Do You Circle the Block?

Triathlete holding his bike smiling for the camera
April 30, 2021

Dave Sheanin



As I once again watched a few athletes run an extra couple of blocks because “we want to get to eight miles”, Coach Brad and I exchanged grins as we coached the workout.

I’ll admit to planning my route home on long bike days so as not to finish at 99 miles, but I’ve never soft-pedaled around the block just to hit a distance. Riding to a full kilometer while cooling down on Zwift to get 20 more XP points? You bet--I’m playing the game (I tell myself). 

But when I reach the end of my workout, my workout is over. There’s no training benefit in hitting round numbers--especially by shuffling along just to get the digital odometer to tick over one more click.

There is a real debate out there about the value of “quality miles” vs. “junk miles” or quality vs. quantity in general.  Additionally, the value of a good warmup and cooldown is widely accepted sport science.  But that’s not the topic of this little article.  The true value in ending on a round number is mental--does it give you extra satisfaction having “completed” your workout this way?

There’s no real harm in making sure your workouts round up--I’ll concede that point.  I’ve just never seen the benefit.  And if someone had asked me how far I went on my 9.96 mile run last month, I would have told them “almost ten miles”. I don’t feel any shame for not having gone ten.

Look closely at the numbers highlighted in yellow.

Maybe this is the multisport athlete version of the gold/white or black/blue dress on Facebook several years ago.  

Do you circle the block?

Coach Dave Sheanin believes with expert guidance, focused training and experience – our minds as well as our bodies adapt and we develop new capabilities. As our fitness increases and we expand our knowledge, the bar of maximum potential is raised!

Dave’s Coaching Certifications include:

USA Triathlon Certified Coach
Training Peaks Certified Coach

Coach Dave Sheanin is an advocate for aligning triathletes with their race goals. He believes that becoming “triathlon literate” is key to meeting your goals. Triathlon is indeed a lifestyle and like the other important areas of your life, knowledge is power. He encourages you to explore the nuances of the sport, be open to new ideas and ask questions – of yourself, of fellow swimmers, cyclists and runners, and of your coach.  

Coach Dave is a USA Triathlon and Training Peaks Certified Coach.  Coach Dave was honored by USA Triathlon with the Community Impact Award.

schedule a call