Much is written about the training schedules of multisport athletes, with sheer volume of numbers resulting in hours and hours of training. Then you hear of coaches, or programs, promising something along the following:
"Train less! Get faster!"
"Spend just X hours a week training with our program, and you'll be fitter than you've ever been!"
Now, of course, comes the rub: some of us will get faster with less training volume. But there's a key component missing in those descriptors above, that is lost when people talking about training less and getting faster:
You need to have done the work first in order for this to work.
Let's use the example of going to lift weights at the gym. You go and bench press a certain amount of weight. You don't increase it, you just crank out your sets. You go home, recover, and the following week do the same set. After three or four weeks of lifting, you suddenly get the ability to press more. Where did that come from?
Essentially, our body wants to overcompensate. It wants not to have the ability to repeat that same exercise, but instead lift something heavier than that. It is much the same with swimming, cycling, and running: your body wants to overcompensate for the stress load that you put on it so that it can get that activity over.
The thing is, in order to build in less work (or a recovery week, for that matter) you must first have done the work to actually recover from. Otherwise, you're falling out of shape.
This, however, does not apply for injury situations, which are an entirely different element. At that point, less is in fact more. But for the most part, you need to get out there, do the work, and then recover well.
Brief Training Update:
Well, my own "recovery" hasn't been nearly recovery-oriented enough. Been stressed, exhausted, working my tail off. Been training roughly 5 hours a week, which is a decent base to work off of at this point. Pointing towards January, when the 20 week to Quassy countdown begins.
I needed the mental and physical time away from having a race on the calendar; now, it's getting to that, "Shit, race coming" point whereby the work becomes more important, the recovery required, and focus really sharpens.