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Week 1: Finding Your Baseline

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Welcome to Week 1

This week is all about finding your baseline thresholds for each of the three disciplines. You’ll start getting into some easy workouts, but the most important parts of this week are the swim, bike, and run baseline tests. Those will not only allow you to track your progress throughout the 10 weeks, but they’ll set your pace for each workout going forward.

If you’re just joining us: Be sure to start at the beginning! Go back to the course intro so you’re prepared and have the foundation for the 10-week training program.

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Week 1 Key Sessions

Remember, the key sessions of the week are sessions that are the most important. If you’re going to trim a workout or skip a session because you’re swamped with work or life, these are not the ones to skip! Of course, you should try to do all of the workouts, but we want you to know which are key ones. When it comes to the intricacies of training intensity, duration, and specific format, check out (or set up) the detailed calendar in Today’s Plan (directly access the plan here) or the downloadable training calendar PDF.

  • Long run (60 minutes as a run/walk)
    Photo: Alton Richardson
  • Long ride (2.5 hours, easy)
  • Baseline Tests
    • Swim (test set)
    • Bike (30-minute bike test)
    • Run (30-minute run test)

Run/Walk Philosophy

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Lesson of the Week: The Importance of Baseline Testing

Baseline testing is key to establishing what your baseline is and where you’re at before we get started. Plus testing is essential to help you establish the zones you train in throughout the next ten weeks.

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Remember, baseline testing serves two purposes:

  • It helps you track your performance over time
  • It helps you establish thresholds and intensity zones

Make sure you record your results from your swim, bike, and run baseline tests. It’ll be critical in order to figure out your thresholds and intensity zones that you’ll use throughout your training. We’ll talk more about zones next week. But, for now, here’s that link, again, to download the handy PDF to reference.

5 Ways to Know You’re Improving:

10 Weeks to Your Best 70.3 How to Know Improving
  1. Faster times in the pool
  2. More power output on the bike
  3. Faster run pace
  4. Same heart rate with faster times
  5. Lower heart rate with same times

Power = Speed x Force

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Swim Test

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TT Swim Test Details

  • Intensity: All Out
  • Duration: 5x400y warm-ups, then 1x500y test
  • Data: From your 500-yard test, take your average pace per 100 yards to get your aerobic threshold in the water.

Remember, while you can track your heart rate during the test, using your pace is the most accurate way to dial in your baseline threshold because swimming is so dependent on technique. So you could have a high heart rate without moving very fast in the water—so keep focusing on technique.

As long as you’re getting faster for the same heart rate, you know your fitness is improving.

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Bike Test

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Bike Test Details

  • Intensity: Very Hard
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Data: To get your power threshold (if you have a power meter), take your average power for the entire 30 minutes. To get your heart rate threshold, take your average heart rate from the last 20 minutes after it has time to rise to the point where it’ll stay.

Remember, your power threshold will likely improve over time whereas your heart rate threshold will likely remain constant for years (or more), but the work you can do at that heart rate threshold will increase.

Want to track bike performance with a heart rate monitor?

If you don’t have a power meter on your bike, the best way to track your power output is to find a long hill that takes 20-30 minutes to climb. If you see yourself getting farther up that hill in the same amount of time, or your time to climb the entire hill decreases, then you’re showing improvement in your power output.

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Run Test

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Run Test Details

  • Intensity: Hard
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Data: Take your pace, heart rate, and run power (if using a running power meter) only from the last 20 minutes to get your run thresholds, because most runners have a hard time dialing in their pace from the start.

Remember, just like with the bike, your heart rate threshold won’t change much throughout the season or even over the course of a few years. However, you should see a faster pace at your threshold heart rate.

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