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By Dan Atkins

It is race season, and once again we’ve tapped into the mind of Dan Atkins, Head Coach at Triathlon Australia’s National Performance Centre on the Gold Coast, but this issue it’s for a couple of cracking run sets you might employ as you hone in on race day.

12-14 days out:

Session 1:

“Focus is on sparking your pre-race conditioning and attack the body so that it is ready to race: (paces mentioned of athlete who runs 18.45 for 5km/ 40mins 10km off the bike)”

Warm-Up Set:

15min warm-up with specific ground contact drills as well as turn over (focus on good cadence and efficiency across the ground).

15min 4 x 200m @ 95% of 5km run off bike pace with 200m easy float in between.

3min rest

Main Set:

4min @ a pace 30-45sec slower per km than your 5km pace, 1min @ a pace 25-30secs a km pace faster than the first 4mins – we call this “Easy Speed”

1min easy

3min @ a pace only 20-35sec slower per km than your 5km pace, 1min @ a pace 15-25 sec faster than the last 4 minutes i.e. – increasing your pace for both so that you’re in what we call “steady state and the faster than race pace”.

1min easy

2min @ a pace only 10-25 sec slower per km than your 5km pace, 1min @ a pace 5-10sec faster than the last 4 minutes i.e. continue building the pace of both intervals and if you looked after yourself early in session, then this will start to challenge you to remain focused.

1min easy

1min @ a pace 5-15 sec slower per km slower than your 5km pace, 1min with whatever you got!!!!

Total time of main –17mins if training for sprint distance. If you’re in an Olympic/Standard distance event, take a 3min break and repeat the main set. Ideally, the aim is to be faster across the board for the second set but the ‘build’ of speed/effort should be maintained. This is a real challenge so aim high and have a crack but this set, done well, really replicates your condition.

7-10 days out

Session 2 (Speed focus):

Note from Dan Atkins: “We would only do this session twice a year pre key events”:

Warm-Up Set:

15min WU then drills focused on fast feet that connect with the ground, including run throughs over 80-100m x 4 around 20-30secs km faster than race pace

Main Set:

3 x 400m @ your 5km fresh pace (which is probably 5-10secs a km faster than off the bike pace), with 30sec rest only between reps

1km @ your 10km off the bike pace

2min rest

2 x 400m 5km pace fresh pace with 30sec rest only between reps

1km 10km off the bike pace

2min rest

1 x 400m but at your 3kmpace (around 3 secs faster than previous) with 30 sec rest

1km 10km @ your fresh 10k pace

Total distance of set – 5400m. Ideal as final real hit out for either Sprint or Olympic/Standard distance athletes.

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