Five Tips for Short Course Triathletes

150 150 Rich Strauss

On the BikeAfter years of wearing the Ironman® pointy hat, we’ve recently been getting back to our roots as Short Course athletes.

We’d like to share with you Five Tips to help you get the most out of Short Course triathlon training and racing:

#1: Ignore Training Volume

We strongly encourage you to not have weekly training volume goals…or to even measure it, for that matter. Instead, we recommend you:

  1. Determine how much time life gives you each day. 30 minutes? 45? 60? More? Whatever, it just doesn’t matter. However, it’s important that this daily training volume is repeatable — you can do it week after week without significant costs to your life.
  2. Focus on managing the details of each workout within the volume that life assigns to the workout. Whether you run 30 or 45 minutes on Wednesday isn’t nearly as important as what you do during the time that life gives you for the workout.

Let the rest of the triathlon world focus on weekly volume. You, the smart triathlete, focus on the details of each individual workout and let volume sort itself out. We discuss this principle in much more detail in Lesson #3 of the Short Course Seminar.

#2: Swim — It’s About Technique

Raise your hand if you swam competitively at the college or high school level. If you did NOT raise your hand, swimming for you is a technique, not fitness, exercise. You need to approach swimming as you would learning a musical instrument, seeking out local technique instruction vs jumping into a Masters workout where you’re told to bang on the piano keys, very hard, for an hour. Once you’ve mastered the basics of swim technique, you can then begin to add a fitness component. In Lesson #2 we’ll share with you our Swim Clinic eBook, download by over 8,000 athletes.

#3: Bike — It’s Never Too Soon to Start Getting Faster

Forget every “base training” article you’ve ever read. Just swing your leg over the top tube and go “that way” pretty much as fast as you can, all the time. In our experience, you won’t get hurt and you’ll become significantly faster, much more quickly, than your base building twin who is wasting hours each week effectively de-training at very low intensities.

#4: Run — A Little Bit Goes a Long Way

The run requires a bit more caution than the bike. However, you’ll be surprised at how little go-faster running it takes to make you a significantly faster runner. As little as 15-20′ of 10k pace running, inserted anywhere across your run training week, will breathe new life into your running fitness and boost your race day performance.

#5: Body Composition — Use Endurance Training as a Tool to Get Leaner…and Faster!

Body composition is the fifth sport of triathlon: Swim, Bike, Run, Execution (includes race day nutrition), Body Composition. If you can race at 175lb vs 185lb, 152 vs 158, 118 vs 122, all things being equal, you will be faster. Of course, the usual caveats apply: everyone is different, there’s definitely an unhealthy vs healthy weight for all of us, can’t lose too quickly because training and recovery will suffer, etc. So as long as we are spending so much time, money, effort, SAU’s, and more on the items 1-4, we might as well apply similar focus to #5 because it can only help us.

Interested in learning more?

Explore the Team
Become a Team Member

This is our Short Course Training and Racing solution. Plans, coach support and more!


Not into Plan? Please register for our FREE virtual seminar: Short Course Training and Racing (see below). You’ll receive five lessons delivered to your inbox. Each lesson will consist of a podcast and accompanying presentations slides, etc.

FREE Short Course Triathlon Seminar
Sprint and Olympic Triathlon 101

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.