ELEMENTS/PILLARS of DWEP
While we may all have similar goals or ambitions, no two of us are the same when it comes to training and racing. Be it physical abilities, psychological makeup, our careers, our finances, our home life, or even the locations in which we live, all of these components make us unique. Because of this individual uniqueness, we must adapt and modify our training and programming to support the rest of our daily lives.
As a coach, it is my responsibility, and my job, to develop a program that is best suited for YOU. Once we begin the programming, we start right away working together so that the training and programming support your individual goals, as well as compliments your daily lifestyle and stress/workloads. The programming is always growing and developing based upon your physical transformations, as well as any changes in the other important areas of your life. We will continue to work together, as a TEAM, for YOU to achieve your best and to maximize your potential, over a long and gradual progression.
What are you training for? Do you want to be a specialist, or well rounded? This is a question you have to ask yourself, based on your ultimate goals and expectations with your training and racing. In today’s world of endurance sports, many athletes want to “DO IT ALL”. Athletes want to run a marathon, complete a Spartan Ultra Beast, take on GO RUCK challenges, and the list goes on. While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with that, your best performances will come from spending a fair amount of time training within the specificity of the goal/challenge you most want to accomplish. While multiple sports and training modalities can overlap, the greatest success will be met when identifying your main goals, then attack them appropriately.
Your goals may change from one training cycle to the next, year to year. That’s ok. When this is the case, we need to establish a specific training program that will best serve you during the current training cycle that is leading you up to your next big race/goal/challenge.
The Overload Principle is a fundamental training concept in sports and fitness. Evidence shows that in order for an athlete to improve within their sport or to progress closer to their goal, the athlete must continually change at least one parameter of training that will help them to continue progressing. These parameters can be by changing the frequency of training, the intensity of training, or the volume of training. As the body becomes more conditioned and adjusted to these changes, the body will begin to adapt to the said training, thus allowing the athlete to improve in whatever area they are hoping to improve upon.
Periodization & Progression
The systematic altering and modification of training volume, frequency, and or intensity, is what forms the foundation of periodization in training. As a coach, it is the intent to get the best out of my athletes, however, it has to be done in a sensible manner, with a timeframe that is long enough to allow for their body to adapt accordingly, so that they continue to progress gradually and systematically over time. This is why any good training program is built like an architectural masterpiece. The structure, in this case, is your body. Each phase of the training must be done in a way that allows the athlete to adapt to not only the current phase of training but for them to be able to handle the next phase of training as well.
Periodization also incorporates the concept of specificity, where the athlete simultaneously maintains the fitness gains made in earlier training phases, while continuing to progress toward more race-specific skills and conditioning as they move through each subsequent training phase that gets them closer to their specific race goals. Periods of overload need to be arranged in a progressive manner, building throughout the season. Overstressing the body more than what it can adapt to and recover from, is likely to lead to injury and lost training time, thus, it is important to gradually increase overload in small, incremental amounts that the body can handle. The Endurance Project works with athletes to establish a proper periodization program and to determine the appropriate timetable needed for the amount of progression desired, based on an athlete’s specific abilities, stage of development, and response to training.
While there are many methods of strength training, most tend to think of the traditional barbell movements that has been the staple of most training programs for the last 100 years or more. While many of those movements and methods work well and are still being utilized today, many sport-specific coaches have started to created sport-specific strength training for their athletes. Because many Endurance Project athletes are runners and obstacle course racers, our strength programming targets those areas that will help those athletes improve in the sports they are participating in. By incorporating methods and movements that will mimic the movement of their sport while under load, but that also acts as a complimentary movement in helping them to generate more power and better efficiency within those sport specific movements, we can better condition the athlete to be able to handle the rigors and demands of tough training cycles and racing seasons. These methods not only help in obtaining strength, power, and economy, but also improve flexibility, durability, and help to promote recovery.
If you want to push your body to perform then you need to fuel it properly. Just like you want the best fuel for your vehicle to run efficiently and perform at it’s best, the same approach holds true with the human body. Nutrition should become part of your athletic lifestyle, not a “diet” that you tend to yo-yo back and forth with. It should be adhered to just as intently and methodically as your training program. Understanding how the rigors of endurance training can impact your nutritional requirements, is a critical component of an overall training program that will best maximize fitness and performance. Creating balanced and healthy eating habits are fundamental necessities that will benefit your athletic performance, as well as your long-term health and well being.
The coach and athlete must develop a relationship and level of trust that will facilitate open and honest channels of communication. The coach and athlete need not be best friends, however, for the coach to best help the athlete, the lines of communication must be strong. If you’re an athlete who has decided to hire a coach, you must constantly be open and honest with that coach. This means letting him/her know if you’re struggling with any aspects of the training, if you’re nursing an injury, or if you’re having any lifestyle stresses that could contribute to underperforming, if you have any eating disorders or other medical conditions that might hinder your training and racing. The coach and athlete relationship must be strong and must continue to
grow and develop as the two become a team. Expectations of one another should be addressed early on in the relationship, so as there are no grey areas. Any good coach wants nothing but the best for each of his/her athletes, and it is the best interest of the athlete that the coach is most concerned with, or at least should be. As a coach, I will ALWAYS put the athletes health and well being first. While race times and goals are important to me, just as they are the athlete, I will never encourage or push an athlete to risk their health, their well being, or other important areas in their lives. To achieve big, WE are a TEAM!!
There is no destination, only the journey
Aside from the very few fortunate enough athletes that are professional, the vast majority of us do this stuff for our health, for our daily fulfillment, and to build common friendships and relationships. We train to reach our goals, whatever those goals might be. For some of us, it’s getting on a podium. Or maybe it’s to qualify for the Boston Marathon. For others, it’s to lose 20 pounds. And the list goes on. Whatever your reasoning for taking up endurance training and racing, it should be fun. While there is no doubt it takes a lot of hard work and commitment, it shouldn’t feel like a job. If it isn’t fun, why we doing it?
While many days are spent in the grind, you should always find a moment in every workout to reflect on why you’re doing this. Sure, there are externa
l goals that get many of us out of bed and out the door most mornings, but the truth is, it’s YOU that has to be happy with what you’re doing. If you’re doing this for any other reason but you, then it will eventually become a chore that is no longer fun. Find your reasoning. Find your why. The reasoning and the why for the Endurance Project is to build a team, a community, a family. To always strive to get the best from you all, and in turn, to make us all better than we were the day before. We use athletics as the delivery vehicle to becoming better, but the ultimate goal is for us to all become better humans in general. For as long as you care to be a part of the Endurance Project, it is my intent to help you become the best athlete you can be, which when done correctly, will help you become a better spouse, parent, friend, teammate. On your way to the top, always try to drag along as many of those around you as you can. The view is better with company, and a beer 🙂