When will we learn?

Warning this is a Rant! Volume is not a biomotor quality. It is a major stimulus at certain times in a year and a career. So why do we see swim teams and distance running programs go to extremes of volume training for prolonged periods of time to the extent that the athlete is so beaten down that they are 10 to 15 seconds off their personal bests in certain events. This is not necessary! It ceases to be training and borders on abuse.

Here is what happens with a squad: one third, the studs, who could do anything thrive. The middle third is always redlining, always struggling. They may or may not pull it together by championship season. The bottom third are roadkill. Yet we continue to lionize systems and coaches who follow this model because they win. At what cost? They win despite not because of.

There are better ways to do it and achieve world record and championship results. Simply the lack of understanding what quality is. No swimmer or runner should every be far off from their personal best times at any time of the year by an extreme amount. (Percentage varies by person and event). We need to get away from the survival model where we beat the shit out of the athlete then “taper” with extreme rest and hope for results. Wishing or hope is never a strategy. This is not peaking it is gambling.

Instead learn to cycle the work appropriate to athlete, their event, and the time of the year. Learn to alternate cycles of preparation (more general work), adaptation (more specific work) and application (more competition and race pace work). This all needs to be coupled with appropriate strength training.

It can be done, and it is being done. It is necessary to get away from the fixation on mileage/yardage and prepare for the demands of the event.