Why Triathlon Training Should be Fast Before Far and Strong Before Long - Part 1

Traditional training principles and workouts in distance events often preach the theory that one must first conquer the desired distance and then work toward increasing speed and strength.

This may at first sound good and seem to make sense. But it can be short-sighted, self-defeating, and possibly even injury-inducing.

It can also result in meaningless and even harmful “junk miles” and increased training time.

The better strategy is “fast before far and strong before long.” It’s one of TriDot’s fundamental beliefs which focuses first on developing strength and speed, and then emphasizes distance. 

Here are two of four primary reasons this belief makes good sense and produces better results:

1. Fast Before Far and Strong Before Long emphasizes stamina, not endurance

While it’s true that by first conquering your desired distance one attains a mental edge in knowing that the distance can be covered, there is some faulty thinking in this approach.

For starters, the athlete’s training objective should never be to simply survive the distance, but to cover it as quickly and powerfully as possible. It’s the difference between focusing on stamina or endurance. You want to (and should) “finish strong.”

TriDot coach Jared Milam explains, “Endurance is the ability to go for as long as possible at whatever pace is necessary to achieve said longevity. Stamina, on the other hand, is the percentage of threshold power you can maintain during your expected race time.”

Endurance focuses on merely finishing the course. Stamina is about mastering it.

The better strategy is to train fast before far and increase your strength and speed so that the distance can be covered with power and proficiency.

2. Fast Before Far and Strong Before Long emphasizes strength and recovery

When focusing on mere miles covered – whether going too fast, too slow, or right on pace – the athlete isn’t prioritizing optimal recovery, which is the foundation of developing strength and speed.

It’s only when the body has had time to recover from the stress of training that it can rebuild itself and grow into an improved physical state.

When one merely concentrates on running a pre-determined, extended distance, the result is often much more stress and intensity on the body than was intended or can be handled. This, in turn, results in an extended time needed for recovery.

The athlete doesn’t get stronger and faster just by going longer. More often than not, he merely tears his body down and gets slower.

In Part 2, we’ll finish our discussion and provide two more benefits of this crucial training strategy.


Fast before Far and Strong before Long is a superior training strategy that focuses on building stamina and emphasizing recovery to produce better training and race results.


How is this strategy consistent or in contrast to your experience?


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