Defining success is important, what is successful for you, might not be for someone else. For me, the following are KEY ingredients.
- Know your WHY- We choose to train and race for different reasons, what is yours? The motivation to complete your daily training sessions stem from your why.
- Consistency: Your plan must be consistent over a period of time. Try to maintain the same days per week that you do your sport, if you miss training, get back on track when you can.
- Moderation: Your plan needs to be moderate for YOU and your fitness, especially in the beginning. This goes hand in hand with consistency because if you do too much too soon, you won’t stay consistent. You’ll either get injured, sick, tired.
- Progression: This is a logical consequence of the points of consistency and moderation. You should get fitter slowly but surely. The baseline of what you can do in training increases with your fitness level. What could have been a perfect amount of training 3 months ago, that was moderate for you and allowed you to stay consistent, may now be very easy for you. This is when you need your training plan to be progressive. You can increase the amount of training or you can add more challenging workouts. However, keep in mind the consistency. You don’t want to continue to increase week to week if you are not consistent. It is better to be a bit too conservative rather than too aggressive in how progressive your program is. Building durability takes time. Even if you have built a lot of fitness for over 3 months, maybe your durability hasn’t increased at the same rate. Your aerobic fitness and cardiovascular system may be able to take that new level of training but maybe your musculoskeletal system cannot
- Train your weakness: If you are not a climber, skipping hills because they are difficult will not help you overcome them. Make it a priority to run and bike hills every week. At first, don’t worry about time or intensity. As you build strength and fitness, you will be able to go longer, further and faster. If your swim technique is a limiter, the best place to improve swim technique in the water, not skipping swim lessons or swimming drills for your technique limit. If you are an injury-prone athlete, focus on stability and mobility in your strength sessions. Whatever your weakness, prioritize it with your day to day or week to week progressive training plan.
- Recovery: Pain attention to unusual pains and fatigue. Listen to your body “when in doubt, leave it out” You will train more effectively when you prioritize nutrition and sleep for recovery. Nutrition habits include limiting processed foods and managing portion sizes. I always say don’t let nutrition get in the way of your fitness, “Eat to train, don’t train to eat”. Sleep habits includes going to bed and waking up at the same time of day and getting the amount of sleep that you need.
- Remembering past successes: especially from less ideal situations. Knowing you want it more then you are afraid of it.
- Adaptability: Setting goals is only part of the journey. An athlete should always adjust. We aim to develop intuitive flexibility – responding to our bodies and our lives – to prevent burnout or injury.
- Scheduling: a couple weeks at a time, knowing ahead what your life looks like, then planning the training around that life plan vs planning your life around your training plan
- Balance: Triathlon is a sport in and of itself, not a combination of swimming, biking and running. We balance our strengths and weaknesses to become athletes who train and race holistically
There is more to success then hitting the numbers (time, intensity, power, pace and heart rate). A consistent, progressive training plan including quality sleep and nutrition while being mindful of limiting stress if your life will allow for changes and adaptations that will lead you on the path to a successful year in your health, fitness, and sport.
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