GETTING TO KNOW YOUR TRIATHLON ‘NUMBERS’ ALLOWS YOU TO OWN YOUR TRAINING
Personal Profiling identifies your current ‘triathlon numbers’ in swimming, cycling and running. These numbers will then give you your training zones, that will ensure you stay healthy and have the right balance in your day to day & week to week training.
Performance profiling is working out your triathlon strengths & weaknesses, which can then be used to guide your focus and energy output for training e.g. if you’re a weak swimmer, you will need to focus your energy on improving your swim.
Time to test yourself
WORKING OUT YOUR PACING FOR SWIM, BIKE & RUN
Below I have given you the information required to work out your ‘triathlon numbers’ I have included a video showing you how to input your numbers into Training Peaks platform. I have also given examples of what these numbers look like in the real world... Have fun!
SWIM TEST: 400m TT
This can be done in any pool but a 25 or 50m pool is best. Ideally you will be working at or around your vVO2max.
- 10 – 15 minutes mixed stroke
- Then complete a 200m-swim building to just above the pace you will try to swim your 400m TT (get a feel for your pace judgment).
- Finally, make sure you are recovered and ready to swim the main test swim.
What to record:
Time taken to complete your best 400m swim.
If you can, it’s good to record each 100m split (to see if you go off fast and then fade).
Even better is to get someone to video your swim towards the back end, as this is how your stroke will look when fatigued.
Bike Test: Functional Threshold Test (FTP)
NB: Power meter required, make sure your power meter is calibrated.
Go through the bike warm up and replicate the same warm up each time you test yourself (5mins spin - 5mins build 1 x gear harder each min - 5 x 30 sec on 30 off sprints - 5 spin.
If you are carrying out this test live (outside on your bike), the course needs to be flat (don’t want any free wheeling) or a continuous climb (you do not want to be stopped by traffic/ lights etc).
Once you are warmed up, do your best 20-minute effort at your race cadence.
• Average heart rate
• Maximum heart rate
• Average cadence
• Average speed
• Average power
• Left / right balance
• Normalized Power
Be sure to get in an easy 20 – 30 min cool down too recover.
Once you finish your ride you need to find out what your ave power was for the 20mins and subtract 5% from it… this is your FTP and what you should be able to sustain for 1hr once fit.
How to calculate your Power to Weight Ratio:
In order to work out where you stand in the world of endurance bike riding, you now need to work out your power to weight ratio in Function Threshold (FT). We measure our FT using a functional threshold test (FTP) over 20mins, this will give you you 1hr time trial time. To reduce the physiological/ psychological drop off rate that is associated with a test indoors, we do the test over 20mins and then subtract 5%.
Get your weight in Kg’s, divide this number by your ave wattage numbers from the 20min FT.
75kg male holds 300 watts for 20mins – subtract 5% = 285 divided by 75 = 3.8 w/kg = Moderate cyclist
Classification Males WKG
- World Class (International Pro) 5.9 – 6.4
- Exceptional (Domestic Pro) 5.4 – 5.8
- Excellent (1st Cat) 4.9 – 5.3
- Very Good (2nd Cat) 4.3 – 4.8
- Good (3rd Cat) 3.7 – 4.2
- Moderate 3.2 – 3.6
- Fair 2.6 – 3.1
- Time to Train! 2.1 – 2.5
Classification Females WKG
- World Class (International Pro) 5.2 – 5.6
- Exceptional (Domestic Pro) 4.7 – 5.2
- Excellent (1st Cat) 4.3 – 4.7
- Very Good (2nd Cat) 4.8 – 4.2
- Good (3rd Cat) 3.2 – 4.7
- Moderate 2.7 – 3.1
- Fair 2.2 – 2.6
- Time to Train! 1.7 – 2.1
There are two ways to improve your power to weight ratio 1. lose weight or 2. Get stronger on the bike.
Run Test: 6min vVO2max
This test is best done on a 400m running track, however it can be done using any device that records distance.
If using the track, place cones at every 50m between the 100m markers, so recording your distance is more accurate.
Have an idea in your head the sort of pace you think you would like to run at, because if you can physically run 90 sec per 100 and you go off at 80 sec per 100 you will fail to reach your distance as you will blow up. As with all time trials, it is a great way to learn about pace judgment.
Then run your best 6min effort and recored the distance you covered.
What else to record
- Strike rate (number of times 1 x foot hits the floor)
- Heart rate
- Each 400m split
Now you can work out your personal running speeds, I use 5 different pace zone;
- Easy (4- 6 sec slower than T) - Long steady distance running pace
- Tempo (4 - 6 sec slower than TH) - Ironman running pace
- Threshold (4 - 6 sec slower than I pace) - Sprint or Olympic distance running pace
- Interval (this is your vVO2 max pace) - Increase your aerobic capacity running pace
- Repetition (4 - 6 sec faster than I pace) - Increase your strength/ neural pathway running pace
When to re-test
CHECK THAT YOUR PERFORMANCE IS IMPROVING
Once you have done personal profiling it then becomes a fine balancing act as to when to re-test. The body needs to be well rested prior to re-testing. You need to replicate the same conditions (if it’s windy on the track last time that needs to be recorded and taken into consideration).
That said, prior to going into your preparation phase, you need to know that you’ve pushed your numbers up and that you’re hitting the time/pace/power required for your current fitness levels. If you’re a seasoned athlete and you’re looking to compare results year-on-year you need to also make sure that you test at the same time of the year.
Inputting your Training Zones
BRINGING YOUR TRAINING PLAN TO LIFE
Now you have a clear understanding of your ‘triathlon numbers’ you could just write down those numbers on a piece of paper in your diary etc. Or, with my training plan that you’ve download, we give you the option to input your training zones into the plan using Training Peaks.
Inputting your training zones into Training Peaks is not a necessity, however, it’s a cool thing to have linked in. This video from Training Peaks will take you through the steps of how to do it.
WORKING OUT YOUR TRIATHLON STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES TO OPTIMISE YOUR PERFORMANCE
Analysis of your current Triathlon status
You can add as many segments to your profiling charts as you feel fit. Below you will see 12 key areas for analysis of your current triathlon status.
Level L1 = poor – to L10 = best in your age group/ class.
1. Swim (Back 1 – 3 / mid 4 – 7 / front of pac 8 – 10)
2. Bike (Back 1 – 3 / mid 4 – 7 / front of pac 8 – 10)
3. Run (Back 1 – 3 / mid 4 – 7 / front of pac 8 – 10)
4. Strength (are you strong enough?)
5. Injury rate/ robustness (are you always injured?)
6. Psychology (lots of different areas here but do you feel mentally strong?)
7. Transition (fast & smooth compared to your peers?)
8. Nutrition (do you eat well/ healthy?)
9. Lifestyle (do you rest well, are you stressed, do you socialise? Are you happy?)
10. Technology (Is it helping of hindering you?)
11. Bloods (look at iron, Hematocrit, magnesium, zinc)
12. Physiological (Vo2max, lactate, economy, fat consumption)
Once you have gone through profiling & know your current level, you can follow it up later in your season, by breaking down individual disciplines, e.g Swim:
1. First buoy pace
2. Rounding buoys
3. Staying on feet
5. Pace judgment
8. Getting out of trouble in open water
9. Exiting water
10. Running to bike