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Ask A Pro: Train Your Way

  • By Samantha McGlone
  • Published Aug 20, 2012
  • Updated Jan 24, 2013 at 5:11 PM UTC
Photo: Kurt Hoy

Individual sport training

Pros: Most gyms now have spin classes, and some offer running groups and Masters swim programs. These sport-specific training groups can be a good resource for integrating group sessions into an individual training program. This can be a great way to get started with some general fitness before turning to a more structured training program or else to focus on one sport intensively, usually during the off-season.

These group workouts are very effective and time-efficient, and can be a fun social activity as they allow a wide range of athletes to all train together.

A sport-specific training group or single-sport coaching situation (e.g. a track club or one-on-one swim technique session) can allow you to focus on improving a weaker area and provide a higher level of knowledge and insight into one of the individual sports.

Cons: The hazard of participating in these training groups year-round is that the program will be structured for single-sport athletes and generally does not provide for integration of all three sports. Runners may be able to perform three high-quality track workouts per week because they are focused on recovery, not swimming and biking, on the other days. Sport-specific training puts the onus on the athlete to plan and balance his or her own training program, but can be an effective tool in more experienced hands.

RELATED: Why Self-Coaching Can Be A Good Thing

Olympian Samantha McGlone (@samanthamcglone) is a former 70.3 world champion and was runner-up at the 2007 Ironman World Championship. She lives, trains and attends medical school in Tucson, Ariz.

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