Most Endurance Athletes Are Lazy. Yes, Even Most Ironman Athletes.

Over the past ten years of coaching endurance athletes I have come to one conclusion – most of them are lazy. Yes, even most of ironman and marathon athletes are lazy.

I know what you are thinking, “How can you call a triathlete lazy, let alone call an Ironman triathlete lazy?” Keep reading to find out why I am calling athletes lazy, and what you should do to help reach your full potential.

The first thing you need to know about me is that I am an Ironman triathlete. The second thing you need to know about me is that I am a coach and a sports chiropractor. The coach and the sports chiropractor in me are calling triathletes lazy. By lazy, I am not talking about sleeping in and blowing off training sessions. I am talking about 100 mile bike rides, 4,000 meter swims, and 20 mile runs. You must think I have lost my mind, but hear me out for a minute.

You can be lazy on a long swim, bike, or run – put on your shoes, hop on your bike, or jump in the pool, and zone out for a few hours. You can’t be lazy during a high intensity strength training workout. I will bet most of you are not doing high intensity strength training on a routine basis. I know this because my sports therapy office is full of endurance athletes seeking treatment for injuries that might have been avoided had the athletes done strength training.

Long training sessions don’t take much thought, but 30-45 minutes of a high intensity “crossfit style” strength training session takes thought. High intensity strength training sessions are also hard and painful. If you truly want to reach your full potential in endurance sports and reduce your likelihood of getting injured, you must make high intensity “crossfit style” strength training sessions part of your training plan.  

Why do most athletes slow down nearing the end of a race? Do they suffer from a lack of cardio conditioning – are they out of breath? Maybe a few are out of breath in shorter events. However, most athletes slowdown because their muscles are fatigued. Triathletes don’t walk during the run because they are out of breath – they walk because their legs are trashed.

So, how do you prevent your legs from getting trashed? You build up muscle fatigue resistance with high intensity strength training, such as a “crossfit” style workout. In a future article, I’ll give you more details on the specific details of a crossfit style workout. The rest of this article will address why you should be doing a “crossfit style” workout, and not a “crossfit” workout.

A crossfit workout of the day (commonly called a WOD) is not training as triathletes think of training. It is a great high intensity strength session, but it is not training with a purpose. If you are training for a triathlon, each workout session has a purpose, such as increasing speed. Crossfit WOD’s do not have a stated purpose or a goal. Whether your goals are to build strength climbing hills or to increase your muscular fatigue resistance, completing the crossfit WOD does not get you closer to your goals. This is because WOD’s don’t have stated goals. For this reason I suggest you work with a coach and develop a “Crossfit Style Workout” which has your specific needs and goals built into the workout.

If you have not been doing high intensity crossfit style workouts, you are sitting on some untapped athletic potential. Release that potential! Find a good coach who understands your goals and needs as a triathlete. Your coach should understand the benefits of high intensity strength training for building muscular fatigue resistance. Work with your coach and have him/her design a strength training program that you can incorporate into your triathlon training plan. As you begin your strength training workouts, please come back here and post your comments and progress in the comment section.

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