Tuesday, May 20, 2008
New York Times article sent to me by training buddy D:
For Peak Performance, 3 Is Not Better Than 1
The article basically suggests that it is not possible to peak in three separate sports at the same time because human physiology won't allow you to optimize performance in biking at the same time as running. Opposing muscle groups and all that, plus basic time management...even a top level triathlete is unlikely to put in more than 10 hours a week into running because they need to have at least that into the bike, and a few swims too. Compare that to a pro-level marathoner-who's going to have more time to run?
Triathlon is about training to create a balance in your endurance capacity across disciplines. Here's my thought: is it really appropriate to think of tri as THREE sports anyway? Sure, the components look like open water swimming, road racing and running, but isn't tri really more (or at least different) than the sum of it's parts? Countless pro-level training strategems for tri will tell you that it's not how fast you run, it's how fast you run off the bike.
Tearing up the bike and taking top honors in that leg only to hobble through the run and get passed by 100 people doesn't get you anywhere. It's the race as a whole that matters. Everyone would love to shave 3 minutes off their bike time, but not at the cost of adding 5 minutes to the run.
Triathlon is about training to create a balance in your endurance capacity across disciplines. And that's why tri training is different, and why a tri should be viewed as a single sport, not three distinct sports done in quick succession.