As triathletes we spend endless hours training for the swim, bike and run. I, specifically, train roughly 20 hours a week with the majority of that time either in the pool or on the bike saddle. While most people either train below or above this number of hours, 20 hours is my magic number in terms of current training volume. I find that under this number of hours a week leaves me restless and ready for more, but anything over 20 hours causes extreme exhaustion which might lead to the next injury.
When thinking of a training number, I compare it to the sleep number bed infomercials. Each athlete is unique; therefore each triathlete requires a different amount of training.
Other key points to address regarding our training numbers would be the adaptability of them. Over time as our bodies get used to the stimulus we can add more training hours a week. This past summer I was only training at about 10 hours a week, but hopefully with consistent training this upcoming summer I will be near 30 hours.
Now while a competitor and I may have the identical training number, the way we achieve it could be vastly different. I took the liberty of jotting down a typical weekly training plan so you can see how I utilize my time.
Monday: morning pool swim (75 min), afternoon run + weights (75 min), evening open water swim (60 min)
Tuesday: morning bike ride (105 min), afternoon run (60 min)
Wednesday: morning swim (90 min)
Thursday: afternoon brick (130 min), afternoon swim (60 min)
Friday: morning swim (90 min), evening weights (30min)
Saturday: brick (120 min)
Sunday: morning run (90 min), afternoon ride (180 min), evening swim (75 min)
As you can see from my training schedule, the focus for me is on the bike and swim. Running previously in both high school and college, I have the confidence to lower my weekly run volume so I can spend most of my time and energy improving my weaknesses.
Before your next training week think of what areas of the sport you need to improve on, and how much volume you can comfortable handle. What do your training numbers look like? Remember consistent healthy training is key for optimal growth.
Train Hard, Train Smart!