When I raced my first triathlon in 1992 it was all high cut speedos and crop tops, the Aussies were winning every short course race that Simon Lessing didn't enter and there was no clear and established method to prepare the body for success in this new and brutal sport that was conceived just over a decade earlier. I devoured triathlon magazines like a hungry hippo, I read reports of Mark Allens mega miles and meditation, Mike Piggs vicious intervals, Brad Bevans solo approach, Miles Stewarts large group of superstars all pushing each other to new heights. The contradictions were as confusing as the physiology. I was just 17 and i thought Anna Robic was the captain of the girls Volleyball team. There seemed to me to be many ways to "skin the cat".
Over the next two decades i set about trialling virtually every method I had read about. With a Vo2 max of sixty four i was not going to win a world title but found I could be at the sharp end of my age group with enough hard work.
For the first few years I went mega miles. At uni, no family, all good right? Wrong. After "base" phase in August, September, October of 25hrs a week I was fit and flying in November and December but massively fatigued by February. Some of my training partners however were coping well, some breaking nine hours at ironman! This approach left me spent and my results were patchy at best.
I took a break in the mid 2000s and returned to a changed sport. I embarked on a routine of target pace and threshold training with no big base phase and very short tapers. Total volumes of only 10-12hrs a week. I tried the Brett Sutton methods of building the pace first and adding the distance later. This resulted in a National Olympic distance title and First Aussie finisher at Chicago World champs in 2015. This stay "fresh" target pace minimalist approach was used by Sami Inkenin (see link below) in his bust out Kona race ( first overall age grouper), proving to me that it works also over the longer events.
I have seen athletes have good success on high volume programs, but i believe the same results can be achieved on a trimmed down 10-15hr program that has far less impact on the life of the busy age grouper.
Yes there are many ways to skin the cat but i prefer to put the little feline out of its misery quickly and get back to Netflix and "Chill".
XO The Wombat.