Triathlon Training: We All Need Some Kind Of Plan

We all need help sometimes and I've had a lot of it in the past

Here's a summary of the help I've gotten from others and found on my own:

  • I've had a few triathlon coaches in the past. I still do some of the key workouts I picked up along the way.
  • I've bought packaged online training programs.  
  • I've taken fitness classes at the gym.
  • I've trained with different masters swim groups.
  • I've worked with a personal trainer who understood my goals.
  • I've studied sports nutrition to be more informed about the true science of nutrition.
  • I've taken a few triathlon coaching courses, both in-person and online.
  • I've engaged in self-study beyond training courses.  Investing time, effort and sometimes a few dollars in your own education will never be a waste of any of those resources.  
  • My husband has been with me at about 90% most of my races, often there to do his own race  But he's a force that centres me.  He's talked sense into me more than once.  

The only constant theme is that I've done all these things and had all this help yet right now, let's just say I am self-coached.  Does it make me sound flakey that I haven't stuck with coaches, classes or a trainer forever?  I don't think so. My goals changed and my needs changed as I transitioned from one phase to another. There was a time where I was a pretty competitive triathlete (insert spit take here from anyone who trained or raced with me back then who remembers the focused, bitchy competitor that I was).  Life got busy, time for training became shorter and, to some extent, my body needed a bit of a break, physically, mentally and emotionally.  Quite honestly, I'm ready to get back to it physically but I'm not sure my head is in the same space in terms of competitiveness. It's all good.   The point I'm trying to make is that we shouldn't be hesitant or afraid to change what we're doing when our goals change.

  • If you are training for triathlon, there are lots of resources out there to help you.  It's good to explore options.
  • Maybe the challenge is to recognize when it's time to move on and try it another way.  
  • Maybe something pivotal happens that brings about awareness and need for change.  
  • If you want different results, you might have to try a different process.

Where do you go from here?   

That's your question to answer.  Whether you are contemplating starting something or moving on to a different process, you don't have to abandon the principles that worked in the past. Takeaway lessons from good training experiences will serve you well.

  1. Identify your core workouts, the ones that work, and keep them in rotation. You can vary them up a bit, but they aren't fancy, they aren't a magic bullet and they aren't easy.  They just get the job done.  I still do some of the key workouts prescribed by a few of my former triathlon coaches. (Truthfully, most of the 'keepers' are from one coach - TLM, you know who you are!)
  2.  Do strength and core conditioning work.  If you think you don't have time, make the time.  Strenght work is important.  I sorted out a few workouts to do in the gym in order to support the demands of triathlon training.  And, if you can't find time to make it to a gym, there is a lot you can do with just bodyweight at home.  I know when I hit the floor to do some planks or pushups, our cats have some fun with it too.
  3. I learned I can do it on my own but it's more fun to have company along the way. Friends and coaches provide support, accountability and sometimes a few laughs.
  4. I learned that not all coaches deliver the right messages the right way for my needs. 
  5. I am confident that I can coach athletes to success in triathlon but I recognize that I'm not the right coach for everyone.
  6. You have to have faith in your coach to guide you along the way but you also have to be aware enough to know when it's not working.
  7. Regardless of how you train, alone or in a group, who you train with, one of the best mantras is still to just get the job done.   For me, the hardest thing is to get started. I will finish once the first step has been taken.  
  8. Treat every workout like it's the most important one you have to do. 
  9. Train with purpose every session.  
  10. You have to fuel your body well and properly but there's nothing wrong with a little chocolate therapy along the way.

Finding Freedom In A Crowd - The Freedom of Not Being Special

One last thing I want to share is what was an "Aha!" moment I had and I alluded to it in the list of all the help I've had along the way.  Until then, I constantly fretted over potential race results - "how do you think I'll do" being the general them.   One day, my husband turned to me a said (and quite bluntly, by the way):  'No one cares about you out there."  On race day, everyone on the course is working through their own stuff. and the spectators are just hoping for the best for everyone. To them, I am nothing more special than everyone else. Yes, I'm working hard and they appreciate and support me for it but they provide that support for everyone. On the racecourse, I'm just another number.  That one comment truly floored me and centred me at the same time.  It was a revelation that took a ton of stress away.  Then, I could just focus on getting the job done. My focus switched from external results to the internal process. 

What will be your "Aha!" moment?  Maybe I can help you find it?  I have some experience and some skills that I've picked up over the years that you might be able to benefit from.  If you have a question you want me to try to answer, just ask!!

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