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Triathlon Training Tips: Start your season right

Running at high altitude at Boulder, Colorado. Photo from Specialized
Running at high altitude at Boulder, Colorado. Photo from Specialized

Markus Konrad, a coach in Germany offers his top tips for getting back to regular Triathlon training.

What’s important for triathletes when returning to a regular training schedule? 

It is important not to start the new season at the same speed at which you finished the last one. You should train regularly and continuously, but moderately. This applies to distances and routes.

I always recommend a heart rate monitor, and you should listen to your body as well. At the beginning there can be some tweaking and pinching, which you should pay close attention to.

Sore muscles or heavy legs and arms are alright, especially after running, but aching tendons or joints are not.

This is quite certainly a sign that you have trained too much or too fast. It is better to do frequent small sessions instead of fewer longer ones.

In this phase it is also important to stretch.

By doing so you learn a lot about where you are prone to tension, and how you can loosen it.

Is it OK to do intervals and races? 

Intervals or speed work can be completed in the form of ascending runs. You can sprint 60 meters (at 70 to 80 percent of your maximum sprint capacities) up to 6 to 8 times, for example, at the end of your regular runs. Walk back slowly after each sprint.

You must be in full control when doing sprints in order to avoid muscular strains.

The goal of such sprints is to break the routine of moderate speed.

Participating in races is also appropriate, but please refrain from running marathons or a 10K race at full speed every weekend. Races can give variety to your training routine and serve as zone 2 training.

Crowie preparing for a swim session. Photo from Specialized
Crowie preparing for a swim session. Photo from Specialized

What can you do if you struggle to get into a training rhythm?

If you train with common sense and take your time to build up your training load slowly, you will notice an improvement after four to six weeks.

My motto is “strength is born from calm.”

How can triathletes ensure they’re setting appropriate, but inspiring goals? 

This question can only be answered individually and it’s important to set your goals using common sense.

Remember that triathlon should be fun, not compulsive, and goals have to be realistic.

Goals like qualifying for Kona require years of preparation and consistency, as muscles and tendons need time to adapt to the training loads.

An appropriate goal for this time of the season is, in my opinion, a training camp in spring. This allows preparation to scale up moderately and in a relaxed manner.

Should triathletes adjust their nutrition when they start training regularly again?

I don’t think this is necessary as I assume that athletes eat quite healthy the whole year round. This means lots of fresh vegetables, salads, and a piece of protein every now and then.

You shouldn’t be too determined to keep a healthy diet—it is fine to enjoy some chocolate every now and then.

Markus Konrad is a triathlete and owner of the family of training camps,