It takes time to become a great triathlete, but maybe not as much time as you think. Top triathlon coaches Rob Griffiths, Ralph Hydes and Paul Ryman show you how to get fit this lunchtime

How much time do you have to train? The answer is probably, “Not enough!” When you have a busy job, family, and lots of Triathlon training in your lunch breakother demands on your time, it’s difficult to make space to fit in the training that will give you the result you want.

Having a limited time to train means we have to get the most out of every minute of every session to produce the most effective results. Most triathletes, including the pros, use volume as a key measure of how much training we are doing. As time-pressured athletes we have to limit our volume, as we don’t have the luxury of hours to play with. This creates its own challenges, as developing our endurance base and becoming efficient at using fat for fuel takes training time. however, if we are smart and periodise our training into blocks of specific work throughout the year, we can minimise the downside of these effects.

Rob Griffiths’ Top Tips for Time-Challenged Athletes

1. GET TESTED

Don’t waste time guessing, find out your key training  numbers (eg heart-rate zones). TrainingBible UK offers testing to help you do this.

2. GET A PLAN

Either design one if you can, or get a plan from a coach. It saves time and you can fit it around your daily life without wasting time thinking about what session to do.

3. APPLY THE 80/20 RULE

80% of your fitness comes from 20% of your sessions. Hard intervals make the biggest impact

4. IMPROVE YOUR TECHNIQUE

Become a master of economy by becoming technically super-smooth.

5. MANAGE YOUR WEIGHT

If your focus is on improved performance, make sure you are at your race weight. This is one factor you can control that will make a big difference to your performance.

Now for some good, hard sessions to get stuck into this lunchtime…

It is possible to make useful fitness gains in the short space of a lunch break. Coaches Ralph Hydes and Paul Ryman give 15 hard training sessions in the latest issue of Triathlon Plus: here are five to try:

1. Swim Session for Speed

Squeezing a fantastic speed session in your lunch hour is very rewarding. Warm up with 200m easy front crawl; 6 x 50m with 15secs recovery after each rep. Then for the main set, do as many 100m reps as you can within your limited tiem – this will depend on your own speed. So go for 100m hard efforts working at 8/10 work rate with 30secs’ recovery in between each 100m. Allow yourself a 200m warm down.

2. Build-up run

Focus on running form and technique while completing this session. This workout will improve your leg cadence and running speed. Remember the intervals are not max efforts. Warm up with 5mins walk into 5 mins progressive jog, gradually building the heart rate. For the main set: do 5x50m bursts with 50m recovery between each one. Your main set is 20mins consisting of 10 reps, each 90secs effort with 30secs super-slow jog recovery. For reps 1-3 stay at a work rate of 6/10; 4-8 work rate 7/10; 8-10 work rate 8/10. Do 5mins warm down and have a stretch to finish.

3. Strength circuits

Conditioning in the gym is very important; try this workout to stay strong fo rtriathlon. do 5mins warm-up on a spin bike, then 5mins as 30secs hard/30 secs very easy. Then repeat the circuit below as much as you can in 30mins: 1. Body squats, arms out straight. 2. Wide press-ups x 20. 3. Pull-ups with wide grip x 10 – ouch! 4. Step-ups on to a bench x 20. 5. 800m run on a treadmill at 4% incline. 6. Alternate lunges x 20. 7. Plank – 30secs. 8. Back extensions, ahnds on your bottom whith your chin tucked in and eyes down x 30. 9. Ab cruches with a medicine ball x 20. 10. Side plank left – 30secs. 11. Side plank right – 30 secs. 12. Back extensions – hands either side of your head with your elbows off the floor, chin tucked in and eyes down x 20. Finish with 5-10mins warm down on spin bike and complete a stretch session. Hold all stretches for 45 secs.

4. Race pace run

A good threshold session is to run at your race pace for 1km; allow 90secs recovery and then repeat. (Make sure you warm up before this session with 10mins easy jogging and some ‘strides’.) Aim to do 4 to 8. When you can’t maintain your race pace any more, then it’s time to stop.

5. Gym brick

This session is best done in a gym where you have access to a treadmill and stationary bike. After your warm-up, start with a bike of 10 minutes at 80% effort, maintaining a cadence of 95rpm or faster. Then jump off and on to the treadmill for 10mins. (Remember your bike heart rate is about 8bpm less than your run heart rate – therefore you’ll have different heart-rate values for the bike and the run.) After you’ve completed the run, repeat the sequence, pushing up to 85% if you feel good.

Read the full article in Issue 20 of Triathlon Plus magazine, on sale today (UK only). You can buy it here and never miss an issue by subscribing here!