Athletes, professional or amateur, want success in his or her chosen sport – regardless their definition of success. Ask a bunch of athletes what they feel is most important in their training routine to achieve that success, and you are likely to get a bunch of different answers. As a USA certified triathlon and cycling coach, I have my own take on the necessary ingredients that work not only in training, but also in life: consistency. Think about it for a moment, regardless your training philosophy or training plan, without consistency, you will constantly be playing catch-up – always behind the proverbial eight ball. So, what are some of the simple things you can do to stay consistent with your training?
Wash Your Hands
How many training days a year do you miss due to illness? Win the cold and flu battle, and you have just about won the war of consistency. One of the easiest ways to keep the cold and flu bug away is to wash your hands, and often, especially after shaking hands, according to the CDC. Washing with soap and hot or cold water for at least 20 seconds is necessary to kill germs, although an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will also work.
Your Medical Team
You would be surprised how many athletes do not see a doctor or dentist on a regular basis, or at all. Many wait until some crisis strikes them, affecting their training, and more importantly, their health and well-being. An athlete needs to be healthy first, fit second, which I strongly advocate to all my athletes, especially those new to Triability Coach. Do what your medical team tells me to do, when they tell me to do it; Get in the habit of making every appointment without cancellation. Being as healthy as possible should take priority before all else. Make this your mantra, and you will be better prepared when toeing future starting lines.
Eat and Drink like a Champion
The more you learn about training, the more you learn it is more involved than just swimming, cycling, and running. Proper nutrition and hydration are hot topics of knowledge for athletes and their coaches. Take the time to learn the basics and you are on the way to consist training and racing success. When addressing these two important topics, we are concerned with a healthy daily diet, as well as a nutrition plan for training and racing.
Beware of Over-Training
Less is more is a good saying, especially when it comes to athletic training. You likely know that quality beats quantity always. If you every walk out the door to do “junk miles”, I strongly urge you to reconsider your training philosophy. Fire yourself, if self-coached or your coach if you are wasting time and effort on this kind of training, and hire an effective coach. I recently read an article about a well-known triathlon coach working with an excellent marathoner and professional triathlete; he advocates reducing training volume by as much as 40-percent opting for more rest, recovery, and better nutrition. In addition, he increased strength training of those athletes using mostly body-weight exercises. The results were typically personal bests and less injury, even with his amateur athletes.
There are many things that you can do to achieve consistency in your training – rest, recovery, nutrition, and hydration to name just a few. It will likely take most people five to ten years of training to reach your maximum training and racing potential, therefore taking a long view when developing your training philosophy is an important consideration. Breaks in training due to illness, injury, burnout, or other reasons will have consequences you most definitely want to avoid.
Gregg Seltzer is the coach at Triability Coach, which specializes coaching, master’s age group athletes, and is a certified coach by the USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, and USA Track & Field governing bodies. Gregg is also a strength & conditioning trainer. Gregg competes in multiple endurance events annually, and is a crazed trail runner in the off-season. Gregg Seltzer is reachable at email@example.com for comment, feedback, or questions. Follow Gregg at Twitter.com/triabilitycoach. Our phone number at Triability Coach is 800.884.2194.