Triathlon Training - Big Day Training
Big Day Training (BDT) is the most specific form of endurance training that you can do for long course racing (a short course example is below as well). The program on the site is designed to progress an athlete from riding long to BDT.
The first step with BDT is to be able to move (at any pace) across your entire day. Here is an example:
Swim 60 minutes, Bike 5 hours, Run 60 minutes
Once you get to the point that this is easy then you can make the back half of each session steady-state. This type of workout addresses the key limiter of most IM athletes -- base endurance.
The next step (with the workout that I posted above) is to increase the steady-state component of the training. An example of where an elite, or speedy AGer, might take it:
So the next step is to increase the race specific component within the Big Day.
I know very few athletes where endurance is not a limiter; it requires constant work. Most IMers think that they graduate to tempo-type training (I certainly did when I started). It doesn't work that way. The core of the optimal program is a varying amount of steady-state training, year-round.
The ultimate goal of training is to improve race performance at goal race intensity. Most of the IM field has an average race intensity of Aerobic Threshold (AeT), or lower. Many (most?) of the field believe that IM performance is optimized through maximizing pace/performance/endurance at Functional Threshold Pace/Power (FTP) or AeT+20-30 bpm. That's not my experience.
If you test the aerobic economy of most amateur endurance athletes -- lactate step test or other method -- then you'll most often find upside through increased focus on steady-state economy. Even with elites, it is worth reviewing their economy profile to search for upside. Athletes with exceptional VO2 often use aerobic power to overcome a lack of aerobic economy.
Example of Short Course Big Day Training
The workout below is an example of a day that I built for one of my athletes that is preparing for a late summer Oly Distance race. She has a Sprint Tri in four weeks (three weeks from the date of the session below).
Gordo Challenge, you're going to swim, bike and run -- all before 10am!