Practices Don’t Make Perfect, Optimized Practices Do

You can swim laps all day, but if you’re using improper form, pushing too hard, or not hard enough, results will be few and far between.

You can hammer every day on the bike, but if your training intensities are a random mixed bag or if your volume is haphazardly too much or too little, the set-up for failure you’ve just concocted is on point.

And, of course, you can run consistently every day of the week, but if you’re stuck in the same old pace or over/under training in volume, your ultimate goals will remain just out of reach.

Generic, hit-or-miss practices won’t make you an accomplished triathlete, but optimized practices will. Therefore, we need to understand what makes a practice optimized.

1. Optimized Practices are Premeditated

Training for one sport is a much simpler affair because intensity and volume is subject to only one discipline week in and week out. Training for multiple disciplines that run back to back is, as many of you are already aware, more problematic. Even if you’re in stellar shape and possess the passion and the motivation, juggling between swim, bike, and run in a single week can be a test on your commitment, mental fortitude, pain tolerance – and patience.

You need a plan. And you need efficiency.

As a TriDot coach, I’ve seen nothing but premeditated optimization and efficiency in our training plans. We call our method predictive analytics for a reason.  We’re predicting what intensities and volume an athlete should train at each day for each discipline in order to produce the most effective results. This is done by taking tried and true workouts scheduled strategically every week, all being tailored to the proper training intensity zones of each individual athlete based on their physical data and their measured threshold numbers. It’s optimization at its finest.

2. Optimized Practices are Measurable

Even a properly planned practice schedule is of little use if there is no way to track your progress on a regular basis. One of the great advantages to swimming, biking, and running is that each discipline is measurable. Like a laboratory experiment, the triathlete can be gauged, tested, and analyzed for consistently improved results. This is why TriDot employs scheduled time trial tests for every athlete every month.

However, beyond the obvious measurement barometers like performance times, power, and distance, one of the greatest tools at your disposal is your ability to listen to your body. In his article, “Triathlete’s Hardest Skill: Listening to your Body,” James Adams explains, “The single most important thing to get you faster in triathlon is free. Listen to your body! The body has an amazing way of giving you signals on whether to back off or push it. It can save you from injury, sickness and burnout, which can be the fall of any triathlete whether you're experienced or a newbie.” 

This is true for everyone no matter how they are coached.  No plan can be optimized perfectly because the human body is never perfectly consistent. Therefore listening to your body is a key measurement.

3. Optimized Practices are Customized

The number and types of possible training programs are as varied as the athletes themselves. One size certainly doesn’t fit all. And one philosophy isn’t always best. That’s another great aspect of triathlon training. Training methods, times, frequencies, intensities, and sites should be customized. It all depends on the needs and individual nuances of each triathlete. 

With a TriDot coach, you can customize with the help of an expert. The human element is very important and that’s why it’s highly recommended to have one on your side when entering the phase of a training plan.

All practices aren’t created equal. Optimized practices – the ones that get results – are those which incorporate premeditation, measurability, and customization.  Employ those three and success is just around the corner.


Optimized practices are the key to triathlon peak performance.

­­­­­­­­­­Source: “Triathlete’s Hardest Skill: Listening to your Body” http://www.tricalifornia.com/blog/post.cfm/triathlete-s-hardest-skill-listening-to-your-body

JARED MILAM is a professional triathlete, TriDot coach, and member of the Tri4Him Pro Team. He has 16 years of competitive running experience and 11 years of competitive triathlon experience with a half Iron PR of 3:59 and a full Iron PR of 8:30. Coaching under the TriDot system since 2011, Jared loves working with aspiring triathletes of all ages and performance levels.

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