"Mr. Gordon found that training, if done right, is the ultimate performance enhancer, with effects that can dwarf those of illegal drugs, like the blood-boosting drug EPO, as well as legal stimulants like caffeine. Still, it seems, too few amateur athletes take it seriously and fewer still do it right. Exercise physiologists and coaches say most people who want to run, swim, cycle or row faster or improve in almost any sport do not appreciate what can be accomplished with training nor how to do it."
It's true, folks. The average person stands to gain a lot of fitness by becoming moderately active. The amateur athlete can boost performance and success while racing by knowing when to go hard at training vs. when to take it easy.
As a trainer of several marathoners, many half-marathoners, and some very tenacious triathletes, I know how eager amateurs can be to "stick with the plan" and run through pain. But this isn't smart training. Instead, I can come in with a "big picture" perspective to say which training days really count, and which can be missed. I can also look at injuries in the making and head them off before the dull ache becomes a driving pain. Best of all, I can see how healthy training brings improved times and better races overall. This helps the athlete come back for more racing, more training, and more years of healthy competition!
Source: NY Times "Want to Go Faster? You Need a Trainer" article, 4/23/2009