Coaching editor Phil Mosley has been back to tri coach school and discovered that, in triathlon, knowledge is power

Back to tri coach school: knowledge is power

It’s been a busy few weeks for me. I attended two triathlon coaching courses in the space of a week. My head has been buzzing with all the new information ever since. The first three days were spent practicing underwater swim video analysis with Swim Smooth. Day four was with British Triathlon at Loughborough University, learning more about Training Peaks software.

It got me thinking about how triathlon has changed over the last 20 years. Now there’s so much information available that there’s almost no excuse for repeating the same mistakes in your racing and training. It makes me look back and wonder if I’d have done better in certain races if I’d known then what I know now. I can think back to several triathlons where I went far too hard on the bike and blew up on the run. I imagine many of you have similar stories.

Today, it’s easier to get things right. For example, you can use websites such as BestBikeSplit.com to predict what time you’ll do for the bike section of your next tri. It’s a startlingly accurate tool. More importantly, it’ll tell you how to tackle the bike course in the most optimal way. This allows you to ride a relatively fast time and still be fresh for the run.

It’s a similar story when it comes to swim analysis. Swim Smooth say there are six “Swim Types” that they see over and over again. These include Arnies – super competitive athletes who fight the water while their legs sink – and Overgliders –who over-think their stroke and pause too long at the catch in an attempt to lengthen their stroke. None of our technique flaws are new. All it takes is a few underwater video sessions and plenty of practice to iron them out. If only we knew.

If you’re keen to start leveraging some of this new wisdom, check out our IM 70.3 training plan. Use this six-week plan in conjunction with a race-prediction website such as BestBikeSplit.com and you’ll have every chance of race-day success. The alternative is to bury your head in the sand and focus on “training really hard”. This approach can get you a long way, but you’ll always get beaten by someone who has trained hard and smart. And let’s face it – who wants that?

Phil Mosley

Phil Mosley, Coaching Editor

The brains behind Training Zone is Phil Mosley, an elite triathlete, former national duathlon champion and coach with a degree in sports science. He also trains individuals at myprocoach.net

Find more training inspiration from our ‘bursting at the seams’ triathlon training section.