Updated: 1 day ago
By Bob Byard, Certified USA-T Level II Long Course Triathlon Coach
Let me make a few suggestions as you build, monitor, OR revise your “plan of attack” for the 2023 training and competitive Season. There are a few things that can make your focus and efforts more rewarding and your goals more realistic and attainable. Think about the following….
Don’t only plan the distances, types, and intensity of workouts of your upcoming training Season – an integral part of athletic success is to THINK about why you do it: the training and racing. Understand the significance of how your competitive philosophy and personal values guide (or misdirect) your physical efforts. The success of the upcoming Season will not be dictated solely by times, distances, or heart rate levels, but more importantly by mental attitude, motivation, and commitment – what I call the six “Ps”. They show themselves in every pursuit: Perspective, Preparation, Persistence, Patience, Pace and Pride.
The perspective of “why” you train and/or compete reflects itself in you attitude towards what you do; is it to win, to participate, for the camaraderie, what? What gets you out of bed to swim or run at 6:00 a.m.? How you view or evaluate your drive and the value that you put what you’re goal is will give direction and strength to your commitment.
And your level of commitment to achieve the “why” of what you pursue further clarifies how much mental preparation you are willing to expend. More specific, harder-to-attain goals (i.e., 21:30 minutes in a mile swim or a 7:20 minute mile) require more intense, focused effort than a goal of “run a 10k under one hour”. More ambitious goals require more preparation, psychologically as much as physically.
Coupled with preparation is persistence, or as I call it. “stick-to-it-tiveness” – that level that you realize is needed to attain and maintain in your training regime. It boils down to how focused you are (persistent) in getting ready (preparation) to achieve your goal which, in turn, will define your overall approach (perspective) to the sport. Focus requires commitment.
Patience is a trait that can be learned and requires consistent use over a period of time to show benefits. And that’s true in training and during competition: improvement in speed or at a distance takes time to attain; trailing someone on the bike with a plan to pass them on the run takes the discipline of self control. Patience IS a virtue; an elusive quality that needs to be nurtured and used.
Almost inseparable from patience is pace: using your brain and your strengths and understanding your weaknesses enable you to maximize your abilities to reach your goal - - be it a time, a distance, whatever. Know when to push the pace and when to bide your time. Knowing your limitations and strengths enhances your potential to put forward the best effort possible. Timing is so important.
And whatever you do, do it with pride.\ Respect the competition, treat others as you’d like to be treated, obey the rules, do what’s right. If you do, you’ll be more proud, and justifiably so, of you level of performance. Don’t be an “I, me, mine” person. How you achieve a goal should be just as important as what you achieve: that’s true pride in performance and participation.
Bottom line? Know why you do what you do, what satisfaction you get out of it; realistically figure out and plan figure how much effort you can expend and stick to it; don’t expect instant success; work on your weaknesses, but don’t ignore your strengths; draw satisfaction from the fact that you did your best honestly and with respect for others.
Do the “brain” part of Season planning and get your “head” in the game. Train smart and be safe.