Triathlon Peaking Your A
You have set a goal to complete, and compete, in the upcoming
triathlon for months. You may have sacrificed time with
family and you probably neglected work, which isnt
necessarily a bad thing. With these sacrifices, and others,
you want to make sure you reach a peak for this triathlon.
Every athlete is different with his or her training. Some
of you have more hours to train in a week than others. Many
of you plan to compete in several triathlons during the
year while others only have one or two races planned. In
either case, you want to do your best in your A
race. When planning a season, racing is divided up into
three categories. A C race is a race that breaks
up the training regimen. This is a race you train through
and it may not even be a triathlon, but rather an event
of just one of the disciplines. You also use a C
race to gather information which lets you know where your
fitness level is at a certain stage in your training program.
A B race is a high profile race where you want
to do well, but you dont want to have the race interrupt
your ultimate goal. You may rest some for this type of race,
but you wont be fully rested. An A race
should only be planned two to three times a year. This is
your goal race of setting a personal best. For some this
may be the only race of the year. Lets plan on preparing
for an A race to achieve the most of our potential.
Probably the one week that causes the most anxiety and
second-guessing among athletes is the week before an A
priority race. What do you do in those final days before
going to the starting line? It's just as possible to do
too much as too little this week. Either way, you may ruin
an otherwise perfect race preparation. Many athletes think
peaking is simple; just reduce the volume of training (taper)
for several days before a big race. Although reducing volume
is important, there are additional ways to improve your
When a true peak comes about, an athlete will experience
an increase in fitness like never before. The physiological
changes that come with a peak include increased power, reduced
lactic acid production, increased blood volume, greater
red blood cell concentration, and increased glycogen storage.
Top these physical changes with sharper mental skills such
as visualization, concentration, confidence, and motivation
and the athlete is in top race form.
Triathletes must be willing to change their training for
several weeks before an A priority race. However,
most have become so familiar with the feeling of chronic
fatigue and overreaching that change is frightening. A rule
of thumb is it is better to go into a race under trained,
than over trained.
How to Peak
Several scientific studies of the peaking process have
shown that manipulating the elements of training can usually
produce a performance peak at the right time. However, this
is not always the case because training is as much an art
as a science. You may use all of the following recommendations
with great precision and yet fail to come to a peak as planned.
We're humans, not machines. A well-rounded athlete has not
just physical talent, but also mental talent that allows
for a great race. Here are six recommendations for peaking
that have emerged from research on the topic as well as
my personal experiences as a coach and athlete.
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