Okay, lets get back to the topic of aliens.  How exactly is the AAA elite triathletes body different from the triathlon beginner body?  Do they have two hearts, and three lungs, with scaly skin and retractable fins? Do you want the truth?  The answer is … Maybe, but I’m not prepared to deal with that right now so … if I may, I’ll just focus on true and proper human biology.

There are three main physical systems integral to triathlon performance, which I want you to consider as you apply the law of specificity of training to your own training.  As far as any other physical systems, I want you to ignore them right now and just think in terms of:

- Anatomy (your physical structure)

- Physiology (your bodies chemical reactions and metabolic processes)

- Kinetics (how you move)

Simple right?  Now the first thing that we need to come to grips with is that for triathlon, we need all three of these systems in go mode.  

Let me give examples just to clarify my point.  If your anatomy is comprimised, say a rotator cuff tear (in other words a really big pain in the ass, but in your shoulder), your swim leg of the race, and possibly even your biking leg will suffer.  

On the other hand if your physiology is comprimised, say if the ability of your muscle tissue to process oxygen is poor, your race will be a depleting grind into certain bonk-dom*(definition of bonk below).  Meanwhile, if your kinetics are off kilter… Well, you would swim like a typical triathlete.  Ooh, that comment was true, but uneccesarily scathing… I’ll have to apologize later.

Right now I should probably summarize this with a story.  So, grab your pillow, and settle in.  My story begins with a champion ultra marathon competitor who sought me out because of certain challenges that were impairing his progress towards completing his first 100 kilometer race.  He was already very accomplished at the lessor ultramarathon distances, but his goal was to run a certain 100 mile race in the south, and the 100 km race was a prerequisite for him.

On assessment, I found that he had some injuries that were persistant.  He also had a mutant heel whip in one leg while he ran that looked like one of MJ’s classic 80′s dance moves.  I had three weeks to work with him before the big race.  That’s not a lot of time.  

Tell me this, what could I possibly have done to that champion athletes (already excellent) Physiology? … Answer- absolutely nothing … So how can I help him finish a race that he doubts he has the ability to finish? Easy.  

I look at the other two physical systems involved in his performance, his anatomy and his kinetics.  For his anatomy, I fixed his injuries (giving him happier body parts), and for his kinetics, I solved the reason for his gruesome heel whip (making him less like the king of pop).  

So how did it work out?  With the added efficiency of his stride and all his body parts working at full strength, not only did my athlete finish the race, he won it.  His first 100km race and he finished with a ‘W’… Cool huh?

So I want you to ask yourself, of the three body systems that I’ve mentioned, what is your weak link? Lets talk about it.

* the exact definition of the word bonk is unclear, but it involves shuffling feet, latent nausea, overly whimsical thoughts of lawnchairs and beer, and temporarily possessing the core strength of an infant.