A pro guide to train, race, recover for a Colorado triathlon | SummitDaily.com

A pro guide to train, race, recover for a Colorado triathlon

Kim Fuller
Special to the Daily

Swim, bike, run — that's where triathlon training starts and mostly where it stays.

The multi-discipline athletic events can be intimidating to break into, but Breckenridge resident and professional triathlete Jaime Brede emphasizes the importance of organization and dedication to the process.

"The most challenging aspect is definitely time management," she said. "Fitting all of the swim, bike, run, gear, training, nutrition and recovery pieces together for optimal performance on race day."

Make a plan

Brede has a coach who develops her year-round regimen — a method she said is helpful for anyone who is looking to get into triathlons or to improve performance.

"I have a coach who creates a training plan based on my current fitness levels and upcoming goal races," she said.

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Brede works as The Cycle Effect coach and program director in Summit County as well as a Breckenridge Masters swim coach — jobs that allow her to have the "much needed" flexibility of getting the training in when and where she needs it, she says.

She trains anywhere from two to three hours a day, for a total of 10 to 20 hours per week (depending on the time of year), and it's a mix of swimming, biking, running and strength building.

At Altus Training Center, co-owner and chief instructor Ian Andrews said the Frisco gym's training is indoors and based around martial arts. The combination of strength-based workouts, plyometrics and high-intensity interval sessions complement general fitness and sports like swimming, cycling and running — as long as the gym work doesn't interfere with the sport-specific work.

"For the endurance athlete, the cross-training work can make the difference for how (he/she) is going to make the sprint up that final hill with a burst of speed," Andrews said. "If athletes can have an anaerobic training method that does not diminish the aerobic performance, that can help give them that burst when they need it."

While developing a specific regimen is a key component of triathlon training, recovery time is just as important.

"I take my recovery more seriously than I ever have," Brede said. "Making sure I have the right foods at the right time is a bit of an obsession. I also love my compression socks, foam roller and movie time."

Focus on food

She said nutrition is a huge piece of her training equation.

"There is a fine line that many endurance athletes walk between being properly fueled for training and racing well and achieving optimal race weight," she said.

She follows a periodized eating plan throughout the year, taking in different ratios of macronutrients that correspond directly with the duration and intensity of her activity.

"I love to cook really yummy, healthy food that fuels me and tastes good," she said. "Otherwise, what's the point?"

Andrews is a certified nutrition educator and coaches athletes on what to eat, and when. He sets up nutrition programs to mirror an athlete's training process, which for triathletes is generally a base phase (the foundation of fitness), a build phase (add volume and intensity) and a peak phase (maintain top fitness at full distance).

"We want to keep an athlete training as hard as appropriate right up to their event," Andrews said. "So, we tailor back the carbs for three days leading up to it; and then, 24 hours prior, we put it right up to 90 percent quality, easily absorbed carbohydrate."

Brede ingests energy foods like bars, gels and electrolyte drinks, but only when she is actually training or racing.

"Otherwise, it is just unnecessary fuel that you body will turn to fat if you don't use it," she said.

Avoid the bars and drinks that contain sugar alcohols, Andrews said, like sorbitol and xylitol, because the sugars are only minimally absorbed and used in the body. The less processed ingredients in the energy foods, the better, he added.

Dive in

Brede recommends the Rocky Mountain Triathlon in Silverthorne and the Buffalo Creek Xterra in Bailey, Colorado, for those who are new to the sport.

"Both are great beginner-friendly tris for people to get their feet wet," she said.

There is also a women's-only Xterra held in Steamboat in August, which she said would be great for any women looking to do their first off-road triathlon.

Frisco is holding the second annual Frisco Triathlon on Saturday, July 18, which adds a twist to the classic tri-sport event; instead of a swim, participants will cross the Frisco Bay Marina on a stand-up paddle board — a 3-kilometer leg — followed by a 15-kilometer mountain bike and a 5-kilometer trail run.

"The reward is when all of the pieces come together on race day, and you achieve whatever goal you have set for yourself for that day," Brede said.

6 quick tips for all new triathletes

1. Read Joe Friel’s “Triathlete’s Training Bible.” “There is so valuable information in there,” Brede said.

2. Have a plan — no good comes from haphazard training.

3. Be prepared to change your plan — life happens!

4. Be consistent in your training. If you can’t do that three hour ride that was scheduled for the day, get out there for a quality one and a half hours instead. Something is better than nothing!

5. There is no substitute for hard work. You cannot give 75 percent in training efforts and expect to perform at 100 percent on race day.

6. Eating whole foods and getting enough sleep is paramount to being a good athlete and person.

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