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Many people new to triathlon or running or cycling often think they are training for their goal event, but in actuality they’re really just doing a lot of exercising.
So, do you know the difference between training for something versus simply exercising?
Properly training for a race is BY FAR the fastest and most effective way you can spend your time preparing for your goal event.
Training for something – be it a run race, triathlon, obstacle race or whatever – requires one to EXERCISE WITH PURPOSE. Again, “training” is EXERCISING WITH PURPOSE. Plain and simple.
If you are simply increasing your amount of physical activity, but don’t have a SPECIFIC purpose and plan for what you’re doing, you are more than likely only exercising, A LOT!
With additional “exercise,” your fitness will increase initially, but after a short while your progression will slow and eventually plateau.
Here’s a quick example so you can see what I mean… Take a look at this Performance Management Chart. This is one of the helpful charts generated by our training platform, Training Peaks.
The blue line you see, represents the athlete’s overall level of Fitness (or Cumulative Training Load or CTS). If you follow the blue line, you can see it is more or less “rolling” along. It goes up and goes down, but it never really goes very high.
In this case, the athlete was frustrated because he had pretty much plateaued. He was essentially doing what he had always done. Eventually his body got smart and stopped making meaningful progress.
He was frustrated because he knew he had more in him and didn’t want to give up. He called us and we began working with him. With our help, he started training properly for the first time in his life.
Shortly after, where you see the green arrow, the blue line begins to shoot up. THIS is exactly the point the athlete we are currently working with stopped exercising and started working with us. In other words, this is where he began training properly.
Hiring an experienced coach or at the very least, following a good training plan, will help ensure you are doing the right things on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It will also provide some accountability.
Incorporating mini performance tests along the way are also important. The test results will help measure your progress (or lack there of) and help set new bench marks for training and racing.
At the end of the day, our most valuable resource is TIME.
And the best way you can maximize your time, is properly training for your goal event and avoid simply exercising excessively.
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