Sunday, 21 February 2016

Not so marginal gains

Triathlon is a sport made up of 3 disciplines. So what should you concentrate your training on?

Ideally you'll be like Messrs Brownlee, Frodeno or Gomez and be awesome at all three. But for us mere mortals what should you concentrate on?

In my opinion you should concentrate most on the discipline you are weakest at. 

So if you're a swimmer concentrate on bike and run. 

If you're a run biker concentrate on swimming.

You can see where this is going.....

Ultimately it's all about concentrating on the discipline where you can make the most time gains. 

I see little point in me chasing the swim and spending 5 hours a week chasing an improvement that would at best get me 45s off my 400m time when the swim is such a small percentage duration in a triathlon and I have bigger gains to make across bike and run. 

If we look at an average triathlon duration for a sprint. The swim for me makes up about 10-15% of overall duration, the bike between 45-50% and the run the remaining 35-40% so it makes no sense chasing an improvement on the swim given the small percentage of duration it takes up. 

If we look back on my triathlon "career".

In 2013 I was okay at swimming but not great on the bike or run so concentrated on bike and run. 

In 2014 my bike was getting better so I spent a lot of time working on my run but still working on my bike. 

In 2015 I needed to make gains on bike and run so concentrated on those again. Finding my race distance helped me refocus my goals. 

And in 2016 I believe my biggest gain can be made on the bike. So guess what I'm spending a lot of my time on the bike. I still need to improve my run but I believe there will be a crossover improvement from the bike and also that the percentage improvement for me is greater on the bike.  

Is it fun concentrating on your weakest discipline. No it's bloody hard work but it's necessary hard work. 

Would I rather go for a swim than go for a run. You bet your ass I would but I know I am chasing the "not so marginal" gains by doing the hard work that is required.  

By all means still spend some time each week training across all 3 disciplines including the often forgotten "strength and conditioning" but make sure the split is right for you, your goals and your work:life balance. After all triathlon is three sports so you have three things to master.

In summary concentrate on doing the hard work on your weakest discipline instead of doing the fun work on the thing you find easiest as this is where you can make the biggest improvements. 

Thanks for reading,


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