People get bored very easily. That is a fact that is about as certain as death and taxes. Think about the high school kid who falls asleep during a forty-minute lecture on the Italian Renaissance or the security guard who drifts off during the graveyard shift. When a person experiences something that spans a long period of time and offers no alterations or adjustments , there exists no possible way for a legitimate focus to occur. As a result, body and mind change course, looking to either rest from exhaustion or re-stimulate itself with something else.
Training for triathlon is no different. While following a detailed, structured workout schedule will give you the format to stay consistent, doing the same routine day after day will result in two situations: a serious loss of mental motivation and a seemingly unbreakable physical plateau.
Mentally, when you continually change your patterns, the brain stays sharp, as it constantly has a new goal to reach. You provide the stimulus your brain requires to keep your body moving in a manner that permits progress. For example, using a swim workout based on stroke count one day, always working to lengthen the body’s reach to reduce the number of strokes it takes to cover a given distance, and the next day swimming against the clock, a place where strokes are less important and time rules, provides you with a different set of challenges. Your brain avoids the patternization that generates boredom and fatigue.
Likewise, physically, if you can repeatedly alter your goals, you can keep your body from reaching those plateaus that stunt growth. Confusing the muscles, making them work similar groups in a variety of ways, dodges the monotony of identical workouts. For example, running an endless string of treadmill workouts will never produce the long-range results you need. Instead, get outside and hit the trails or do a track workout. Try plyometrics or Kenpo. Mix in multiple variations that will strengthen the muscles while keeping them fresh and stimulated.
Overall, you will be a happier triathlete if you mix it up. Failing to do so will not only hurt your performance, but also it will take away the pure joy associated with the sport. Keep yourself mentally and physically excited and vary those workouts as much as possible.