Triathletes are always looking for top secret training that will help them get fast and fit quickly. As soon as the new year hits we start to plan out their season and our training. We often set lofty goals. However, we’ve all felt the panic when things don’t go as planned for a plethora of reasons. Maybe you simply get a late start and feel behind, you’re dealing with a nagging injury, a hectic job, busy family or some other unforeseen time sucker. We’ve put together a few reminders that might help you stay focused and keep some perspective on the journey that is this year’s triathlon season.
Get started today
“I’m going to start swimming next month or when it warms up.” I’ve heard this said so many times. In fact, I’ve said it myself...this week. However, there is no time like the present. Get your training started. Maybe this means starting small with 1-2 easy sessions in each discipline, but that’s a whole lot better than nothing. It will also make it easier to step up to more intense sessions when you are fully ready. The longer you wait, the less time you have.
Incremental change leads to big gains
When I finally get back to focused training I can’t help but compare my current data to where I was last year. The problem is I always compare it to where I was at my peak. Don’t! Start with some simple benchmark testing to get a gauge of where you’re at now and set some short term goals you want to achieve in the next 6-8 weeks. Make them quantifiable such as I want to be able to swim a 3 x 300 swim test at 1:28/100 yards by the end of March. Reassess your goals after each benchmark test, but remember a benchmark test is just a test of your ability on that day. Also use your data in the previous 6-8 weeks to get a full picture.
Be realistic and you will be consistent
One of the biggest indicators of success is consistency. Create a training and race schedule that is realistic for you to complete. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get in workouts that are impossible because of intensity or volume. Don’t create a schedule based on the best case scenario. If you start out on the conservative side it will help ensure that you are able to get your training in. Once you successfully execute a few months you can always revisit your training volume.
Become an expert at time management
Set a schedule and plan your training into your day. Without a schedule it is much easier for something to come up that takes the place of your workout. I have also found that setting specific times for each workout leads to far fewer excuses for missed workouts. For example, if you know what time you plan to swim you will not plan a conference call during that time if at all possible. Schedule your workouts just as you would an important meeting.
Don’t miss Mondays
I have found that once I miss one workout it often leads to missing more. Don’t miss your Monday workout. Checking off each workout as completed or seeing that green box on training peaks is satisfying and motivating. Starting off on the right foot will make you that much more determined to finish the week without a missed workout.
Don’t let injuries fester
We all have some sort of nagging injury that pops up now and again probably due to some movement disfunction. When it does, take care of it right away, or prevent it in the first place. Do not let it turn into something chronic. You know if you are predisposed to lower back pain or shin splints. Be proactive. Get in your corrective exercise routine, see your physical therapist or get that weekly massage. It will allow you to stay on track and ready to race when the time comes.
Go to bed early
I know this isn’t always possible, but often times it is. Limit your screen time, especially at night. Consider making your bed a screen-free zone, or at least limiting it. An extra hour or two of sleep will make it much easier to make it to that 5:30am masters swim and you will have energy for that track session after work. You will also be less likely to hit the wall at the end of the week. Set your biorhythms so you have more consistent go-to-bed times and wake-up times.
Josiah Middaugh is the reigning and two-time XTERRA Pan America Tour Champion, a 12x XTERRA U.S. National Champ, and the 2015 XTERRA World Champion. He has a masters degree in kinesiology and has been a certified personal trainer for 17 years (NSCA-CSCS). His brother Yaro, who wrote this weeks’ corner, also has a masters degree and has been an active USAT certified coach for more than a decade. Read past training articles at http://www.xterraplanet.com/training/middaugh-coaching-corner and learn more about their coaching programs at http://middaughcoaching.com.
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