Why Picking A Single Sport is Your Fastest Path to Triathlon Excellence

533 800 Rich Strauss

The most precious and scarce resource of the busy age group triathlete is time. As coaches exclusively of age group triathletes, just like you, we are actually time investment managers. We are charged with maximizing the return on race day of our athletes’ time investments across the season.

We continually ask ourselves these three key questions:

  • What is this athlete’s greatest weakness, offering the most potential to achieve better returns on race day?
    For example, is the athlete’s swim his weakness, relative to his bike and run?
  • What is the best method to improve this weakness?
    In this case “best” is defined as the optimum application of time to achieve a maximum return on race day. For example, is this athlete’s swim weakness a function of poor technique, or swimming fitness?
  • How do we best invest this athlete’s time to achieve the desired results?
    Or, more specifically, of our many investment options, which offers the best results achieved for time invested?

Continuing with our poor swimmer example above, let’s assume that we’ve identified swimming technique, not swimming fitness, as the primary limiter. The method to fix this is “to improve your swimming technique.” In our experience, the most cost and time effective way to achieve this is to hire a local masters swim coach as a technique vs fitness resource.

Rather than plugging into a Masters Team to build your fitness…which is applied to poor technique…hire that masters coach. Get some quality, one-on-one, underwater video assisted instruction. With that in your back pocket, then do drills and technique prescriptions between follow-up technique sessions.

Two one-hour personal swim lessons per month, combined with two solo swim technique sessions per week between these lessons — 10 total swims in a single month — will have a much greater return on race day than “just” swimming.

Now, of course we’re not saying there is no need for swimming fitness. After all, your technique is only as good as your ability to maintain it for your race distance. But a block of technique-focused swimming within your season is a very high return on investment (ROI) activity.


But let’s take this ROI concept and apply it to making significant gains in one of your three sports. This means carving out a block of training with the goal of achieving maximum gains in one sport before resuming your multisport training.

The idea behind the Single Sport Block is this:

  • The potential gains you can make in any one sport are often limited by the multisport requirement that you train for three sports.
    For example, the gains you can make on the bike are often limited by your multisport requirement to build and maintain fitness for the swim and run.
  • Removing the requirement that you continue to train like a multisport athlete frees up training and recovery resources.
    You can apply these resources to ONE sport, thereby maximizing your single sport ROI.


What is it?  A specific block of your training year where you focus your time, energy, and recovery resources towards maximizing gains in one sport (usually your weakest).

We have created Swim Camp, Bike Focus, and Run Focus training plans for our members to help make them faster. The Bike Focus training plan, for example, puts the run and swim into maintenance mode, prescribing the minimum to simply maintain run and swim fitness for the length of the plan. Athletes complete four very challenging interval-based cycling sessions per week, creating significant cycling fitness gains in just six weeks.

After having maximized your ROI towards improving your bike, you drop back into regular multisport training and carry on with your season.

When is the best time for a single sport block? As a member of Endurance Nation, the coaches will do this for you. But if you’re curious, the best time to insert a single sport training block into your year is when your requirement to be a multisport athlete is at it’s lowest, or is temporarily “paused” for a few weeks.

  • End of the season, before your OutSeason: For athletes finishing their seasons in August or September, we’ll prescribe either the Bike Focus, Run Focus, or Running Durability training plan to apply their current fitness base to the task of significantly boosting their weaker sport, before dropping into the OutSeason at the end of October.
  • In a Large Gap, or “Pause,” in Their Multisport Season: The athlete finishes the OutSeason in February and transitions into our Short Course Training Plan for an early spring Olympic distance race. Without anything else on the calendar before their Ironman in October, we have an excellent opportunity to take that OutSeason + Short Course fitness and apply it to an extended focus on one sport. Afterwards, they are free to drop into our EN*Full training plan in early August.

In short, if you want to maximize your ROI on your weakest sport, find time in your year when you stop thinking and more importantly stop training like a triathlete: swim like a swimmer, ride your bike like a roadie, or hook up with the local running club and just run, frequently and/or fast!


After having created well over 1000 finishers per year, every year, since 2007, we have more experience with crafting a breakthrough season than any one-on-one coach could ever have. We call this the Endurance Nation Triathlon Season Roadmap (TSR). I do all of them, and my TSR count is well over 3,000 since 2013. The TSR is my personal guidance on stacking our training plans across your season in order to achieve peak performance for one or several races across your year.

Please Note: Endurance Nation training plans are not customized to your unique personal requirements.


  • These plans have been updated every year since 2007. Based on the experience of the coaches and input of the team, we adjust the plans one to two times per year. In addition, each plan has a suite of supporting resources, podcasts, and videos that are unmatched in their detail. We like to say these training plans work for 95% of you, 95% of the time.
  • How do we solve the other 5%? We do that through 24/7/365 support via the Coaches and the Team. Whatever question or concern you have, we have the answer for you, nearly instantly.
  • News Flash: You’re not as special as you think you are, or as the triathlon coaching industry has made you believe you are. 100% of you are human beings who generally respond in a similar manner to training stimuli. 95% of you live in the real world, with real jobs, families, with similar training constraints and opportunities. All of you have time as your limited resource and should apply a ROI focus to every training decision you make. Endurance Nation has done the ROI analysis for you.

And you’re certainly not 200-300% more special than our 20+ Ironman World Championship 2016 Qualifiers and countless 2016 long course podium finishers, who are paying us a fraction of what you might be paying a local one on one coach with a fraction of our experience, support, and resources.


10 years, over 10,000 athletes, countless finishers, podiums, and Kona qualifiers all paying a fraction of the cost of special snowflake one-on-one coaching. Our results speak for themselves and we invite you to let us coach you for FREE, for 30 days, a $129 value.

Here’s the link to signup for 30 days of FREE coaching: www.endurancenation.us/join

You’ll have full access to everything we have, instantly. We’ll treat you, and coach you, just like any of our 600+ athletes, and you’ll be able ask them yourself about their experience with Endurance Nation. We can’t wait for you to meet them and the community that we’ve built together.

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