“I am refreshing the website every 30min to see if the race has been cancelled.” “I don’t know what to do now that they may push back the date.” “Not motivated and didn’t want to wake up and train today.”….
REAL TALK, we are ALL in this boat together! The uncertainty of racing, fear, frustration, and emotional roller-coaster toll is not easier on nor harder on than the next athlete.
Regardless of circumstance: 1- you are an athlete 2- athletes are highly motivated. Channel this mindset and silence the external noise. Continue to take deliberate steps to stay positive while moving toward your targets.
Whether race day is postponed or canceled, here are a few ways to help assess, reset, and measure your goals:
A. Highlight Weaknesses to Complement Your Strengths
Whether it be muscularly, metabolically, mentally… we all have our own what I like to call “our lil’ demons” in this sport. Instead of trying to dodge them, make friends with them right now. You have the opportunity to take care of the details that typically go unnoticed throughout the race season. Some specific examples that my athletes and I are addressing: shoulder stabilization and range of motivation for the swim and aero position, glute and hamstring activation for the bike, specific strength and durability for the run, tempo changes and metabolic response demands for racing, nutritional obstacles both in and out of the sport, maximizing time with dynamic warm-ups and proper cool down/ recovery methods, sleep quality… you get the drift. Diagnose your weaknesses and start tackling them.
A great reminder for us all, “You are only as good as your weakest link.”
B. Identify Specific Weekly Sessions
Each week I emphasize at least 1 swim, bike, and run workout to my clients. These sessions are set up with optimal physical and mental lead-in as well as ample recovery before their next necessary session. Make sure you have those 3-4 purposeful sessions that focus on the bigger picture.
1- Swim: band sets built on a time interval with tempo changes: 10sets x 2min: 45sec strong/ 15sec moderate
2- Bike: intervals set on Olympic watts with cadence changes: 3sets x 10min @ 250watts, every 2min drop 10rpm’s
3- Run: durability workouts set on a trail or hill repeats: 10-15 climbs focusing either on the up or down and effort based rather than pace specificity
4- Transition work: short hard bike-run-bike-run brick workouts that focus on efficient and smooth transitions, minimizing loss of power and/or pace
C. Mark Monthly Benchmarks
Having a “monthly benchmark” marked on your calendar is a huge motivator for athletes, of all levels. Typically this entails 1-2days of solid training, specific hydration/nutritional planning, and recovery. The goal here is to pull together those specific workouts from previous weeks and test your fitness and mental fortitude. Because you had previously accomplished these sessions on their own, we want to see how well you are able to execute the demands of triathlon. Remember, Triathlon is not 3 different sports; it is a single sport with many disciplines.
So taking those sessions above, here is a very simple example of what a month’s single-day benchmark might look like:
Swim Band: 10 x 2min: 1min strong/ 1min moderate + Transition 1min + Bike: 2sets x 15min @ 250watts, 1st set at 80+rpm/ 2nd set @ 60+rpm + Transition 1min + Run Hill Repeats 15 x 1min building effort to the ‘finish line’
The goal here is to challenge your triathlon specific fitness (meaning piecing together the disciplines with little to no recovery) that you have built over the last month. There’s nothing more motivating than seeing the puzzle come together!
D. REMINDER: YOU GET TO DO THIS!
We all have to take a breath and remember- sport and health are both a responsibility and privilege. Somehow, many times between submitting an entry fee and the running down that finish line, the original motivation and real reason(s) why an athlete took on ‘the challenge’ gets lost. Athletes lose the pure joy of pushing their limits and become distracted by racking up finisher medals, trophies, and qualifications. Although all those things are extremely motivating, they are merely party favors! THEY ARE ONLY A VISUAL REPRESENTATION OF YOUR HARD WORK, DISCIPLINE, & DEDICATION TO YOUR GOALS.
Although it is not as blatantly obvious, it doesn’t sit pretty on your shelf, nor does it win you recognition: THE REAL ‘PAY DAY’ IS EVERYDAY. You cannot purchase self-respect and confidence without a daily commitment to keep chipping away at every challenge this sport and your body has to offer. So, when you start to make excuses and allow the unknowns to discourage you- remember, triathlon is and has always been for you.
“Mindset is everything” – take advantage of this time, refocus, & start reaping the endorphins!
Questions/Comments Email: Amari@playtri.com