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  • Writer's pictureErin Spineto

3 Essentials of Every Training Plan

After six years of fighting thyroid disease, I am finally healthy enough to begin training for another race. I have signed up for the Wildflower Triathlon in May. My training plan began the 2nd and I thought I'd share my three-fold approach to training plans.


I always have three goals in mind when I race. With multiple measures of success I am more likely to walk away from a race with at least one goal met. Each goal has a different dimension.

My first goal is to run the entire run without walking. Running is my weakest sport and I am usually a run/walker. Because Wildflower is such a short run course, I may be able to complete it without any walk breaks.

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My second goal is to beat my fastest swim time ever for this distance. Wildflower 1997 was my second triathlon and my fastest swim ever. I was seventh out of the water. I would love to beat that.

My third goal is to beat my friend, Michelle, who I convinced to join us on the Wildflower Triathlon weekend. She is always faster than me, but I fully intend on running her down come May.

Find what makes you push harder in training. Is it just to finish, to beat a time, to swim without freaking out? What is it that you can look forward to achieving?


Since I live with a type-A, well-researched Ironman triathlete, training pans abound in our home. I chose the Sprint Level 4 plan developed by Matt Fitzgerald. It is the most intense plan that doesn't have any two-a-days. Years ago the two-a-days were a staple of my training plan, but lately I can hardly find the time for one workout a day, let alone two.

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Along with the plan comes a planner. I get a new one every tri season. It's where my schedule goes and where all my notes for each workout go.

Find a plan that will work for you. One that is not too difficult, but that will still push you. Don't set yourself up for failure by choosing a training plan that won't realistically blend with your current responsibilities.

Look at your current fitness to make this decision. not what you could do five years ago, or last year, or even when you were in high school. And find a place to write it all down. Maybe that's the old fashioned paper way like me. Or maybe it's an app on your phone or uploading your Garmin info online. Find a way to record every success in training.


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For me, motivation comes in the form of movies. One every few weeks is enough to keep the motivational fires stoked.

First up is always Blue Crush. I am a surfer at heart. Done it for over twenty years. Thought I might actually make a career out of it at one point. Too bad I had no natural talent for the sport. So this movie, however cheesy, brings back that stoke from when I was twelve and absolutely obsessed with spending every minute of the day getting better at surfing.

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Next up is Without Limits. It's the story of Steve Prefontaine. A great runner. reminds me that running is supposed to hurt. Once I knew that, I finally could push myself.

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Lastly is Chasing Mavericks, a new favorite. Another surfing movie with all the cross training. And a little Gerard Butler certainly doesn't hurt.

What are the things that will keep you excited? Could be a reward system or focusing on your goals. maybe it's thinking about how you will feel when you finish. Maybe it's talking with a really encouraging friend. find what makes you look forward to your next training session and will give you the strength to push when you think you have nothing left to give.


I have been reminding myself to train hard so that race day I can have a fun day. My mantra while training has been, "Hurt now, Fly later." the only thing that can make race day better is to spend it with some amazing people (Tony and Michelle) and to do it at one of my all time favorite races, Wildflower.

It's been called the Woodstock of triathlon and it is one amazing weekend. Remember to enjoy race day whether or not you meet your goals. There is nothing more exciting than putting yourself into a situation where anything could happen. You'll find out just what you are made of when you respond to the inevitable race-day problems with a smile.

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