What’s the best way to approach considering augmenting a triathlon training plan with more volume if someone was thinking about that? How should someone determine what to add? Should it be based on what they are weakest in (and if yes to weakest, how is “weakest” determined, but ranking in each of the 3 disciplines in a recent race?), or by what discipline has the most time in the next A race (bike in long course tri), or some other reason. Would it be to add another workout or to add some added time to the existing workouts?
– Your weakest discipline first. As you suggest, this is best done by assessing your position in each disciple in an event. If you are top 50% swim and top 30% bike, focus on swim.
– Weaknesses being equal, bike is next, as it represents the most time in an event.
– Run is next, that’s where you finish the race.
Some time-breakers and other considerations involved here. If your swim is top 30% and your bike is top 25%, I’d still work on the bike over swim. In a 70.3, 10% faster on the swim 3 minutes, 10% faster on the bike is 16 minutes. That’s why it’s not an easy decision, you sort of have to sit down and do the math on your individual weaknesses. I’ve won 40+ triathlons, swim has always been my weakest of the three, but I focus on my bike and run.
Volume equals improvement. If you choose to improve your swim, swim more often or longer. Same for bike and run. Adding 1-2 hours of your chosen discipline in 1-3 additional sessions will generally equal improvement.