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Endurance Training Principles:

Listed below are primary training principles used for endurance activities and sports. Through education and experience I have formulated this list to provide you with the edge you need and to begin training in the right direction. All items on the list may not apply to you. It depends on your individual performance goals and training experience.

#1: Training is a balance between performance improvement and injury prevention. The performance gains must come at the lowest possible risk of injury. This means there is a tight balance between the two. During each week the training plan will vary in pace and intensity to meet this goal. Proper training will contain rest & recovery days and recovery weeks from high volume training blocks (blocks of 3-7 days) or high intense racing (“A” races). Remember rest days are training days.

#2: Rest days are training days. To allow the muscles, ligaments, and tendons to gain strength they need time to recover. The rest days or recovery days allow for this time of increased strength and endurance to occur.

#3: Training session plan Bs should always be developed. An example is an athlete who is a runner and has a calf muscle strain. He or she may use an elliptical device or the pool to water run. Also, if weather or time of day prevents an athlete from running or cycling outdoors they can use a treadmill or stationary turbo trainer. The athlete has a flat tire during a bike session. To complete the session, they can use a spin, stationary bike or turbo trainer when they return home.

#4: Communicate with the coach. If there is a pain or a new tightness or ache inform the coach! A change may need to be made in training to avoid injury or to get the most out of the training to improve performance.

#5: If your goal is a triathlon, address all 6 pillars of training: Nutrition, Strength, Recovery, Swim, Bike, Run (if it is one sport then 4 pillars are to be addressed)

#6: Not all races or events are primary races or “A” races. Categorize the races into A(primary), B(secondary), C(tertiary) or simply “goal races” or “training races”. This will help to prevent over racing and under training (quality training weeks are necessary). In addition, it will improve the “A or Goal” races by using trial and error as your teacher.

#7: During training, pay strict attention to nutrition management during the long sessions. Make notes of what you consumed. This will help you discover what provides the edge during racing. These will include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, phytonutrients(fruits & vegetables), electrolytes(salt)and water.

#8: Emphasize carbs, for energy, before a long session (>60 min) and lean protein(to rebuild muscle) + carbs after the long session. The carbs will provide the energy needed and the protein will help rebuild broken down muscle fibers(Powerbar, Hammer & Juice Plus+ are examples of excellent recovery products).

#9: Have a fitting. This includes both running shoes and bike fittings.
#10: Find your natural and most productive cadence. It may be 75 for the bike and 90 for the run. This is an exercise in discovery. During training experiment with different cadences to discover what works.

#11: Before a race, mentally visualize yourself(along with deep breathing) moving through the race, strong and effortlessly. Deep breathing while waiting for the race to begin will also help. These steps will reduce anxiety before and during the event. Don’t ignore the mental aspects of training and racing.

#12: Feel free to use gadgets(GPS systems), pool toys or new apparel. This can help motivate you as well as improve your comfort and performance.

#13: When stretching, attempt to hold the stretch for 30 seconds. This length of time has been found to “straighten” individual muscle fibers into a position that reduces the risk for injury or helps the muscle heal from a strain. The best time to do this type of static stretch, is after the session when the muscles are the warmest.

#14: Always report any aches, pains or unusual feelings to your coach. Mentioned in #4 but worth repeating.

#15: When training for triathlon, always practice transitions and sighting before a race.
This can be done in open water but if open water is not available pools are also extremely helpful for sighting practice sessions.

#16: There are 4 phases of training no matter what the goals are: Base, Build, Prep and Recovery. Base is primarily practiced during the off-season along with some strength and speed work. Build is the increased training volume several weeks or months leading up to the event. Prep refers to the days or weeks immediately before the event. Recovery is what is practiced immediately following the event and can last days or weeks.

#17: Use long training sessions to help with nutrition plans: There are many guidelines for carb and electrolyte (sodium & potassium) consumption. The best method to formulate your nutritional plan for racing is to try various methods and determine what works. Record all you consume for future use and your coach to review after the long sessions.

                                                                                              -Mark Kotarski, MEd

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