In my current training schedule, I'm supposed to go to the gym twice a week - Monday & Wednesday evenings. But this past Monday, I had the chance to work with a swim instructor, which I did in lieu of the gym. And one of the things about my training schedule I'd like to change is adding a longer bike ride. I need to put a 2 hour/35-40 mile ride in there somewhere.
Overall, I have the time. It's just that it tends to come in one hour blocks. But still, I could probably figure a way to do that longer ride, say on Wednesday. But I'd have to cut out the gym.
But I like the gym. And I feel some loyalty to it. The gym is what got me down from 280 to 250 pounds. And since I live and Huntington Beach and am a fan of random and awkward moments, you can only imagine what a goldmine the gym can be in terms of people watching. California girls and mixed martial arts wannabees - it's an incredible combination.
I think that weight training is an important part of multi-sport training. There is a somewhat dated argument that endurance athletes should not supplement their training in the weight room. But I personally think that if done right, weight training not only helps with weight control but also gives you the opportunity to strengthen parts of your body not engaged when swimming, biking, and running.
On the other hand, I think there is a good argument for getting as much volume as you can manage into the the actual disciplines. And if time is limited, I wouldn't fault anyone for trading a weight bench for an extra half hour on the bike.
I'd hesitate to try and solve my schedule issues by simply adding more hours to my week. That's not to say that when I start training for a HIM next year or someday decide to go all in for a full, that I wouldn't make a further time commitment. But that would be planned, and my family and work commitments would have to be considered.
Because here's the thing. Though participating in triathlon has shown me how much I love swimming, biking, and running, it's taught me even more about life balance. As counter-intuitive as this may sound, I think increasing my training time right now would cause diminishing returns. Not in a physical sense, but in a life balance sense. I don't want to ignore the most important things triathlon has taught me by doing more to get prepared for triathlons.
This season it's all about getting out there every 4-5 weeks and competing in sprint and Olympic distance races. It's about experiencing everything I can and learning from it. It's about experimentation. And I believe that this schedule is exactly where it needs to be at the moment.
Does the above make sense? Maybe it would be easier if I just said that I'm in a bit of a catch-22 here.
Kovas Palubinskas wrote a great post today over at Midwest Triathlon Life where he asked his readers "What’s your Simple Thing? What could you do to improve performance?". I thought it was a fantastic question. Check it out and leave a comment if you haven't.
Hopefully, Kovas won't mind if I borrow the idea and ask what you all do in terms of weight training in relation to the core sport(s) you participate in. Do you go to the gym or not go to the gym? Do you go to the gym but never at the expense of the rest of your training schedule, or are you in the gym all the time? Maybe you do something else entirely?
I'd love to know. Thanks in advance.