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Fitness Testing, why, what, when and how?



Hello Triathletes and welcome to this week’s blog. I hope your training is going great.


Today I wanted to highlight the importance of including fitness testing throughout the training year. Unbeknown to some it is not just another way for your coach can create great pain.


Every athlete has an innate quality to improve. Improvement creates pride and satisfaction. I personally find it extremely motivating to hit a new race best, Threshold score. Not only do test provide motivation and reassurance you are headed in the right direction, but it can assist in new direction if results weren’t as expected.


As a multisport athlete it’s important to consider testing each specific discipline – a swimming, cycling and running test.


Below I have highlighted some go to tests for each of the three disciplines that I recommend including at regular times in your training. These tests can be done without the expense of going to a lab :)


SWIMMING


THE 1,000-METER/YARD TIME TRIAL

In this test you will swim as hard as possible for 1,000 meters, doing your best to even pace it. The data obtained can assist in predicting other times and be used in a swim pace per 100 meters.


THE 100-METER TIME TRIAL

In this test you will perform 3 x 100 meter intervals as fast as possible recovering only 20 sec between bouts. The objective is consistency in all efforts Your 100-meter training pace is the average of the three hard efforts. This score indicates anaerobic capacity pace.


CSS Swim Test (Critical Swim Speed)

In this test you will swim a 400m and 200m Time Trial within the same session allowing time for a sufficient warm up and recovery between each time trial. Each effort should be hard. CSS is a pace predictor for a 1500 Time Trial. It is a great way to prepare for race distances of 400 and above. Once you have the scores from both time trials use the CSS calculator to obtain the CSS Score. I personally use this as my preferred test.


https://www.swimsmooth.com/improve/intermediate/swim-smooth-css-calculator


Cycling


THE 20-MINUTE TIME TRIAL / FTP/ THRESHOLD TEST

In the test the goal is to ride at your best possible effort for 20 minutes. Ensure you are fresh going into this test and allowing time for a sufficient warm up. This test is very very challenging, for me it always gets me nervous as I know the 20 minutes I will be in the Pain cave.

The results gained will be your FTP calculated by

Average power over the 20 minutes x by 0.95


This number represents the maximum power an athlete can sustain for a 45minute to one hour time trial effort.


Running


THE 20-MINUTE TIME TRIAL/ THRESHOLD TEST

I this test the same rules apply as the cycling test but you run. In the test the goal is to ride at your best possible effort for 20 minutes. Ensure you are fresh going into this test and allowing time for a sufficient warm up. I am not sure which one is worse, they both instill nerves, but it is a great. The main tip here is avoid starting too fast and blow up 7-8 minutes in.


Average pace over the 20 minutes x by 0.95

Average HR over the 20 minutes x by 0.95 - will be a close estimate lactate threshold HR


1 MILE

In this test Run 1600m at a hard. Keep each 400m consistent. This test can be a still good fitness indicator. It can be used also for longer events such as even for Ironman, by adding 30 seconds to get your predicted 5K pace per mile and adding 2-3 minutes to determine your long run or easy pace.


Deciding when to carry these tests out will depend on your training and competition schedule. I will always start an athlete’s training plan with tests to set training goals, intensities and targets. I will repeat then test at regular intervals 6-12 weeks depending on race date to ensure that we are headed in the right direction.


I hope that you enjoyed this blog, an until next week stay heathly

Jill

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