out on my last run before a much-needed vacation from work
and training, the idea for this article came upon me.
Thus far I have written two articles for this site
on training related injuries, drawing on my physical
therapy background. But this is the first one I have
written drawing from my 10+ years as an athlete.
has only been over the past year and a half that I have
been able to maintain a steady running regimen.
Numerous injuries and life changes swept me away
from multisport activities a few years ago, but thank God
I am back and healthy.
was hot and humid that morning and I thought to myself, “what
in the world are you doing out here? You haven’t got a
race planned and this was always the worst of your three
I realized, I was doing it for three major reasons: one,
because I can; two, to keep in shape; and three because I
love it. I
thought of all my past training experiences (or rather
mistakes) and thought some of you out there who may
benefit from this advice. So here it is!
do we spend so much time training in our strong discipline
and not our weakest?
In the past, I usually did between 9 to 12 workouts
per week; equal parts swim, bike and run.
my race performance did not always reflect this equal
allotment of workouts.
I was always in the lead or close to it during the
swim portion of the race, held my own on the bike, and
eventually got caught by some of the faster runners.
It didn’t occur to me until much later that my
training schedule was the culprit. For example, I was
allocating the same amount of training for the swim as I
was for the run. Now
this just didn’t make sense for I was a strong swimmer
but a less than stellar runner. I thought to myself why
not concentrate less on swimming and more on running and
sure enough I started placing higher in the standings.
any one else approached their training in this way? If
not, here is a simple formula to help create a training
regimen suited to your strengths and weaknesses.
of all, let’s do some math!
you are completing 9 workouts per week and you are a
strong swimmer but a weak runner, your schedule would be
swim two times per week, bike three times per week, and
run four times per week. For a 12 workout program, simply
add one training day to the above. This can work for any
combination of strengths and weakness.
Say you are a strong cyclist, but a weak swimmer.
Your schedule would be bike two times per week, run three
times and swim four.
I know you are thinking… “but my strong event will suffer.”
at first thought this may make sense. However, if you are
racing a good deal and you are spending too much time
training in your strongest event, you will waste all your
energy in training.
that’s worth repeating.
YOU TRAIN TOO MUCH IN YOUR STRONG EVENT YOU WILL WASTE IT
ALL IN TRAINING!
doing the minimum per week in your strong event, you will
still maintain your athletic condition allowing your ego
to shine on race day.
By focusing on your weak event and adding an extra
workout or two, it allows you add speed work, technique
work, and/or endurance work and before long you will see
vast improvements in this event.
word of caution though…
you don’t have a job, I would recommend no more than 12
workouts per week-that’s training twice everyday with a
day for complete rest (and you will need the rest!). In
fact I would rather you adhere to a 9 or 10 workout/week
schedule. Nine workouts a week translates into 3 days of
doubles (twice a day training), 3 days of singles (once a
day training), and one complete rest day-or if ten
workouts per week no rest day.
It may not seem like a lot, but add a 40-hour work
week, family responsibilities and other time constraints
to this training schedule and I think you will find that
9/10 workouts per week will turn out to be plenty.
factor that always seemed to negatively affect my training
and racing performance was the heat. I knew I didn’t
compete well in the heat and humidity – the normal
conditions during the summer season in the south, so I
preferred to do most of my racing in the spring and fall.
I was stronger then and my results showed it.
same goes for those races know for hills, mountains, or
extreme winds. If you don’t do well in those conditions
then don’t pick those races! Of course, if you are
training for an Ironman distance race, you don’t have
any choice but to train and race in the heat, humidity,
wind and hills.
So, do I have any
converts for the “focus on weakness” program. If you
do want to give it a try send an email my way. I would
love to see how each of you progresses over the next three
to four months. If you get one thing out of this article
may it be this:
TWO TIMES PER WEEK IN YOUR STRONGEST EVENT, THREE TIMES
PER WEEK IN YOU NEXT STRONGEST EVENT, AND FOUR TO FIVE
TIMES PER WEEK IN YOUR WEAKEST EVENT.
if we could just get guys to put on pants over their
speedos after a race-that is a definite weakness!