You have completed full marathons, have ridden century rides, and have attempted duathlon events. Now, you are wanting to reach greater heights. To some people, triathlons sound like the craziest thing to do, and to many, triathlons are almost impossibly achievable.
Haziq Junaidy (better known as Ziq), the resilient, talented, and young athlete who, only in less than two years, has accomplished numerous titles under his belt, especially in duathlon and triathlon races. Having competed in running, cycling as well as multisport events, Ziq has decided to embark on a middle distance triathlon race in the upcoming lRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi.
We sat down with him and gained some insights into middle distance triathlon. Commonly known as ‘half ironman’ or ‘70.3’ triathlon, Ziq emphasizes,
You can’t really go fast, but keep a tempo pace throughout a triathlon race,
Here are the 5 basics of middle-distance triathlon;
1. Long Run – Long Slow Distance (LSD)
Going for an LSD run can be advantageous for your training as it is one of the effective ways to prepare your body for higher-intensity training. LSD involves covering a relatively long distance at a slow and comfortable pace.
First of all, LSD runs give your joints and muscles endurance to tackle more mileage, by helping to conserve glycogen and improve your cardiovascular system. It also helps to improve your aerobic and anaerobic performance. Running has always been known as a great aerobic workout to burn fat and reduce stress.
LSD runs tend to vary between 30 minutes and 2 hours. If you’re a beginner, start with 30 minutes at a slow pace, as you become more fit, increase the length of your run and speed.
On your race day, you will surely go beyond. With this, you can easily better by LSD running which provides a break from the intensity and pushing through tough miles.
2. Long Distance Ride
Aside from swimming and running in a triathlon, cycling is always a critical discipline. To successfully tackle a long distance ride, you should push yourselves to the limits to prepare.
Cycling requires a high level of endurance training before you can successfully tackle a long-distance ride, in addition to performing another two disciplines in a triathlon race. Start with a couple of hours’ riding, or more if you’re fitter, and build up an additional 20km each week till you evaluate your ability to successfully complete a long bike ride.
Ziq’s advice would be a minimum mileage of 90km for each long distance ride. Do these rides at a steady pace, around 70 to 80% of your maximum heart rate, equating to a moderate effort for at least 3 hours per session.
3. Strength Training
In addition to your input on running and riding performance, strength training is equally beneficial in your triathlon training. Increasing strength makes you more efficient in all three triathlon segments.
If you have been immensely active in multisport events, building strength and staying flexible is especially important. Weak or inflexible muscles will generate less power and are more susceptible to injury.
You do not need a gym membership for the majority of these exercises and there are many training plans and routines that require little or no equipment. First of all, deadlifting is one of the simplest forms you could do at home. Lifting weight strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, and muscles of the lower back. You will see reduced delayed fatigue in extended endurance exercise and racing.
No-equipment workouts can also build your muscles and strength which would optimize your triathlon performance, such as lunges, squats, mountain climbers, push-ups, planks, and more.
4. Brick Workout
You should never skip brick workouts preparing for a triathlon. A brick workout is any workout that combines swimming, biking and/or running into a single session. The most common example is the bike to run brick, where you go for a run immediately after finishing a bike ride. However, other combinations can also enhance your training.
Brick workouts are important because they simulate the fatigue your body will experience on race day and train your body specifically for those demands. Advisably, 3 weeks to 1 month before the race, the focus is on brick workouts to avoid jellylike legs from happening.
Moreover, you can treat brick workouts as an opportunity to practice your transitions from sport to sport. To switch one discipline to another, your bike-to-run movements allow you to reflect on your efficiency and speed. You definitely need an adequate amount of training to prevent chaos from changing shoes on your race day.
5. Taper Week
Training is done! Now, it’s taper time!
During the final one to two weeks leading up to the race, you should progressively reduce the volume of your training mileage and high-intensity work specific to your event. Whether you are an amateur or elite triathlete, tapering is a significant period to save your energy for the race and for optimal performance.
Ideally, you should make a point to keep everything short which the final week should be about 30% to 50% reduction in your overall training volume compared to your pre-taper volume. On top of that, it is common to apply longer tapers (up to 3 weeks) for your race to ensure that your chronic training load and fatigue with high intensity sufficiently decrease.
In the meantime, you are encouraged to consume more carbohydrates to gain abundant energy just in time for your goal race!