New Ways, Old Ways, Different Ways, and Lots of Right Ways

I'm a few months into training with Noa, and doing things differently.  There are so many different ways to approach training, and some ways work better for some and not so much for others.  I have done things basically the same way for a few years, and Noa is challenging my perceptions.  It's funny though, what I am doing now is pretty much the way Jason has done things for ever.  So it's not such a leap to move out of my long-held notions, because I've obviously seen the successes he's had.

For years I've clung to this idea of what "recovery" is.  I've always been adamant that recovery and rest are pretty much the same thing, and my training needs scheduled recovery/rest in order for me to adapt.  I used to do two weeks build, one week recovery.  Structured.  Every three week block would look like this.  My recovery weeks were also really light in terms of the number of workouts, their intensity, and their duration.

I'm learning another way to look at it.  Instead of scheduled recovery, how about taking recovery time and/or rest when my body needs it.  What if, after two weeks, I don't need down time?  I'm just losing training time by being married to this schedule.  And what if, after a week, I really need some recovery, but I have another build week scheduled?  I'm not getting the most from my training by being married to this schedule.

I should add, that this three-week-block system has worked really well for me for the past few years.  But, I am trying something different to see if it will work better!  After all, isn't that human nature to want to improve and mix things up a bit?

So... and hopefully Noa will correct me if I've completely butchered this... recovery looks different for me now.  Recovery is not scheduled in advance, it's scheduled when I need it (or, when things get crazy at work and it's just too difficult to get a huge training load in - for example I'm off to a conference next week).  However, the number of workouts aren't really reduced, they are just lower intensity.  Possibly shorter in some cases, but the overall hours don't drop that much.  Rest and recovery aren't the same.  Rest is in between workouts, and recovery may be a specific workout with low intensity.

Numbers completely made up, for illustrative purposes only.
I wanted to show the difference between scheduling rest
at a set interval and volume (i.e. every third week, at 50%) vs.
recovery when needed, same number of workouts, some just
slightly shorter - responding to specifically what is needed
at that particular time.  Really I just like making graphs
and it was kind of a slow day at work so I was goofing around.

The graph kind of illustrates what I'm talking about.  I am hoping that because overall my hours training overall are higher, I will see an improvement over what I've done before.  I need to be really proactive in listening to my body and providing Noa with useful feedback.  She then takes that into consideration when planning my schedule for the next week, and even tweaking things mid-week if needed.

Jason is probably laughing at me because this is how he has trained since, well, ever.  I think there's pretty much a bimodal distribution in the triathlete population in terms my "old" and "new" ways, and lots of fun discussion around it as well.  I probably wasn't ready before now though to increase my overall training load.  I am definitely noticing improvements in my swimming and running already.  Looking forward to seeing how things go from here on in.


  1. Good luck. It definitely makes sense to listen to your body. I've always been told, too, not to worry too much about overall hours. Because that's a really rough gauge, right?

  2. True, true... I'm kind of a numbers person so I tend to fixate on stuff like that, even though yeah, numbers don't matter, instead what you're doing and how you adapt is really what matters. I guess a million years in university and a few science degrees means I dig numbers though. Hopefully not in an OCD way!

  3. Alison, if you were truly OCD you'd want to write it CDO because then it would be in alphabetical I think you're good there. My training sounds similar to yours. I never have a scheduled day off but take one when and if I need one. And instead of taking a day off to recover from a hard workout I have started doing a recovery workout instead and I really think it is working. Since Jan 1st I think I've taken 2, maybe 3 days off total and I felt great...surprisingly I have more energy this way than the old 6 days of training and one day off a week. Looking forward to see how it pans out for you this year.