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Training to Train… Time well spent

The New Year will be here in 10 days.  

Most of you (whether or not you label them as such) have some form of resolution.

If you are not a New Year’s resolution person, and a consistent training routine has long-since been a part of your lifestyle, excellent.  Give yourself a pat on the back.  And now keep reading… this post is most certainly for you too.

So many endurance athletes (triathletes, adventure racers, marathoners, etc.) share January 1st as their target date for a new year of training and racing.

And why not?  It’s a new year.  New goals are waiting for you.

Before you rush into it though… Why not consider a few things that might help you manage a consistent, injury-free, and progressive training year?

1. Is the training load manageable?

Many of us are guilty of setting unreasonable targets when it comes to our training volume.  In fact, we can often get distracted by the alleged merits of high-volume training.  I won’t deny that volume increases can yield improvement, but this is only the case if quality training does not take a back seat.

When designing your training schedule, be sure that every workout has a purpose.  Don’t just fill in the blank spots in your week with more training sessions…  

Think of it this way: if your workouts are purposeful, you are going to need those blank spaces for adequate recovery.

2. Is this really your OWN plan?

Everyone has heard this before… What works for someone else may not necessarily work perfectly for you.  

There are plenty of generic training schedules out there.  They are packaged up and presented as the solution to get you to the finish line, and for the most part they will do just that.  

Let’s use an example here…

Imagine Bob and Jack have the same goal, and follow the exact same training plan, with the very same areas of focus, durations by training discipline, and proportionate intensity levels… 

Bob and Jack should probably have the exact same overall fitness, trainability, muscle fibre composition, training zones, age, caloric intake and diet, hours of sleep each night, etc.

You get the idea…

Your whole life comes into play when you design a fitness and training schedule that will work perfectly for you.  

And while a “perfect” plan may not be necessary, it sure is nice.  If it will help you reach your goals, remain consistent, and stay injury-free, it’s worth some thought.

Of course, finding your perfect plan is going to take some trial and error on your part… and finding that “sweet spot” as you balance your training and real life.  

And this is where the title of the article comes into play.

3. Train to train… It is WORTH every minute

Earlier, I asked you if your training plan was manageable… 

There is really only one way to find out.Rather than creating an overly-demanding training schedule for yourself, only to realize with great frustration and discouragement that it cannot be adhered to, here are three simple words: train to train.

Make no assumptions, take no risks, remove the guess-work, and eliminate the potential to crash and burn during your training season due to demotivation, discouragement, or injury as a result of an unmanageable training load.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to “get serious” about training again, but only if you know exactly what it is your are getting serious about.  

Otherwise, it may be just as well to use the first month of the year as a trial or buffer month, during which you can make sure your body can handle the training load you’ve prescribed.  

If you need to, adjust your weekly training schedule on the fly during this month, and “work out the kinks” as people so often say.  

As you move forward into February you will have confidence and trust in your training schedule, and this will pay off… I promise.

This article and others are up on my blog.  Check it out here.


I’m 26 years old. I have a beautiful girlfriend who doesn’t mind coming out to long races in the extreme heat or pouring rain, and splitting the grocery bill with me and my 4000 calorie / day vegan diet. I’m a triathlete from the ankles up. I started out as a very biomechanically inefficient runner… the worst you’ve ever seen, I guarantee. I’ve somehow managed to drag my pancake-flat feet through marathons, triathlons, and even a 400 kilometre 10-day charity fundraiser run. Shifting the focus away from running though, and training as a triathlete has helped to keep me injury free for the last 3 years. It’s even made me a little faster on my feet. Aside from swimming, cycling and running, I like travel, yoga, and surfing. In 2006, my girlfriend and I lived in Japan and went surfing every week… unfortunately, there is no surfing in Markham.

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