OK… maybe maintenance sessions are not the most sexy aspect of triathlon training. I rarely hear my friends bragging about how they maintained their training gains between big weekend sessions. But sexy or not, athletes need to have some go-to maintenance sessions for:
1. Filling in the space between key sessions, especially late in the season when your training is centered around big race rehearsal style workouts.
2. Maintaining your fitness during the taper.
3. Having some “go to” sessions when life gets busy and you can’t follow your training plan but you want to maintain your fitness.
A good maintenance session does 2 things: (1) it obviously gives you enough training stimulus to let you keep your fitness gains; but (2) is easy enough to make sure that you are fresh enough to nail your next key session. In other words a good maintenance session is neither too hard nor too easy.
Here are some examples of very simple maintenance sessions that I’ve found reliable for keeping my fitness during the taper, when I’m busy, or just for maintaining my fitness between key sessions:
Run: 30 minutes upper steady nonstop (later in the season add 3*3 minute tempo inserts)
Bike: 45-60 minutes steady nonstop indoors (later in the season include 4*5 minutes tempo)
Swim: 1500 yards: e.g. 3*500 on 10 seconds rest (easy, steady, tempo)
These sessions are basically the mimimum sessions that work for me. I sometimes do more for a maintenance session, but remember that doing too much creates the risk that you’ll be too fatigued for your next key session.
Getting your maintenance sessions just right is key to racing to your potential– and that’s just plain sexy!
For sexy information about how to use maintenance sessions when you are busy, read my article The When All Hell Breaks Loose Workout Plan.)