Earlier, I mentioned the FIT acronym used by fitness professionals. Only I left out a fourth element. The acronym is often presented as FITT with the last letter standing for type of activity—for example, swimming, biking or running. This part of the mnemonic becomes crucial when considering another fundamental principle of exercise physiology: the principle of specificity.
The principle of specificity states that training adaptations are specific to the system worked. For example, the best way to improve running performance is to run. If you only swam in preparation for your upcoming marathon; then your legs would not be appropriately adapted for the task of running.
It is true that endurance training results in a certain amount of central adaptations—that is, general adaptations to the central respiratory and cardiovascular systems. However, these improvements will only go so far in improving your sport specific performance. You also need the peripheral adaptations that occur in muscle groups used for a particular activity. To return to our example of the athlete that swims in preparation for a marathon, that athlete would lack the peripheral adaptations that would occur in the legs with run-specific training.
For multisport athletes, the principle of specificity means that you must train in each of the disciplines used during your races. It also means that you need to gear the type of training you do for the particular distance you will be racing. A program designed for short-course triathlons looks different than a program designed for long-course triathlons, for example, just as a running program designed for a 5K looks different than one for an ultra-marathon. Finally, given that everyone is an individual and responds in their own ways to different types of training, it is important that you tailor training specifically to your individual needs and situation.
TRAINING GUIDE CONTENTS
– Train with a Purpose
– The ABCs of Systematic Training
– The R&R of Training
– Begin with the End in Mind
2. Exercise Science Concepts
– Overreaching and Overtraining
– Energy Systems
– Aerobic Capacity
– Lactate Threshold
– Aerobic Threshold
– Muscle Fiber Types
3. Monitor Your Training Intensity
– What is Training Intensity?
– Key Indicators of Intensity
– Using Training Zones
– Training by Feel, or Perceived Exertion
– Training with Pace
– Training with Heart Rate
– Running with Power
4. Create Your Training Plan
– Prioritizing Your Events
– Overview of the Training Phases
– Choosing Your Periodization Schedule
– Filling in the Details of the Overall Plan
5. Create Your Weekly Workouts
– Creating Weekly Schedules
– Establishing and Developing Your Base
– Building Upon Your Base
– Peaking for Your Target Event
– Race Week and Race Day Warmup
6. Functional Strength
7. Recovery and Nutrition
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