I am not in the business of creating elite athletes.
My primary objective is to produce great performances - from great people.
Not everyone has the physiology to become an elite athlete. As disheartening as this statement is...it is very true. For endurance athletes, the rate of oxygen consumption (VO2max) is the most significant factor in determining your potential to reach the very top. However, even if you don't quite have the genetic make-up to become an elite marathon runner, you may be surprised to discover that you are perhaps closer than you think to having the potential to become an elite long distance triathlete or ultra-runner.
Long distance triathletes and ultra-runners don't need a 'world class' VO2max to reach the highest level of performance. Almost every athlete has the ability to train their body to withstand higher percentages of their lactate threshold for longer periods of time. So no matter where your physiological limit is...with the correct training, you can close the gap between your current fitness levels and absolute potential.
The cardiovascular engine will always be my initial focus when designing a training plan for any athlete. In order to maximise it, all of my athletes undergo structured and systematic interval training with a focus on quality and intensity over volume. This training method is ideal not only for time crunched athletes, but also for athletes with many training hours available. Regardless of your lack of time constraints, it is imperative to make the most of every single minute within a quality session.
Despite the focus on intensity, no workout is ever scheduled without consideration to post and prior recovery. All of my athletes spend the majority of their season's training hours operating at a much lower intensity, far below the anaerobic threshold. All athletes are prescribed at least one very easy day every week to ten days, an easier week every three to six weeks and at least 2 whole weeks of complete recovery every season. This training stress balance is essential in order to maximise the quality and consistency of intense workouts by allowing for both physical and mental recovery.
Beyond developing the cardiovascular system, specificity to performance goals takes preference over all other considerations. Every athlete I coach is always at a point in time within a long term periodised training plan, focussed on delivering them to their primary goal in peak physical condition. No stone is left unturned in establishing the specific requirements to achieve this success. Attention to detail is paramount if you want to stay a step ahead of the competition...and this is what I do best.
Every training session you undertake will have a purpose related to your long or short term ambitions. You will build from a more general base of cardiovascular fitness, to a very goal specific training plan. The result of this, is a race day that becomes a mere extension of your training...rather than a leap of faith into the unknown.
As with building fitness, my nutrition philosophy is always based upon the latest credible science. This means properly fuelling intense workouts to maximise performance - and in contrast, often performing low intensity workouts in a relatively glycogen depleted state. For ultra endurance athletes in particular, metabolic conditioning is a primary determiner of success...so can't be overlooked if you are serious about your training. I will always advocate keeping your fuel as natural as possible, free from process and artificial chemicals.
Strength and conditioning is the glue which binds your fitness together. Without a consistent programme promoting core strength as a bare minimum, you will be slower, fatigue quicker and be far more susceptible to injury. Every break from training is a loss in fitness, every missed training session is a wasted opportunity to maximise your cardiovascular engine.
Correctly executing an effective training schedule is far from easy for any athlete. It requires immense dedication, a lifestyle that enables routine and unwavering support from loved ones. When all the bases above are covered, it comes as no surprise to me when an athlete's fitness reaches a peak in physiological potential - and they achieve the performance of a lifetime.
If you have the motivation to succeed...then you have what it takes.