So you’ve got goals, a plan, maybe even a coach, and you’re full of enthusiasm for the new year! What’s next? So many times athletes are lost on the process of successful training. Even if they've set realistic goals, sometimes they fall short. For sure you can’t buy your way to success, and there are only so many value added gadgets or gear that will make you faster. But, that’s not the point anyway! The point is to improve on you!!! New Years resolutions are great, but still just a promise to yourself, it’s got nothing to do with the process. You can’t promise or wish your way to successful training! So where do you start? Below is an outline I give my athletes for training success. In fact, this year, instead of resolutions, I’ve challenged my team members and athletes to a game. The one with the most points wins! They will be scored on successfully checking the boxes off of these 5 keys for every week. No points awarded for any one failure in a given week, as the point is to teach consistency, persistence and discipline. This may not be for everyone. Some have different reasons they participate in endurance sports. However, if you’re serious about being a successful athlete and making positive changes, this is a good outline of the process. The challenge is outlined on our social media so I’ll get to the meat here…
A lot of people have trouble with this one. Some people participate in endurance sports in order to cover up poor consumption habits. But if your serious about success, what fuels your body is very important! The old cliche’ “garbage in…garbage out” applies here. Poor food choices inhibit getting to your ideal race weight, contributes to G.I. distress, and contributes to lessened energy levels. All of which, not only makes you slower on race day, but may inhibit consistency in workouts and slow improvement. Alcohol is a favorite among lots of athletes, but be smart! Over consumption has more than ill effects on the body. It may also inhibit training and the mental state it takes to focus on your training.
This is overlooked a lot, but I feel it’s important. If you’ve committed some time each day to meditate, or just escape and let the mind go for a bit, you know the benefits. Studies show reduced stress, increased focus, and it just makes you feel good! All of this benefits your training. Training itself stresses the body. Life itself stresses the body! So taking a few minutes to unwind helps you mentally, and physically. That keeps you going, and focused on completing you workouts (#4!!!). It may also help you sleep (#3!!!).
I don’t have to spend a lot of time on this. We all know the benefits of sleep! The body needs this time to go through proper hormone processes and repair muscle. It’s even more important for endurance athletes to recover from their workouts. One thing I will say, to those who have trouble sleeping, is to go back to #2! Meditation helps calm the mind. A lot of people who have trouble sleeping claim their mind is racing all night. Learning to control that and “let go” via meditation will help you sleep.
I can’t stress enough how important consistency, persistence, and discipline is to your success. Plans don’t complete themselves, and paying a coach doesn’t guarantee success. You need to do the work! Most training plans follow a progression. Minor set backs happen, but overall consistency of completing the training is essential to get you to the finish line of your A race and make improvements in your times. If you have a coach be sure you’re asking questions, and completing the workouts as planned, so you can benefit from that progression in the plan your coach has written for you.
Yes this is important! Take it seriously. This is a freebie in the challenge. You get points for taking a break. Your body needs the rest from the training. Insufficient rest can lead to overtraining and injury. So take your rest days! If you’re one of those people that needs to do something everyday, consider taking the day to focus on your diet. Put together some meals to comply with clean eating so you don’t have to do it while training throughout the week. Or, find a relaxing hobby that doesn’t take much effort. No, beer drinking doesn’t count!
Brian VanderMeulenHead Coach TriDogz Endurance Coachingwww.tridogz.com