by Phil Ellison

Thank God for the Squad

Accountability, Social interaction, Motivation, Competition, Re-assurance, Education, Live coaching….all the benefits of team squad training are there.


Coming straight off the back of our Total Tri Training Winter Zwift planning meeting, I’m motivated to shout about how proud I am of the service that we can provide for our athletes this off-season. We learned a huge amount, as a group, through the period of Covid restrictions and will look to expand and develop through this next period……


The bespoke training plans that our athletes receive weekly can be embellished with the many Zwift workouts, meet-ups and races that we are ready to schedule. Whether on a run block, continuing to race triathlon or returning from injury there is literally something to suit everyone within the on-line cycling plan.


Let me highlight the many benefits of group training with TTT:


·      Accountability: having made the effort to sign up for a designated session with a set time to start makes it more likely you will get it done. No need to procrastinate – we’ve done the organising so you just have to sign up and show up!


·      Social interaction – the meet-up may be virtual but through the use of Discord its possible to chat and coach the session live while your avatars get to know each other in Watopia!


·      Motivation – training together, racing together or simply FOMO, we have it covered. An endurance ride in the depth of winter can be daunting but not with the squad at hand!


·      Competition – this often brings out the best in us. So, when appropriate, we utilise race scenarios or group workouts to allow athletes to push each other to new personal bests.


·      Re-assurance – when the going gets tough it’s a welcome sight to see (and hear) others suffering alongside you. It gives you confidence that you can push through and succeed. Workouts are of mixed ability and yet we can all train together which simply isn’t possible IRL.


·      Education – occasionally this is formal/pre-arranged and other times you can tap into the experience of your coaches and fellow athletes. Endurance rides allow plenty of time to discuss tri-related topics.


·      Live coaching – although left til last this is possibly the jewel in the crown for us at TTT. With such a large and well-informed coaching staff we are able to provide many, many sessions per week (often twice daily). Every session is led by 1-2 coaches who will help you to get the most from the session. The ability to share the workload of delivering quality sessions for all of our athletes is simply next level in the triathlon coaching sphere. Why have 1 Coach when you can have access to many?


I’m now guessing you may have questions like:

1.     How can my training plan be individualised and still allow me to train with everyone else?

Your session will be prescribed through Training Peaks (TP) with power targets and comments/instructions that are specific to you. However, the main goal of the session and the interval structure will remain the same as the group. The workout you load will be yours from TP. It is easier to create this group atmosphere during the off-season as a polarised approach to training suits this time of the year and we don’t have many athletes in race build blocks.


2.     What if I don’t have Zwift?

You can still be a part of these great sessions! Workouts can be downloaded to your bike computer (e.g. Garmin or Wahoo) or other training platform (e.g. Trainerroad). Through the discord app you can still listen in to live coaching as you ride.


3.     What if I don’t have a Smart trainer or power meter?

We can still accommodate you into these sessions. As above we use Discord to coach you through the session. In this instance we will refer to perceived exertion (RPE), cadence and HR to ensure you hit your targets.


4.     What if I’m not tech savvy and all this talk of Zwift and Discord worries me?

Each individual coach will be able to talk you through the set-up, but we have also produced a number of videos for you to refer to. These comprehensive guides take you through each step of your on-line cycling training process.

Written by coach Phil Ellison. To see Phil's coaching profile, click here-