Xterra Malta Off-Road Triathlon 2018
Tony has competed as an endurance triathlete for many years, with a proficient background in all three disciplines, he has completed three off-road triathlon Xterra events, with his last in 2016. His target event for 2018 was the rather scenic, yet lumpy Malta Xterra with extreme challenges for both cycling and running on such rocky terrain. With only 5 months of training we set to work on conditioning Tony’s aerobic fitness in parallel with building a solid neuromuscular base to support the jerks and jolts from the rugged terrain, plus allow for a much reduced time to fatigue and longer sustainable intensity.
Working out Tony’s strengths and weaknesses was achieved through robust performance assessments for both running and cycling. The main focus of his programme was to translate event objectives to effective training activities, for each micro-cycle. Tony had previously included substantial amounts of free-style resistance training as part of his routine, however for more specific muscle conditioning we focused on a more optimal ratio of strength/power sets. This would lead into longer muscular endurance activities which would expoit the foundation layed at the start of the programme.
Although training with a power meter can help athletes follow a programme more productively, we combined heart rate monitoring with interval sessions performed on a power reading bike at his gym, which worked very effectively. Tony was extremely compliant to the programme, which remained flexible for his busy work/life schedule often being on call for long periods.
Unfortunately, early into his programme, Tony suffered a minor calf muscle tear during one of his outdoor sessions. But we were able to work around this with the available time we had, with rehabilitation and endurance sessions to maintain some performance progression and prevent deconditioning where possible. Tony did well to remain motivated even though the injury was somewhat incapacitating, we were able to navigate around the limitation whilst retaining specificity.
Although Tony’s running took longer to improve because of this, his economy and efficiency increased in response to fewer sessions targeting extended lactate threshold sessions. Also, we noted a significant improvement in cycling lactate threshold power-to-weight within four months, with an apparent increase of 20Watts (see image right), and a greater absolute difference by the time of his event.
On the day, Tony put in a storming performance at Xterra Malta 2018, and finished mid-field with a time of 3h35m even with an extended full distance course including 2 long hill scrambles, carrying his heavy mountain bike. Even with mitigating circumstances, and an overall slow race, Tony smashed his previous result by at least 20 minutes, and could have gone even faster, as his transitions were impeded and his swim was only based on minimal training. This result reflects the quality of preparation Tony had put in to secure the result, although he admits he was surprised by his level of aerobic fitness for the volume of training, indicating an optimal conditioning of muscular endurance separate from cardio-respiratory.
Tony will do well to take advantage of his new found fitness, and expect to progress further for his next target event(s) later this year or even the Lake Garda (Bardolino) triathlon in 2019!
“The methods are very scientific and specific with promising result very quickly noticeable. Simon listens to your requirements and constructs the sessions brilliantly to match time/commitments/ability. He adapts sessions readily to account for injury/holidays, etc… and provides indepth answers to any questions asked. The best coach I have ever had.” Tony S