Stepping up the Race Distance

Posted on 10 March 2011

There used to be a progression for most athletes to move from up in distance over time.  For example, many younger runners would focus on a set distance, 5K -10K and after some time they focus on the marathon as being “the race”.   We have seen this with many Olympian runners.

Interesting to me how this mindset of gradual progression has changed over the last 5 years as I continue to see athletes jumping to very long distances immediately.   For example, I have met individuals that have done the following with varying success:

Jumping from a sprint triathlon to a Double Iron distance triathlon

Half Marathon to a 100 mile trail run

Cross Fit training only to a 48 hour running race with no run training

Marathon to an Ironman with limited biking or swimming

3 mile swim struggle then attempting the English Channel

These are just a few and many times I am just amazed on these significant jumps.   As I mentioned, there are mixed results based upon performance and each individuals goals.   My hope is that athletes stay in the sport and don’t get so burned out with these significant jumps in race distances in all sports.     Personally, I love the growth and excitement of so many new athletes but please enjoy the ride so you will still be actively participating 25 years from now.  Remember the golden rule of endurance sports:   Practice Gradual Progression and you will enjoy the journey much more!



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