Endurance performance is driven by our aerobic energy system - Meaning “with oxygen”. At aerobic levels we have adequate supply of oxygen to the working muscles.

When running at pace e.g in a race, the bulk of your performance is going to depend on

how well you can hold pace at your “Aerobic threshold”.

Aerobic threshold = This is the edge of where you either maintain the supply of oxygen to

supply the working muscles OR you loose that and tip over into anaerobic - meaning

“without oxygen”.

On the absolute edge here = Keep the pipes OPEN

On the absolute edge here = Keep the pipes OPEN

Anaerobic > 85% Heart rate OR simply 8.5/ 10 perceived effort, is painful and


From experience the way to maintain AEROBIC is through breath awareness and by that I mean we can deepen our breath and increase the volume of oxygen spread through the body.

I learned the art of breathing through yoga practice. I stumbled across the connection to

running whilst running my first marathon distance. I was trying to stay calm under pressure

and it occurred to me to invest in my yoga breathing. Since then I have applied it in training

and racing.

The benefits of breath control:

- Allows you to keep up required oxygen requirements

- It calms you by way of becoming present with a controllable focus. Panic / tension uses up more energy, restrict oxygen intake and will send you over the edge.


‘Don’t cut your neck off’ - Thats a little thing I think of usually when riding or running a hill.

The body wants to shut things down and tense up. Keep air flowing down the pipes and

whilst requiring a higher level of focus, it remains to be physically and mentally sustainable.


Other applications for breath awareness include

Pre race/ Training effort - Bringing the mind to the present and away from fears/

distractions. Engages the breathing mechanics and ensures that pathways are open and

the blood oxygen levels will begin to increase.

Recovery/Relaxation/Meditation - Forms a simple way to engage in a recovery activity.

Focus on the breath and deepening it can help engage the parasympathetic nervous

system (calming) which allows for restoration and regeneration of the internal system

including the brain and its feel good hormones.



5 very small phases - Go through as many cycles on each phase as you need to absorb

the learning. Remember the key to this is calm so feel no pressure. Just practice;)


Lay flat on your back in a quiet uninterrupted space. Notice your breathing without

changing anything. Notice where oxygen reaches. Your throat, chest?

Remember breathing is autonomous for the human body - Meaning it will happen without

requiring thought.

We are going to enhance the breathing pattern but please note that the in breath should

happen when you feel the need to take breath in. e.g let the beginning of a new breath

happen in a relaxed stat rather than rushing into a new breath


We will take our breaths through the nose.

Your initial breath comes in lets take a little more oxygen in. Allow you chest to expand a

little more.

Now slowly let the exhale occur.


When the body is ready to breathe again feel the breath come in again and this time lets

take that enhanced inhale a little further and really allow the chest to rise. Feel your ribs

expand a little.

Slowly exhale (through your nose) and wait for the next breath to begin again.


This in breath we allow in to come in just like the last but this time lets pause for 2 seconds

at the completion of the inhale. As you pause allow the breath to sink a little further down

you body - mid way between the bottom of your ribs and navel. Exhale slowly as normal.


Repeat the cycles as per phase 4 keeping to a count of 3 seconds.

3 second inhale

3 second breath retention

3 second exhale

Allow the next cycle to happen when the body desires it rather then immediately at the end

of the count of 3.

I suggest daily practice of this initially. Once basically comprehended you could do this

anywhere convenient and eyes may remain open.

- Sitting at your desk

- In your car - as passenger or at traffic lights

- At home

- In the shower/bath

The next step will be to take this into action during physical activity.



Swimming for Triathlon Part 5 - Resistance | Strength

Resistance | Strength Work


Using paddles and pull buoy, resistance aids.

For me the use of resistance aids play 2 different roles. One is for strength and the other is to heighten the quality of the set as fatigue / from drops.

The common factor in using swim aids is that they helps us achieve a 'feel' because the resistance or buoyancy enhance the way we can act on the water. 

Am I being lazy by using paddles and pull buoy? 

Well yes you certainly can be if there is no rhyme or reason other than that it makes your swimming easier. Which can win the argument if it means getting K's done or not but as I'll explain below its good to use these tools as a stimulus to enhance the way you can swim unaided freestyle. Triathlon swimming is unpredictable in terms of wetsuit/non wetsuit / choppy conditions - Having the swim as a strength ie holding confidence in your un aided freestyle swim, means you begin with confidence despite any conditional challenges. 

Just last season I raced one of my key races and found out it was non wetsuit only on race morning. I also had word the swim was more like 1700 and less like 1500. Whilst others panicked I was rubbing my hands together.  I got 2nd that day - exiting the swim in 2nd place with a gap of 90 sec to 3rd gave me a head full of confidence and the guts to put more time into the chasers on the ride. Great days start with great swims. Not to mention the guy up the front who swam 2-3 mins on me then proceeded to build on that significantly. 


 Strength work

Specific sessions at certain periods to force the body to work against a stronger resistance and hence establish the need to really work your feel/hold/pull on the water 

‘Get in and start pulling’

Using a paddle increases the surface area acting on the water which means you can essentially go faster but need the strength to do so and the initial feeling is that its making harder work.

Using a sponge as a towing device works by slowing you down - This requires an adjustment in effort and supreme body position as you fight to get rhthym and momentum from your stroke whilst the drag is making that hard to achieve.

Having to work against a greater resistance can be a real awakening of technique and generally how bloody lazy we can get in our ‘groove’ trying to hold rhythm when you are semi being drowned by a sponge from behind just makes you find action on the water and activate core to fight the challenge to your streamline. Similarly the paddle will make you actually catch and pull rather than slipping the arm through - Missing the opportunity to move yourself forward in the water. So yes it down make for hard work in the water but thats where you start making gains. Ride or run up a hill and you start working - It's the same thing

Strength and form in balance -  Using something like a finns paddle means you need to nail the form and makes you have to balance between working really hard and trying to achieve that perfect balance in stroke. 

Sets - I think that there’s benefit to long reps for example 300m – A set of 5 -10 300’s can really challenge the concentration and sometimes instead of it turning to rubbish after 5 x 300 pulling the sponge you actually ‘get it’ and start hammering. Muscles engage fully giving you the urge to hold that feeling. Like any session – once the head noise is down and blood flow is up then you can find the zone. Shorter reps allow you to have a crack and possibly get the same effect as the force and concentration is higher for the distance.

A short rep session of 25', 50's or 100's or fartlek style can enable you to lock and load maximum power / concentration which leads to strength gains and certainly awareness of what a top output stroke feels like.

Use the paddles to rip in at high out out then switch back to low intensity applying the form awareness. 



Maintaining form and feel -  Using Pull Buoy, paddles, fins etc. Helps improve the strength/quality of the set as extra stimulus/aid  helps us mentally stay attuned to to get the muscles firing when we are tired and risk falling into the grey zone. Either or when mixed into some of the session from part IV to enhance the interest level and development the swim aids can become the reason we finish long sets or are keen to start a session becuase we desire the feeling. 

Further to that many drills and warms ups can be enhanced with the use of aids - Wake it up in the warm up then start the set with blood flow to the right muscles and a mind that's present to the activity. 

Just remember you can't race with the aids and a wetsuit is not always an option.


Train the way you race - Freestyle sets, sit in the space with patience, purpose and presence  - There is no greater motivator than a compelling goal/competition - Your swim will become the weapon. 

Swimming for Triathlon Part 4 - Sessions | Intensities


Stacey Swim.jpeg

1 - Power  

Go fast to go fast - OVER SPEED 

At some point there is the need to try and IMPROVE your top end speed. Wise out some really shocking speed work then we just become really fit at the current pace but no one wants to be a ‘same pace sally’ Plus it’s fun to mix it up and challenge yourself through this type session. We also learn things about our stroke when acting on the water wit such purpose 

Relevant test from PART 3 – All out best efforts – 2 x 50, 2 x 100 

You have to apply force and power - If you are not working the water with conviction - arms and lats then your not swimming hard enough or correctly. 

Session example would a main set of something like 4 x 100 on 3:00 rest, 6 x 50 on 2:00 rest, 8 x 25 on 60 – 90 sec. Could pay to have a 100m float in between the distances to clear lactic. You should be peeling your skin off at the end off each rep.

Recovery for sets - 1:2 or 1:3 work : recovery – So 1:30 effort means 3:00 or 4:30 total rest 

Rating – Ready to die pace but the recovery is so long you can be reborn. There’s nothing like the feeling of finding raw speed and power – Mental submission. 


2  - Aerobic Capacity

Find smooth to sustain - Endurance race pace 10 sec recovery

Relevant test from part 3 – 1000m @ 7.5-8/10

Session example  - Sitting on 80-85%  and do 2000m worth of repeats. 50’s -200’s at your race pace giving yourself just enough rest to reset and keep HR from going lactic  

Heres where you are dialling in the work at a sustainable level. Its not physically uncomfortable so you can work at the top of your form repeatedly to knock it in and become aware of how your body is moving / concentrations shifting. 

You might find yourself finding awareness of form felt in aerobic and the power sessions. 

Example set based on a test pace of 1:32 per 100 - 

20 x 100 coming in on 1:30-135 leaving 1:45 

Rating - This is the place where pleasure and pain meet in the middle. 


3 - Threshold

Sustaining best pace - Threshold increase- Sprint race pace - 15-30 sec rec 

Relevant test from PART 3 – 400m – All out Time Trial – Leaving nothing in the tank 

Practising holding best pace repeatedly will help you increase some strength and form at that level off effort as well as the mental conditioning. You think ‘Its my 400m pace so 100m is easy’ But the 400m pace is all out time trial effort and then performing that pace repeatedly under normal training conditions is challenging. The rest is just enough to mentally reset and let the HR settle – Delaying the lactic build up just enough to make it onset a little later in the effort and make it achievable. 

Example set based on a 400m pace of 1:25 per 100 

20 x 100 shooting for 1:25 pace leaving on 1:45 

Start with 10 reps building to 15 or 20 x 100. If you need a bridge then revert to 50’s to make it achievable. The money is in the back half of the session where the lactic threshold is with you like a ball pein hammer tapping your skull. Get comfortable with that feeling.

Rating - ‘Opt out’ excuses start popping up. Don’t push the red button – Rep it out and you’ll feel 10 foot tall 


4 - Lactic Tolerance

Relevant Test from PART 3 is a balance between the power test and your 400m TT 

A real test and way forward to reducing your sprint goal pace after some time using the other sessions to develop a base of conditioning. Expect this session to improve your 400m time. 

Power pace on 5-10 sec recovery 

Example session based on a 100m power effort of 1:18 and a 400m TT pace of 1:25 

5 x 100 shooting for 1:20-23 leaving on 1:30 | Or same pace ratio' but 10 x 50 

If you find yourself in a position of basically touch breathe go again say 5 sec or less rec and your blowing to pieces then just try and hang on for +1 -2 reps it’s all conditioning and you will adapt and get some toughness from it.

By aiming to swim as close to 1:20 as possible you earn more rest – But in saying that you might find that by swimming at 1:23-5 pace means slightly less lactic - Still a faster swim pace and still dealing with lactic 

Rating –  Brutal, Fully brutal – Although the flip is that it’s over quick being a low volume challenge - rewardingly fun. Just know that by hurting you have to learn to adapt.  


5 – Aerobic Recovery

Rehash from PART 1 

Right back on the scale here. Balance those hard sets with very easy form, feel and aerobic volume.

4/10 very low HR and mental cost – A complete contrast to the intensity asked in main sets. Use fins paddles and kicking / practising some of the form acknowledged at high pace – Trace the water and feel different parts of the stroke, use different strokes and sculling for acknowledging the lats in different ways. 

You need to be in this zone to give your heart and head a rest - The contrast enables you to establish a vast difference between what FAST really is. 


We obviously cant be working all of those stimulus every week - There's times to work on power then shift to lactic tolerance and then dial threshold pace. So balance and placement is important - Use an objective eye. 

In PART 5 i'll talk about the use of Pull Buoys, Resistance Sponges and Paddles. To hold form or help us build strength by acting harder on the water the fun never stops with swimming - Always something to look forward to and make progress with. 


Swimming For Triathlon PART 3 | Base Line Tests

Base line tests


We've spoken about form in PART 1-2 now lets get down to business by laying down some markers so you can look back in 3 months, 6 months and see how far you have come. 

Here are 3 base line tests to complete. Do so in separate sessions. Record the times. 

Do appropriate warm up and cool down's with complete emphasis on the test swims to create a short but purposeful session

It's not the olympics so don't put a tonne of unproductive pressure - But do have a crack as we want it to be an experience and a mark of true fitness and conditioning. 

In PART 4 I'll share some key swim sets at varied intensity and explain the relevance to your goal pace and distance. You will need the times from these tests to establish the pace goals for each key swim set. 


Test Session 1 – All out best efforts -10/10

 2 x 50 Recovery 2:30

2 x 100 Recovery 3:30

Do each twice because sometimes we take some breaking in to really go fast – And OR we want to see how close we can go to repeating the effort.  


Test Session 2  – 1000m Endurance Trial @ 7.5-8/10  

Not an all out time trial – Swim an even solid pace that is void of building up lactic acid – So sitting just on the edge and relaxing when you start to push into that higher zone. Think that you have 1200 or 1300 to complete so its that little bit reserved.

Beginner option - 500m 


Test Session 3 – 400m -Time Trial  9/10

All out Time Trial – Leaving nothing in the tank. Get out solid and sit on the edge of best pace and blowing up. 90% Breath through it and build the last 100-50. 

Beginner option - 200m


Enjoy these accomplishments and make note of the times and date you did them for reference. Next up in PART 4 we set up the path to improvement. 

Love to hear any questions or feedback -

Name *

Swimming for Triathlon Part 2 - Levering | Moving Water

The Lever Concept

Quick rehash on the Lever concept from Part 1. Watch the video here.  We can look at the Freestyle swimming stroke as a lever.


The effort comes from the lats and shoulders. The fulcrum or tipping point is the shoulder and the load is the water and any resistance/drag we create with our own body 

What about the arms?  Yes there is certainly effort coming from the arms and importantly the positioning / hold on the water determines whether its an effective lever arm.


A slightly different type of lever is a wheel barrow - Think - Effort is you doing the lift and the wheel is where the tipping point is, the load is whats in the barrow. So the lever arm like our arm in swimming - is the barrow and handles ... imaging a barrow with handles made of rubber or a barrow with holes in it - Very ineffective and all our muscle is wasted energy.

So what do we do about that? For a start - Stabilise your position so the lever arm is strong from the tipping point and in position to move the load (water)

Lock the shoulder and lever from it. Revisit the video to see the demonstration of shoulder stability exercises. 

Second to that is the practice of the 'Shoulder high' action. Drop the shoulder and we are in a weak position - Keep it up strong and the force ability is strong.

This dry land exercise is a good way to start to ingrain that idea and muscle memory.



When we get in the water some good drills for this are 

- Sculling 

- Fin kick (gentle) 25m per side keeping one arm out front with high shoulder position - Resting hand on a Pull buoy gets a good feel as it 'Floats' the hand and gets you to keep pressure on the PB as you would the water to take catch.

- Both sides or single sided swimming (You may like to use fins for buoyancy) focus on shoulder and elbow high on the water as you catch with that arm/hand


Pushing the water back concept

Its like throwing a weight  - You grab it and shove it back - Lats, shoulder, arm and hand is a big paddle wheel.

When you move the water back thats what moves your body through the water. Its too easy to be a flapper and just find where the body is 'comfortable' in the patterns it makes in the water. Problem is it just means you never get faster. An old Coach of mine taught me to start by focusing on just one side and do short 25m reps practising - His words 'You have to use absolute maximum male effort, exhale hard on every stroke, maximum power' ' Now you look like a swimmer'. 

The Drag

Having all the catch power and technique is only effective if you can reduce the drag of you body. Heres a few notes to make sure when you pull, you slip through the water.

- Hips high and lift from the core a little

- Kick needs to be from the glutes and legs working parallel to each other. 

- Reach and roll a little - Reaching a little longer means you get more from the movement created by the opposite stroking arm and by rolling it improves your 'slip' through the water.

Here is another dry land exercise I developed to help build the feeling we aim to achieve in the water. 


Have a practice/play with those concepts in your next couple of swims and do the dry land exercises to get a feel. 

In PART 3 we move towards setting some Base Line Tests that will help establish key swim sets for progression in swimming for Triathlon. 


Swimming For Triathlon - PART 1 - Frequency


This is part 1 in a series of articles about swimming for Triathlon. 

I aim to cover a few key principals that I have learned about swimming in the past few years which ha really helped me enjoy the swim component of Triathlon - Both in Coaching and as an athlete.  I’ll write in order of relevance - Starting point > Icing the cake. 

Ive really enjoyed my swimming and improvements over the past few years. Much thanks to some great mentors and also thanks to my own commitment which brings me to the very first point. 



Triathlon is a balance of SBR and for some the priority is B, R... The swim is loathed by some. There are a couple of contributing mindsets that lead to this 

- The swim is a small component in respect to the total triathlon 

- Athletes think they can make up for a bad swim by having a uber level of bike fitness. 

In my opinion the swim is the key for a few reasons 

Swim with confidence and relative ease and you actually have the ability to get on the bike and bike to your ability. Swim terribly and you get on the bike exhausted 

If you want a shot at a podium - Be it age group or overall, you have to be competitive in the swim or at least not in a completely negative position eg slow, tired and playing catch up on the bike - These realities are less than ideal for a winning or personal best performance and breed an unproductive attitude

With that in mind the swim is now a priority. And with that we now have unlocked the secret to turning that swim into a weapon ...



Getting in the water often is and absolute key. When we touch and work the water the mechanics click in and we get that feel for it. I think further to that is that we get the ability to get intuitive about how we can make progress - Subtle things like body position, kick rhythm, catch length/position, under he body strength. It is endless with swimming but by getting in the water often we are able to pick up where we left off in our last session - Work on just 1 or 2 things until they are ingrained.. Then we move on. 

Choose some basics that are suitable for the development of your stroke as an individual not someone else's 

Ok so rant understood. How often is enough? In the real world of Triathlon training you would have to say 3 swims a week is bare arse minimum. Volume is important but if you can’t wrap your head around a 3km swim set then just jump in and swim 1k - Play with the water. A 20 mins swim should be achievable and further more it can be a very useful recovery tool. Personally I'm not one to have cranked out huge volumes in the pool but consistently sitting between 8-12 km per week every week of the year has really helped. 

Even when in a full recovery or forced rest I’ll have knocked a couple of swims in - Both for pleasure and out of fear of losing the connection. Its a ‘Need’. 



Triathletes that swim often are bound to be less injury prone. Use the swim as a double edge sword by adding short ‘bonus’ swims in as recovery after hard bike or runs sessions- Not only are you increasing the swim frequency but its excellent for blood flow which cleans up the effects of more impact based training. 

I often use that aerobic recovery swim to enjoy the feel and technique without the pressure of intensity - It helps decompress after a hard session and also fuels that swimming brain with ‘what to work on’ in the next key swim set. 



A simple one here thats a game changer for some of lesser swim experience and all of us when we ‘Try too hard’. 

Your body actually floats. Its a boat - Position it correctly and don't strangle the mast and you will sail through the water. 

Think about that next time you swim.

Have yo ever rowed a boat before - Well the paddles are your lats - shoulders - arms. Sweep them through the water pushing it back and the boat moves forward.

Below is a video that explains a little further about how we action our ‘paddles’ through the water.

Stay tuned for PART II where we look at intensities including power and endurance. This will set you up with some sessions to help target improvement in the water in general and wrap your head around dialling in swim pace for the distance you are training for.

What It Takes To Win

A small shift in mindset can make a huge difference. Ask yourself intelligent and empowering questions that challenge our thinking structure and behaviour. 

Training and life balance / circumstances come in phases and we need to realise when its time to start a new one. Things happen and we adapt the best way we can to situations. Sometimes we pray the storm will pass. We realise that we have some power in shifting the wind. 


It pays to have an honest conversation with yourself. In realising circumstances change dont be afraid to accept change and fly in the face of fear that surrounds it.  Deep within there are answers within you that wanted to be uncovered. 

We can be getting it done and working hard, gains being made to an extent but a lack of flow and passion. Intuition plays an important role for us all.

Challenge yourself to shift into a new phase of preparation - The next level.

Ask .. ‘What do I want to achieve/win’ and then  vow to do ‘What it takes to win’.

Notice lazy behaviours 'Thats enough' - What holds you back from doing more, or going harder?   Questions are being asked - How can I reach my goal? The key point is facing fears and following a pathway to ultimate readiness towards your goal. 

When you tune into the intuition and the desire you start looking for opportunities to constantly expand - Whether it be through a challenging training session or in recovering/preparing for the next training session... All of a sudden mobility improves - Because you do something about it, accepting that if you don't theres the saddened feeling that a key sessionmight be hampered if you don't process that recovery.  Every session has its place and progression cant happen without the right intention applied. Flush is out, stretch it, eat better, start doing extra core and activation work...

Its a Sunday and you’ve belted yourself for 2 days but theres a desire to add a strength session and water recovery just so that you speed up the healing and fatigue cost by 24 hrs..  Giving yourself a real recovery day that includes light aerobic work. 

Starting to think like a winner is exciting. We get excited for the opportunity to get better. Thats the life of an athlete. Becoming anal about bedtimes and losing a glass of wine as an acceptable micro nutrient because you know it makes your sleep and training quality go down - The ultimate fear is not improving. The ultimate passion is getting in the zone.

As Gwen Jorgensen Olympic Gold Medalists shared about her 4 year dedication to win Gold - These are not sacrifices but Investments. 

We all have the ability to find that bit more from ourselves.

Ask your self to do.. 

What it takes to win. 



Triathletes become pretty good at self-assessment. It comes with the territory of wanting to improve – fulfilling areas into truer potential.

With so many parts of triathlon it’s an exciting and endless process of improving. Managing where to start is an achievement in itself. We want to be able to focus on our training – Narrowing down a few elements to focus on without the overwhelm of ‘I’m not hitting this particular aspect’ etc. E.g. 'My volume on the bike is down and I'm not not doing those 1km run repeats, they were so good a few months ago'. 

Whats important is what your are doing and that it has a focus. We cant just stick to the same training stimulus all year round because its going to make you stale or just really good at going the same speed. The beauty of ending a season is that it allows us space to plan and push ourselves in new ways. 

A starting point is to identify where we are in our training / racing cycle and the elements of training we potentially attach at certain times – Keeping in mind every athletes cycle and age in the sport is individual – This is general

For simplicity I’m going to make the ‘Key race season’ Jan – March. There are a lot of options for racing so the timing of your season may be slightly different - Its good to be clear about when you are wanting to be really ‘on’, racing, then you can plan towards it and know where then end point of your campaign / reward is.

For the sake of this article Lets identify that our season is coming to an end and we want to a a fresh look at how to construct our way forward – which involves  new and exciting types of training in the ‘off season’

Improvements next season depend on the offseason approach to training. Its exciting, different and has fun elements but its hard work and consistency  that reaps next seasons PB's

Heres an example of a Triathletes road ahead in preparing for the season. 

April | Transition

 A couple of weeks of mental and physical reload

Assessment of season – Self discussion, discussion with coaches, reflection on achievements

Assessment on opportunities – Coaching, biomechanics / form, Movement, Addressing weaknesses in fitness range / ability – E.g. speed, power or endurance

Goals – Long term goals, KPI

Planning – Putting outcomes of assessment into an action plan


April | Preparation 

Introducing training. Performing some base line evaluations, trying on new concepts in training to get a feel for it – mental / physical approach and adaptation


May – June | Phase 1 Stimulus 

Bring a regime back into play – Look to attach accountability such as a coach and or events/testing in line with the new stimulus.

Focus on nailing the new stimulus and staying relaxed about intensity and volume of other sessions that have been more of a priority during a race prep or ‘in season’ phase.

As you adjust to the new stimulus say in weeks 5-8 you can start to bring other things back up a little as the body has adjusted OR press the new stimulus harder – Knowing you can come back to other things later – Keep a feel but not an obsessed focus.

Example below  - Note these examples are individual for one athlete - A discussion with your coach to establish the plan suited to your athletic stage and goals is a high priority - A focused plan with purpose will  mean something to you and your goals and therefore no dwindle into a 'great idea with no action' in a few weeks time when motivation wanes. 

New Stimulus

-       Bike – 3 quality sessions power based intervals and higher volume per ride

-       Strength work – 1 upper body & 1 lower body short but impacting (low rep 3-6)

-       Swim 1 x speed set – Intense short rep max effort - high recovery

-       Run 1 x Speed Set - Intense short rep 90% effort – Mod  recovery


The new bike sets and strength work are going to tax the nervous system and muscles meaning that the run might take a few weeks before an ideal set can be achieved.

In the first 3 weeks place priority on all bike and make the strength work count. Other wise you fall into the trap of always training the way you trained – Make sure your mentality available for these sessions.

 By having 1 quality swim 1 run session short and achievable it will start the experimentation to a 3rd & 4th new stimulus and allow adaption to begin. With these sessions being secondary don’t be a perfectionist by doing the following

-       Not trying the new session because your not ‘fresh’ or completely recovered. Be wise but accept that you will only get used to it by starting the process.

-       Accept that something quality is better than nothing – Start the process e.g. a start week one with a single fast rep – e.g. a 400m – use it as a test. Week 2  Progress to quality 5 x 200 – achievable but make it quality

Secondary stimulus.

-       Aerobic running – Add 1-2 Aerobic  runs 20-45 mins work on form and rhythm to keep the legs and aerobic system familiar to running. Fitness from other sessions should make these feel increasingly better but accept that 2-3 runs (1 quality) is enough to improve some skill  and maintain aerobic form but not make massive inroads at this stage.

-       Swimming – Keep a higher volume of swimming in mind as this is always the one to drop off. If intensity of other session remain moderate and then also drill aerobic recovery focus then you can keep a feel for the water and adaptations from fast sets but keep mechanics spot on. I believe its extremely destructive to let the swim go as it’s the most technical and apart from thinking swim specific it excellent to balance and recover the legs from any of the new/hard stimulus. Use Aerobic strength work in the pool to hold your feel from the fast work.

Recovery – Use swimming as recovery and adding bonis volume mentioned , keep up your mobility, core and flushing that allows you to keep pressing in the key sessions. Nutrition and sleep always 10/10.

July - Sept | Phase 2 Stimulus

Looking at the second half of this period its an opportunity to bring another discipline into major focus. You would be aiming to maintain some quality in the discipline you have progressed with in the first part of the preparation season. 

e.g. Now lets lift the run. Lets say you worked the bike in the first part with 3 quality sessions. You might hold this with 2 quality sessions - Potential slight volume reduction in one session. Then lift the runs making sure theres now 3 quality runs. 

Keep in mind that to some point we are playing the game of dissecting the sport of Triathlon which is SBR not S | B | R but don't fear the next  integration  phase will start to balance and integrate SBR in what is the first sniff of the new season. 

If you have always dissected then for you it might be an advantage to brick a lot of sessions together Get tough early. 

Oct- Dec Integration

As mentioned above we want to start to integrate the sessions more so we aren't necessarily doing SBR brick threshold sessions entirely but we may perform a swim/bike or bike run combo still utilising the ‘Skills’ / interval speeds aiming to hold this developed pace/power in the mix of combined sessions which may be longer or at least hold that extra mental level because its not singular focus. 

Racing here would be a huge advantage to knock some durability in the body and gain familiarity to intensity/ toughness/race preparation. Time out of it means high anxiety and we want to have the time to get comfortable by the time key races arrive.


Jan - March | Specific

Threshold efforts a plenty.  This is just a matter of practicing the game Swim Bike Run - Put the developed ability over the winter/spring into action. We know we are going faster and then putting the efforts down to prove it. So much of this is about really familiarising the mind with the duress of racing (specific skills such as course profile specifics and transitions) and boring out that engine thats been oiled, tuned. Ready for a huge combustion come prep races and key races we are feeling hugely capable. 

Your best season is only the product of hard work - Diligent planning / advice / effort. 

If you have any questions or want to discuss programming drop me a line.