This is Part I of a four part series. Each article will look at speedwork as it relates to triathlon training. In Part I, I will present a brief introduction to speedwork.

There's a lot of training 'background noise' out there: information which only serves to confuse and distract trainees. Lactate thresholds, heart rate zones, Vo2 max, wattage. For an example of complicated cycling training, check out a local cycling club's description of their early morning group rides:


In my experience, there's only two training intensities you need:

1) Endurance
2) Speed

The goal of endurance work is to simply cover the distance. If you are planning on riding 50 miles, swimming 5000m, or running 10 miles, the goal here is to get from point A to point B.

For a definition of speed work, I refer to a quote from my Masters swimming coach: "Speed work means f***ing go fast!"

Those are the only two 'zones' or 'intensities' you need in your training. End of discussion. This series will deal with speedwork.

How to train for speed is fairly straight forward. Here are a few examples: For swimming, do a set of 20 x 100m on the 3:00, and do them so that your last 100 comes in at the same split as your first. For running, do a set of 10 x 400m sprints, or for cycling, try busting your butt up a hill that takes about 5 minutes to climb, then repeat 3 more times with about 15 minutes or recovery between each effort.

The pattern is the same: you want about 20 minutes of intensity, broken up however you'd like, with a work to rest ratio of 1:3. So, work for a minute, rest for three, or work for 5 minutes, rest for 15, etc.

That's it for Part I. In Part II, I will discuss how speedwork fits into a well designed training program.


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