Many of our triathletes practice the three individual sports three or four times per week. Given an athlete’s busy schedule, that can be a tall ask. 3x per week, practiced over weeks, months and years, will build a solid, successful Age Group triathlete. The triple frequency gives athletes confidence; it’s a nice balance between doing too little and excelling at the skill. It allows them to reach a certain level characterized as ‘good’. 3x per week athletes aren’t always winning races, but they are performing at a level that equals, and often exceeds, their peers around the water cooler.
4x per week might sound better, but it can be fool’s gold. It’s enough to be decent but not quite good enough to be great. Athletes who train 4x per week often feel like they are fully committed, but there’s always something missing. They might grow frustrated from tasting, but not quite reaching, their expected level of excellence.
When we want to reach the next level, address a sport weakness, or get a bump in fitness, we employ the 5x per week method. 5x per week sends athletes into territory that many people won’t travel to and therefore, will catapult them beyond their peers. When you do something 5x per week, you start to see and feel the nuances of your sport (or art). Your game elevates. You start to gain mastery, living inside your practice and executing to a high level. We recommend avoiding 4x per week and either staying at 3x competence or jumping to 5x excellence. 5x will start to feel like 3x squared.
How long will you need to 5x? That all depends. If you are looking for a small bump in fitness for a race this season, you can measure this in weeks. If you are looking to reach the top of your sport, you can measure this in months and years. (Triathletes - that’s 5x per sport!)
If you find yourself at a plateau, try 5x per week for chunk of time. You’ll be surprised what consistency and volume of practice can achieve.