Face of purplepatch: Time-Crunched Athlete

by: Matt Dixon

At purplepatch the common thread that ties our community together is the goal for personal development and performance, both in sport and in life.

Our Faces of Purplepatch athlete case study series highlights athletes who achieved personal breakthroughs and also have some lessons for all of us on season planning, training and tactical approachs to help you improve.  

Jordan Ouida, NY, NY.  

Athlete Challenge: time-crunched athlete

Profile: Jordan is based in New York, is a long-time triathlete and runner who has always been challenged with fitting his training into a life of family, high-stress work in financial services, and various other personal commitments. The puzzle was always how to cram training into such a busy life, further challenged by living in a major metropolitan area. Jordan’s primary focus was marathon racing and IRONMAN 70.3 distance races, and he has always enjoyed hitting several local races year after year to gauge improvements and progression. While loving the sport, there was little doubt that he had some frustration with the over-commitment of training leaving compromised sleep, stretched family life, and consistent niggles and injuries.

The coaching: There wasn’t too much wrong with the individual workouts that Jordan was completing in his previous training, but what needed work was the recipe of how the season was laid out, and how the workouts were put together. His initial mission was always to be focused on accumulating as many training hours as possible, often compromising sleep hours. In other words, trying to have his cake and eat it too. He was a smart athlete, understanding that marathon preparation could be gained from maintaining swim and cycling training, but struggled to develop smart seasonal progression and a recipe that allowed him to create the platform of fitness and resilience, but also be fresh enough to perform on race day.

The intervention: Interestingly, the biggest piece of training evolution we injected was to ask Jordan to shift his lens to what training success looked like. We shifted focus to ask for 8 great hours, instead of trying to hit 12 hours weekly. We also realized that recovery was being compromised, and investigation displayed that he was under-fueling following the workout. This meant that, beyond the scaling of hours, we placed laser-like focus on the habit of post training fueling, and requested he replace the subtracted training hours with sleep or downtime.

The results: A marathon PR, personal PR’s in each triathlon discipline, placing at every one of his local seasonal races, qualification to the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships and the IRONMAN XC Athlete of the Year award. Most importantly, Jordan retained his desire to train and did not get injured throughout the year. According to the Dixon-ary, Jordan was Fit and Fresh! 

When so many athletes seek a jump in performance, the normal thought is to train more. This is sometimes true, but very busy athletes often experience limited performance progression because of all the other life factors and stressors they need to manage. It is often more about hitting consistency and health-free training over many months, to allow progression from the layering of many months of high quality training. More is only better sometimes.

Enjoy the journey!