Book Review: ‘Swim Bike Run’ by Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee
Swim Bike Run is the story of the Brownlee brothers, the famous British ex-World Triathlon Champions. It culminates in the London 2012 Olympic Triathlon race, where both vied for the gold medal on home soil.
Early in life they were encouraged to pursue running before, during and after school hours. Unsurprisingly they formed a positive association with exercise.
Interestingly, their fast development as athletes was facilitated by older athletes and mentors.
Proven training advice is outlined too, including racing with others of similar ability, setting short-term motivational goals and maintaining consistent training volumes and intensities. They remind me that putting in greater effort will yield greater fitness rewards.
They advise that training should have a purpose, but enjoyment should not be sacrificed, as this is how high performance levels are sustained.
It is an honest account of the relationship between two competitive brothers with different personalities. Both show their love for each other and passion for their sport in unique, but no less valuable, ways (one more isolated, the other more inclusive).
They also reveal that by training faster than race pace they can adapt when conditions are harsher. They also run every day, often twice: 35 minutes for recovery and two hours for endurance.
Throughout the book the Brownlees have to overcome many obstacles, including injury, doubt and personal conflict to excel in various races. They remind me that at the elite level there is a huge amount of training structure and race tactics, and that although winning races is the best feeling one must move on quickly to compete at the next one. The constant interchanging of the brothers’ perspectives flows well and their obsession with their discipline is always evident.
I learnt that triathlon requires athletes to prioritise efficiency. Success comes from swimming and cycling hard enough to compete, but still conserving energy for a strong run.