Triathlon Over Training Issues – Issue #57

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Triathlon Over Training Issues Newsletter

As a swimmer for over 26 years (daily growing up, now about 3 times per week), I have been exposed to a lot of chlorine in my life! It has never affected me much, except for turning my hair a lighter shade (even green at times!). However, lately I have run into some skin problems, almost certainly related to swimming in a chlorinated pool.

The problem is, there is no viable substitute for swimming in chlorinated pools for me and for most of us! The ocean is nice in theory but right now it is a little too chilly for my taste (around 58 degrees), and there are no lakes in my area that allow swimming.

And, I am a swimmer for life so quitting is not an option! I am currently doing some research into various skin and hair products that help people to avoid common problems associated with chlorine, such as dry skin and weakened immune systems. I should know more in about a month on which products to recommend for anyone else who suffers from chlorine irritation or just cares about saving their skin!

Stay tuned.

Today let’s look at the concept of overtraining, and another tri-specific workout!

Kevin Koskella
Tri Swim Coach

p.s. I return as many emails as I can but I do not get to them all…I will do my best to return your email if you have a question, but another great resource is our blog which is filled with loads of great questions and infromation on swimming! Click on the link below to see what I mean.


Most coaches will subscribe to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. More is better, faster is better, tighter intervals are better, etc. This is not the Tri Swim Coach method! Especially with the sport of Triathlon, it is easy to overtrain your body. Most of us belong to groups, whether it’s a masters swim team, bike club, or running group, and there will always
be pressure to keep up. It may be underlying or it may be outright, but no doubt, that pressure to go faster is always there.

Overtraining can be worse than under training.

Some symptoms of overtraining include:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Problems with sleep
  3. Easily stressed out
  4. Getting sick often (weakened immune system)
  5. Depression

If you have any of these signs you may be overtraining. Here are a few tips on how to avoid this and recover:

  1. GO AT YOUR OWN PACE!!! This is difficult for many triathletes that train with groups. They are constantly pushing themselves to keep up and go faster. Doing this often will hurt your training. Keep in mind that you want to train mostly at an aerobic pace. If you can talk to the person running next to you, you are probably training aerobically.
  2. Don’t always listen to your coach. Ok, I know this sounds strange. But let’s say you’re swimming with a masters group once a week. The group likely consists of fitness swimmers, competitive swimmers, and triathletes- all with different goals and different reasons to train. The coach may be pushing the group to go fast on every set that day, but this may not be the right thing for you. Make sure to not get caught up with the group goals or the coach’s goals for the group, and swim at a pace that works for you.
  3. Do yoga. If you are training hard, do yoga. In fact even if you are not overtrained, yoga is an essential part of a triathlon training routine. Once a week is all you need. This will make you more flexible as well as clear your mind and make you stronger mentally as well.
  4. Wear a heart rate monitor. This is tougher to do in the pool, but for the bike and run, this will save your body! Keep most training sessions at or below your aerobic heart rate (I use 180-your age + :05).
  5. Take a day off. It is tempting to train daily when we have to contend with 3 different activities. However, this will hurt you in the long run. Include 1 day a week where you just do some stretching, or go for a walk, anything but a workout. Some triathletes even take 2 days a week off, which is totally acceptable.

Following these tips will allow you to enjoy the sport, have a longer career, avoid injuries, and overall be happier!

TSC Workout of the Month

Descend= get faster throughout set

WARM UP: 300

DRILL: 200 Alternate 50 Fist Drill/50 Swim
4×75’s 50 Count Strokes per 25, subtract 1 stroke per length of each 75. Rest= :10
4×125’s 75 Kick (on your side)/50 Swim Descend 1-4

MAIN: 3x(300+200+100)
300’s: Moderate Free, Breathe every 3rd or 5th stroke
200’s: Descend 1-3 Rest= :20
100’s: Build, Rest= :20

WARM DOWN: 6×25’s Back/Free by 25

TOTAL: 3250