Why Triathletes Should do Threshold Intervals, Even if They’re Training For an Ironman

They average Ironman completion time is somewhere between 12 and 16 hours, depending on a variety of factors. So, what’s the point of training threshold (or other high-end energy systems) when you’re rarely going to be pushing into that range? In case you don’t feel like reading everything below, here’s the short answer: by raising your top end ceiling, your aerobic and ‘tempo’ fitness are pulled up as well, and these are the two systems you’ll spend the vast majority of your time in during an Ironman.

Training threshold is an important concept for triathletes to understand in order to improve their performance and reach their goals. But what exactly is training threshold, and how can it be used in triathlon training?

Training threshold refers to the highest intensity or workload that an athlete can sustain over a period of time without experiencing a significant drop in performance. In other words, it’s the point at which the body is no longer able to maintain a certain level of intensity without fatigue setting in.

There are several types of training thresholds that are relevant to triathletes, including lactate threshold, anaerobic threshold, and functional threshold power (FTP).

Lactate threshold is the point at which the body begins to produce more lactate than it can clear from the bloodstream. This can lead to an increase in fatigue and a decrease in performance. By training at or below lactate threshold, triathletes can improve their endurance and delay the onset of fatigue.

Anaerobic threshold is the point at which the body begins to rely more on anaerobic metabolism for energy production, rather than aerobic metabolism. This can lead to an increase in fatigue and a decrease in performance. By training at or below anaerobic threshold, triathletes can improve their endurance and delay the onset of fatigue.

Functional threshold power (FTP) is a measure of the highest power that a triathlete can sustain for a period of time, typically one hour. FTP is an important metric for cycling performance, and is often used to set training zones and measure progress.

To determine your training thresholds, you can use a variety of methods, including laboratory testing, field testing, and the use of power meters or heart rate monitors. Some popular field tests for triathletes include the 20-minute time trial test and the 30-minute time trial test.

Once you have determined your training thresholds, you can use them to set appropriate training zones and plan your workouts. For example, if your FTP is 250 watts, you might set your endurance zone at 70-80% FTP, your tempo zone at 80-90% FTP, and your threshold zone at 90-100% FTP.

By training at the appropriate intensity and staying within your threshold zones, you can optimize your training and improve your performance. You can also use your training thresholds as benchmarks to measure progress and set goals. One of the first workouts (within the first few weeks) Be the Beast Triathlon Coaching will have you perform is a basic 20 minute power test on the bike to determine your current FTP, which helps us set your power zones. It’s a bit easier to determine threshold in running: it’s somewhere between your half marathon and 10K pace. Triathlon coach Kennett Peterson can help you reach your goals, whatever they may be, in triathlon and in a wide range of other endurance sports. Contact us today!

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