What is base building?

Base building is the general phase of the annual training plan/progression where an athlete develops the fitness or chronic training load to complete their goal races. Each race has a specific demand in terms of overall training preparedness.

Focus areas:

  • Increase overall training duration to target peak training load by end of base period
  • Develop pace & power in line a specific (10) % improvement target
  • Improve skills especially in the swim and bike handling
  • Address strength imbalances & weaknesses and other performance limiters

The workouts throughout the base should be sufficiently targeted and frequent to elicit a specific training response for each focus area. The way to get better at anything is repetition.

Elite athletes prepare with significantly higher target training loads for their A-races than do age-groupers. The guidelines below are informative. Intermediate athletes should consider the lower end of each range when setting the target training load  As you become a more durable athlete over multiple seasons, consider higher training loads in your annual training plan balancing work, home, and rest.

Target CTL Chart



Often athletes believe base development is all about going low & easy, and the build phase is about working hard with high intensity. I would prefer to look at it as a general & specific phase in order to be more precise.

  • Base (General) – Developing your chronic training load (CTL) or fitness to a level that is appropriate to your goal race.
  • Build (Specific) – Executing specific training that simulates race intensities, requirements, and conditions.

The Specificity Principle is a principle that states that exercising a certain body part, component of the body, or particular skill primarily develops that part or skill.

Each event that an athlete trains for has specific intensity, duration, and skill requirements. Assuming a well developed base has been developed during the general phase, each athlete should turn to executing race simulation workouts each week when approx. 8-10 weeks away from their goal race. Specific workouts should become the predominant focus.


This means that during the specific phase, long course athletes will tend to execute longer lower intensity workouts, while short course athletes will focus on higher intensity workouts. General development for these two types of athletes could be quite similar in structure, but the annual training plans will diverge as each athlete enters the specific phase of their annual training progression.

Simulate your race by executing workouts on terrain that matches or is more difficult than your goal race, practicing your race nutrition, and pacing at the intensity you intend to execute for your race.

Another way to to think about specificity: There are no miracles on race day, just execution of what you have already practiced and experienced in training.


2018 Open Sky Training camp calendar

Prepare for your A race with a multi-day training camp experience.

ost-logoOpen Sky Training camps offer extensive coach contact, 12-56 mile open road rides with specific workout prescriptions aimed at race events, small group swim skills development at Bard College pool, open water lake swims, and sport specific clinics. Run & ride beautiful vistas, combine routes to go any distance, and enjoy delicious food in the company of fellow athletes.

2018 Camp schedule:

  • May 18-20 – Led by Startline Coaching – Coach Peter
  • June 8-10 – Led by Startline Coaching – Coach Peter
  • June 22-24
  • August 3-5


The camp is fully catered (the food is outstanding) and includes accommodations while spots in the house last

2018 spring season training program kicks off – 1/20/18

For the fourth year in a row, Start Line Coaching is offering a spring triathlon training program. Aimed at developing experienced athletes, the program is designed for an athlete to peak for Quassy Half Ironman or Olympic or a race close to that date. Get your training and racing off to a good start with some structure, camaraderie, and enjoy the beauty of the park in the winter.

Athletes are streamed (basic, intermediate, advanced) based upon current fitness and athletic progression. Focus is on skills mastery, functional strength, race strategy and pacing, and aerobic development. Athletes meet twice a week for group training sessions. Solo workouts are prescribed throughout the remainder of the week.

This USAT sanctioned program will develop your fitness, skills, and knowledge of the sport so that you compete at a new level of proficiency.

Details & registration materials can be found here: 2018 spring triathlon training Any questions contact Coach Peter.

Kickoff & registration for the Start Line Coaching “2017 spring triathlon training program” is at 7:30 am on 1/20/18 @Connecticut Muffin, Corner of Prospect Park West & 15 St in Brooklyn.

Please bring your completed paperwork or register on site. Workout begins at 8:00 am sharpish!



Follow Coach Peter on twitter @startlinecoach


USAT Level 2 Endurance Certification

PrintNov 22 2017 – Start Line Coaching is pleased to announce that Head Coach Peter Helling is a certified USAT Level 2 Endurance coach, joining the approximately 50 other coaches nationally who hold this certification.

USAT Level 2 Endurance certification, targeted specifically toward coaching higher level long course Half Ironman & Full Ironman athletes, complements Peter’s 10+ years of experience coaching at all distances: Sprint through Full Ironman.

This new certification adds to Coach Peter’s existing accreditation as a USAC Level 2 cycling coach w/ distinction.

Please contact Coach Peter if you are interested in a coaching program to develop your run, bike, swim or overall triathlon performance. Located in Brooklyn NY, Start line coaching offers group & individual training programs for triathletes, runners, and cyclists.

Why athletes should get unstable

airex_balance_beam_square1Endurance athletes spend way too much time in a single plane of motion. This plane is directly forward (known as the Sagittal plane). The result is incredible development in the one plane of motion but under development of the stabilizing muscles. The result is often niggling or recurring injuries – plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, patellofemoral syndrome, Iliotibial band syndrome, etc.

We all know the list of common chronic injuries. These injuries often stem from muscles being asked to perform work to compensate for weaknesses elsewhere. The solution is to place the body in positions where the stabilizers are activated and developed. In doing so, the athlete will be increasingly resilient to break down & injury.

In the off season & throughout your training progression, be sure to not only execute core and hip extension strength exercises like planks, rows, squats, and deadlifts, but do so in progressively more challenging balance position. For injury resistance, consider stability development a priority over force development. Body weight exercises are sufficient.

  • Stretch cord pulls extended on one leg
  • Single leg romanian deadlifts
  • Single leg squats on a block extending the suspended leg in different directions – behind, in front, or to the side. Add complexity by standing on an unstable surface
  • Planks with one leg up or moving, plank jumpers (moving from legs closed to open), plank on an exercise ball, and side plank rotating to push up & return, etc.
  • Woodchoppers on a bosu ball

There are many variants to the basic strength exercises we all do. The key is to challenge the body to find balance and stability progressively. Start simple and add complexity every 2-3 weeks.

Develop your strength & get stable. Have fun and train safe.

Off Season Kickoff 10/28/17

Alarm-Clock-1Kickoff & registration for the Start Line Coaching “2017 Brooklyn off season training program” is at 7:30 am @Connecticut Muffin, Corner of Prospect Park West & 15 St in Brooklyn. Please bring your completed paperwork or register on site.

  1. Program details
  2. Coaching Agreement
  3. USAT Event Waiver – Event #244119 – 2017 Brooklyn Off Season Training Progression

Workout begins at 8:00 am sharpish!

The kickoff workout will be strength & running. Overdress and be sure to bring gloves. Expect to be in the push up/plank position.

A good season starts with developing a strong core!