Luis Vargas is the partnering coach with Mark Allen. I have contacted him MANY times when I had a question about triathlons or coaching. Within minutes he responds with a helpful answer. I really admire this guy. Here is one of his recent articles at MarkAllen Online.
Here are my top tips-
1. Many beginners have a sport that they come from and this is their strength. Do not train your strong sport the same way you did before triathlon. You can cut volume and still do very well and sometimes even better due to all the additional fitness gains in the other two sports. Train your weakness not your strength.
2. When training for the swim and the bike it is important to learn to go long and steady. On the swim this means a set of 1000's or 1500's to learn how to pace these. Remember that on race day it is unwise to give 100% on the swim. You still have to bike and run! On the bike do not always ride with a group and draft the whole training ride. The bike in a triathlon is a long steady time trial. Learn to deal mentally with this steady unassisted grind, and experiment with different effort levels that will give you the best overall time at the end of the day. Going super hard to the top of a hill like cyclists might do to drop everyone will just drop you from your pace on race day.
3. Do short bricks. Long bricks can be very tough and require huge amounts of recovery. But if you even run around the block after most of your rides you will learn two valuable lessons. One is dealing with the special feeling of running on tired cycling muscles. But perhaps more important will be that the workout does not end at the end of the ride. You still have to run. This will make you think twice about sprinting your guts out to win the day's ride with your cycling buddies when you know you will be doing a run right after as they put their legs up and watch some TV.
4. The bike is the sport that you can use to develop mental and metabolic endurance to handle many hours of triathlon racing. For example, if your goal is to do your first Olympic distance race and you think it will take you three hours, it would be wise to do some steady training sessions that last three hours at the very least. Doing them on the swim or the run would be pretty tough and may get you hurt. But you can easily do these on the bike and still recover with minimal risk of any injury.
Triathlon is a single sport with three disciplines. Keep this in mind as you train and race. Remember, the best swimmer, biker and runner does not always win. The best triathlete does!
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