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Training to be a competitive age-grouper – Part 1

Photo by Jeff Sparling

In The Time-Crunched Triathlete: Race-Winning Fitness in 8 Hours a Week, Chris Carmichael and Jim Rutberg advance some familiar, but radical training ideas for non-elite athletes...specifically age-groupers like me who have a full-time job, a family and a life.

Rather than pursue the traditional base, build, peak and race phases, they advocate more concentrated, high-effort training sessions than long, low-intensity endurance workouts.   Age-groupers can do more short, intense workouts because they will effectively use the time at work as longer recovery periods, they assert. 

We recently asked Jim Rutberg a few questions to learn more about the approach:

Paul Tyler:  “Is the classic periodization model dead for age-groupers who would like to be competitive, but who really want to stay in shape and control their weight?"

Jim Rutberg:  "'Dead' is probably too strong a word, but the classic periodization model is certainly flawed when it comes to time-crunched athletes. The classic periodization model works best when you can devote consistent and large amounts of time to training over a long period of several months.

"Athletes leading busy lives can’t do that, and for them the classic model takes too long to develop competitive fitness. Somewhere during that long span, something happens (illnesses at home, a big project at work, a string of family obligations or holidays, etc.) that derails their progress.

"The Time-Crunched Triathlete Program leverages the ability for time-crunched athletes to ramp up more quickly in preparation for a relatively short series of regional races, take a break, and then prepare for another series of events.

"This is how races are frequently scheduled, based on weather conditions, and it also matches the manner in which busy athletes are able to prepare for competition.  This program integrates into a busy working parent’s schedule more easily and more effectively than the classic periodization model."

For a review of the book, go to:  http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/5-Sports-Books-for-Endurance-Athletes.htm

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