🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences
- Go slower to get faster
- Adopt a 80/20 mindset in training intensity; 80% of training should be easy at low intensity, and 20% medium or high intensity.
- This leads to less fatigue both during and between workouts, greater enjoyment of training, faster recovery from workouts, fewer injuries, better performance in hard workouts, improved fitness, and better performance in races.
This book does a deep-dive on the science why having an 80/20 approach to training is optimal for long distance events, breaks down how to work with training zones in each sport, how to create your own training plans and supplies pre-made plans for each of the common triathlon distances by fitness/time commitment level.
This is my third read of the book as I’m starting to use one of the supplied programs to train for my upcoming half-ironman. I love this book and the way it explains the 80/20 training philosophy.
Who Should Read It?
People into triathlon (or other endurance sports) who trains at least ~4 hours a week. If you train fewer hours there might not be enough volume to see improvements, HIIT would then be preferred.
☘️ How the Book Changed Me
- Got rid of the “no pain, no gain” mentality
- Made me enjoy training more
- Allowed me to train without injuries and excess fatigue
✍️ My Top 3 Quotes
“Bad habits are hard to break. The moderate-intensity rut is no exception. Even athletes who believe in 80/20 training, have an 80/20 training plan, and know their zones are liable to backslide if they get lazy about monitoring and controlling their intensity. Fortunately, 80/20 training itself can become habitual. This typically happens when the athlete experiences the benefits of slowing down, which we’ve described already but bear repeating: less fatigue both during and between workouts, greater enjoyment of training, faster recovery from workouts, fewer injuries, better performance in hard workouts, improved fitness, and better performance in races.”
“If you have one weakness (not donut-related), it’s probably swimming.”
“Elite triathletes train a lot: upward of three hours a day, typically. One reason is that training a lot increases fitness independent of intensity. Another reason is that obeying the 80/20 Rule allows elite triathletes to train a lot because low-intensity training is very gentle. But it also works the other way around: Elite triathletes do most of their training at low intensity because it allows them to train a lot.”
📒 Summary + Notes
Coming from a background with overuse injuries I was looking into more optimal ways to train and this book changed my mindset. If you enjoy training (like me), or want to perform at races optimally then you need a lot of training volume. Rather than falling into the so called “moderate intensity rut” of doing all workouts “medium-hard” (not too easy, but not hard either), this book describes a polarised training approach where most of the volume (around 80%) should be done at an easy intensity and the remaining 20% at medium or high intensity.
This leads to less fatigue, faster recovery, the ability to perform the hard workouts really hard and makes the training fun and enjoyable.
There’s nothing bad per se in doing training at medium intensity, but if all workouts are at this intensity the body never fully recovers and fatigue accumulates.
I enjoy training with this philosophy (and my wife, she’s never enjoyed running as much as now), and will be using one of the 70.3 programs to train for my upcoming half-ironman summer 2022.