Session planning is a vital part of any training plan. Every time you go out to train there should be a plan behind that particular session. It could simply be "Recovery Run" but there should be a reason why you're doing that and that is exactly what you should do. Without planning you're just going out and exercising and although this is likely to see an improvement over time, with progressive planning you should be exercising the right muscle groups and get better results.
Here are a few tips about session planning: They should be......
Progressive, slowly getting harder over a period - not quite the same as periodisation.
They should be leading you to achieving a specific goal at a some time in the future.
Every session should exercise all muscle groups if possible.
Most sessions in all sports should include a period of doing drills.
Doing sprints and fast paced intervals are good in all sports.
Never go too far from speed - even in a long slow session it's good to plan some short fast elements.
All of the sessions we list here will be ones we have delivered as coaches to our athletes and will be appropriate for the time of year.
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Hard swimming is important to develop 2 elements in your armory. The first is the ability to raise your game above previous levels and the second is the mental knowledge that you really can dig deep and you're not going to suffer too much from the effort.
The warm up is a mixture of swimming, kicking and drills, building in the swim, kicking on your side and doing the touch head and finger drag drill. Then keep your speed honest in the main set, the timings should be generous enough for you to make hard efforts and be able to recover before you have to go again.
When you're racing you often have to go out of your comfort zone, if you have to get past a draft zone swiftly or make an effort up a hill or out of a corner. Practicing that helps prepare you for race day and the turbo trainer is the perfect tool to use.
The main set here is a 7 min race paced effort followed by a harder effort for 1 complete minute. Make sure you do up the gearing but maintain your cadence (leg speed) so the effort becomes hard by the end of that minutes cycling. This is really good in helping you learn to flush lactate from your muscles.
Track sessions are probably the most important sessions to hone your speed. Long Slow Runs are the backbone of your overall fitness but track sessions are ultimately controllable, so you can test your speed or make sure you can hold a pace, on a repeatable and measurable course.
Different distance runs make for running at different speeds and have different training effects. We'll take you through all these effects over the weeks so you train throughout the year using all your energy systems.
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Last week you paced 400m and then upped the pace for a further 400m. The aim then was to prepare you to up your effort when you're already running at your predicted race pace. This week you should be running much faster than your race pace for the whole 400m.
The aim this week is to eventually race faster, develop better technique and get used to the feel of running faster. Try to raise your pace as you go through the 400m, so you don't start too hard and die towards the line. Judging your pace and effort is hugely important to a triathlete and it's on the track (or in a track style session) where you can practice that to best effect.