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Over the next week Triathlete Magazine Senior Editor Matt Fitzgerald will provide six tips on jumping in to the sport of triathlon. In the fourth article, Fitzgerald explains how to incorporate race specific workouts into your training plan.
Written by: Matt Fitzgerald
There are two ways in which your training should evolve from the beginning of the process to the end. The first, discussed yesterday, is progression. The second is movement from generality to specificity. A workout is considered race-specific if it emulates both the speed and endurance challenges of racing. In other words, a race-specific workout entails swimming, cycling or running at a speed that’s close to race speed—either in a single effort or in multiple intervals—until you’re fatigued. General training encompasses every other type of workout. Workouts in the general training category establish a foundation for specific training by emphasizing either speed or endurance.
In the first phase of training, your highest priority is to establish a twin fitness foundation of speed and endurance. Your toughest workouts should be long, moderate-intensity swims, rides and runs plus interval workouts featuring relatively short efforts at speeds exceeding race pace. As weeks go by, make your training increasingly race-specific by doing your long workouts at faster speeds, by doing increasing amounts of training in the range of race speed and by doing longer intervals that are still fast but not quite as fast as the very short intervals you emphasized in the beginning.