How to Regain Fitness For Triathlon – Part 2

A couple of weeks I wrote a blog about my 30 day challenge. It was about how to regain fitness.

I had got into a bad habit of making excuses had led to weight gain of over 10kg, inconsistent training and becoming 'soft' mentally.

In the two weeks that have followed I am pleased to say I have lost weight and am progressing well in my 30 day challenge.

One goal was to do my strength routine in the gym every day and the other was to change my eating habits.  Both are going well so far and I have not missed a day in the gym and after the first week I lost 1.1kg.

However the results are a bonus to what the new habits are teaching and reminding me.

  1. Success is based on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly work of doing the little things. No one session or meal will make the difference. It's putting all together over a long period of time that deliver the results.
  2. Setting small achievable goals is important to achieve your long term goal.  I want to get back to a place where my routines and habits are contributing towards my long term goals.  Setting the goal of doing gym every day and crossing it off on the wall calendar is motivating. I look forward to crossing it off every day and like seeing all the crosses.  It is giving my brain a dopamine hit.
  3. Once you do something for a couple of weeks you've almost formed a new habit.  I would always buy a chocolate bar from the shop most days, drink juice in the fridge and generally not worry about how much I ate, thinking because I kept active it was okay. Now I only drink water, haven't had chocolate in over a month and am watching my calorie intake.  They have become new habits.

If I go back to how am I going to regain fitness, I have about 10 months to prepare for Ironman Cairns.  The last 4-5 months my training has been around 6-9 hours of gym, swim, bike and run per week.

That was all about establishing a semi regular training routine again which I have done. I also wanted to see if I actually was prepared to commit to something long term again or if it was a romantic moment of motivation that we all get if thinking of a comeback.

For the last 2-2.5 years my weekly training was 4-6 hours per week of mainly running and gym with a little cycling but no swimming.  It was more exercising as opposed to training.

I also need to be patient and take it slowly when building back up to the point when I can handle training for an Ironman race again.

Therefore along with adopting new habits around my diet and becoming more mentally resilient the next 3 months I'll increase my weekly training volume to 10-13 hours per week.

In the process of last few months and also for the next 3 months I have to remember it will take some time to get back to full fitness.

That means being comfortable with going much slower, recovery is longer and not being able to train as much as I used to for a while yet, if at all.

So how am I going to regain fitness? What I have done is set some short term goals around swimming, riding and running which are:

  1. Swimming 3 times per week consistently for 3 months with each session 2-3km.
  2. Biking once per week on the indoor trainer , one longer ride of 3-4 hours per week with lots of hills and a high intensity hill repeat session each week
  3. Running 3 times per week all on the trails to build strength with my long run building from 90 min to 2 hours by the end of the year.
  4. Continue regular gym session 2-3 times per week once my 30 day challenge is over.

The majority of the training will be easy aerobic at a perceived effort of 5-7/10 and lots of hills to build strength and endurance.  Let the fitness come to me rather than force it.

None of these goals are based around how fast I go. They are short term goals that if I complete will lead to natural improvements in my speed and performance.

With changed habits around my diet and a continuation of setting short term goals it should help me reach my long term goal. Race well at Ironman Cairns and get down to 70kg for race day.


About Mark

Mark is one of Australia's most experienced and knowledgeable triathlon coaches. With over 25 years experience coaching at all levels from kids, youth, adult and elite professional athletes across the World. He loves seeing people change their lives through triathlon.