Tips for multi-sport athletes riding the ToS

This will be my first year riding all seven days of The Tour. Not because I’ve not wanted to do The Tour for many years, but because I was always on a strict triathlon training plan in preparation for a big event in the spring and I didn’t want to compromise my training in other disciplines. This year, I’m going for it. I still have an important race in early May (I hope, but still TBD), but this year I find myself wanting to do things a little differently. I’m trying to incorporate more events and adventures that are different from what I’ve done in the past in order to keep things fresh, interesting, and challenging…and this feels like a fitting challenge! So I’ve come up with some advice for both myself and you- my fellow Sufferlandrians and Wahooligans on how we multi-sport athletes can participate in The Tour of Sufferlandria without compromising our goals or training in other disciplines.

  1. Most importantly- Choose either the “Focused” or “Get Me Through It” option. There’s no need to go nuclear and completely destroy yourself. That’s a sure-fire way to burn out quickly and will take much longer to recover. These two options allow you to complete the tour, while not compromising your training in other disciplines or future goals.
  • On the “Focused” Tour plan, some sessions will be set to 100%, and others at reduced intensities based upon your rider weakness profile. If your health is good and you feel that your cycling fitness is strong, then I recommend this option.

  • On the “Get me through it” plan, all stages will be set at reduced intensities to ensure that you don’t wear yourself down too much too early and can’t complete all 7 days. If you’re concerned about getting worn down and sick, or not as confident in your fitness when it comes to riding for 7 consecutive days, then choose the “Get me through it” option.

  1. Use The Tour as a “bike focus” block. Allow your swimming and running to take a bit of a backseat for the week while you focus your energy on the bike. This bike focused block can give you a boost in bike fitness IF you don’t burn yourself out.

  2. Don’t try to do hard running and swimming workouts during the Tour; focus on technique and fitness maintenance in these disciplines.

  • Keep your run sessions short, and include drills and strides to maintain neuromuscular coordination. 2-3 runs from 15-45 minutes will be plenty during Tour week.
  • Consider making 1-2 of your runs brick sessions (at an easy run effort); perhaps the shorter or lower intensity Tour sessions. This is great durability training for your running legs and allows you to get the run session over with right away, rather than having to summon the motivation to do it later in the day.
  • Use swims as recovery sessions, and maybe swim with a pull buoy, or with paddles AND fins to take some pressure off the legs. Do lots of drills and easy swimming. Some short, fast efforts (25-50yd) are ok to maintain neuromuscular coordination, but give yourself plenty of rest in between.
  1. This week’s strength goals should be about maintenance, activation, and mobility exercises rather than gaining strength.
  • Don’t start a new, more challenging level of strength this week. Either remain at the same level you’ve last completed, scale it back a level, or even fire up the Recovery Week strength sessions instead.
  • As the week progresses, you’ll get more fatigued and sore. Before each stage, do a few activation exercises to improve range of motion, get the muscles firing, and maybe even spin easily for 5-15 minutes before hitting play on the stage workout. Or choose one of the yoga Pre-ride activation or mobility workouts.
  • Mobility exercises can be done both after a ride to help improve recovery, or before to help improve warmup and readiness for the next stage. Choose a yoga session from the activation or recovery categories based on the area of the body you feel needs it the most. Or do more than one since they’re only 15 minutes each!
  1. Recovery! Foam roll, massage, compression, stretching, etc. Whatever recovery technique you prefer, use it after every session. If you have multiple, use them all!
  • Focus on sleep! Sleep is the best recovery tool of them all, so make it a priority.
  • Stay hydrated! Every cell in your body needs water in order to function properly, as well as for you to sweat during the next stage, so stay hydrated with water AND electrolytes!
  • After riding each stage, keep the body moving throughout the day to reduce stiffness. Take short, frequent breaks from work- get up from your desk and move around a little, stretch your hips, etc… Especially if you have a swim or run planned later in the day. If you have or can create a standing desk, that’s great. Change positions from sitting to standing frequently. If not, get creative! Move your computer to somewhere you can stand, kneel, or sit on the floor in a pigeon pose- whatever position feels good on the body! I tend to do it even when it’s not Tour week!

If any of you multi-sport athletes have additional suggestions, feel free to add them- after all, we’ve got 4 more days of this glorious suffering! :slight_smile:

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I decided to do Nuclear because I considered my triathlon races in the summer to be sufficiently far away to allow me recover fully.

I have toned down my running and haven’t been swimming for a while (not even the swim strength sessions) but I have increased my yoga: both pre-workout and recovery.

I’m feeling pretty good right now but then I’ve only done two stages … :grinning:

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That’s pretty much my feelings, as well.

Make this a bike focus week. One week of primarily bike workouts would be a good change-of-pace to mix things up.

Make your runs only short, easy brick runs. With all that fatigue in your legs, you’ll get a lot of benefit just from a couple 10-15 minute brick runs. Next week you can make it a run or swim focused week.

Some short and easy swim sessions would be a nice recovery or warm up if you have the time.
I don’t have access to swim (haven’t been able to since March), but if I did, I would only do 2 short swim sessions this week, possibly with floaty pants or a pull buoy just to keep the feel for the water. Plus an easy swim would be a nice way to stretch out and relax the whole body. This would be my go-to if I had access to the pool. Maybe even 3 short, easy swims depending on how I felt.

As it is, I’m planning for only doing the bike this week and then after a recovery week next week I’ll start adding my runs back in.

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Thanks for the tips Coach! Am loosely following the advice and am on a similar trajectory planning wise for an Ironman in early May.

Only thing I’m thinking of doing different perhaps is, and is partly driven by family and work commitments, is chunking time and maybe doing back to back stages.

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@Coach.Suzie.S Very helpful info! “Get Me Through It” has been working for me and I am glad I took that path. An impromptu ski trip during school vacation week meant that I put TOS Day 1 and 2 together - so 9 Hammers after Joyride and Cobbler. After sleeping 10 hours that night I had no issues with Fight Club the next day. I still need to finish out the week but am feeling optimistic about returning to offseason strength training after a short rest once the TOS is finished.

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Thanks Coach Suzie!
It’s nice to hear someone reinforcing some of my own thoughts about being a triathlete dealing with my first ToS. And I tried something new for me before stage 2 = Abi’s pre-ride activation and I was happy with the result.
Pool access has been and remains basically non-existent; and unfortunately for me (luckily for me in my 1st tour?) I’ve been injured out of running for a while now - so that the brick isn’t an option as I decided not to start my rehab back to running before/during the ToS.
Bigger than my personal return to sport is obviously the question of whether the sport itself have a schedule and whether athletes will even return at whatever time that may be.

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I’ve always been on training plans for multi sport events, and never had issues with deviating from them during the ToS. In fact, it has always helped in the long run. Glad you are finally going for it!

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Thanks - this is very helpful.

I decided to go nuclear because I really need to build my bike fitness for IMAZ. I am having 2 weeks easy / recovery after the Tour and then I will start the Century Plan for a 100 mile sportive end of May. Ironman Plan starts in June.

I am feeling strong so far and am just getting ready for Stage 4 - really hoping to hit all my targets right through to the end on Saturday. I am not running this week and have no access to swimming but am continuing with strength training (intermediate, recovery) and doing lots of stretching and yoga.

I take a good carbohydrate drink post each session and am eating and sleeping well.

Any long-distance triathletes out there with any comments / observations on the SUF triathlon plans?

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