Fitness '97, February 1997
Bump into Mark Allen on the streets these days and he looks much like the rest of us tapioca-average folks: a few extra post-holiday pounds clinging to his midsection, a faint air of guilt from having blown off serious training for part of the winter.
But Allen isn't really like us. For the last decade and a half he's arguably been the world's fittest athlete, six-time winner of the grinding Hawaii Ironman triathlon. And yet the 39-year-old became a semiregular Joe last October, when he retired from competition and settled into a normal yawn-a-day life. Among other average-guy qualifications, he's the father of a three-year-old dervish named Mats, the husband of fellow retired triathlete Julie Moss, and a man who must now make a living using that stuff between his ears, as the owner of a new health-club and motivational-speaking business near his home in suburban San Diego.
When it comes to keeping in shape, however, he does still have an out-of-the-ordinary advantage: He's spent his entire adult life as an athletic lab rat, exploring, appraising, and fidgeting with the far reaches of fitness and nutrition. Now, with just a little arm-twisting, he's agreed to share his secrets, outlining a 16-week program that's similar to the regimen he used to tame the Ironman, but much more accessible. How accessible? You can get results with as little as five hours of training a week.
For that small investment you'll get programs to hone your endurance, speed, strength, diet, and even mental toughness. You'll learn how to get faster by going slower, how to taper your workouts in preparation for a race, how to coax your metabolism to burn off more fat, and how to teach your gray matter to tie everything together. After putting all this into practice, it may still be premature to book reservations for that 140-mile race on the Big Island. But we guarantee you'll be ready to hold your own at the local 10k.