Have you already completed your first Sprint Triathlon? Are you a good runner and want to know what type of training to do to improve?

Most Sprint Triathlon Training plans available online are for beginner or first time triathletes and contain little information on how to get faster. If you have a background in running, especially if you enjoy doing 5 or 10k runs, then you are in a great position to start focusing on improving your run times for your next sprint triathlon.

Olympic Running coach and physiologist Jack Daniels has developed a method of assessing your run fitness based on your most recent race times, for example, your most recent or best 5k or 10k time. By comparing your race time to a table, you can find out your training index, a number he refers to as “V Dot”.

Where the Term “V DOT” comes from
The name “V Dot” comes from exercise physiology studies in which the actual amount of oxygen your body is using is measured using sophisticated equipment that measures your body’s production of oxygen and carbon dioxide during exercise. Using the results of his testing from thousands of athletes, Dr. Daniels created a reference table which allows the amateur athlete to estimate their own oxygen uptake or “V Dot” value.

The benefit of knowing this number is that it allows you to plan appropriate interval training for your run training schedule without having to spend money on expensive lab testing. Instead you use the times from your recent 5k or 10k races to find your “V Dot”  and then simply look up the training paces in order to plan your training.

It’s really not as complicated as it sounds. I am going ot use my sister in law as an example. A naturally gifted runner, she recently began running and soon entered her first 5K race. This went so well, she entered a 2nd and 3rd 5k, and won her age group! Up to this point, she had just gone out jogging and running on a random schedule whenever she could fit it in.

Case Study: Mother of Two Training for First Triathlon

Now she would like to maximize the time she spends running so I helped her out by finding her “V Dot” and giving her some workout suggestions for the next 4 weeks to prepare for her first triathlon.

Her best 5K time was 18:30. By consulting Dr. Daniels “V Dot” tables (available in his book “Jack Daniel’s Running Formula” as well as several online sources), I determined that her “V Dot” was about 54. Out of context, then number 54 doesn’t mean much. But by cross referencing the tables in his excellent book, we find that her training paces for running are as follows:

Endurance Pace: 8:00 min/mi
Marathon Pace: 6:49 min/min 95s/400m
Tempo Pace: 6:26 min/mi 88s/400m
Interval Pace: 88sec/400 4:25/1000m
Repetition pace: 82 sec/400m 40sec/200

You’ll notice that as the paces get faster, there is no guidance for longer intervals. For example, why is there no mile pace for a Repetition or Interval intensity ? The idea is that as the intensity increases (ie as you run faster), you will not be able to sustain that pace for as long a time period. Running at your Repetition or Interval pace for longer than 4-5 minutes is extremely difficult and physiologically stressful, and therefore not necessary.

By running faster paces for shorter periods of time, you improve specific aspects of your cardiovascular and skeletal system allowing you to race faster. So it’s OK that there is no mile pace for “Repetition” pace. We will only do repetitions of 200 to 800m.

Designing a Training Plan is an Art

So the real art of designing a training program is what to do with these paces, and how to integrate them into a training plan while planning for rest, recovery and minimizing risk if injury and over-training.

The second half of this article will include the actual 8 week Sprint Training Plan for the running portion, so stay tuned. If you would like more information and pricing on personalized Triathlon Coaching, visit my main Coaching website, Steel City Endurance

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Rememeber, A Day without Sweat is a Day without Sunshine!

Coach Suzanne

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