New triathletes are typically more interested in finishing races than being speedy. However, after becoming more familiar with the sport, most become interested in going fast.  This blog post will discuss how distance and intensity affect speed.

Consistently racing the same long distance races can reduce your overall speed.  Conversely, mixing-in training for shorter races will build speed.  For example, to increase your 70.3 speed, train for an Olympic race while building to a 70.3 race. The Olympic-distance workouts should be shorter with higher intensity.  High intensity workouts condition your muscles, energy system, and cardio vascular system for speed.  Initially, these higher-intensity workouts will be uncomfortable.  Over time and with hard work, you’ll feel at home at the faster speeds.  After a full Olympic build-up, you should be able to maintain considerably faster paces.  Moving to the 70.3 race, workout duration will increase while intensity decreases – to rebuild endurance.  However, after the Olympic build-up, you will be stronger/faster for the longer workouts.  As a result, you will bring more speed to the 70.3 race.  This principle also applies to off-season training.  Instead of doing long/slow workouts to maintain endurance, do short/high-intensity workouts to build speed.

By spending time training at higher intensities, you can bring more speed to your next race.