In this XTERRA Certified Coach of the Month spotlight, Kate Bramley explains how to maximize the benefits of road training for our off-road pursuits.
“Triathlon training makes for a busy weekly schedule,” says Bramley, a decorated on and off-road triathlete and coach who won XTERRA Netherlands in 2019 and the XTERRA Wellington Festival off-road triathlon last year.
Combining XTERRA training and road triathlon adds in three extra challenges - a rough water swim, mountain bike and trail run. Here are Bramley’s tips to include more variety in your training and the specific skills and knowledge to excel in XTERRA events.
The art of making this work is all in the programming of the sessions into your week. Include short punchy efforts on the road to simulate hills on the mountain bike. Complete your longer endurance runs or rides on the trails instead of sealed roads and paths. This can be done in the base endurance phase or as specific training sessions leading into an event.
Many towns and cities around the world have mountain bike clubs, cross country clubs or even surf life saving clubs who all run events. These events all include specific skills to XTERRA racing in a competitive environment. This is a great way to get race experience with athletes who specialize in these environments. You can even combine extra disciplines to simulate a race day such as a trail run after a mountain bike event.
XTERRA is a highly skilled form of triathlon requiring increased concentration and incredible balance and skill for all disciplines. Specific skills on the bike can be practiced on the road and mountain bike such as balancing at low speed and smooth gear changes on hills and corners. Include obstacles such as tight trails, rocks, and hills on your runs to help learn to read the trail and select the best line. Swim in unfavorable conditions (where safe) or in the ocean with waves instead of always going to the pool.
KATE BRAMLEY’S TYPICAL TRAINING WEEK
|Tuesday||Pool swim (3-4km) endurance efforts|
|Wednesday||1-2 x rides totally 3-4hrs including mix of road, MTB, skills, short specific efforts|
|Thursday||Quality run (15-18km) including steady state and short fartlek intervals sometimes with hills|
|Friday||Pool swim (3-4km) threshold or speed efforts + strength|
|Saturday||Bunch ride with endurance focus or short intervals or sometimes a local road or MTB race|
|Sunday||Cross country run event (15-18km total including warm up & cool down) + pool or open water swim (2.5-3km speed efforts or open water skills)|
Note: Kate has limited run volume due to previous injuries. If she was able to, she would include an endurance run early in the week (Tuesday) and/or a run off the bike (Wednesday or Saturday) to increase weekly run volume and run off the bike specificity.
XTERRA Certified Coach Kate Bramley has coached more than 25 athletes to ITU age group world championships over the past few years. Her philosophy is simple, to provide each individual with the confidence and skills to reach their chosen goal whilst feeling connected to a like-minded community.
Find Kate online at https://www.xterraplanet.com/coaches/kate-bramley