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3 Key Training Sessions Every Triathlete Needs to Maximise Performance with Coach John Mayfield

Nov 17, 2022

When it comes to choosing the key training sessions that every triathlete needs to include in their program to maximise performance, TriDot coach and age group triathlete, John Mayfield, has some great insights.



John has coached hundreds of athletes ranging from beginners all the way up to Kona qualifiers and elite professional triathletes. Here are his insights into the essential workouts every triathlete should be doing.

The Swim 

  • Proper technique - you can’t out volume bad technique
  • Perfect practice makes perfect
  • Overcome bad habits - drill seasons with a coach to reinforce proper technique
  • Improve pace through technique then improve efficiency
  • Develop muscle memory then develop strength
  • Dryland exercises especially when a pool is not available
  • Build threshold, build stamina
  • Small tweaks can lead to big gains

When it comes to improving your swim technique, there is no substitute for practice and repetition. That being said, focusing on specific drills can help you to quickly correct any technical flaws in your stroke. Likewise, dry land tubing can be a great way to build strength and improve your technique. By seeing what you are actually doing, and then repeating the movement, you can develop muscle memory and correct any errors in your technique.

If you are expending so much energy on the swim, that you're not meeting your potential on the bike and run then obviously you're wasting a lot of potential, so make the decision and put n the effort to improve your swim.


The Bike

An important aspect of bike threshold training is that it helps to improve your cycling economy. This is the amount of energy you use to maintain a certain speed on the bike. The more efficient you are, the less energy you will use and the longer you will be able to sustain a fast pace. There are a few different ways to improve your cycling economy, but one of the most effective is to do more threshold training. This will help your body to learn to use less energy to maintain a high level of output.

  • All about building thresholds - the FTP - that functional threshold power - Zone 4 power
  • Need a high amount of endurance and a high amount of stamina
  • How much power you can generate relative to your weight, aerodynamic drag, etc
  • Standard definition of functional threshold power is 60 minute maximum power, which you can sustain for 60 minutes (or variations of that)
  • Higher wattage
  • Build grit and tenacity (physical and mental)
  • Try the trainer turbo
  • Frequency depends on the individual, but anywhere from one to three sessions per week

You're also going to need to support maximally with nutrition (before, during and after) to back up quickly - you’re not going to be able to absorb those types of training sessions, particularly if they're multiple times a week, if you haven't got your nutrition sorted around those types of things. We want to try and recover and back up quickly. And that's not going to happen if you don't put those right building blocks in there.


The Run Off the Bike

Developing the ability to run off the bike and do it well is worth mastering - to teach the body what it is like, because it is very different than just starting off from a cold run and going out that way. Get a good cadence on the bike so your feet and legs are used to that higher turnover rate.

  • Build the cadence on the bike - 80 - 90, if looking to run off afterwards to allow you body to adapt to running
  • Doesn’t need to be long
  • Need to do it during training - beginners - just a couple of minutes off of every bike ride to develop that adaptation (either treadmill or on the road)
  • Practice and upskill in your mount and dismount. Use the flying mount and flying dismount if you can - but if it’s not for you, then don’t be pressured to
  • Try rubber bands on our shoes and do a quick step over
  • The flying mount would become more important if you're aiming to go fast in a sprint and/or Olympic distance race
  • Doesn’t have to be complicated
  • Get organised
  • Keep your eyes up


The Transition

The secret here is to minimise the amount of movements you make in transition and have a clear thought out process of what the things are that you need in transition, and what are the things you need to do.

  • Keep it organised - have everything set up simply
  • Ways to utilise your cap
  • How to transition with your race number belt


🎧 Take a listen to the insights John shares to ensure you’re maximising your training program - with things that actually matter - things that are going to push the needle and get you the best bang for your buck out of your sessions.



Connect with John Mayfield on Facebook HERE

John is a USAT Level II and Ironman U certified coach who leads TriDot’s athlete services, ambassador, and coaching programs.

Email: [email protected]


To dive deeper, listen to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy Podcast, EP 68 - 3 Key Training Sessions Every Triathlete Needs To Maximise Performance with Coach John Mayfield

If you are interested in learning more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy Program and what it can do for you, head HERE to join the waitlist for our next opening.



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