Do you feel like you've hit a plateau in your training? Are you putting in the effort but not seeing the desired results? If this sounds familiar, then you'll definitely want to read today's article on Limiters.
Before we delve deeper into the topic, it's important to understand what exactly limiters are. Renowned coach Joe Friel discusses this concept in his book, "The Triathlete's Training Bible," and it's a term commonly used in training software and plans found all over the internet.
To accurately understand limiters, we must consider the context. Every athlete possesses different skills and abilities in varying quantities across different areas. Some abilities can be easily changed or improved, while others have more limitations. For example, an athlete struggling to complete a certain distance can likely overcome this obstacle by increasing their endurance capacity, which is a high-changeability limiter. On the other hand, an athlete with genetically limited lung capacity has a low-changeability limiter. As you can see, limiters are the abilities athletes possess or develop to enhance their performance. A great way to illustrate this is through the classic chain metaphor. Just like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, an athlete with exceptional speed and muscle recruitment will always be outperformed by one with slightly less speed but better endurance in a long race. Similarly, the second athlete may struggle in a shorter race. The specific race requirements and level of competition often dictate the types of limiters athletes face. For instance, marathon runners focus more on running economy and speed, while skyrunners find muscular endurance, force, and strength to be their primary limiters.
Limiters come in various forms. Some, as mentioned earlier, are physiological, such as endurance, muscular endurance, speed, or force, while others are mechanical, such as range of motion, stability, or firing sequence. Depending on the event, mindset limiters can also greatly impact race performance. This includes factors like self-talk, the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, or determination. Additionally, nutrition and gut training can significantly affect racing capabilities.
Limiters themselves are quite fascinating. They can have preferences, meaning that force and muscular strength are almost useless without stability. Likewise, speed endurance is detrimental without a solid endurance base to build upon. Mental toughness is pointless unless clear goal-setting and motivation have been established.
In many ways, these limiters can interact with each other. Poor consistency, often associated with mindset, will never lead to adequate endurance, a physiological adaptation.
What do you believe are the limiters in your current training? Let us know in the comments.
Feel free to reach out to our coaches and discuss ways in which we can help address the limiters in your training.