Triathlon is stressful—literally. And for good reason. After all, stress is the point of good triathlon training. This is because we induce stress so as to incur a positive result later. However, to be a positive result, your body must be capable of absorbing the training in a beneficial way.
The explicit capability of handling stress isn’t something a lot of triathletes consider. But think about it. Let’s say this is your first year in triathlon and you’re new to running and your coach sets you up with a workout that has you doing 50% of the total duration at threshold pace (once all of the interval durations are summed). How much of that stress do you really think is going to be beneficial?
First, you might not be able to even finish the workout. And secondly, your lack of fitness at this stage of triathlon training prevents such a daunting task to be absorbed beneficially. You’ll most likely deplete glycogen stores past a point of no return and your body won’t be efficient enough to recover from the extreme muscle breakage within a reasonable time frame.
For this reason, you need to be intelligent in how each individual triathlete handles the stress of each discipline not just per session, but also per week and per month.
This is the purpose of TriDot’s Training Stress Profile, or TSP. The best way to think of the TSP is as your triathlon fitness fingerprint. It is the measure of how much of what type of training stress an athlete can absorb over a given period of time.
The idea is to be more effective at managing training stress rather than simplistically measuring an average intensity over a total duration. As alluded to earlier, one athlete may be able to absorb a high level of one type of training stress in one session, but not be able to do so very often. Another athlete may only be able to absorb a moderate amount in one session, but may be able to do so regularly. When it comes to triathlon training, we all have our own fitness fingerprints.
TriDot determines your TSP by the influence of your PhysiFactors such as age, sport age, performance level, body compensation, weight, life stress, and so forth. As expected, your TSP will change over time as your body changes.
There are a number of types of training stresses included in your TSP and they each have their own respective zones. TriDot has classified them as the following:
- Aerobic (Zone 2)
- Threshold (Zone 4)
- Muscular (Zone 5)
- Neural (Zone 6)
TriDot then measures these types of stresses against varying time periods:
- Per Session
- Per Week (Microcycle – typically 1 week)
- Per Month (Mesocycle – typically 4 weeks)
The TSP scale is measured from 0 to 10 for each type of stress at a specific time period. Zero is no stress and ten would be the most. As an example, a rating of 10 on the TSpS (Threshold Stress per Session) metric for the bike would be about 40-45 minutes at threshold pace for a one-hour workout, which is approximately 75% of the workout. That’s pretty intense, but if you have a 10 TSpS, TriDot has the data to confirm that you will be able to handle it. This high TSP rating doesn’t mean every threshold training workout will be at that level, but one every now and then certainly could be.
However, if you have a level 10 TSpS workout during the week you may be asking how much more intensity can I handle on my bike for the rest of the week? In other words, am I the type of triathlete who can recover quickly and handle frequent intense training in a given week? Or maybe I’m not capable of handling this type of high-level threshold workout in one session, but can take on a little lower level of stress more frequently. Or maybe I can absorb a high level TSpS workout once, but just not as regularly during the week.
You can see how the TSpW and TSpM can easily be different on an athlete-to-athlete basis. This same reasoning applies to the aerobic, muscular, and neural stresses as well. Everyone has his or her own fitness fingerprints.
Because of the nature of the differing types of stress, TriDot measures only some types of stress against certain time periods while others may differ. For instance, because the triathlete should generally always be able to handle the maximum aerobic stress per session (due to aerobic being your easiest pace), it doesn’t make sense to display a value of 10 ASpS (Aerobic Stress per Session) on your TSP for every discipline since that’s already a given.
In the same vain, because muscular and neural stress are so intense, nearly all athletes will not be partaking in those types of workouts more than once in one week for a given discipline and, therefore, MSpW and NSpW will be absent from the TSP metrics.
Now, in terms of what an athlete can do per session, microcycle, or mesocycle is another story. But the concern of the TSP is how much the athlete can do while sustaining their stress outputs because they’re positively absorbing the beneficial results.
TriDot’s Training Stress Profile (TSP) is an intelligent overview of how much stress you can handle per intensity per frequency per discipline. In this way, we can evaluate your fitness fingerprint and dial in to what kind of training is going to boost your triathlon performance in the shortest time possible.
TALK WITH TRIDOT:
What do you think of the TSP? Would you like to know what kind of training stress profile is most appropriate for your triathlon training?
JARED MILAM is a professional triathlete, TriDot coach, and member of the Tri4Him Pro Team. He has 16 years of competitive running experience and 11 years of competitive triathlon experience with a half Iron PR of 3:59 and a full Iron PR of 8:30. Coaching under the TriDot system since 2011, Jared loves working with aspiring triathletes of all ages and performance levels