i just started training for my first sprint and am finding that it is easier for me to bike and then swim, as opposed to swim then bike (as my training plan tells me). i feel strong in both areas, mostly worried about the running..so is it ok to reverse the order of my training? of course i will do a few sessions in the right sequence but for now, since i train in the mornings at the gym - its easier to bike first and then get wet.
also - do you guys train on stationary bikes at some points? again, of course ill ride outside but may need a stationary bike at least once a week..
thanks in advance.
Ideally you want to train in the order you do the event (specificity of training) but it won't hurt to do it the way you are doing it. I found that many people (and myself) tend to get calve/foot cramps if they bike or run before they swim.
I frequently train on a stationary trainer, partly because of weather and also because of family commitments (staying home to watch the kids). While it is not the same as the real thing, you can get just as good of a workout on it. Make sure you wear a heart rate monitor and then do your workout accordingly. Aerobic days pedal fast enough to get your heart rate into the aerobic zone but not too fast to get into the anaerobic zone. On your interval days either make up your own intervals or use a training tape like SPINERVALS and get your heart rate above your lactate threshold. Completing one of those video tapes would be good enough for a sprint tri but for a really good workout try completing 2 or 3 of those videos back-to-back (1 1/2 - 2 hours of training). Like many things, it all depends on the effort you put into it.
When it hurts, smile.
If it doesn't hurt, you're not going hard enough.
I frequently do Swim/Bike, Swim/Run workouts. The reason being is that it can be a shock to the system when going from a vertical postion from being horizontal for a period of time. You need to get use to this. However you have to do with whatever fits in your schedule.
Staitonary bike, only when I travel, but I train on a trainer ALL the time. Specifically a computrainer as I can get a much more focused workout on a CT than actually on the road. I'll do time trials and single leg drills and work on pedaling efficency on the trainer.
A few considerations:
Since this is your first tri, remember to have fun - do whatever amount of training it takes to cross that finish line with a smile on your face! When is the tri? Early on in the training program it's important to focus on high volume training - meaning it's probably better to count time on saddle or time on feet rather than miles. Just the fact that you are training multiple legs on one day will increase your endurance or "fill your tank" as we like to say.
Even for a more elite triathlete, it's okay to mix up the order. This is a method of pre-fatiguing and I believe it's vital in training. You have to get used to swimming, biking, and running when you're already a little tired. As the race gets closer, however, your training should become more specific and I agree that you should train "in order" more days than you don't.
Last - by nature, we don't work on our weak links as much as we should. If running is not your thing, that may actually be where you need to spend most of your time - strength training and track/speed workouts can immensely help your stride.
Justin Robinson, MA,RD,CSSD,CSCS
Consultant - Optimal Nutrition