Q. If I’m doing a long run and a long bike at the weekend, in what order should I do them and why?
A. If possible, avoid doing both your long sessions at the weekend, as fatigue from the first will affect the quality of the second. It’s better to have your long sessions 3-4 days apart, eg Wednesday and Saturday.
If it’s not possible to do one long run on Wednesday consider running twice that day (eg 45 mins in the morning and 45 mins in the afternoon). Aim to run 5-10 seconds quicker per mile on the second run. If you are doing both long sessions at the weekend, ask yourself if you are (a) trying to achieve these long sessions so that you are mentally prepared for your race or (b) if endurance is a weakness.
If (a) is the issue, consider specific events to help you accustom your mind to the length of the race, such as a cycle sportive. If (b) is the issue, science has shown cycling aerobic fitness carries over to run aerobic fitness, so it is probably better to consider two brick (bike-run) sessions, thereby mimicking racing more accurately.
Let’s assume you’d originally planned a three-hour bike one day and a 105-minute run the next. Instead,
you could try these sessions on consecutive days:
1) 30-minute bike, as 20 minutes warm-up and 10 minutes very hard effort, then straight into a 75-minute run at your planned race pace.
2) 2.5-hour bike, including 60 minutes at moderate effort, then straight into a 30-minute run at slightly quicker than race pace.
David Tilbury-Davis has been involved in triathlon for more than 10 years. He began his coaching career (www.physfarm.com) while engaged in postgraduate research in biomechanics at Loughborough University. David has coached squads and athletes ranging from beginner to elite and juniors to competitors aged 65. He has competed in various triathlons, from the sprint distance to Ironman.