Successful professional coaches and athletes know the secret; racing success begins with preparation: your training. The athlete defines his or her own definition of racing success — for some, it might simply be finishing while for others it may mean winning an age group, while still other look for an overall win or podium finish. Regardless, having a great coach, training plan, and enthusiasm are often not enough to achieve your race goals. In fact, some of these important tools might work against you if you do not know and practice the secret I mentioned earlier. The secret: do not race your training. Others say it differently: Do not win your training. Either way, the message is clear and should be part of your training doctrine.
Easy Means Easy
Most have heard this phrase before but few practice it successfully. As a coach and athlete I can say that most of my athletes are guilty of training too hard on easy days – heck, I do it myself. The reason easy days are so important is simple. Going easy on your easy days allows you to go hard on your hard days – it is that simple.
Pick your Friends Wisely
We all know fellow athletes that go all out, all of the time. They seem to only have this one gear. As athletes, it is our tendency to want to race, so when the swimmer in the next lane zooms by, it is likely that you will instinctively go into race mode, even if you are on your warm-up or cool-down lap. This is also common while out training on the bike, especially if you train within a group. Therefore, it is so critically important to choose training partners or groups that support, not derail your training. Be sure not to train with or around others that want to train at an intensity level that is above what your training plan requires.
Intensity levels required by your training plan, especially if prepared by a certified triathlon coach, on any given day, and your strict adherence to them have everything to do with your success, or lack thereof, on race day. Taking appropriate rest when required by your training plan allows your body, mind, and soul some needed repair and recuperation allowing you to go hard when you need to, often on the following day. Remind yourself of this before you set out the door on your easy workouts; the rewards will be apparent when crossing the finish line on race.
About the Author
Gregg S. Seltzer is the lead coach of Triability Coaching, based in Southern California. He is USAT, USAC, USATF, and ASCA certified. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 800.884.2194. Visit Triability Coaching at http://www.triabilitycoaching.com for training arrangements, questions, or comments.