Multi-sport athletes are always in search of small measures that add incremental performance improvement. Real, measurable improvement can only be created in the pre-season, when you are focused on training, not racing.

I have compiled my top 10 ten tips for performance improvement that you can work on during the pre-season.

In specific cases, I’ve made some training video recommendations, some of which are free, some are my own videos and some are from legendary multi-sport trainer Troy Jacobson. All are designed to help you perform more efficiently. Enjoy!

1. Rein in your horses
With the weather becoming nicer and more training being done outdoors, it is easy to get carried away with your training. Build your extra mural training up slowly and progressively, giving the body a chance to adapt to the differences between indoor and outdoor training.

2. Stick to the training plan and make small alterations only if you need to
Up to now you should have spent a fair amount of time following a training plan. Avoid making massive changes to the plan if possible – small tweaks here and there will not have such a noticeable impact on you and your body as larger changes. If you actually need a training plan, have a look at the program roster.

3. Keep working on your key limiters
Your key limiters are your personal points of performance weakness — the areas of your race that you really need to improve. An example might be your swimming stroke or perhaps your hill climbing ability. Make sure you are committing additional time and attention to improving these limiters.

4. Train at different intensities
The bottom line here is that most people who are training for an event, spend the majority of their training time working in the “No Where Zone”. In this zone, you are neither improving your aerobic fitness base, nor are you pushing up your anaerobic threshold. If you are going to train hard, go very hard. Here’s a great Coach Troy video for this: No Slackers allowed. (This name speaks for itself!) If you are going to train long easy, keep it easy. And here’s a Coach Troy video for that: Aerobase Builder I

5. Practice your fueling strategy during your training
If you are training for an endurance event, start thinking about your eating strategy for optimal performance sooner than later. Identify what products work well for you, at what intervals you need to eat and take in fluids.

6. Keep developing your aerobic base
Your aerobic fitness base is your key to improving your speed and anaerobic capacity. So make sure you continue to develop this component of your fitness throughout the pre-season.

7. Plan to stretch and do strength training
With the increase in training volume, you may struggle to find the time to stretch and do strength training. I’ll be expanding on this in future posts, but in the meantime, ensure you are planning for a short post-workout stretch (here’s a FREE 10 minute stretch video) and cool down (here’s a FREE 30 minute cool down video). And I strongly encourage you to do one, if not two, strength training sessions per week. Here’s a list of my strength training videos. You can try one for free by using coupon code D98D6C2A at cart. Good for a 24-hour rental. One per user.

8. Reward your body with an extra hour of sleep
The magic of improvement occurs when you are asleep. This is the time when your body rebuilds itself and adapts to the training stimuli you have been applying to it. So as you begin to increase your training volume and your training intensity, give your body a little extra, well-deserved rest.

9. Listen to what your body is saying to you
Mental toughness during race season is incredibly important but during pre-season we need to make the mental shift to find balance between our often grueling training schedule and what our bodies are telling us. For example, if you are coming off a big week of training, or are having a lot of stress placed on you at work, slow things down, cut back on the training. It’s hard to do I know, and occasionally it may even feel counter intuitive. Athletes who respond to their body’s messages with a short restorative period gain a competitive advantage by being able to train that much harder the following week.

10. Pre-season training volume guidelines
Here are some recommended guidelines for Total Training Volume (TTV) for each area of your training:
• Endurance Training: 40% - 50% TTV
• Muscle Endurance Training: 25% - 30% TTV
• Anaerobic Endurance Training: 20% TTV
• Power Training: 5% - 10% TTV

I’ll be posting a more detailed explanation of these tips as we wind our way through the pre-season. Come back so you don’t miss a single nugget of information, or join (it’s free) and find me as a friend.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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