Congratulations on finishing your first two weeks of training. If you are having any trouble finishing the workouts as prescribed, repeat last week’s workouts in that discipline. Resist the urge to move forward too quickly in your strongest discipline as it is still early in the training plan and you don’t want to burn out too quickly!

Week three continues to build on the first two weeks of workouts. Each workout is slightly longer than last week’s workouts. This follows a principal called “Progressive Overload”. Progressive overload involves increasing the amount of stress on your body at regular intervals. When followed by adequate rest and recovery, your body compensates for the stress by growing stronger, ready to respond to the next challenge that you give it to do. When the next challenge is just a little bit tougher, your body responds again in a positive fashion, resulting in a stair step approach to increasing your fitness.

You may be worried that if you keep up this progressive overload you might get really tired eventually, and it’s true, you probably would. The “First Time Finisher’s” Plans, both the 3 month and the 4 month, take this into account by including a rest week every fourth week. I discuss this in detail in next week’s article.

For this week, just focus on trying to complete the suggested duration of each workout at a moderate intensty that passes the “talk test”. YOu should have no trouble carrying on a conversation while completing these workouts. Training with a partner that is about yoru ability level is a great way to ensure that you are not training too hard…if you can’t talk to your partner, then you are working too hard and should slow down!

If you are beginning to feel tired, be sure that you are getting adequate sleep on a regular schedule, and that you are adequately hydrating each day before, during and after your workouts. Nutrition is a very important part of your training that we will discuss during month 2 of your training. You can also be reassured that next week’s Recovery Week schedule will help you feel refreshed and invigorated for you to begin month two of the plan.

Week 3:
The workouts:

If you struggled with last week’s swimming workouts then repeat each of last week’s workouts. If they seemed difficult, but you were able to accomplish them, it’s time to move on! This week calls for two swims of a total of 600 and 700 yards. Don’t try to swim these continuously, break up your swimming so that you can concentrate fully on good form with each lap. You should be swimming slowly enough that you are not gasping for breath. If you find yourself struggling to catch your breath at the end of each 25 yards, slow down just a little. You will get far more benefit from swimming slowly with good form than swimming quickly with poor form. Good swimming is all about technique so don’t be shy to ask a swimmer whose form you admire if they can give you a quick tip. (be sensitive about interupting their workout). Here are the suggested workouts for the week:

Swim #1, 600 yards:
Warmup: 50 easy swim, 25 kick, 50 easy swim, 25 kick
Main set: Ladder: 25, 50, 75, 75, 50, 25
Cool down: 50 swim, count strokes & try to minimize, 50 easy kicking, 50 easy swimming, focus on long smooth strokes

*When using the pullbuoy, focus on the feeling of having your torso horizontal in the water with your hips close to the surface and your head just under the surface of the water. On the subsequent swim, focus on reproducing this feeling by pushing your upper chest down into the water letting your hips rise to the surface.

Swim #2, 700 yards:
Warmup: 50 easy swim, 25 kick, 50 easy swim, 25 kick
Main set: 1 x 100 easy, 20 seconds rest. 2 x 75, 15 seconds rest. 2 x 50 10 seconds rest, 2 x 25 fast, 20 seconds rest.
Cool down: 50 swim, count strokes & try to minimize, 50 easy kicking, 50 easy swimming, focus on long smooth strokes

If you find your are unable to swim the 50s or 75s, be patient and continue with sets of 25s. Challenge yourself to complete the distances, you’ll be surprised at what you can do!

These rides continue to be at an easy pace. If you find yourself breathing harder than a level that would let you carry on a conversation, then slow down. These workouts help prepare your body for endurance riding, not finish line sprints!

Ride 1: 45 minutes of easy riding. Look for a ride with a few rolling hills for this workout. When going up a hill, shift to an easier gear and try to keep your cadence between 80-90 rpms. Count your pedal strokes in 10 seconds and mutliply by six. 15 strokes in 10 seconds is 90 rpms. Get comfortable riding up and down small hills to add variety to your rides.

Bike #2: 60 minutes of easy riding. This is your longest ride yet. Be sure you are adequately hydrated before your ride. If riding in the morning, have a light easy to digest breakfast like a banana, and toast with peanut butter. Take a full water bottle with you and sip from it every 15-20 minutes. You may want to take a small snack with you and eat it about 45 miutes into your ride. Examples include peanut butter & jelly sandwiches cut into quarters. Each square will have about 100 calories depending on how much PB&J you use. 100 calories every 30-45 minutes is a good target. Various sports “gels” also work for this. Any local bike or outdoors store can show you several examples. Try a few and experiment, knowing that the least expensive option is gonig to be homemade snacks.

If you had any trouble with last week’s runs, repeat both of those workouts for this week.

Run 1: We are increasing the duration slightly to 25 minutes. You should keep your effort at a “conversational” level. If you are not able to run for 20 minutes continuously, then alternate running and walking as needed. Try to increase the time running and decrease the time walking. Try this: 5 minute brisk walk to warm up followed by alternating 4 mintues running & 1 minute walking repeated three times, followed by a 5 minute cooldown will add up to 25 minutes with 10 minutes of warmup/cooldown. Treat yourself to a tall glass of water when you are done!

Run 2: A 35 minute run. If you are doing walk/run, do a 5 minute warm up with 25 minutes of alternating running & walking followed by a 5 minute cooldown will add up to 35 minutes. Try to gradually increase the amount of time running.