You need to watch and analyze everything.
My dog knows naturally what we need to learn. It took me a long time to realize that my dog was a smarter trainer than I was. You need to be able to see the good things people do and the good things and bad things you are doing and learn from it.
Get out there and do it.
I was doing local 10 km running race on a hot day. There where the top local guys and a few super fast Kenyans. 40 minutes before the race the local guys where all talking to each other, hanging out. The Kenyans where running around very slowly, small steps high cadence. After the race, the local guys where all standing around with there shirts off. The Kenyans immediately put on jackets and track pants and went for a cool down run. They did this in front of everyone but how many people really saw what they were doing? The runners from here probably train hard and some of them have to have the talent to compete with the Kenyans but for some reason they are not quite there. All the little things do add up and it is not enough to know what to do, you have to actually do it.
Think about what you do and why.
When my little sister started doing running races I thought I would have a thing or two to teach her being the older brother cyclist, triathlete. However, I ended up learning a few things from her. She analyzes everything and will sometimes see things that I don’t. Genetically my sister and I have the same feet. We both pronate with the left foot but not with the right. For both of us any pain or problems usually come on the right side. She says this is because we compensate for the turning in of the left foot. She was prescribed orthotics by her chiropractor but they didn’t work for her. Now she adds a drugstore arch support to the left shoe only. This shows she thinks about what she does and she tries new things until she finds something that works.
Stay within your personal goals.
Once my sister said about an upcoming half marathon race, “As long as I am fit, I’ll do fine.” My sister doesn’t train for a specific event. She trains to improve her overall fitness and then when the day comes to race she knows she will be strong enough to do it. I mostly agree with this. When people decide to do a triathlon, they could be a long way away from that goal. They need to build in smaller more personal goals before they go out and start doing brick workouts and races. For Ironman training I like to take most of the year and train like a normal person who wants to stay fit. For the three months before the race I focus on long Ironman specific training.
Capitalize on your strengths.
I was riding bikes with a friend of mine the other day. We where climbing a long hill. In a steeper section he jumped. I started to go with him but realized that I would crack if I did. I geared down and spun easily over the steep section and when the climb leveled off a bit I blasted right back up to him. Then I realized I’d seen one of the better racers from my cycling club do this many times over the years but it never registered as a tactic. I thought he was just stronger in the gradual climbs and weaker in the steeper climbs, which is probably true. However realizing this and capitalizing on it helps make him a good rider.
The sooner you learn to see things the better off you will be.
You need to watch, you need to think and then you need to talk to knowledgeable people about what you have seen and thought. You will be amazed at what you will learn.