The curious case of strength in triathlon

By Erin Greene on 05/11/15 at 12:10 pm

Swim, bike, run. Go long, go short, do hills, train intervals, add in technique, recover, repeat. And that’s all before you add in the strength session. 

“Our sport is always a compromise with too much to do, and not enough training time and energy to get it done,” says elite coach Darren Smith. “Extra work must have a purpose and some real return for the time and energy investment.”

So what’s the balance of strength to endurance training that will produce successful results? That’s a question Smith and company will analyze at the third Science and Triathlon Conference in Paris November 26-27.

“In this presentation I will talk about the journey I have taken over almost 20 years since I first used pilates and core stability work in our program, how we went through the lifting and gym phase, had a very successful phase where only body weight exercises were used, and then into some case studies that might help explain my current rationale on the topic,” Smith says of his planned lecture at the Science and Triathlon Conference. 

Joining him in speaking on the topic in a separate session will be Iñigo Mujika, who has a PhD in Biology of Muscular Exercise, as well as in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences.
Mujika will follow Smith’s presentation with a lecture on how strength training has the potential to enhance endurance performance.

During the presentation, Mujika will compare the advantages of a tailored strength training plan to potential counterproductive outcomes – a topic that he has spent much of the last decade research and testing.

“Smith and Mujika are two of the best minds in triathlon,” said INSEP sport scientist Yann Le Meur, who is serving as the chairman of the topic at the Science & Triathlon Conference. “Combined, they will offer conference participants a look at real results, as well as scientific research, which offers a wholistic understanding to strength training. Their blended knowledge will be invaluable to anyone looking to better understand the impact strength training can have on athletes.”

To join the Science and Triathlon Conference, book your spot here.