For many of us our racing season is coming to an end; whether you run, ride, or tri … the question now is what’s next? Have you ever noticed that few athletes actually progress from one season to the next? For most, it’s a continuation of the past season with little if any progress.
How many of you have had this conversation with yourself, I know I have: Next year is going to be different! I’m really going to build my base, gain more strength, work on my form, and even drop a few lb’s. I’m going to take an hour off my AC100 time or 40 minutes off my Ironman time, etc. The next thing you know, you’re into your next season and not one of your well intended goals were achieved.
So, is next season going to be different for you? Well, of course it’s your choice and it will come at a cost. Below you’ll find three thoughts on the matter from athletes I work with in my office and in the field, from athletes who progress from season to season.
By far the biggest take home thought is Planning; you have to lay it out on paper to see what your plan looks like. And, it doesn’t have to be complicated, detailed, or exact; keep that plan in front of you as a reminder. If your goal is finish a particular race faster than last year, well, how are you going to accomplish that goal? Just saying you’re going to run faster won’t get you there. I know I said a plan doesn’t have to be detailed, just know that more detail usually requires more thought, which usually results in a better road map.
Second, many of these athletes said that keeping their off season weight under control allowed them to start the base/preparatory phase of training ahead of the game. Allowing your self to balloon up 10-20% of your race weight is just plain stupid (I don’t use the word stupid very often)! I completely understand wanting to have some of the fun foods you miss during season, but really … is 4 donuts really necessary?
Tagging on to the weight issue, off season and base phase is the best time to change your eating habits. Regardless of where you are with this, we all can become better, more efficient, at burning fats over carbs. The longer the race the more important and beneficial this becomes as an athlete and for general health as well.
And third is: Find one weakness and turn it into a strength! This can be a physical OR mental weakness as they both can take you out! How you talk to your self while training and racing can help you or hurt you … it’s your choice. You’ve all heard the phrase: Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re probably right! Get rid or words like can’t, won’t, couldn’t and don’t. And the word “Hate” … I hate that word. Lol Okay really; if you really hate doing intervals then try thinking about how you love the benefits of interval training, instead. If you’re trying to get off the heels while running, think about what you should be doing and not what you shouldn’t be doing; squeeze the butt and drop the foot directly under my hips. You get the point.
Also, take a break during your off season and do something else, fun! Stay active but switch it up.