Evidence Based Training Decisions

As I finished today’s routine in the pool, I began to contemplate my addition of some strength training. We all know that athletes spend time in the gym, right? So where did I go to get information of this kind? To the library of course. Not surprisingly, I found only one book in the entire system dedicated to strength training specifically for triathletes, Strength Training For Triathletes by Patrick Hagerman, EdD.

The book is definitely getting me focused on specific aspects to take into consideration for the triathlete. By all accounts in Hagerman’s biography, he is more than qualified to talk about this subject. My problem with this and many other books is lack of citing sources. Through many past experiences I have been conditioned to not take people at their word when they make a claim such as:

Luckily, science has provided some good evidence of what will happen when we combine strength and endurance training–also called concurrent training. Thus, far the research has shown that the increases in cardiorespiratory endurance, as measured by your VO2max, are not affected by concurrent training. On the opposite end of the spectrum, concurrent training does not allow you to reach your strength potential, but blunts the effects of strength training at some point, which is different for everyone.

Patrick, H. (2015). By the Numbers: Reps, Sets, Weight, and Rest. Strength Training For Triathletes (pp. 32-33). Boulder, CO: Velopress. 

All of this information seems completely true, but the problem I have with it is that there is no source to back up this statement. Especially when “the research has shown” is the beginning of the sentence containing the scientific evidence. I am not trying to criticize Hagerman conclusions. I am just frustrated that books, in general, that claim to have science backing them do not give ample citations to back up their claims.

This is especially true with the oversaturated media about nutrition. In this case, more than others, it is even more tricky. If a source is cited, the challenge is to find the source and weed out if it is credible. I am sure you know what I am getting at here. Examples include citations about eggs being good for your cholesterol when they were funded by the egg industry (click here to find an article showing the benefits of eggs funded by the American Egg Board/Egg Nutrition Center).

The closing statement in the abstract says, “We conclude from this study that dietary cholesterol provided by eggs does not increase the risk for heart disease in a healthy elderly population.” This is just one of many but I did not want to claim something without citing where it came from as mentioned in the book above.

Again, my goal here is not to pick on Hagerman or whether his information comes from a valid source. The issue is I want to be able to look at the source itself and create my own conclusions when necessary. Therefore, in this case and others, I will need to dig further on my own to find the information I am seeking. I am using the book for my guide in strength training for my triathlon and I do recommend it to others (I just want sources!).

Returning to my own training. I am struggling to find the time to fit in the strength training and will have to write more about it when I finalize a strength training plan. As for today, my swim felt good and I fatigued further into the workout than the last time I did this routine. Small improvement but improvement nonetheless.

Week 3, Day 4. Done.

Feature Photo by Jorge Romero on Unsplash


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