Monday, February 1, 2016

Pace Yourself

by Gordo Byrn

Alan’s tweet got me thinking about how we lose people from sport, and the health benefits that flow from an active lifestyle.

Before speaking to you, I’ll speak to Alan… Don’t feel bad, Bro!

All the excellent athletes that I know “lose” two to three years a decade. Most athletes will cycle in and out of sport for their entire lives. Even the pros and college stars who finish their careers totally fried tend to come back. However, it takes them longer to clear the fatigue that they built up in their peak training years.

Triathlon, and Ironman in particular, attracts extreme personalities. If you can’t see this in yourself then take a look at your friends!

My peer group includes pals that run until their joints explode and cartilage disappears. At that point, they get an orthopedic surgeon to patch them up so they can return to the activity profile that resulted in their injury.


My pals (and I) have a binary outlook on life. If we can’t train “properly” for a race then why bother at all. Across a year, we are either “on task” or in Vegas far, far “off task!”

Perhaps we should give ourselves permission to get the benefits of sport without following the path that leads to burnout.

Consider the Six Sixes:

  1. Six hours per week - captures all the health benefits of sport
  2. Six more hours per week - captures the vanity benefits of our sport
  3. Six more hours per week - captures what it takes to be a top amateur
  4. Six more hours per week - captures what it takes to be an elite
  5. Six more hours per week - captures what it takes to be top elite athlete
  6. Six more hours per week - will end your athletic career

We can debate the exact numbers but there is no debate regarding the message that it takes very little exercise to capture all the health benefits of exercise.

So when we take an inevitable break from competition, I hope we remember:

  • The door is always open
  • Do a little something every day -- ideally 20 minutes each morning
  • Strength train twice a week
  • Limit your weight gain to 7% of body weight

A good friend (multiple age group world champ) is fond of saying, “Quitting is worse than slowing down.”

Until we meet again.

Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog at

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