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In recent weeks, several RTA athletes performed their regular triathlon training tests for each discipline. These tests are a critical part of triathlon training. They help measure progress (or lack there of) and allow us to reset training parameters for workouts. Ultimately the results closest to race day help us establish a realistic race execution plan with pacing strategies & time goals.
At RTA Triathlon, our professional triathlon coaches understand the importance of regular testing in all three disciplines. Every 5-8 weeks we schedule our athletes to perform basic tests in each discipline. These tests act as a measuring stick and are used as a bench mark to elicit continual improvement and eventually to help set realistic targets for race day.
Not only do test results act as a form of extra motivation and encouragement for our athletes, but as coaches we use this data to prescribe specific workouts for the weeks to come. Each athlete has specific needs and react differently to different workouts.
Needless to say, it’s impossible for test results to ALWAYS come back favorable. However, when an athlete gets less then optimal results, it provides an additional opportunity for our coaches and athletes to roundtable and re-look at what they have and/or have not been doing. In most cases, we are able to make small changes to get their future test results on track and ultimately have them fully prepared on race day.
Testing is important for all athletes. Beginners benefit because they will set a true baseline to gauge progress over time. The initial rapid improvement beginners will experience is also very motivating.
More advanced athletes are able to dial in their training regimen, avoid plateauing and ultimately continue progressing.
If you are a triathlete, you’ll want to test every 5-8 weeks in each discipline. Make sure you are relatively rested (i.e. don’t do a hard workout for at least a couple days leading up to your test).
There is not one right way to test. However, you’ll want to make sure your test is easily repeatable and can be done in the same (or similar) conditions each time you re-test.
Swimming: use the SAME pool (pool lengths can vary – meters, yards, slightly shorter/longer, ect) Avoid testing in the open water (i.e. lakes, ocean, ect) as weather & currents can greatly affect the outcome.
Common swim test: 500 yards straight
Cycling: Indoor trainer w/ power (preferably) OR the same exact outdoor course with NO stop signs or lights (tough to find!)
Common BIKE test: 20-30 minute TT
Running: Track or other flat course where you don’t have to stop or slow down for people, cars, intersections, ect
Common RUN test: 3 miles straight on a track
Prior to each test make sure you are fully warmed up and ready to go. Each effort should be your maximum sustainable effort for the particular distance or time.
Record your results including the date it was performed, your splits and all relevant data.