We all know what compound interest is right?

You probably only think about it in terms of our finances, unless that is you have heard me talk about how fatigue compounds (but I’m jumping ahead of myself).

Compound interest can be both positive and negative.

When you put money into a high yield savings account and don’t touch it, the money in there will continue to increase as compounding levels. That’s the positive.

We all know the negatives when we look at credit cards and the debt accumulating because of the interest added monthly on the balance.

I’m not wanting to talk about finances here. Just to use as an example.

By look at compounding interest through the triathlon view finder we can see how it can again have both positive and negative effects.

In terms of Ironman and even 70.3 but mainly in Ironman compound interest works simply like this.

The fatigue you carry out of the water compounds throughout the bike and then leaves you more spent as you start the run. 42.2km is a long way when you’re shelled.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Develop deep swim fitness, so as to get out of the water as fresh as possible and thus the 3.8km in the drink doesn’t impact negatively on the rest of your day. Unfortunately though, to many Ironman triathletes and coaches for that matter don’t put enough emphasis on the swim leg.

It’s the shortest part of the day, It’s just a warm up – you may say.

Well I’m here to say, that the swim matters. It matters a lot. I’m not too concerned if you put in the work and don’t swim much faster and you shouldn’t be either.

Because I know, that if you have developed deep swim fitness, then the swim leg will not tax you and you’ll then be able to leverage your bike and run to the best of your ability.

Lets look further at compound interest and how it relates to fitness.

Fitness is built one smart session at a time. Repeated over and over , your fitness develops to untold levels thanks to its compounding effects.

This is why it’s important to do the work consistently.

There is no “push button” method to superior fitness that will lead to breakthrough performances. You have to go at it drip, drip, drip – water beats stone – drip, drip, drip.

There is no short cuts.

Well there is if you have a coach or mentor that helps you rule out unwarranted mistakes along the way which can greatly shorten the time to success.

But asides from that.

Patience and consistency is key to your best triathlon results.

Patiently do the work and the results will come. By doing the work you’ll be adding the compounding effects to your fitness and a very positive aspect of that is you can have a sub optimal lead in, stuff go wrong on the day and still come out trumps … like TriSpecific athlete Kirsten Gorman did on Sunday winning her age group in Geelong.

Kirsten has been with me a long time and has overcome some pretty big challenges… but she consistently does the work and the results are flowing.

So while you might think a couple of missed sessions per week doesn’t matter. It’s a week a month missed which means over the year it’s 104 session. But it’s more than that because you miss out on the potential positive effects of compound interest on your fitness.

Yes some session will get missed. I’m a realist, but if it keeps happening week-in week-out then you need to look at the reasons and figure out a strategy and a plan that can be nailed week-in, week-out.

Now the negative compounding effects can be many and I have discussed the major Ironman performance one already by neglecting the swim.

Continually doing volume that is excessive and by that I mean week-in, week-out and not for a few short weeks in a specific Ironman build or an epic adventure (like I did last Saturday) thrown in here and there.

Now if we did this all the time, it is highly catabolic on the body and not only would we be over-trained but we can effect long term health through screwing our endocrine/hormonal system up. This you don’t want to do and I know a lot of triathletes doing Ironman would be dealing with this simply because the triathlon training model has been so geared to excessive aerobic volume at the expense of everything else.

Some aerobic volume is ok and is needed but done as the backbone of your plan will lead to long term negatives.

Another thing we see have a compounding effect is muscle tissue health.

Each session we do, we get a little dehydrated. If we don’t rehydrate properly we get on the back foot and start the next session not fully recovered. This has a major impact on our muscle tissue – it starts to bind up and resemble beef jerky and not function how it should. The adhesion continue to get laid down restricting range of motion, creating pain and a higher potential to tear.

Ever had an injury just pop up ‘out of nowhere’? This is compound interest at play. It has been bubbling away beneath the surface until one day the body just cannot tolerate the demands we place upon it.

If you spend time daily doing some self massage and mobility work, you’ll put the effects of compound interest to play positively by reducing the chances of injury and allowing your muscles to function as they’re meant to. A muscle tissue that has good range of movement, loads of blood flow and oxygen can get more power and more work done. Thus you get stronger and faster and yes this compounds overtime. MK2866 has its beneficial effect too.

Put compound interest to play in the positive sense and over time you’ll become a consistently performing athlete.


P.S. Racing Ironman Melbourne? Be sure to check out the upcoming post. Only 5.5 weeks to go and you want to be sure your doing these things that really matter.