What constitutes progress?

Whilst out on a run today, I was reflecting on the winter months and the training I've completed.

Partly because they are the areas I thought needed improvement and partly because I hate turbo training, I have really focused on my running and swimming.

I started off annoyed because my 12k time has not changed in the last 6 weeks, consistently clocking 55 minutes. But then I remembered this is down from 65 minute when I started in November and in the last 6 weeks my average heart rate for this time has come down from 170 to 160.

Swimming is a similar story. I can't seem to make in roads with my pace which has stayed at about 2min for 100m. However, I have improved my distance up from struggling to complete 200m front crawl to now comfortably being able to knock out 2k.

I was going to ask if this constitutes progress but that appears a little self serving, but how can you quantify good progress over just progress, and how have other forum members seen gains in the off season?


  • surely progress is a personal thing, and if you take all the variables like your previous sporting history (if any), how many hour per week you train and what your goals are there really isnt an answer that any of us can tell you.

    your hr going down is not a measure of progress if you are going to try to beat your PB, i would think that your hr should be the same and your time improve, if your hr is coming down your not trying hard enough image
    a lower hr rate for an equal time would be indicate a gain in efficiency and/ fitness.

    as far as swimming goes i couldnt swim even 50m a few months ago but now knock out 4k continuous swims once a week but i do swim about 10k a week - thats what i call real progress at a personal level for me but it takes me 1.50 to swim the 4k which isnt progress as far as the bigger picture goes. i got into tri pretty late in the season last year and I can still remember putting 14minutes down in my expected 400m swim time - at hte time i could even swim that far image

    to me its a bit of a hobby, stops me getting fatter and stops me playing PC / xbox all day and night, you might have higher ambtions and that why i think progress is personal
  • Absolutely agree Doner K, it's down to the individual's goals (excellent progress on the swimming and I'm sure the 4k times will come down if you keep the effort up).

    I guess the point I was trying to make (badly) is what would be a good off season? Times down 1% / 5% / 10% / 20% or are there other measures (such as efficiency) I should be monitoring?

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