Basic and advanced abilities for triathlon fitness

Joe Friel, world renowned triathlon coach, describes three basic abilities for successful multisport racing: endurance, force and speed skills. These three basic abilities form the foundation for successful multisport training and racing.

Endurance is the ability to delay the onset of fatigue and reduce its effects on performance. For a novice multisport athlete endurance is the key to improvement.

Force is the ability to overcome resistance. Developing force will allow you to race at a faster pace with less effort, improve your hill climbing ability or swim against a current with greater ease.

Speed skills are a combination of technique and efficiency and they determine how effective you are when you are producing the movements required for swimming, biking and running.

These basic abilities of endurance, force and speed skills are emphasised at the beginning of every training season before progressing to more advanced aspects of multisport fitness.

Muscular endurance, aerobic endurance and power are advanced abilities for successful multisport training and racing. These advanced abilities result from the development of the basic abilities but are further refined with specific training.

Muscular endurance is the ability of the muscles to maintain a relatively high load for a prolonged time period. It is a combination of force and endurance.

Anaerobic endurance is the ability to resist fatigue at very high efforts for short periods. It is a combination of endurance and speed skills. This is ability is less important for those athletes competing in longer events such as middle distance triathlon or longer. Anaerobic endurance training is also quite stressful on the body and may be too much for some novice athletes.

Power is the ability to apply maximum force rapidly. It is a combination of force and speed skills. Power training is best performed when you are well rested and early in a training session when your nervous and muscular systems will respond better to it.

These advanced abilities of muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance and power are emphasised in the later stages of a training program with twelve or so weeks remaining until your most importance races.

Reference: The Triathlete’s Training Bible 3rd Edition by Joel Friel.

The periodization puzzle is starting to come together! Tim (LFTC Coach)