Why Consistency Is Key

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Success doesn’t come from what you do irregularly. 
It comes from what you do consistently!!

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times – “Consistency is key“.
It has many, more modern guises –

“the grind”,
“the hustle”,
“showing up more times than the other guy”,
“outworking the more talented.”

It’s true!!
The more often you do something (good or bad) the better you get at it. This is better known as the “practice makes perfect” principle.

The only caveat is that you can only be consistent if the training load is achievable.

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The Science and Art of coaching

The science of coaching is basically about scheduling (Frequency) the right amount of training (Time) at the right pace (Intensity).

The art of coaching is getting the mix of Frequency, Intensity and Time dialled in for each athlete.

Of these 3 variables, the first variable we manipulate to get the best out of our athletes is Frequency. The more frequently an athlete can train, the better the chances of improvement.

For example, a novice triathlete who comes from a swimming background and wants to do their first Half Ironman might be only able to handle 2 hours of running training per week of running. As running is a new skill and coming from a swim only background, this new athlete’s running mechanics will not be very well developed. (like fish out of water).

If they look at the training plans of our other novice half ironman athletes they might see that the weekly long runs vary from 90 minutes to just over 2 hours and that there will be 3-4 other runs sessions in the week.

Most new athletes will jump in and copy what the others are doing, get 2 to 3 weeks in and be very sore, if not injured.

Our approach would be to decrease their swimming time a week to accommodate cycling and running training. Cycling volume, because it is low impact, can be increased quite quickly. Running volume, however, will have to be introduced at a much slower rate. 

The “10% Rule” is rubbish.

How we do it.

2 hours is not an unachievable amount of running training time for a new athlete. Keep in mind that is 2 hours total running time which includes the warm-ups and cool-down phases.

For most of our novices, we would schedule 4 runs a week:

Monday – Medium paced run
Wednesday – intervals (in the build and peak phases ) or tempo
Friday – Medium paced run
Sunday – long slow run

Phase 1

To get the Frequency right for our new athlete, we would immediately get them on the standard running schedule (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday), but each run for the first 4 to 6 weeks would only be 30 minutes long.

 

WU:
10 mins Z1

MS:
15 mins Z2 or MAF zone

LD:
5 mins Z1 or walking

Phase 2

After the initial 4 to 6 weeks, more time would be added to, first the Sunday run, then the Wednesday run, then the Friday before adding time to the Monday run.

We track our athletes post training pain or discomfort levels. No pain means we can safely add more time to the raining sessions.

Phase 3

This stage starts once runs in the week have built up between 40 to 60 minutes and the Sunday long run is between 90 to 105 minute long. The athlete must consistently manage these with low pain reports.

We then decrease the duration of the Wednesday run and add some intensity (intervals in Z4 and Z5 will be added)

Training Plans
Event specific Programs
Individualised Coaching

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Conclusion:

Consistency can only be maintained if the training load is achievable.

First set the frequency of training sessions then take a phased approach to increasing the duration of the sessions before intriducing intensity.

Coach Shamus

Coaching since 1993, Coach Shamus has both theoretical knowledge and practical experience in triathlon having represented his country at the world championships on many occasions. He has competed in all distances from Sprint to Full Ironman and still, after more than 30 years of training and competing, gets excited to wake up and meet the team on the pool deck.
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