Elite Session – From Joël To David Hauss

Joël Hauss, father and coach of French triathlete David Hauss, is once again giving us insight on one of his son’s training sessions.  Rather than to give an account of the step-by-step description of the workout, Joël’s focus shifts to his ideas, reflections and on the fly decision making and interventions.

The first tests are still some ways away and the training will slowly proceed to quicker and more specific paces.

We’ve just finished a cycle in which the focus aerobic capacity in all three disciplines was the main focus. Training sessions alternated between very low intensity and VO2 max workouts (both on flat and hilly terrain), long threshold sessions in the hot January and February sunshine. At times, for a change of scenery, we took it to the mountains and focused on footwork and descents.  Little by little, our focus is shifting to race specific pacing.

What follows is an account of David’s first high intensity run workout.  I have mixed feelings about this 6 x 800m session as the first 3 were meant to be above VO2max, bringing it down to a long VO2, race-pace type effort for the last 3 repeats.

It was predetermined that we were going to have a long recovery between repetitions (1:1).  At 34°C, it was rather hot on this day and I didn’t want the quality of work to be affected by an abnormally high HR or premature exhaustion.  I chose not to give any specifics to David as to what type of time to aim for because I felt it unnecessary to add this type of pressure for the first session, and because early season sessions such as these often bring on false sensations.

That said, my directions were clear: “3 fast ones followed by 3 at race pace”.  For me, this workout served as a bit of a test for the upcoming 5km series. The 800m is short enough to maintain speed, but during a series of repetitions, they’re long enough to keep you honest.  Simply put, you can’t hide behind pure speed the way you could on 300 or 400m repeats.

Times were not important this time around. They were, however, all ran within a second of what I had secretly hope for. Even in the harsh conditions, David’s facial expressions showed relative ease in producing these times.  It was all in all a very good session.

My conclusions from this first intensity driven session: I’m confident that we’ve taken the right decisions and that we’re heading down the right path. It’s also given me a lot of confidence for when considering what is yet to come.

That said, we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. There is no doubt that we’re going to face many obstacles between now and August 18th. Indeed, the road to Rio is still quite long and there’s still a lot of quality work to be done.

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