Some triathletes follow a strict training plan, down to the minute or the tenth of a mile. Others just get up in the morning, look outside, and do a workout of some kind if they feel like it.I used to envy the latter group, until I read the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown, and gained a better understanding of the importance of a clear plan. Clarity equals success, as McKeown states in the book and in social media.In the universe of triathlon, I translate that to mean that I have a clear goal (an A race), a clear time goal for that race, and a clear plan to achieve it.Luckily we don't have to spend hours with Excel formulas, figuring out the correct, clear plan to achieve our goals. Thanks to the Custom Training Plan Creator here at Beginner Triathlete, I can enter my A race and enter my current training pace for each sport, and after a few seconds of waiting, I have a clear plan to follow.For me, having a training plan I could trust made all the difference. I didn't even realize how important it was until I had an incorrect training plan for awhile. As the manager of BT, I often experiment with the features and try to troubleshoot users' problems. At some point, I must have uploaded some other training plan that was wholly inappropriate for my goals. I would open my calendar (our training plans sync with Google and Outlook calendars) and see that I had some enormously long bike ride the next day, and cringe. It didn't seem right, based on my 20 years of triathlon training experience, but I didn't have time to look into it. I would either complete the workout, ignore the workout, or not finish the full distance, making the excuse that something was wrong with the plan.Once I finally had a chance to input my correct information and have the system build a plan appropriate for my pace and my race date, I noticed that I really began to stick to my workouts. Because I could trust the system, I had clarity about what I needed to do. "If I follow this plan," my brain said, "I'll be ready for my half-Ironman in September."Having raced a triathlon without proper training over the last couple of years, I've determined I'm getting a bit too old for that. When I was 24, I could enter a race undertrained and gut it out. But I'll be 41 at my half-ironman, and it seems destructive to do this anymore. Flying by the seat of my pants will get me an overuse injury, I'm sure.And so, every night I look ahead at the next day and see my workouts. I plan how I will fit them into my day. I make sure I have the correct gear with me. I charge my Garmin. Because I'm not quibbling about the plan, I find I have no choice but to complete the workouts. And as I complete each one, I gain confidence about my performance on race day. Just last night before heading to bed, I looked to see what my Monday morning run would be. I was shocked that it was 9.6 miles, because even when I was training for an Ironman in 2010, my weekday runs were seldom more than an hour. I flinched. I complained inside my head. But I woke up extra early so I would have time to complete the 90 minute run before waking my kids for summer camp. I did an out-and-back course so I couldn't cheat. I did not turn around until exactly 4.8 miles. And I made it home with three minutes to spare.In life, clarity equals success. In triathlon, a solid training plan equals clarity.
Editor at Beginner Triathlete, web marketing consultant at SiteInSight, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for unstructured nature play for kids.