Gaming Triathlon Training

There’s nothing like having another competitive person push, pull, and drag you to the next level of performance.

I’m a big fan of playing games during training when I’m coaching sports like rugby and baseball. Games are a great way to avoid monotony during training sessions–drills are boring and standing in line to do drills is even more boring. Games also keep the intensity of a training session higher because, unlike a drill, you can actually compete and win. Games also help create an artificial pressure.

I’m not sure why I never even tried to come up with anything for Triathlon training. Maybe it’s because I only have myself to worry about, and the monotony doesn’t bother me very much…dunno. But it’s not quite as easy to dream up endurance training games as it is in ball-related sports.

But I came up with a couple anyway–both depend on a partner.

Swimming

Neighbor Ben and I were talking last week about how much benefit we’ve gotten from swimming open water only. It’s way more exciting that swimming in a pool, even if the danger is mostly perceived, and there’s so much more to deal with–sighting, chop, currents, no walls, etc. Then last week, he T-boned me during our swim and had a head-on collision with another lady. We were laughing about it the other night, but then realized we may be onto something.

What if we went out and played Open Water Tag? It would work something like this…

Both players swim out to the middle of a body of water as a warmup–say 500m or so. Player One then goes under water and holds his breath for 30 seconds. While this is happening, Player 2 swims away in any direction. At the end of the 30 seconds, Player 1 comes up and finds (sighting–key skill) Player 2 and sprints (key skill) towards him to “tag” him. Player 2 can swim anywhere he wants to avoid the tag, changing direction (key skill) at any time. However, Player 2 has to swim head-up (strength/sighting) the entire time he’s being chased.

Running

This is another tag-type game–Interval Tag. After warming up, both players do something somewhat strenuous to take a little mustard out of both–something like 20 burpees. Player 1 then runs away on a pre-determined course while Player 2 rests for 30-45 seconds. Of course, Player 1 will be going at a jog after the burpees.

After his rest, Player 2 chases down player 1 and tags him as soon as he can. Once the tag has been made Player 1 (the original chaser) continues along the course. Remember, he just did an interval, so this will most likely be a recovery jog. At the same time, he’s going to want to put as much distance as he can between himself and Player 2.

Meanwhile, Player 2 (who was just tagged) stops to do some type of exercise like pushups/squats/plank. He should be pretty well rested at this point, but he’ll also have some urgency to finish the assigned exercises and get on with the next chase.

Cycling

If you want to play a cycling game, that’s easy. Sign up for Trainerroad. It’s downright addictive in the way it gets into your head and drives you to match the prescribed power output.

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