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Triathlon Training Fast and Easy

Triathlon Training Fast and Easy

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Triathlon Training Fast and Easy

208 pagine
2 ore
Jun 20, 2012


In Triathlon Training, Fast and Easy, author and coach Rick Niles explains the concepts and introduces an easy-to-follow system as a pathway to new performance levels.
He believes that training for three sports can mesh with a career, family, and things that are ultimately more important. Peak fitness can be achieved by training for five to nine hours per week in all three areasswimming, running, and bicycling.
Triathlon Training, Fast and Easy has several helpful features to clearly get any triathlete going faster with less effort:
Sample training weeks
Technique instruction
Training drills
A season-long distance training schedule
A crash training schedule for procrastinators
This handy reference guide also includes various exercise and training techniques based on personal experience, research, and individual stories. Going faster and farther are relative terms, and speed and time are individual. No one races on someone elses stories, and they shouldnt train from them either.
Each of our bodies will respond to the training we do and how frequently we do it. The response reflects the input. Triathlon Training, Fast and Easy provides all of the necessary information that any triathlete needs to guide them to a new performance level.
Jun 20, 2012

Informazioni sull'autore

Rick Niles has been coaching triathletes since 1990. He has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and uses both science and hands-on experience in coaching triathletes and swimmers. He is also a charter sailboat skipper, storyteller, and writer.

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Triathlon Training Fast and Easy - Rick Niles

Triathlon Training-Fast and Easy

Rick Niles, MA

Rick Niles Multi-Sport, Santa Rosa, CA

Triathlon Training Fast and Easy

Copyright © 2012 by Rick Niles.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

ISBN: 978-1-4582-0416-5 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4582-0417-2 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012910326

Abbott Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

Abbott Press

1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403

Phone: 1-866-697-5310

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Abbott Press rev. date: 06/08/12
















Ever watch an elite athlete and marvel at how fast and easy they appear? There is some of that in all of us-maybe in some more than others, but we all the ability to go faster and make the illusion of easier. That’s in a race. In training, it’s both. You need to go faster in order to race faster and increase fitness and performance. Intersperse that with easy makes the workout seem shorter and more interesting. It doesn’t take a lot of time.

Those of you who have read Time Saving Training for Multisport Athletes will find this a similar read, but his title more accurately reflects what we do. If we do it right, we also save time. In 1997, when that book was published, the basic philosophy of more intensity training was challenged on a number of fronts. And while today, it is far more mainstream, there still is no one right way to train for everyone all the time. What I can say is that after more than twenty years of coaching, I’ve found that the basic methods outlined here, work. The closer people follow the program, the better the race results. So in essence, Time Saving Training is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Triathlon Training, Fast and Easy contains the same underlying message. Training for three sports can fit with a career, family and things that are ultimately more important. This book has some writing cleanup a few new ideas and a new chapter on one man’s ultra distance training. Fast doesn’t always mean hard, and with easy in the mix, the sessions go quickly and life gets easy.

The overall program is for recreational athletes from sprint distance racing up to ultra distance events. Even age group winners in a world stage are still recreational. Competing in any sport at any age is extremely rewarding and fun, and it’s important to maintain that perspective.

Keep it fun and make it fast and easy.



If you don’t get tired, you go faster and farther. That’s about all there is to success in any endurance sport. If you are the type of person that can follow directions from a simple statement, that’s about all there is here. That’s what this book is all about. Thanks for buying it and now you can go out a be faster because you know the secret. If you want a little more, read on.

We do various exercise and training techniques based on personal experience, research and stories. Going faster and farther are relative terms. Speed and time are pretty individual. You don’t race on someone else’s stories and you shouldn’t train from them either. Make up your own. It’s your story.


If you really want to do a run across the Sahara, the Seattle to Acapulco swim, or low crawl the China Wall go for it. But I’ll continue to say this until I drop. A successful exercise plan should enhance the rest of your life, not take away from it.

The sport of Triathlon continues to grow and it’s great to see that. And I also think overall, the outlook has become healthier. We know more about training and for the most part I’m seeing much smarter training. But not always.

Triathletes still tend to take themselves pretty seriously. Just keep in mind that if you don’t earn your living at it, then you do it for fun. An age group placing or even win has the shelf-life of a sliced apple. The person most aware of that victory is the one right behind you. The rest of the world goes on. What matters is that you get faster or feel better and you know it.

There is much new information about how to train more efficiently. The sport of triathlon and multi-sport training have provided researchers with a whole new arena of investigation. Although exercise physiology is still a young science with much to learn, one conclusion keeps coming back. We can make substantial fitness gains from less time than we used to think necessary.


The effects of training are obvious. You can do more or go faster and you don’t get as tired. Your fun factor gets a lift when these things occur. So the objective is combating fatigue. And while we know more and we think we’re getting pretty smart, our knowledge base is still like the ocean or space. There is still a whole lot more that we don’t know. The training system in this book takes aim at what we’re learning.

There are some basics to help in understanding how this whole system works. The principles are supported by numerous and consistent studies. We’re lucky because more current research is supporting that of the past. What was revolutionary and doubted twenty years ago, is now mainstream and accepted. You’re just going to have to trust me on the details, because we won’t get into all that. There is nothing like the mystery of a juicy slice of a research journal to cure insomnia.

There are as many training responses as there are people. But there is one thing that applies to everyone. No matter what you want to do—run faster, juggle balls, cheat at cards—you need to practice that skill. Your body will respond to the training you give it. The response reflects the input. To go faster, you need to increase your training tempo. Increasing your pace for shorter distances will also generate pronounced fitness gains. Do less, gain more. It all sounds like a great deal. It works, but as we all know, there are no free rides. The last one ended with the housing boom.

You need to learn to build up both the intensity of training and the time you train at higher levels. The key factor, however, is that time increases of only a few minutes transfer into big performance gains. Just like anything else, you can’t do it all at once. That’s good in a way, because it can give you years of continued improvement.

To a point.

When I wrote Time Saving Training for Multi-sport Athletes in 1997, I hadn’t yet confronted the reality of age. What has happened is that I’m still coaching some of the same people and using my principles all of us without exception are slower. Yes, as we approach Social Security and Medicare not only are those things looking to go away, so is speed. And with a training focus, still we can beat times from a few years ago. Has the harder training slowed the aging process?

That will the the area of research to come. But there is no question, that people who continue to train hard are getting slower, slower. They are doing pretty well at maintaining performance into their sixties and seventies. I’ll write the next book after I’m eighty and give an update.

With this type of training, you spend less time overall but more time going faster. Intensity base training works by building speed in small increments and working up. So the first element in saving time is building an intensity base. This will involve some adaptations in both your aerobic and your anaerobic systems.

It is not a matter of how much you train, but how you train. To go faster which we know means not as tired, which also means it’s easier means you have to get tired in training. Sounds like nonsense. To go fast you have to be less fatigued, but you have to get fatigued to get there. You have to train your energy systems. Train them fast and easy.


You have an aerobic and an anaerobic system to produce energy for exercise. One system, geared for short sprints, doesn’t matter for endurance sports. A misconception is that you turn off one system and turn on another. It’s not quite like that. At most efforts, you use a varying blend of both. Only very easy work is completely aerobic, and only all-out sprints of a few seconds are completely anaerobic. The rest is in between. The mixture depends on how fast you go and your fitness level. It’s a constantly moving target.

The interaction between the two is an important element in raising fitness levels on limited time. Simply put, your aerobic system uses oxygen to produce energy, while the anaerobic system produces energy without oxygen. Muscles use the energy to pull on bones and produce movement. If you don’t get tired, you can move your bones faster. That’s about all there is to it. Some muscle fibers are able to use more oxygen than others. The maximal amount of oxygen that you can consume (V02max) is simply a measurement of the amount of oxygen that your heart can deliver and your muscles can consume. So the desired training effect for endurance sports is a stronger heart and more aerobic-type muscles.

Your muscle composition plays a role in fatigue and initially that’s genetic, but what you do can bring about changes. Muscles are composed of different types of fibers, which you can alter through training. So while you can’t change your genetics, you can use what you have to adapt. There are fast-twitch fibers,slow-twitch fibers, and those that lie in varying degrees between. It is the ones in-between where you can make a huge difference-where you can tweak the gene pool.

All these fibers respond to the type of training that you do. Slow-twitch fibers have more endurance and are more aerobic in nature than fast-twitch fibers. Fast-twitch muscles are more powerful, don’t need oxygen, but lack endurance. People who are gifted in endurance sports have a high percentage of slow-twitch fibers. Natural-born sprinters and people who excel in explosive movements have a higher percentage of fast-twitch fibers. Few of us, however, are a natural-born anything. Most are adaptable. All these kinds of fiber types and people who own them are just waiting to be trained. All of us have more that we think.

The size of your engine is a number called VO2 max. It is the maximal amount of oxygen that your muscles can turn into energy. Maximal aerobic capacity. It’s a number expressed in milliliters of oxygen used per kilogram of body weight. The highest anyone gets is in the 90s. Most recreational athletes are in the 50s. Since part of your potential you are born with, what you do in training is to learn to go to a higher percentage of that max. You tune the engine

The real key to fast and easy and tuning the engine is in muscle fiber adaptation.

When you are working hard, you are using a delicate blend of both energy systems. You are recruiting both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles. Your primary fuel source is carbohydrates. The speed that you can maintain is dictated by the fiber types that you recruit to do the job. Endurance training changes fiber characteristics. At slower paces, we recruit slow-twitch muscles and use aerobic metabolism. As you begin to go faster, you recruit more fast-twitch fibers and blend in some anaerobic metabolism. If you slow down, the fast-twitch muscles get a rest and you shift back.

When you train in this blending state, the fast-twitch fibers that you recruit begin to take on slow-twitch qualities. That means that they can use oxygen to produce energy. Scientists argue whether the fibers change types or merely change in aerobic capabilities. When you get into the microscope it gets a little complicated. The result is that it becomes easier for you to go faster. You take on the ability to work at a higher level using aerobic metabolism. All that you need to do is regularly raise your muscle recruitment into this aerobic/anaerobic blending state.

You will often hear phrases like I went anaerobic or I was in serious oxygen debt. There is no debt. You don’t run out of oxygen when you shift to anaerobic metabolism. You simply recruit more fast-twitch muscles and use more anaerobic metabolism. Lactic acid is a by-product that can accumulate, cause discomfort, and ultimately slow down muscle contraction. It’s acidic, so your system shifts into gear to neutralize it. One process is blowing off CO2 in breathing. So your body goes into ventilation high gear to remove acidity. Heavy breathing is a buffering mechanism. It’s the most obvious sign, but not the most important.

While it’s true that lactic acid is part of the process that makes us tired, it can also be a fuel source that keeps us from becoming tired. It is interesting stuff and what you do with it determines how you perform. There is more than heavy breathing.


Threshold can be an ambiguous term. There are several thresholds that people and researchers and magazine

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