Monday, February 1, 2016

Steel Challenge Follow Up

We recently wrapped up another successful Endurance Corner Steel Challenge. Everyone did a great job of picking up heavy things and putting them back down again. This year we did not see a new Steel Challenge record, so Jeff Fejfar’s 538,817 pounds, set in 2014, is safe for another year. I do not have the data on individual sessions, but based on the self-reporting through our Facebook page, I think his record for 100,000 pounds in one single session is also safe for another year.

Last year, I made note that the athletes who ended up at the top of challenge did not get there through massive sessions, but instead, they posted the highest frequency amongst the competitors. The same was true this year, proving that, once again, the power of just “showing up” goes a long way. It goes without saying that this does not only apply to strength training or the Steel Challenge, but to every aspect of a successful training plan.

Every year, I try to learn or try something new with the challenge. The major difference with this year versus every other year was that I abstained from any swim, bike or run workouts for the first three weeks of the challenge. This was not for the sake of the challenge, but simply a result from ending the triathlon season the day before the challenge began. Additionally, with the lack of SBR sessions, I was able to get into the gym most days of the week and I opted to keep the total volume of the sessions a bit lower than past years since I had a much higher frequency rate (more than 20 sessions in one month).

In the end, I did lift more pounds than last year’s challenge, but I found that I prefer having a little less frequency and a bit more volume per session than I did for this year. I don’t have any objective measures from one year to the other aside from pounds lifted, but I feel that I accomplished a bit more last season with a more polarized plan. Regardless, I ended both challenges substantially stronger than I began them.

As we all return to a more balanced plan, the strength training will likely go back to playing a much smaller, albeit important, role in your triathlon plan. But like I told someone at the gym last week, “It’s fun to be a different athlete for a month each year.”

Thank you for joining the challenge and good luck with your upcoming season. Get ready for next December when we kick it off again!


Justin Daerr is a professional triathlete and co-owner of Endurance Corner. You can follow him on Twitter @justindaerr.
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