There is only one thing that matters to those who truly seek their fullest potential: resistance (i.e. drag).
There is only one thing that matters to everyone else: effort (i.e. training & racing intensity: HR zone/watt output).
And this is why those who train technique – in the long term – will always surpass those focused on short term gains through effort.
Because in the end, physics always wins.
Irrespective of VO2 Max, VLa Max, FTP, 10sec peak wattage… all metrics at some point run into resistance. Doesn’t matter whether its external friction (e.g. ground, air, or water friction), physiological friction (e.g. joint, muscle and connective stiffness), psychological friction (i.e. doubt, fears, anxieties) or a combination of multiple forms of friction (i.e drag). Only the athlete who executes sport specific technique at the highest level will minimize resistance and be the one who delivers consistent peak performances, who consistently outperforms all other athletes. All other athletes will hit a wall of resistance that no matter how hard they train, no matter how many hours or years they train, no matter how much they want it, will it, desire it… they will fail to progress beyond the resistance they themselves create which is directly proportional to the complexity of their technique (both physiological and psychological).
Because in the end… physics always trumps physiology & psychology.
If you do not train to move creating less and less resistance then you cannot and you will not experience your fullest potential, your peak potential.
And this is why time and time again, athletes quit sport: having been trained to believe that success comes specifically and solely through sheer effort, drive and determination, and without a single coach ever teaching them to understand that unless they train to constantly improve in technique, they will eventually defeat themselves or be defeated by an athlete who has fewer hours of training, maybe even less drive and determination to win… and they will be defeated effortlessly.
Why is resistance/drag underappreciated or unappreciated? Because its invisible to the majority: you cannot see it, smell it, hear it, or taste it (but the minority who are hi performing athletes can and do feel it). We respect aerodynamic and hydrodynamic data that testing in a water flume or a wind tunnel can provide, but what is tested is typically products for athletes, not athletes themselves. Engineers can redesign the shape of a bike frame or bike helmet, even running shoes to make products with greater and greater efficiency easy to obtain; but engineers do not redesign the shapes that athletes create when they move… that’s what coaches are supposed to do. In fact, that’s all that coaches are supposed to be doing: re-engineering the way athletes move so that their movements create less and less resistance no different than engineers redesigning equipment athletes use while competing.
Mo Farah is the 2x Olympic 5,000m & 10,000 gold medalist because the angles, the shapes, the waveforms he creates are smoother, hence he create less resistance than those of his competitors.
Coaches in their own pursuit for short cuts have found the easy way to ‘coach’: upload to an online platform workouts, brainwash athletes into believing that their short cut to success is not by way of re-engineering movement but by the all encompassing pursuit of quantitative metrics: Max VO2, Max VLa, FTP, wattage, etc… These coaches sell that these metrics matter more than resistance/drag. They do not, and this is why the typical coach trains their athletes to fail.
How can this be?
Because increases in Max VO2, Max VLa, FTP, wattage, etc… follow a linear progression but increases in resistance/drag follow an exponential progression: and this is why any athlete who trains focusing on effort will hit a speed or wattage they are unable to drive themselves beyond no matter how often and hard they try.
Physics always wins. Always.
Eventually, athletes are defeated not by their genetics, their starting age in sport, their drive, desire, or willpower, but by themselves: executing sport with technique that generates increasing amounts of resistance/drag with each stroke or stride eventually burns out or blows out or maxes out the athlete as they pursue faster, farther and higher.
Hence the circle and the sine wave and the image of sine waves superimposed on Mo Farah: the entire point of training is to smooth out the shape of the waveforms, the angles, and shapes (i.e. circles) you create as you move. The goal is simple… carve out absolutely gorgeous graceful symmetrical sine waves in both x & y planes so that your directional movement in the z plane occurs with the lowest level of resistance/drag. Train as such and your progress will be endless and your experience in sport unreal. Train focused on effort, on trying real hard and your progress will eventually hit a wall harder than anything you can put out.