Balance the Imbalance – Part IV: Overcompensate

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Written by: Mark Allen

Over the next few days Mark Allen will explain the best way to balance the task of maintaining a high level at your strongest sport, while also improving in your weaker sports. In this edition, Allen explains why you shouldn’t be afraid to overcompensate in your weaker sport.

Overcompensation means that you devote more time and effort to your weaker sport. In other words, add a few extra workouts. These should not be considered true hardcore training workouts but more like putting time into your athletic bank account. Part of what creates efficiency and ultimately speed is developing the pathways between your brain and the rest of your body, doing a specific motion over and over until it becomes second nature. It’s like deepening a groove.

When you add an extra workout into your training, it should be short to moderate in length with an easy to moderate intensity. The key to reaping the benefits of this session is making sure that the entire workout is done with the utmost attention placed on your mechanics. That means that you should use the best form possible for this additional session. Make sure that swim strokes, running and cycling cadences, and bike positioning are executed as closely as possible to how you would execute them in a race. The speed doesn’t have to be race pace, but everything else should be race-like. So even if you are, for example, biking at a slow speed, keep your cadence at 90 to 95 rpm. If you train at slow paces with slow turnover, that is the pattern that you will fall into automatically. But that is not what you want. Use your added sessions to develop the high cadence and efficient movement patterns you need on race day.

Next up, Allen explains why you should strengthen the muscles that are used most in your weakest sport.

Mark Allen is the six-time winner of the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and is available for speaking engagements worldwide. For further information about Mark’s speaking availability, please call 1-800-994-5306. Based in Santa Cruz, Calif., Mark has a state-of-the-art online triathlon-training program at In addition, Mark co-teaches a workshop titled Fit Soul, Fit Body with Brant Secunda, a shaman, healer and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indian tradition. They have recently released a book by this same name that you can find at bookstores near you or on (Fit Soul, Fit Body-9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You).

Trending on Triathlete

Jan Frodeno Reflects on His Final Ironman World Championship

Immediately after finishing 24th place at his final Ironman World Championships, the Olympic medalist (and three-time IMWC winner) explains what his race in Nice meant to him.