80/20 training triathlon

Is 80/20 training the new way forward?

Only recently, science has provided in-depth knowledge of the benefits of 80/20 triathlon training. Stephen Seiler, an American exercise physiologist, made the vital discovery of the 80/20 training principles for endurance sports.

Seiler analyzed training methods used by world-class endurance athletes. The research found that 80% of training was at low intensity and 20% at moderate and high intensities.

Today’s best endurance athletes are much quicker than in earlier years. The research from Seiler concluded that 80/20 training was the optimal way to increase your endurance performance.

Recent studies have proven the 80/20 rule used by world-class endurance athletes has worked for recreational endurance athletes also. Recreational athletes that train as little as 45 minutes daily have seen a marked improvement. Using the 80/20 training rule has yielded more significant results than higher intensity training.

Age-group triathletes typically train less than 70% at low intensity. Instead of keeping the intensity down, they tend to get caught in what we call the moderate-intensity rut, and this means a lot of their training stuck between easy and hard.


80/20 rule

Elite triathletes typically have a high workload and can be upwards of three hours a day. Obeying the 80/20 training rule allows this type of athlete to increase the training hours because of the low-intensity training. Meaning training at a low intensity will enable them to train a lot more.

If an elite triathlete trained significantly more than 20% at a moderate or higher intensity, they would either develop overtraining or get injured.

If we were to take recreational triathletes, since they don’t train as much, the consequences are typically not as severe. They would most likely not improve as much if they trained under the 80/20 rule. The result is, your typical age group triathlete tends to get away with training too intensely when their counterpart can’t.
Since not all of us can train three hours a day, the 80/20 rule will help you better your results. No matter if you are preparing for a triathlon on much fewer hours.


80/20 Endurance training

If you are looking to make improvements in your triathlon training, you must combine the right proportions.
Using different types of workouts to target a range of intensities is needed. You need to focus on workouts that aim at moderate intensity, low intensity and some high intensity. When intensity accounts for 80% of the total volume and moderate/high-intensity accounts for the remaining 20%, you will start to maximize your fitness.

What training effects do you expect from running, swimming and cycling at low intensity? Training at a low intensity not only improves your aerobic capacity but also helps transport oxygen to the working muscles.
The benefit of training at a low intensity also sees an increase of muscles using fat as fuel, thus giving the athlete a larger tank of fuel during races. The athlete will then go faster or further without hitting the wall.

In triathlon, the longer the event is, the more critical enhancing fat for fuel is.

If you are looking to break out from a moderate-intensity plateau, start to implement the 80/20 training rule. You will then begin to see a breakthrough in performance as a result. You will also help eliminate overtraining and reduce the percentage of injuries.


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