlon

In this article, we will explain the different parameters that you build your training plan around. Examining two of the following ideas in more detail –

  • How much should I train? – Training duration
  • How often should I train? – Training frequency
  • How hard should I train? – Training intensity

So, if we leave the last variable out for now (more about intensity here), and focus on duration and frequency…

Duration

Duration refers to how many hours you can commit to training. This is usually a highly personal decision, which is impacted by your friends, family and work commitments. Only you can know how many hours that you can commit, however, it’s important to be consistent – there’s no point in training 20 hours one week and 0 the next. 

As we saw in the article on goals, you generally need to commit the following numbers of hours a week to training to prepare for a race –

    null
  • 6-10 Supersprint/sprint
  • 8-12 Sprint/Olympic/Middle distance
  • 10-12 Middle and long distance
  • 10-14 Long distance

However, this needs to be divided over the sports. Typically, for a triathlon, you’ll need to do double the amount of cycling than the other sports – so, if you plan to train for 8 hours a week, then you need to commit 4 hours to cycling, 2 hours to running and 2 hours to swimming.

Frequency

As a general rule, it’s better to train for a short time and often, than for a long time and seldom. As we said earlier, endurance training is consistent work overtime. You have to gradually build your skills and fitness levels to do well in endurance sports.

Thus, your workouts should reflect this – even if you have scheduled your workouts a certain way that is not possible on a particular day – switch it to another day or shorten it so it can fit into your life.

Volume – the combination of frequency and duration

The training volume is what it is. If you have committed to training a certain number of hours on average, that is your base. Try to stick to this base as much as possible, to avoid the damage that can be done by overtraining or undertraining.  After that, you portion it out during your week to work out training frequency. Remember, when you are short on time, the recipe is to train more often (frequency) with a shorter duration, than to save everything until the weekend (less frequent with a high duration).

Finally, you have to take into account the intensity of the workout. Imagine that you are doing a really tough running session on Tuesday morning. Then, we do not recommend that you do another hard session in the evening. If you are doing two sessions close to each other, see to it that they match so that you can get as much out of it as possible. Training volume in endurance sports is very important. Regardless of if you are training for a sprint distance or a long distance, all endurance sports are built around training in higher volumes at a lower intensity.

Start training smarter

Our digital service will help develop a highly individualized training program. It seeks to understand you as an athlete and then help you find the right duration, frequency and intensity for your endurance training journey. If you’re interested in finding out more, then fill in the form below, or sign up and start training smarter.

If you are a swimrunner, use this form instead.

  • Background

  • In case we need to contact you for follow up questions.
  • Training

  • Enter the date you think you are ready to start with structured training.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
  • A rule of thumb: Sprint (6-10h), Olympic (8-12h), Ironman 70.3 (8-14h), Ironman (10-14h)
  • Racing

  • If you have not yet decided, enter an approximate date.
    Date Format: YYYY dash MM dash DD
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