As you start your fitness journey from a complete beginner, you will see lots of improvements happen quite quickly as there will be lots of improvements to make. But as time goes on, the improvements start to get smaller or even harder to make. The journey to improved fitness is not linear, there will be setbacks, ups and downs, and good and bad days and this is all the normal process of improving fitness.
When starting your triathlon journey, it might start as doing a triathlon to have a go, or for a charity, but the bug soon hits and it becomes your hobby and your goals start to change, you want to get better, make big improvements, maybe even go for GB age group qualification or qualify for long course world championships or Kona! These goals for some can take YEARS to prepare for, to build the fitness to hit those target times, and to improve the technique of certain disciplines! Changing your technique and making it your new default is not a quick process and can take anything from 6 weeks to years to change and this depends on how well you focus on it, if you are not constantly focusing on it every time you do that discipline then it will take longer to change. Think swimming, you focus on improving your recovery arm, then after say 2-4 weeks you move onto working on your catch, your focus has changed and your recovery arm has defaulted back to the old ways because you hadn’t done the new way long enough for it to become your new default! Improvements take longer because we don’t give them enough time in the first place!
To really improve your fitness for this new lifestyle you have adopted, you need to be training consistently. I’m not saying you don’t have a break at all. Take a couple of weeks off at the end of the season, then have a post-season of reduced volume with some cross-training, paying particular attention to your strength & conditioning and improving joint mobility as this will really help your technique for swimming, biking and running! Then start building your volume to improve fitness but REMEMBER you only ever increase the load by 5-10% a week! As you get closer to your A race, you start your race-specific training, where you fine-tune your race fitness, and practice everything needed to race well.
Basically being fit all year round and not taking big chunks of time off, will enable you to achieve greater fitness, greater improvements and greater results. It also will put you in a better position if an injury does strike its ugly head because you will be rehabbing back from a much stronger position fitness-wise!
I have devised a specific structured group coaching plan to help athletes stay fit all year round with all the specific blocks I have mentioned above. It is good for athletes that don’t need full 1:1 support or for athletes wanting a slightly cheaper coaching option. These are very detailed generic yearly plans, ranging from complete beginners to those more experienced, with the race-specific blocks specific to each race distance. It will include a monthly group video call where we can talk about a specific subject or a Q&A session. There is also a WhatsApp group that you will be a part of where you can interact with other athletes, arrange meet-ups, whether virtual or in-person and ask for advice from the group. It can be a good option when coming off a 1:1 plan but wanting to keep up the structured sessions and have that group community with other athletes and access to a coach, all be it less communication than 1:1 but communication is there via WhatsApp group or monthly group video calls.