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Alistair Brownlee's Training Regime

There’s only one thing better than going for a swim, bike ride or run and that’s doing all three at the same time. OK, not literally at the same time, but immediately following one another. The triathlon craze is huge now, with many of us looking for bigger and better endurance challenges. So who better to explain how to get the best out of your triathlon training than Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee?

IMPROVE YOUR RUNNING TECHNIQUE

“I never run on treadmills. I think they’re bad for you, and a good way to get injured. It’s the impact – as the treadmill’s coming towards you and hitting you. I mainly run off-road, which is important. You need a light pair of trainers that feel good on your feet, as this decreases the risk of injury. Running technique is under-valued – people think if you run a lot you become faster, and that’s true, but you can also improve your technique. Triathletes tend to ‘sit down’ a lot, due to tight hamstrings and glutes, so it looks like they’re running almost half sitting down. The most important thing to think about is keeping tall, with your hips straight up and forward. The best thing is just to go out running and try to put that into action.”

ADAPT YOUR SWIM STYLE

“Swimming strengthens the core, but the most important thing is your technique in the water. Do arm-based drills in the water, concentrating on one arm at a time. It doesn’t necessarily improve your strength but it helps get your technique right, which is crucial. You can swim with your feet tied together too, or use paddles.”

WORK ON 'OVER GEAR' TRAINING

“Many top triathlon competitors do what’s called ‘over-gear’ work. That means that when you reach a hill, you focus on keeping your [upper] body still, and trying to pedal from your glutes. Over-gear work is a valuable session if you’re short on time.”

EAT A BALANCED DIET

“This is key, because if you burn calories you need to eat more calories. Plenty of meat, steak, potatoes and vegetables are essential. I always have a good recovery drink, such as Gatorade, post-workout to replace missing fluids.”

PUT IN THE HOURS

“I tend to swim for six to seven hours a week. I’ll cycle somewhere between 15 and 20 hours a week, and run seven

to 10 hours a week, plus do a couple of hours in the gym.”

TAKE RISKS

“I was at a training camp in Tenerife last year and was dropped off by my coach who was going home. We were staying on a volcano at altitude. We set off on a route – all we had to do was ride up this volcano, but it was a lot further than it looked on the map. About five hours later I was riding in the dark, through a snowstorm, on a volcano, in the middle of nowhere, trying to find a hotel. I was a bit maverick.”

OVERCOME ILLNESS

“I’ve had stomach bugs during training and races. You’ve just got to get on with it sometimes, and not think about it. You can pick up colds because you’re in and out of the water so quickly. When you’re training really hard, your immune system gets battered and it’s easy to suddenly get ill.”

Image: Getty