Most age-group athletes have other commitments like full-time work and families we need to look after. Due to this, we have very limited time to train.
This is where a training plan can help.
One of the most important things training plans provide is time efficiency. The worst problem with triathletes is that they can’t help going all out and do five-hour rides or two-hour runs because they think that training more will provide the best results. In reality, too much training results in greater risk for injuries, recovery from which takes time away from actual improvement.
Being time-efficient with training is something that even professional athletes benefit from tremendously. Even though pros have all day to train, they still need to fit recovery periods with a set number of training sessions per day. A training plan not only helps with consistency in training but knowing what to expect every day and with each session. You know that you have x number of sessions in a day that each takes a set amount of time to finish.
Doing specific training sessions programmed with the right intensity and duration (rather than just doing lots of volume and hoping for the best) is the best and most efficient way to see improvements and it will leave you time for your other commitments as well.
Another problem if you’re not on a training program is that you start second-guessing yourself. “Should I really be doing this session? Maybe I should change it to this…” This happens for both hard and easy sessions: you might take the hard days too easy or the easy days too hard. When your muscles are burning halfway into the session, it’s way too easy to call it quits.
If you have a training plan that’s been carefully designed with sessions that specifically target areas of improvement, there’s no need to second-guess what you’re doing. If this is what your coach wants you to do, you do it without thinking. It takes the mental and emotional aspects out of the training. This focus on just doing the training helps you to get it done!
Lastly, training programs help when it comes to recovery. Recovery is one of the most important things that an athlete can do. Often, triathletes think that taking it easy during training sessions is being lazy. When all you need to do is to go out and run at a leisurely pace, if you’re feeling good you might feel tempted to go all out instead. But if the program says to take it easy, there’s a reason behind that and it is to allow your body to get rid of fatigue and rebuild muscles so you can become a stronger, faster athlete.
If you stick to your training plan, you’re generally going to get the greatest gains in the end.