In Part I of our Richard Hobson Triathlon special, he told us about the motivations and inspirations powering his 30year journey through the sport. With so much experience behind him, we asked the TriLiving training camp coach to share his expert take on the perfect training plan.
So Richard, what goes into the ideal training plan for an athlete?
Personalisation is everything.
What is it that the athlete truly wants to achieve? What’s their lifestyle like? As a coach, I share Dupl’s view that training plans only work when they’re tailored. The support has to address specific goals, needs and challenges and work with, not against, your lifestyle to be sustainable. It might be a case of structuring a client’s training around their commute to work because they have no time in the evenings to train. Or it could mean adapting the snacks a person eats at the office so they’re powering their after-work session.
For me, the right training plan has these principles at the heart:
- It’s realistic. Big fan of the Saturday night party scene? Then there’s no point in scheduling 3 hours of training on Sunday morning. If you’re not honest about what you want to achieve and the time you have to do it from the outset, you’re setting yourself up to throw your training plan out of the window after a week or two.
- It’s consistent. Hand in hand with realistic, it should help you use your time efficiently and to the best effect, week in, week out.
- It works with your lifestyle. Unless you’re planning on giving up all work, social and family commitments in favour of training, your time is precious. A good training plan should help you structure your time and use it effectively, not stress you out.
- Your diet and training work in harmony together. There’s no point pushing your body to improve your performance if you’re not fuelling it properly. A personalised nutrition plan complements your training while still allowing you all the joys of food!
- It’s adaptable. Illness or injury can be a threat to race performance and, worse, to your health if you simply ‘push through’. Having a dedicated coach behind you means we can mix things up in your training and nutrition according to your short-term needs, as well as your long-term goals. Your training plan should aid your recovery, not slow it down.
A personalised plan has the potential to help you grow as a triathlete and reach new goals, and can give you the best start if you’re new to the sport. But tailored support can also help you to keep the momentum once race season is over, keeping your performance as consistent as your passion.
Great advice. But what about bugbears – is there anything about training that gets to you?
Well, it all comes back to being realistic. My social life is only enhanced by the amazing people I meet through the sport, but I know that for many, they worry that having a rigid regime and a coach to answer to spells the death of their social life. It’s a myth! It is possible to train and keep a social calendar – it just comes down to building it into your training. And it might mean making the most of the ‘off season’ and setting expectations with friends during race season!
There’s also an awful lot of expensive tech in the triathlon world and I’m reluctant to embrace it too much – after all, it’s a sad world where I worry about the stats and the algorithm so much that I forget to enjoy the challenge, the experience and the people. But this is one of the reasons I like working with Dupl so much – they bring valuable human interpretation to the tech, actually using the data to inform your nutrition and training.
To me, the Dupl model shows a bright future for personalised coaching for busy people – they can engage with their fitness and nutrition in a whole new way, improve their overall well being and reach their personal performance goals with the kind of support only accessible to the pros in the past.