Guest blog: Doing more with less: An alternative approach to training (for everything) for the ambitious amateur by Andy Magness

Guest blog: Doing more with less: An alternative approach to training (for everything) for the ambitious amateur by Andy Magness

Posted In: Fitness | Running | Triathlon divider 5 Comments »

There is a bit of a reliance on the ‘trickle down’ wisdom in training programs these days, particularly for those aimed towards people with ambitions of longer events. The routines of top athletes are tweaked, shortened or otherwise modified and then touted in magazines, online training programs, DVD’s, and the like.

A random sample of such programs targeted towards, say, marathon or longer distances, will have the following things in common – LOTS of volume, and an emphasis on the physical training. While these approaches can indeed work for those able to stick to them without getting injured, in my opinion at least, there is another way.

I’ve been personally experimenting with the effects of low-volume, higher-intensity training, as preparation for ultra-distance events for about three years now. During that time my weekly training time has been limited to under three hours for the first two years, two hours for the nine months after that, and is currently at only 70 minutes.

That’s right, I only train, on average 10 minutes a day. What’s remarkable though is that I’ve found that I’m still able to perform ‘well’ (by most people’s standards) at events ranging from multi day adventure races to triathlons to ultra distance runs and bike rides.

My success is based on three things – not any of which are likely ever to come out of the distillation of pro athletes’ workout regimens

  1. Cumulative gains (over years, not weeks and months) from a program where long term consistency is actually possible
  2. Excellent Return on Investment (ROI) from very short duration, high intensity training, and
  3. Proper emphasis being placed on the mental requirements necessary for any ultra distance effort.

Although I’m primarily interested in seeing how to maximize my endurance potential while minimizing my training time, these principles apply equally well for those who have more modest goals of getting fit and doing well at sprint triathlons, half marathons, or even 5/10 Ks.

In the next few posts, I’ll talk about each aspect in more detail and then describe how to put them all together to create your own custom workout plan to do more with less.

Happy training!

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Andy Magness is a 37 year old amateur athlete and adventurer based in Grand Forks, North Dakota . He strives to find the balance between work, family, and an outrageous   desire to be fit enough to ‘do anything’.  His blog threehoursaweek.blogspot.com chronicles his attempt to ‘do more with less’.

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