There is a high chance you’ve come to triathlon from a single sport background. Usually running, but perhaps bike or swim too and have wanted to have a go at triathlon – at any distance from sprint to the ultimate endurance challenge, Ironman. You may also have reached as far as you can under your own efforts in the time you have available and now it’s time for that next step up or a better way to manage your precious training time.
We spoke to someone who’s gone through this himself and come up with a solution, ex GB Age Group and Triathlon England Board member, Paul Gardner.
Paul runs Lovetri Swimwerkx race team and is founder of racestronger.com, an online training plan service dedicated to offering everyone access to the same techniques and approaches that the Pros use, simply and cost effectively. He is one of the first IRONMAN Certified Coaches in the UK and is a long-time BTF qualified coach who also holds qualifications with Training Peaks, London Run School and English Athletics.
We asked Paul to talk to us about racestronger and what’s involved.
The thinking behind racestronger is to shake up the training options triathletes and single sport runners, bikers and swimmers currently have in terms of their training when they’re looking for a training plan.
We think the market is a bit vanilla and one size fits all and it’s time for a change!
We apply the same data rigour, athlete experience and processes behind our one-to-one coaching and make it available to athletes everywhere via our training plans, using exactly what we know is race proven and applicable to most. It’s ideal for those who can’t get specific plans for their goals or access to a coach due to cost or location.
Having a coach seems like a serious step, do we all need one?
Not at all, but everyone benefits from a bit of structure, and the sessions are engaging, specific to race goals and achievable no matter an athlete’s ability. They range from top level age group programmes to boosts and plans for those attempting their first run or sprint tri. We describe what’s in each one, its purpose and everyone can view sample workouts before they buy.
Depending on the plan, most will include pace indicators, race tapers, sweat tests, race and transition tips, background conditioning for swim, bike, run or all three, training intensities by fitness level and race distance and we also throw in set-up and how-to videos plus free access to the Lovetri swim and run technique library on YouTube. We even have aquabike and aquathlon plans. With our plans you’re only a click away from a PDF or video that can help you, or you can join the racestronger Facebook pages to ask the community. It’s a bit like having your own virtual coach to hand.
How do you manage your athletes when they are located all over the place?
With racestronger.com, we don’t, that’s the beauty, they manage themselves. We use Training Peaks to deliver the training programmes as it’s one of the world’s best software platforms available on tablet, mobile and pc on both Apple, Android and Windows. Simply input the results of one or two simple tests at the start of the training plan, and EVERY session after that uses the athlete’s preferred way of measuring effort, heart rate, power or perceived effort. Every session updates with those figures, and this ensures that an athlete always train at the right intensity; we think we’re unique in this and we call it ‘progression challenge’.
Another thing we believe makes us different as far as our athletes are concerned is that we were told that very often an athlete doesn’t require a full training plan covering all three sports but wants to focus on getting better in one or are doing their own thing in the other two disciplines. So, we created one sport boosts, from the simplest effort based ones to those using power. We apply the same principles to these boosts, separately catalogued for triathletes or pure swimmers, bikers or runners, over all distances and abilities. So no money is wasted downloading sessions an athlete doesn’t need outside of their focus or interest. We think this will be of great interest to Age Group athletes preparing their season, especially those competing in draft-legal events where staying in touch with the athlete in front is so important.
Looking through your website you clearly have a wide range of coaching plans available to athletes.
Thank you, we do, over 300 at the last count. racestronger offers mix and match combinations combining Power, HR and effort so everyone can use their favourite way of measuring performance and training. No more having to translate zones into your favourite method, just pick the relevant plan and every session is presented in HR, effort or power, based precisely on your fitness. You can even choose between indoor or outdoor training at the weekends on the bike for instance.
We extend this flexibility to swimming as well, with plans other than novice ones offering Critical Swim Speed or Threshold Speed based training methodology. No more vague instructions, instead precise guidance on workout intensity and duration, and a complete set of warm up and cool down activities
We cover the full spectrum of endurance racing and include a couple of ‘speed shock’ programmes for swim and run, and Crit bike race training intended for seasoned athletes.
Any race specific training plans?
We thought it’d be nice to offer the UK market an opportunity to prepare specifically for our favourite races in the UK, namely Windsor, Blenheim, Eton Dorney and London. We know these attract many new athletes wondering best how to train, and those going back to beat their last year’s performance. These plans include race terrain specific workouts that prepare the athlete for the actual course, with emphasis on hill work for Blenheim for example and speed work for Eton.
And for longer distances?
Finally, we offer a ‘tailor made’ programme, primarily for Ironman training but we’ve extended it to all plans. You tell us the race, or your limitations training wise, buy the plan and for a small fee we’ll make it fit your lifestyle and available time the best the way we can, so you can train and race your way! This is very cost efficient and ‘you’ focussed and you get all the care and insight that a full-time coached athlete expects in a plan!
We’re adding plans all the time so check back in regularly at racestronger.com. Just select what you want, visit our partner Training Peaks from our pages and download the plan.
Paul added, even if you don’t need a plan, if you want to try training with power on your turbo FOR FREE until May 2018 courtesy of racestronger then head over HERE.