Evaluation report of beginner triathlete online training program


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This document contains the evaluation of the half-ironman triathlon training program from beginnertriathlete.com.

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Evaluation report of beginner triathlete online training program

  1. 1. Evaluation of Beginnertriathlete.com Half-Ironman Training Program Submitted to Beginnertriathlete.com and evaluated by Steven Poast7/30/2010<br />Abstract<br />This document contains the evaluation of the half-ironman triathlon training program from beginnertriathlete.com. The half-ironman training program is a 20 week program designed with weekly workouts in swimming, bicycling, and running. Its purpose is to prepare an experienced short distance triathlete for the longer distance of half-ironman. During this evaluation data was taken from an athlete’s training log and race results to assess if he was progressing and meeting the benchmarks necessary to continue training for this event. <br />The results of this evaluation reveal that the athlete is not at this time ready to continue training for the half-ironman triathlon. Concerns with swimming performance compared to swim preparation point to possible problems not revealed through quantitative analysis. While the bike and run disciplines of the race are on track with training, the swim portion is an area of concern. Therefore, recommendations have been made to adjust training, focus on preparing for race-day environment, and gaining comfort in open water swimming.<br />Introduction<br />This report will evaluate the triathlon training website Beginnertriathlete.com, specifically its 20 week half Ironman (HIM) training program. Beginnertriathlete.com is an online training site for endurance athletes. The site includes programs designed for individuals attempting their first 5K race to seasoned veterans aiming for a personal record in an Ironman distance triathlon. This plan is designed for individuals with some experience in the sport of triathlon at the sprint, or Olympic distance level and is building toward completing a half Ironman distance race. A half Ironman triathlon consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. This particular program involves five to ten hours of training each week. The goals of this plan range from completing the race to completing the race with a competitive time.<br />The HIM training plan is broken down into six training periods: Preparation, Base 1, Base 2, Base 3, Build, and Taper. During each week of a training period there are specific goals and objectives used to aid the athlete in physical and mental health, efficiency, and race preparation. Each timed workout focuses on one of the three sports and the skills needed to be successful in that sport. The HIM program is designed to gradually build an athlete’s fitness and endurance, allowing time for the body to rest and adapt to the training.<br />Purpose<br />The purpose of this report is to evaluate the process and improvement of the athlete’s participation in triathlon competition by using the HIM training program. Specifically the impact the program has on the athlete’s ability to improve individual and overall times from the baseline data recorded on May 23rd, 2010 at the Caesar Creek Sprint Triathlon in Waynesville, Ohio. During the 800 meter swim, the athlete felt short of breath, panic, and even left the water during the competition. Though finally completing the swim portion of the race, it was thought more training was necessary to improve swimming endurance. The athlete involved has a strong background in bicycling and running, therefore the swimming portion of training will be of most concern. The overall goal is to determine if progress is being made toward the goal of completing an HIM triathlon. This report will document whether or not the athlete has made the necessary improvements to continue training for the HIM race.<br />This document will present the results of a three week training period prior to the One World Triathlon (OWT) in Cincinnati, Ohio. These results will be compared to the baseline study from the Tri-Tech Ohio Challenge (TTOC) at Caesar Creek State Park in Waynesville, Ohio. Both qualitative and quantitative forms of data were collected to analyze the participant’s progress in training. Data was collected via the training log on the website. The training log includes length of time per workout and level of intensity for each workout. Other areas of information include amount of sleep, body weight, fatigue, soreness, and stress. The participant completed a daily journal which provides insight into areas not covered by quantitative categories.<br />Program Description<br />Program Objectives   <br />The stated objectives of the H.I.M. training program center on building an athlete’s speed, efficiency, and endurance. This is managed with a gradual process of weekly training sessions. Each week all three disciplines (swim, bike, run) are performed and assessed for both skill and endurance. The objectives for this athlete are to:<br /><ul><li>Develop swim endurance and speed for a 400 meter triathlon swim
  2. 2. Improve bicycling performance (speed) for a 12.5 mile triathlon ride
  3. 3. Integrate drills to improve running efficiency during a 3.1 mile triathlon run</li></ul>If these objectives are successfully achieved then the athlete is meeting the benchmarks necessary to continue working towards completing a Half-Ironman distance triathlon. If any of the objectives are not met then a re-evaluation of the training plan may be necessary before further training can continue.<br />Program Components    <br />The H.I.M. training plan is designed to take an endurance athlete with some experience in triathlon and prepare them for a half Ironman distance event. Before beginning the program it is noted that the athlete in training is 1. Have 1-3 recent years experience in endurance sports with equal ability in all three sports, 2. Probably limited in the amount of time they can dedicate to training due to other commitments, and 3. Willing to maximize training to become a complete athlete therefore finishing the event in optimal time and condition.<br />The 20 week program is broken into several training periods. Each period is designed to build endurance, efficiency, mental conditioning, and nutrition. The first phase is the preparation phase which consists of consistent workouts in each discipline. This prepares the body for the rigorous training in future phases of the program. There are three “base” phases of training which consists of three weeks of intense training followed by a rest week. Four weeks prior to the race the two week build phase begins. These two weeks reach the highest demand of training time at nine hours each. Finally the taper phase begins as workouts are still intense but at a short duration leading up to race day. A detailed schedule is provided in Appendix A.<br />Evaluation Method<br />Participants   <br />The H.I.M training program is by many athletes and is available for free at beginnertriathlete.com, however for this evaluation there will be one participant. Steven Poast is competing in his first season of triathlon after years of competing in duathlon and cycling events. Steven has competed in the duathlon equivalent to the half-Ironman distance back in 2002. While competing in sprint-distance races he has placed top three in his age group on several occasions and has decided to make the change over to triathlon. Steven’s strengths are in the bicycling and running disciplines of triathlon, so much of his training focus has been in swimming. He has spent the past year learning proper freestyle swimming form and technique in order to be efficient in the water.<br />The author of this training program is Scott Herrick. Scott is listed as a veteran level triathlete on beginnertriathlete.com. Scott is the author of several triathlon training programs including: Beginner Full Ironman Training Program, Olympic Distance – Intermediate level training programs, and Heart-Rate Monitor Training for Triathletes.<br />Procedures   <br />A goal-based model will be used for this evaluation. The program is designed to prepare an athlete for a half Ironman distance triathlon. It will be decide if the athlete is meeting the stated objectives and should thereby continue using the H.I.M. training program. <br />Data Sources   <br />Data was collected from the athlete’s training log which included frequency of workouts per discipline, overall volume of workouts per discipline, and total distance trained per discipline. Data was also collected from race day results which are posted on each of the event’s websites. This includes overall time for completion, completion time for individual disciplines, transition times between disciplines, and time comparisons both over-all and in the 35-40 year old male category. A list of online data resources can be found in Appendix B It should be noted that the individual discipline times for the TTOC race are not available through the website. Those results were taken by the athlete himself during competition. <br />Results<br />Athletic performance varied both in overall performance and within each of the three disciplines. Table 1 below summarizes the results of the two triathlons the athlete participated in for this evaluation. The information is used to compare the performance from the TTOC triathlon to the OWT and assess any changes that occurred between the two races. While the run time did improve by 1 minute 42 seconds (5.7%), the bike time was 1.69 mph slower (8.6%). However, the swim time is most noticeable with a difference 1 minute 57 seconds longer per 100 meters in the OWT compared to the TTOC. That is an 86.7% increase of time per 100 meters. The swim portion of the OWT was also half the distance of the first at 400 meters, compared to the 800 meter swim in the TTOC. The overall time of completion for the OWT is 40 seconds faster than the TTOC, but it must be noted that the swim portion of the OWT was 400 meters shorter. Therefore the athlete’s overall time was expected to be less in the OWT than the TTOC.<br />Table 1<br />Results of the Tri-Tech Ohio Challenge and One World Triathlons<br />RaceSwim TimeTransition #1 TimeBike TimeTransition #2 TimeRun TimeFinish TimeTri-Tech Ohio Challenge800m18:032:1713 miles39:481:303.1 miles29:411:31:19One World Triathlon400m16:482:0812.5 miles41:481:543.1 miles27:591:30:39<br />Data collected from the athlete’s training log shows the overall volume of training in time, and frequency of workouts trained for each discipline. In Figure 1 it can be seen that the athlete spent the majority of his time training for the swimming discipline of the triathlon. It is important to point out that in the previous data the swim portion resulted in the greatest percentage of time decrease. The bike portion of training accounted for the second largest amount of time spent, while run volume was the least amount of the three disciplines. <br />Figure 2 below displays the frequency of each discipline’s workout. There were 20 total workouts during the three week evaluation period. Swimming workouts made up 45% of the total workouts, while bike workouts were at 25% and run workouts at 30%. <br />Discussion<br />The purpose of the evaluation was to determine if the athlete has met the benchmarks needed to continue in the H.I.M. training program. Data was collected from the athlete’s training log and race results to assess if the goals were being met. Analysis of the data revealed that there are improvements in some portions of triathlon performance, however there are certain areas that must be improved upon before training for a half Ironman triathlon can continue. While the athlete has made improvements in the running portion, his performance in the bike portion decrease slightly (8.6%) and the swim portion decreased by a dramatic 86.7%. The overall finish time did improve from the TTOC to the OWT by 40 seconds, but the swim portion of the OWT was 400 meters shorter and therefore the overall time was expected to be significantly lower.<br />The data provided by the athlete is appropriate for the type of evaluation being carried out for this program. The objectives can be measured by quantitative data, which is documented both in the training log and the race results. By using this data it is possible to see progress from week to week as well as within each of the three disciplines. Race calculations can be made for each discipline and compared between the baseline TTOC race and the OWT race. The training log gives insight into the athlete’s preparation for the OWT, which can help decide if training should remain the same or if changes need to be made to the schedule. <br />The data from the athlete’s training log shows the frequency of each discipline’s training session along with the time period of those sessions. Swimming is the most common discipline trained for by the athlete between both triathlon races. It makes up 45% of the total training. So it is a concern that during the OWT the swim pace in fact decreased from the previous race. One area not previously mentioned is the environment for training and racing. The environment can factor into race performance and lead to changes in the athlete’s training and race goals.<br />All of the swim training has been performed in a swimming pool with lane lines. This is a clear, safe, and sterile environment. This environment does not reflect the actual situations encountered during an outdoor triathlon. Both triathlon races were outside. The TTOC swim portion was in a lake and the OWT swim was in the Ohio River. <br />The following recommendations for the athlete include (1) practicing in the race environment, (2) dedicate 25% of swim training to open water swimming, (3) include lower body workouts to improve bike riding performance, and (4) do not participate in the half Ironman distance race this season, instead work toward an intermediate, Olympic distance race. <br />In summary, the evaluation of the Half Ironman training program was successful in analyzing the data collected and providing insight into the athlete’s needs and changes for improvement. While the results are not what the athlete expected, there are recommendations that can help him make progress towards his goals.<br />Project Cost <br />·         <br />Personnel<br />Steven M. Poast: 6 days x $500/day$3,000.00<br />Travel/Per Diem (from Columbus, Ohio)<br />Caesar Creek State Park, Ohio $100.00<br />Cincinnati, Ohio $200.00<br />Miscellaneous <br />(Supplies, communication, internet) $330.00<br />Total Budget $3630.00<br />·         <br />Appendix AHalf-Ironman Training Program from BeginnerTriathlete.comWritten byScott Herrick PeriodWeek|Hrs"Complete Athlete" PreparationPrep20-17Racing Prep: No racing planned for this period, but since you've probably identified your key half IM race, take a look at the course, predicted weather, swim conditions, articles on last year's race. Compare all these race components with your own strengths and weaknesses. Use online bulletin boards to get course tips from previous competitors. Know thy course.Training:This period is "preparing to train"--building base endurance through work and recovery. We'll keep the same number of hours throughout the period and approximately the same schedule. The goal is consistency and getting the body warmed up for the longer periods ahead.Physical Health: Starting a structured program is probably going to leave you needing a bit more sleep than you're used to getting. Water too. Don't skimp on either. Take full advantage of rest days. Mental Health: Try to get in outdoor workouts in the best and worst weather possible. The more cold, wet, windy, and sweltering conditions you experience while training will carry over to much higher confidence come race day. You can't prepare much physically on race morning, so confidence and motivation reign supreme.Efficiency: Form, form, form. If your swim stroke needs work (that's all of us), find ways to improve technique in these early weeks-hire a local coach to video and give feedback, take lessons, read, watch videos. Form, form, and form are the keys to swimming fast. 207197187177Base 116-13Racing Prep: Begin doing your some of your workouts on terrain which simulates race day. Training: Here in Base 1, we'll be increasing hours a bit while keeping consistency. We will add 1 hard workout per week-1 workout, not 1 hard day. We will also begin sport-specific strength work by incorporating hills on the bike and run.Physical Health: Imagine showing up for a 10k race in peak fitness. Then imagine having to put on a 20lb backpack at the start line to carry to the finish. I want you to get the most on race day from all the training hours you put in. Running fast is helped greatly by having a high strength-to-weight ratio. You don't need to be in peak form at this point in the season, but begin to monitor weight and body fat % for later comparison and take a look at your diet for areas to improve-nothing drastic, just little changes at a time with continuous improvement over the entire training period. Include with your training log a 1-10 scale for daily nutrition with 1 being a weekend in Vegas and a 10 being a nutritional angel. Rank yourself and monitor areas to improve. Most of us know what is good and bad eating so self seed yourself on this one.Search out sports nutritional information to read during this period. There's a lot of good stuff out there. Email me if you need some good links.Mental Health: Day after day it's tough to do all the workouts solo so try to find someone to join you for some of the sessions. A masters group once a week is good (this will be your 1 hard session!), but keep the rest easy. Talk to people in your area in person or via the net to find new routes and training partners. Efficiency: Aero positioning and power output on the bike oppose each other. Ride lower and your power output will suffer. Begin working this month on flexibility of your back and legs. Come race day, your goal is to be as thin to the wind as possible, for as long as possible without suffering power output. Flexibility is free speed.167.5158.5149.5135Base 212-9Racing Prep: Begin visualizing race morning-how does the course appear, how hard will you work during different segments, where will you seed yourself in the swim start? Training: Again more increases in hours per week. Here in Base 2, we'll have theme weeks with increased volume in a single sport with steep reductions in the other two sports. Week 12 is swim focus, Week 11 is run focus, Week 10 is bike focus. Week 9 stays as recovery as usual. We will now have 2 hard workouts per week, this time in the same sport.Physical Health: keep an eye on injuries during this period as hours increase. Experiment nutritionallyMental Health: Do a short run race, tri or duathlon during this period as a confidence builder. Practice calming pre-race nerves.Efficiency: I'm not a big fan of swim drills even though form is paramount in swimming. I've found that with doing drills that I either get good at doing drills but don't improve as a swimmer or that I'm not doing the drills correctly because nobody is watching to tell me otherwise. I prefer to have 'concentration' sets while swimming. For example, if I'm doing 100s, I'll spend 50 thinking about a particular part of the stroke then the next 50 swimming normally-no matter if I'm swimming fast or slow. These 'concentrations' are worked into every single set I swim, effectively drilling through swimming. There are many, many areas to focus on as part of the swim stroke-perhaps I'll do another article in the future for focus ideas...127.5119101095Base 38-5Racing Prep: If you live in an area with good hiking possibilities, schedule a 6-8 hour continuous hike in lieu of a long run during the month. This is great low impact endurance work which will leave you surprisingly sore if the terrain is hilly and it a great place to practice nutrition and hydrating with increasing exhaustion.Training: We'll now approach a maximum number of training hours per week but now back to a balance in all 3 sports and still 2 hard workouts per week. Physical Health: These training hours will be long, so keep well fueled and get as much sleep as possible. Ice your knees after every long or hard run-whether you're injured or not.Mental Health: With these long hours, don't worry if you have to skip workouts due to fatigue or schedule conflicts-in the greater scheme, you won't lose much at all by missing a workout here and there. Just continue on the next day and don't reschedule missed workouts.Efficiency: How efficient is your run stride? Are you doing 80-90 footstrikes per minute per foot? Is your foot striking the ground mid-foot (just behind the ball) while already in movement back? Look up photos in books or on the web some illustrations/descriptions of good and back footstriking.88.579.5610.555Build4-3Racing Prep: We'll do transition practice during this build period. Also think about what you'll be wearing race day, what you'll be using for nutrition/fluids. We'll ractice these during training sessions, well before race day. Training: Training hours level off while we work on specifics for the race including performing sessions back to back and transition practice.Physical Health: Watch for overuse injuries. You've come a long way in terms of new stressors in the past 15 weeks. Stretch properly and often and take time off if necessary. Mental Health: More short races in any sport will keep you feeling competitive and motivated. Also a good chance to try out race day clothing, pre-race meals, and the highly personalized morning toilet ritual.Efficiency: Maximize the advantage you'll get on the bike by making sure everything is well-maintained and critical parts are replaced as necessary. Schedule a tune-up with your local shop at the end of Week 3. Make any last position adjustments here and not in the last 2 weeks. Check the condition of your run shoes and upgrade now if needed to break them in. Don't wait until race to try anything new. If you've been using the same swim goggles the whole training period, upgrade now and get them adjusted. (I had a well-used pair break while treading water just before the start of the Muncie Half)4939Taper/Race2-1Racing Prep: Swim--only concentrate on navigation and keeping a clean stroke. Decent swim times will come directly from fixating on these two things. Forget these and it won't matter how hard you're pulling. Bike--think negative split on the second half of the bike, that is ride the 2nd half faster than the first. This means going easy the first half! Overall pace on the bike should not feel exhausting as the goal is to not have to walk any of the run due to exhaustion. A 5 minute faster bike split is killed if you have to walk 20 minutes during the run. Allow 15 minutes of riding before consuming fluids or fuel. After that, follow the hydration plan you've been doing for long rides, adjusting for temps and higher intensity of the race. Run--constantly monitor calories and fluids and try to even split each half of the run as closely as possible.Training: We're going to drastically reduce the volume, but keep the same number of sessions and intensity. The goal is to be well-rested and 'springy' on race day. Physical Health: Go easy on the calories these last 2 weeks since you'll be working out considerably less. Work hard at sleeping well leading up to the race, but don't worry too much about the night before.Otherwise, do nothing to jeopardize getting injured-no new workout types, no massage if you haven't done it previously, etc.Mental Health: Confidence! You didn't train all these weeks just to be a wallflower competitor come race day. It is a race and you should feel competitive and ready to push yourself-otherwise you could have just covered the distance in a training day.Almost certainly something will not go perfectly, but you've trained through all kinds of conditions and situations so use that strength to your advantage. Race day self image: Strong, Sleek, Fluid, Gliding, Endless reserves, Lean, and willing to Suffer...The Complete Athlete!Efficiency: Your sessions in these last 2 weeks should all be focused on efficient movement without stressing the body. Our training will have more details on this. 26.51<br /><ul><li>Appendix BInternet ResourcesBeginnertriathlete.comCincinnati One world TriathlonUltrafitusa.com (Tri-Tech Ohio Challenge Triathlon)