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Triathlon Primer Workouts

Taren Gesell

In the last couple days before any race, athletes need to know how to taper. A good training plan will have a taper process of anywhere from a few days to a few weeks where the total volume of training will be reduced, while some intense intervals will still be performed.

Reducing the volume of training will allow the body to rest and recover, while maintaining some fast efforts will make sure that the body still knows how to move quickly. You’ll get to your race feeling rested, energetic, and fast.

MOTTIV Primer Workouts

We will discuss more about tapering in another blog post dedicated to the entire taper process, but in this post we’ll explain what to do in your workouts in the several days immediately before a race.  We call these workouts “Primer Workouts,” all personalised training plans inside the MOTTIV app will automatically schedule these primer workouts for you. 

Primer workouts are performed two days before your scheduled race date so that the day before the race you can do a very short 10 minute completely easy workout.

Bike Primer Workout

Here are is an example of a bike primer workout for a triathlete who is tapering for anything from a Sprint triathlon all the way up to a full Ironman triathlon:

30 Minute Ride (This entire ride is at an easy effort besides a few priming efforts spread throughout.)

Main Set: Repeat 3 times

  • 3 minutes at target race power
  • Take whatever rest you need between efforts to feel totally recovered

Run Primer Workout

Here is an example of a run primer workout. Athletes doing any running race from 5k all the way up to ultramarathon would do this primer workout, and triathletes would perform this primer workout in addition to the bike primer workout above:

Easy Run. 15 Minutes (Run with heart rate in Zone 2 except for the main set)

Main Set. Repeat 3 times:

  • 1 minute at target race pace
  • Take whatever rest you need between efforts to feel totally recovered

Swim Primer Workout

Triathletes might wonder if they should also be performing a swim primer workout two days prior to their race. We don’t believe this is as necessary as the bike and run primers because the pace of a triathlon swim should be much slower, so there isn’t as much need to stay sharp and fast with the swim during the taper process.

Primer Workout Guidelines

Here are the guidelines athletes should follow with their primer workouts during a race taper:

  1. Perform primer workouts two days prior to your race date
  2. Triathletes and duathletes should perform bike and run primers, runners and swimrunners should perform run primers, and cyclists should perform bike primers.
  3. You should never end a primer workout feeling tired whatsoever
  4. The pace of your primer intervals should be at your target race pace, no more! 

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Taren Gesell
Taren Gesell

"Triathlon Taren" Gesell is founder of MOTTIV and one of the world's top experts on helping adults become endurance athletes later in life. Best known for his YouTube channel and podcast, Taren is the author of the Triathlon Foundations series of books and has been published featured in endurance publications around the world.

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