I was leafing through an Inside Triathlon magazine from Jan/Feb 2012 while in my office/bathroom and they had an article in it highlighting philosophies and tips for pro and age grouper athletes from world renown coaches. Above is Siri Lindley - she's coached prominent pros Carfrae (for 7 years) and Cave. Some insights: "every age grouper should aim for one speed session, one long endurance session, and one strength session in each sport every week. If you can do that you have all your bases covered."
Joe Filliol, former Canadian and British National Triathlon Coach, and now coaching Findlay and Carfrae. He advocates trying to achieve the maximum sustainable training load for any given athlete. "The key word is sustainable or consistency. It means that the level of training, the level of work you can back up day to day and week to week for a long period of time. When progressed over time, athletes will be able to absorb and tolerate a higher and higher level of work. Also, "Age groupers can make it more complicated than it needs to be at times. Be consistent. It's easy to overdo single sessions but then sacrifice consistency."
Darren Smith, Australian coach who oversaw Olympians Lisa Norden (Silver) and Sarah Groff (4th) at the London Olympics. He advocates the importance of proper technique. With good technique comes efficiency and reduced incidence of injury. Also, "Focus on what you "can do". Don't focus on what you can't do or can't control, which is other people. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Maintain strengths and improve any deficiancies."
Finally, Brett Sutton, controversial Australian coach and authoritarian. While polarizing he is probably the most successful. He guided Chrissie Wellington, Nicole Spirig (gold medalist), Caroline Steffen. "I aim to to tailor to the individual rather than the group - different people need to be motivated in different ways. For age groupers it's about you and improving you. Use a training group for the social atmosphere and to improve you. Don't go head to head with the guy next to you because that will just tear you down." He also states, "I think the biggest mistake age groupers make is setting times. Enviromental conditions change all the time - trying to achieve set times under tough conditions will only lead to failure." On training, " Go hard when the body wants to. When the body doesn't feel great, we don't push hard when our body's telling us not to." On Ironman racing, " Over an Ironman, it's not "I'm going to race the guy next to me." It's what your body's capable of doing - the amount of power your body can do over the course of the day. I've seen too many age groupers got their head down 2-3 hours into a race and pay for it later on the run and blame it on their training or nutrition. On avoiding overtraining, "The thing is for most age groupers there is also work and family. So, for instance, if I've got an age grouper down to do a fast run for a Wednesday night and they've had a rough day at work, I'd tell them don't do it. Combining physical and mental stress will only make it worse. Instead I'd tell them to go for a run with an extended warmup leading into a steady pace. If you can feel stress beginning to release and feel good, pick up the pace. If not, don't force it, and leave the pace steady."
Great training advice. You can be simple, really, and usually involves consistency and listening to our bodies. I had a 10 mile "death march" run yesterday where I listened to my body. It was cold, very windy and I started out with a goal pace. Not long into the run I realized my body was not going to be able to match the pace so I slowed down and ran a pace my body would allow. I even walked one steep hill. It didn't help that I've been getting to bed way too late the last few days - duh! Anyway, let's learn from theses coaches - they've proven they know what they're talking about!