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How to Use CrossFit in Triathlon Training

author image Jeremy Hoefs
Based in Nebraska, Jeremy Hoefs began writing fitness, nutrition, outdoor and hunting articles in 2006. His articles have been published in "Star City Sports," "Hunting Fitness Magazine" and RutWear field journals, as well as on the Western Whitetail website. Hoefs graduated with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Nebraska Wesleyan University.
How to Use CrossFit in Triathlon Training
CrossFit triathlon training includes two cycling workouts per week. Photo Credit stefanschurr/iStock/Getty Images

The CrossFit workout program is designed to be a principal strength and conditioning program and has been used by various military and police academies as well as martial artists and professional athletes. Similarly, endurance athletes such as triathletes have adopted the CrossFit workouts for their strength training. Triathletes combine the normal CrossFit workouts with CrossFit Endurance workouts to improve overall race performance. Training with CrossFit for a triathlon allows you to maximize workout time by increasing strength, power, stamina and endurance while decreasing recovery time. Check with a health care provider before starting any new training program.

Step 1

Follow a specific training schedule for the CrossFit workouts. The standard CrossFit workout rotation includes three days on followed by one day off. Adjust the workout schedule to fit your personal schedule, but aim for four to five workouts per week. You can follow the on-line workout rotation at www.crossfit.com or visit a local CrossFit affiliate for specific workouts.

Step 2

Perform constantly varied, functional movements at high intensity levels. Sample exercises include Olympic lifts such as power cleans and snatches, powerlifting exercises such as deadlifts and shoulder presses and bodyweight exercises such as pushups and pullups.

Step 3

Train each discipline of the triathlon -- swimming, cycling and running -- two times per week. An example weekly split includes swimming workouts on Monday and Thursday, cycling workouts on Tuesday and Friday and running workouts on Wednesday and Saturday.

Step 4

Change the triathlon workout schedule based on the exercises in the CrossFit workouts. For example, if you use deadlifts in a CrossFit workout on Monday, only perform easy recovery bike rides or aerobic swimming workouts that focus on skills for the next 48 hours, advises triathlon coach Ben Greenfield of Spokane, Washington.

Step 5

Keep all of your triathlon training and CrossFit workout sessions to 45 to 60 minutes in length. Traditional triathlon and endurance training, however, typically calls for long workouts. The short time frame allows you to focus on intensity and power to reduce your risk for injury, according to Brian MacKenzie, United Kingdom Athletics performance coach and one of the CrossFit program founders.

Step 6

Track your workouts. Use an on-line CrossFit tracking system or manually record workout data into a notebook. Factors to record include resting heart rate in the morning or specific problem areas following a workout. This information helps you monitor your recovery to prevent overtraining and injuries. Also workouts data such as speed or number of repetitions performed to track progress.

Step 7

Practice transitions with brick workouts. The brick workouts are performed by starting with an activity from one leg of the race and transitioning to the next activity. For example, practice the first transition – also referred to as T1 or swim-bike -- by completing a swim workout and immediately moving into a short bike workout. Similarly, practice the second transition -- T2 or bike-run -- by completing a cycling workout and immediately moving into a short running workout.

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