Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Distance or Time?

A few years ago when I first sat down with my swim coach, who is also a level 1 USAT tri coach, she outlined a plan for me that was based on training by TIME. In other words, figure out how much time your longest race will take you, and then schedule your workouts so that you know you can go hard for that amount of time.

When I sat down this fall with the Triathlete's Training Bible, I had a similar pick your periodization based on the number of hours in a year you think you'll train (ok, that's drastically simplified) but it was still about TIME, not about the distance covered in that time...

I know when you're training for an Ironman, you might train so that you complete ONE of the THREE distances in one training session but you likely never do the whole ironman distance. But along the same lines, you don't really go out and train for 14 hours...if you think that's how long it's going to take you to finish an ironman.

I know when you train for a marathon or half marathon that you're more likely to focus on milage...distance run during your training sessions. Why would triathlon be any different?

So how do YOU schedule your training? Do you map out your training year by TIME or by DISTANCE? WHY? Anyone feel strongly that there's a right way and a wrong way? Feel free to reference any relevant links too...

Thanks for the imput!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't think there is a right or wrong way, its really about personal preference. i train by time and for me, it just makes scheduling things less stressful. i don't have to mark mileage, if i have a two hour run, i run out an hour and turn around. i like not having to think about it!

1:47 PM GMT-5

Blogger Flatman said...

I don't really map out a years training in advance (no surprise there!). I guess I train by mileage, as that is how I enter it into my training log, but I also enter my training times too.

In actuallity, I train by time, because that is my limiter. :)

For instance:

"Honey, you need to be back from your bike ride by 9:30 so we can go to Home Depot and pick up supplies for your weekend projects..."

2:35 PM GMT-5

Blogger TriSaraTops said...

I had the same dilemma in my head last year..."What? What? I don't need to worry about MILES?! But I LIKE to worry about miles..." :)

I had success doing training by volume (time) for HIM and IM. For Oly/Sprint tris and all running (marathon, half marathon, etc.) I've had good success with mileage. I don't know if that's the "right" way, but it worked for me.

3:26 PM GMT-5

Blogger nancytoby said...

Distance. Period.

(And pace, if there's a time limit on the target event that I'm concerned about.)

Everybody does the same distance. That's the one non-negotiable. It takes some of us a heck of a lot longer to finish a given distance than others!!

7:36 PM GMT-5

Blogger Joe B said...

Hate to say I agree with Nancy.. :)

But a race is measured in distance and not time (except for those few 24 hour fixed time events).

Running by time say 40 minutes could be 5 miles or 6.5, which is a huge difference.

7:55 PM GMT-5

Blogger Barb said...

Even though I've read numerous times that I should train by time, I'm fixated on distance.

The one time goal I need to start focusing on is that fat burning doesn't start to happen until sometime after the 45 1 hour mark. Long, slow distance for base building and hopefully some weight loss.

I assume that the slow 3 milers I do are doing nothing for me other than helping recovery after a long run.

I think it's ok to count mileage, but making each mile count is the hard part.

1:08 PM GMT-5

Blogger Cliff said...

In swim and bike, I will pick distance. In run, I will pick volume.

Reason: Swim and bike is easier on the body. Run is very stressful. No IM training ever have someone to do the run leg (marathon) at once. Too stressful, take too long to heal and add chances of injury.

Do note that I picked swim and bike b/c my body is fit enough to handle the distance.

Last season, my body can readily absorb 15-18 hr a week of training. I haven't done the swim IM distance but I have done the bike IM distance multiple times.

If my body can only handle 10 hr a week. I won't recommend going for a 6 hr bike ride (equivalent of IM bike distance) b/c that is pushing the body too hard.

So OVERALL, the deal is find an ideal volume/distance that can push your body just enough that it grows..but not too much that it is overtrain.

3:13 PM GMT-5

Blogger Audrey said...

um...i'm supposed to have a training plan for my 1/2 IM??? :)

i seriously need to get on that.

love the blog!

3:17 PM GMT-5


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