Ever heard the statistics of how many Ironman triathletes are also engineers? Well, you can put another tally on the board, because I’m among their number. But why are so many triathletes naturally found in fields of work where “Type A” personalities thrive?
The reason is because triathlon training requires a methodical, almost scientific, approach in order to be successful. It demands organization, consistency, and the evaluation of repeatable processes.
Is your training methodical? If not, here are a few things you might be missing out on.
Triathlon Training is a Science Experiment
A science experiment, in essence, is made up of three parts:
We want to discover something unknown so first we must theorize what the unknown knowledge we’re trying to uncover is and how we will go about revealing its truth. This hypothesis is based on realities that are already known. Next, we must apply rigorous testing against our hypothesis in the real world. And last, we examine the outcome of this testing and evaluate our results.
In triathlon training, we apply the same methodical process. First we hypothesize - or predict - what the most efficient way to become faster and stronger is. This, of course, is a reference to the creation of our training plans.
Then we test this hypothesis by actually training. After a certain extended period of time, we look back at the results of our training and races and evaluate what was successful and what wasn’t.
Obviously, the goal is to have our results match our hypothesis as closely as possible. For this to happen, we need to be methodical in each step of the process.
The creation of the hypothesis is perhaps the most intensive step. It needs to be well defined, realistic and, of course, testable. For example, one such hypothesis might be defined as the method required to complete an Ironman in 12 hours.
You, the triathlete, will need to consider a large amount of data for it to be successful. We’ll need data about you to determine if this is even feasible. Then we’ll need that same data to predict what approach will yield the result hypothesized.
Before moving past this stage, we need to stop and take note of a few things. One is that the data points required to help us predict how to achieve our desired result need to be the right data points. In other words, we need to rule in and out what is necessary to know.
For example, average resting heart rate is nice to know, but isn’t absolutely necessary because of it’s non-contribution to the testing phase. Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR), on the other hand, is a valuable data point to be used in the construction of the predictive training and its subsequent testing so as to achieve our end goal.
The second thing we need to take note of is how intelligently our predictive testing period has been constructed. We don’t want to simply throw together a random assortment of workouts without any consideration of the analytics we’ve gathered and just hope that this training program will lead to the result desired. Unfortunately, this is how a lot of triathletes plan their training.
The TriDot Triathlon Training system was built around a methodical approach to what we call predictive analytics. First, TriDot asks the right questions: what data is necessary and applicable. Then TriDot uses this knowledge about you and the race goal to create a training plan scientifically derived by the variables and the goal, thus maximizing your results.
Let’s use an analogy to illustrate this idea further. Imagine flipping a coin in an attempt to get heads over 50% of the time. Many might think I just need to keep flipping the coin until the number of times I see heads is more than 50% and then stop there. However, that could very well be a long, frustrating process. Who knows when (if ever) you’d see the result you want?
But what if you knew the initial conditions of the coin so well that you could develop a method of flipping so precisely that you would be guaranteed a result of heads well over 50%? The initial conditions would be variables such as the distribution of weight in the coin, the air density in the room, the material properties of the coin, and so on. Once these conditions are known, you could theoretically develop a method of coin flipping that scientifically takes these variables into consideration and produces a result of heads at a rate considerably higher than 50%. All you would have to do from there is simply test and analyze the real results.
TriDot follows the same basic predictive principles. We’re attempting to learn your initial conditions (physical factors and threshold capacities) and then apply known, logical training principles against your variables to produce the maximum result desired. The methodical part of creating a training plan that considers every aspect of your relevant “initial conditions” and applies them to adapted tried-and-true triathlon workouts is all handled for you by TriDot.
TriDot uses advanced algorithms along with a massive storage of expertly written workout plans and arranges them in perfect harmony with your upcoming race. All that’s left for you to do is to simply test the hypothesis. In other words, do the training!
The more consistent you are with your training plan, the more accurate we’ll be able to evaluate your end results against your intended goal. Evaluating results will be the last phase of your methodical triathlon training program. And this is where it gets extra exciting (yes, I’m a science nerd).
At this point, we’ve created our predictive triathlon training plan (hypothesis), and we’ve challenged our plan through training. Only now are we allowed to assess.
Evaluation for a triathlete may be done habitually over time. But whether you examine your progress once a year or once every two months, this is a time to understand why improvements have or have not been made. Moreover, if improvements have been made, how do we optimize to gain even more from the next training cycle? It’s up to you and your coach to decide how to interpret your results. However, whether good or bad, be sure to put honesty first. An unethical scientist is one who blatantly ignores realities of his experiment.
With TriDot, we’re confident that not only will the hard parts of developing a methodical triathlon training program be handled for you, but if tested correctly and consistently, this plan will produce the results you want to see.
TRIDOT TAKEAWAY: You need a methodical triathlon training program because there are too many variables in triathlon to develop a training plan based on speculation.
TALK WITH TRIDOT: Do you train methodically? What about the actual training itself? Do you approach each session with a systematic fervor?
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.