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Sticking to the Training Plan

By Bob Byard, Certified USA-T Level II Triathlon Coach

The dedication you put into your workouts should reflect the most effective use of limited time. The QUALITY of your workout performance is just, if not more important, than the QUANTITY of the intensity, distance, and frequency of the workouts.

A training plan is NOT carved in stone and reasons DO come up that justify changes. I jokingly say that a training schedule is a tool to gauge your deviation from one or more athletic goals. That's partially true -- "stuff" happens -- physical, mental, weather, family, work, etc. that prompt needed adjustments to a schedule.

~You usually can't or shouldn't make up a "missed" workout; it creates a negative, domino effect on the rest of the schedule. Call me & let's talk about what should/can be "made up" and how best to do it.

~The days or flow of workouts scheduled CAN sometimes be switched; the basic rule is not to have hard back-to-back workouts or more than two similar workouts together. A training plan can be massaged; it shouldn't be masticated (look it up).

~You don't want to reschedule a workout into a day "off" slot. The rest is just as important as a swim, bike, or run.

~If you have to move your strength training days around, don't do it so that you have two strength days back-to-back; and don't move the strength day to a Key Workout day.

~Key (KW) or Breakthrough (BT) Workouts are just that -- key to testing and/or evaluating how training is progressing -- it may be a T-Pace swim, a race, the longest workout in that sport in the month, the most intense workout, etc. Do your best not to miss one and be mentally and physically prepared to do your best.

~For a combination workout, do the sports in the order listed -- that's the purpose of that particular combo in transferring from one sport/muscle group to another. Do the best you can time-wise to transition from one workout to the other; the quicker, the better.

~For a double workout, do the two workouts in the sequence best for you time-wise AND that allows 2-3 hours rest in between for rest and nutrition and hydration recovery.

~For a "choice" workout, choose the sport that you 1) think you need the most work on and 2) are most mentally and physically prepared for. The caveat is not to select the workout "just" because it's easier; maybe you need to get out of your comfort zone and push the envelope.

~If you find that the workout volume isn't "testing" you, let's talk to 1) understand my rationale, 2) see what adjustments to workout durations can be made. The same goes for intensity. It may be because you're in a recovery period or tapering for a particular race or reason. Or it's because you're progressing better an anticipated or I underestimated your abilities. Or it's because you not doing the distances AND intensities specified so you feel more energetic -- we'll talk, look at long/short range, and make agreed-to changes.

~Never let intensity or duration mask or be an excuse for poor form and technique. Focus on and "tweak" HOW WELL you do your workouts before being too eager to increase HOW MUCH or HOW HARD you do them.

~Each month's training plan is a benchmark and foundation for the next one; ongoing dialogue is key. If we don't have to adjust one month's schedule, I'll still solicit your inputs and work to make sure the next month's training plan is keeping you on track towards your athletic goals. And the next, and the next, and......

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