Nations was my second ever and first Olympic distance triathlon and I'm completely hooked. For having trained just about 4 months I think I did pretty good at Nations and I would really like to build upon this to do better next year. More specifically, I would like to shave off 30 to 35 minutes off my total time which would qualify me to be elite the following year. Too ambitious?
How should I modify my training to become faster? My strategy for the past two tris were doing a variety of things (weight training, indoor/outdoor cycling and running and pool and open water swims) but I only trained up to the distance I was supposed to race at each leg.
Is it better to exceed the distances to become faster in the shorter distances? Is it better to add drills (for instance, hills to your runs)? I can't afford a personal coach but I'm going to try and attend more group trainings. Any other recommendations?
There are alot of different philosophies out there on the best way to train, and part of the journey is finding/following one that suits you the best.
Is dropping 30-35 minutes off an Olympic distance in less than a year realistic? Hard to say, but it may be better to set some incremental goals up to that over a longer period of time.
I will say there is no easy way to getting faster. Plan to swim, bike, and run more than you are now. Then do all three harder and faster in training. The benefit of weight lifting is a long debated topic, and some say gets in the way of MORE swim/bike/running.
Find some free training plans online, join the DC Tri Olympic Distance program, or read some books on the subject. All in-expensive options that can reap big rewards. Then when you're good and ready, find a coach you believe in. I think you'll see your times drastically come down.
Shaving 30 minutes off of your time? Not impossible, but what are your splits? I would make goals for each event specifically, that way you are approaching this much more strategically. Saying "I want to go from 2:45 to 2:15 in a year" may not be too ambitious, but I think it is too big of a goal. Keep it as your ultimate goal, but give yourself some goals (and successes) along the way.
For instance, goal #1 - run a sub-45 10k by March. goal #2 - sub-1:15 40k time trial at Hains Point by June. If you don't break up your training you risk getting overwhelmed, and without little things to celebrate you might burn out.
Good news is, it seems as though you left a lot of potential on the table based on what you've described of your training schedule this past year. Interval training is a really effective way to get faster (come to the Wed night track workouts at wilson). Also, it is important to build up endurance beyond the distance of the event. Going out and running 6.2 miles is a lot different than getting off an hour on the bike (after a half hour swim) and THEN running 6.2 miles.
I would look into the Triathlon Training Bible by Joe Friel. Has a lot of sample plans and great advice on how to train strategically (periodization, goal setting, etc.).
In order to answer your questions about if 30 to 35 minutes minutes off your total time is duable.
What was your time? if it was 3 hours I said you can do it. if it was 2:45 or less you will have to work a lot on it. When I said a lot may be 15- to 20 hours a week on training leading to the race.
Other thing is that matters is your atheltic background, did you swim or run in college . That may give an extra advantage to get your goals.
As Andy said read some books and learn the science of triathlon trainning it should help.
Good luck and keep training during the colds months
congratulations on doing the nations tri.
you have asked probably THE toughest question regarding triathlons that anyone can ask "How do i become faster?"
as others have said without a detailed point of reference from where you are coming from regarding current training/fitness/equipment/race results, ect, its a really tough if not impossible question to answer.
hopefully someone here will suggest a good online or in person coach for you to contact, as a professional that does this for a living may be able to give you the best advice rather than our anecdotes.
if you are strapped for money there are some good books that may help start you on your way, such as:
joe friel's "triathlete's training bible:
gordo bryne's "going long"
there are more that i'm obviously forgetting but those books would give you a good base if nothing else to start from.
Thanks for all the great tips. I know I can always get great information from the DC tri club folks.
My times at the Nations were:
34:06 on the swim
1:21:39 on the bike
51:28 on the run with a total time of 2:54:32
came in 79 in my division (F30-34)
I raced with a very old road bike so I know I can improve my cycling once I get a better bike. I think the hardest for me to get faster on would be the swim. I can swim long distances but not too fast.
I forgot to mention that I did several bricks as well, on my own and with the DC tri club. Those definitely help.
I'm definitely going to check out the books you all suggested and setting up incremental goals seem like a great idea. Thank you.
More good news - it looks like you had about 7 minutes in transition. Just a bit of practice and its 3 minutes down, 32 to go!
You definitely are closer to where you need to be on the swim. Masters groups are supposed to be great ways to improve in the water, but you probably shouldn't listen to anything I say on that because I swim like there's an 8-foot bull shark hanging off my legs...
Joe Friel (author of "The Triathlete's Training Bible") is also releasing a new training book at the end of the year. According to Amazon.com, the release date is Dec. 1. "Your Best Triathlon" is supposed to build off of the "Training Bible" book by analyzing what specific workouts do and how to incorporate them to improve your triathlon times. I don't know much more than that. He has hinted at the book's content a couple times in his blog, but that's about it.
Once the book has been released, Velo Press (the publisher) will probably include a lengthy excerpt (15-20 pp. maybe) on their website, available as a free PDF download. They do that with many of their triathlon/run/bike/swim books.
Friel's blog is another good source of info, but it's better to read it as a supplement to his books, not a replacement: www.joefrielsblog.com
I would focus on one discipline at a time. Probably the bike where the biggest gains can be realized. Plus as you get stronger on the bike, you will also be able to run faster off the bike.