The Grinder

Sealfit + triathlon training

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    Richard Vernetti

    Have any of the coaches at SF HQ got athletes using SF to train for triathlons? If so how does their programming differ from OP WODS? Thanks in advance.

    Richard Vernetti

    I am also interested how to work in tri with wods. I guess will just do 2 a days.

    SEALFIT Online

    One of our coaches used the OPWOD in conjunction with triathlon programming/training. He was on a triathlon training program but would still do the OPWOD 2x/week to keep up his strength to weight ratio and SEALFIT skills fresh

    Richard Vernetti

    After spending a long time experimenting with this and also researching and getting qualifications from sources like complete human performance, gym jones, crossfit endurance, sealfit as well as strength programs (Bulgarian, wendler, westside) and pure endurance programs (Joel friel numerous triathlon training books) as well as competing ironmans and half ironmans (with decent times), oly sprint triathlons, duathlons and marathons while increasing my strength I feel as though I can offer some advice in this area.

    It is possible to do both to a high level, however some changes must be made. I wont go into the theory much, but it must be looked at from an energy system perspective, where intensity is either high or low. High intensity is strength, stamina, WC and low intensity is LSD swim, bike, run steady state cardio where heart rate is in the ‘endurance zone’ (either maffetone method or LTHR zone 1-2).

    Following traditional sealfit programming where there are 3 strength days, lower, upper and full body, these are your 3 high intensity days. The other days are denoted to low intensity/recovery days, which is your long runs, long bikes, and swims (Note this is not a beginners training plan, this requires your LSD days to be easy enough to be your ‘recovery days’, where recovery days increase your cardio endurance, prepare you for the next days workout.) I was able to do a long run (25km+ (very low intensity) and be ready to train the next day with minimal muscle soreness and energy restored to normal, however I believe this was due to a better nutrition plan as well as increased ‘work capacity.’

    In terms of macro and micro training plans, it depends on what your goals are, however if you just want to follow SF + tri training (up to ironmans), then the following can be helpful.

    On your strength days (3 days per week, upper, lower and full body strength in a week) you can do the baseline, Strength and stamina, the Work Capacity element will be in the form of interval training on the Swim, bike or run. You can do the durability element as well (after the strength or WC) as long as its core work and not cardiovascular intervals.

    On ‘recovery days’ you can follow something similar to the days on Sealfit where you do baseline, Sealgrinder PT and then LSD run, bike or swim and durability. However if you are aware of CFE programming I’d follow their warm up protocol before all forms of cardio where skills and drills of POSE method is done (if you do pose method.)

    A typical week may look like:

    Monday: AM – Baseline, strength (back squat), stamina
    PM – Running intervals

    Tuesday: AM – baseline, strength (bench press), stamina
    PM – Bike intervals or swim intervals

    Wednesday: AM – baseline, sealgrinder PT, LSD run (above 90 minutes at low intensity), durability.

    Thursday: AM – baseline, sealgrinder PT, LSD Swim (up to 110% of race distance, however generally less than 60 minutes in pool), durability.

    Friday: AM – baseline, strength (snatch), stamina
    PM – Brick interval

    Saturday: AM: LSD Bike (above 2.5 hours) with a run off the bike (at low intensity)

    Sunday: Baseline, sealgrinder PT, LSD Swim.

    This isn’t the standard template I’d use on everyone, but it is an insight to show you how to program it. Note*

    There are 3 high intensity days a week, never 3 in a row, but can have 2 in a row.
    These are followed by LSD days or ‘recovery days’ – this is all up to the individual to know how intense they can train and still recover.
    You do something every day and take a day off when you have to, ie life events. I used Restwise to measure my ‘recovery’ and took days off when they advised.
    The ‘work capacity’ element is the cardiovascular intervals, however on occasion you can swap this with the WC prescribed in the OPWOD.
    If you have specific strength goals then another training plan is needed to address these goals.
    The cardio can be done before or after the strength, however this is dependent on your goals, but I’d generally go with strength before cardio as you want to use the strength days to get stronger.

    In terms of programming intervals with strength: On lower body or full body strength days its run or bike, on upper body strength days its swim or bike. After your LSD run or bike you would want a ‘recovery’ day as these are quite taxing which is why its followed by a LSD swim or if you want a LSD bike.

    A quick note on the endurance programming, it follows the 80/20 rule, where 80% is done at very low intensity and 20% is done at extremely high intensity, also known as polarized training. Once you get into ‘race specific’ programming (ie up to 2 months out from the event) you can start to add in tempo runs and TT’s ect, however this is for another day. This is what is called a concurrent training program where all forms of energy systems (ATP, anaerobic and aerobic) are worked on at the same time rather than a liner periodization where they are cycled over the course of the training program.

    Final note: This is not for everyone, a lot of people have poor cardiovascular fitness as they never train at this energy system (above 90 minutes in the SBR domain, do the maffetone test and see for yourself), if you follow OPWODs and do the LSD run, bike, swim, ruck you will have an advantage over someone who just does training at high intensity (Crossfit). As you get fitter in this energy system your ‘recovery’ days will allow you to go longer and still recover enough for the next day (progressive overloading), also nutrition plays a huge role in recovery and performance so dial that element in as well. Finally, the training program will be dependent on the individuals, their goals, strengths, weaknesses, imbalances ect, so what may work for one wont work for the other, so keep that in mind. However what I’ve shown is a suggestion on how to successful train SF and triathlons.

    Hope this helps.

    Richard Vernetti

    Thanks for the insight, Tim. I’ll keep your advice in my mind while programming my own training. I will be doing the “tactical triathlon” which is fin, ruck, run. I’m going to create a simple plan and refine it as I go. I would like to include the OPWOD somewhere in the training, but it can’t really be a focus at this point, more important is the endurance work, especially the Z1/2 work which has been absent from my training in the past, and I believe that has been a big limiter in my performance.

    Richard Vernetti

    No worries Backbone, I would say ensure you keep training all energy/fitness systems (to allow maintenance for your strengths) then focus and bias it towards what your needs are to allow them to develop. I’ve never heard of the tactical triathlon but I like the look of it. Are there distances for each leg?

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