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How to Use the Triangle of Health to Improve Superior Durability and Performance

As an age-group runner or masters’ cyclist, the Triangle of Health can build our durability and help us accomplish our best performances.

If all you do is run, and all you do is ride your bike, you’re not reaching your performance potential and you’re far more likely to be injured. 

The Triangle of Health is simply the blend of strength training, endurance training, and yoga mobility work that works best for you.

This means training so that your muscles are strong and able to handle the workload, your cardiovascular system is developed, and your joints can move enough to handle the required movement. 

And the older we get, as age-groupers or masters, the more important a balanced approach is to longevity, durability, and success.

How to Use the Triangle of Health to Improve Superior Durability and Performance

Strength training helps you get strong enough to train more

Strength training is essentially building the size and number of muscle fibers so that your body can handle an increasing load. 

If you lift weights to strengthen your quadriceps, for example, you are better able to create more force with your legs. 

You can also produce more force more often. 

Strength training, including core and hip work, can have a direct impact on your performance because of more force production. 

However, the primary gain for weight lifting is in helping your body be able to withstand a great amount of training load in your primary sport. 

So if you’re running and strength training, the strength work will help you go faster to some degree. 

But the strength training will help you run more and run faster simply because the muscles are better able to handle the load.

Yoga creates balance and stability

Yoga, at least the way I teach yoga, is all about mobility. 

We are NOT talking about flexibility, since we typically don’t want as much flexibility as we are told. 

For example, runners often have tight hamstrings. 

But tight hamstrings are the spring that propels us forward. 

If the spring is too loose, we don’t get as much forward propulsion!

So it’s better to work on our ability to move in different directions. 

We want to keep our joint movement fluid, especially as cyclists and runners. 

By fluid, I mean able to comfortably move in a variety of directions. 

We tend to only move in a forward direction, particularly cyclists. 

Yoga helps us move sideways, up, down, and in several directions at once!

Endurance training brings performance gains

Finally, our endurance training is the third side of the Triangle. 

This is the part that most of us, as cyclists and runners, understand the best.

We need to train to increase the size and number of mitochondria, improve our lung and heart functional capacity, and increase the capacity of our body to go faster, harder, and/or longer. 

There is, obviously, a lot that goes into the systemic improvements that comes from endurance training. 

Individually, we respond differently to different stimulus so endurance training must include moderate and high-intensity work. 

And we need to understand how much stimulus we are able to take so that we continue to make gains without overwhelming the system.

Making this work together is the magic

How all this fits together is the eternal puzzle of training as a cyclist or runner! 

The time of year generally determines the type of training you do. 

For instance, if you race cyclocross, you might do lots of strength training from January to May along with higher intensity work. 

Then in the summer, when it’s nice, you might do more endurance training.

And you can do yoga all year long. 

But strength training all year long is just as critical. 

How much you do, and when you lift weights is what changes throughout the year. 

And obviously, as a self-plug, a good coach who understands this balance can be the ticket to your success!

The Triangle of Health builds your base as an everyday endurance athlete

If your body is strong, durable, and mobile, you’re most prepared to do the kind of training that will get you faster with better performances. 

Plus, with a strong durable body, you are less likely to get hurt. 

The Triangle of Health is really all about building a strong base of fitness in order to do the kind of training you need to do to bring your best outcomes. 

And actually, we could add a fourth piece of mental toughness and training. 

You can’t reach your peak performance without a good mental game.

Three things to consider about the Triangle of Health

  1. Make sure you are getting to the gym for strength training to build your overall strength and stability.
  2. Yoga helps build mobility and stability.
  3. Endurance training gets you fast.

Want to know more about what you can achieve?

Want to know more about what you can achieve? 

If you liked this article, please share it with others.

Do you have questions? Email me at paulw at SimpleEnduranceCoaching.com

I support a limited number of cyclists and runners achieve their goals with more strength, endurance, and mobility. 

Contact me or sign up for Virtual Coffee so we can discuss your goals, ask questions, and talk about making your endurance training more effective, fun, and Simple.

You can also opt-in to receive my weekly blog posts about what works in endurance sports. 

Paul Warloski is a: 

  • USA Cycling Level 3 Coach
  • RRCA Running Coach
  • Training Peaks Level 2 Coach
  • RYT-200 Yoga Instructor
  • Certified Personal Trainer
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