By Assistant Coach Curtis Brooks, aka IMCB
As a new coach and triathlete of 30 years, I had the opportunity to live in the old school days of more is better and trying to fit life into triathlon. Training days were hard followed by even harder training days, no one seemed to take a day off and we sacrificed sleep and family functions to try and make life fit into triathlon. This was the scenario for most of us triathletes back in the 80s, 90s and early Y2K.
This created unwanted stress on work, family, and life in general. I personally trained and competed injured most of those years. Though I was fit and completive, the stress in my life was not healthy.
The sport has evolved over the past 50 plus years and brings us to the new school of triathlons, which has been around for several years now. It’s been a shift in how technology, science, coaching, and training have improved the quality of the athletes in the sport, improving performance, injury prevention, and best of all triathlon-life balance.
I just finished reading the Book “Fast-Track Triathlete” by Matt Dixon. I’m a big fan of his coaching structure and have attended several of his webinars. Also, I have experimented with his 10-hour a week training plan for Ironman training, which I will share at a later date in 2018.
Below are some things from the book that a coach will assist you with as you approach the 2018 season.
Progress in Triathlons
- There is no simple approach to guarantee success in triathlon with a full-life of work and family commitments.
- Start with building a sound work-life balance, realism to reach your best performance.
- Establish a platform for excelling in health, work, and life as a whole.
- As an age grouper it is a mistake to attempt to emulate a professional approach.
- We all have a different set of life circumstances. It all starts with understanding the context of your life and how triathlon fits into your life. “Not how life fits into triathlons”
- Most training programs are too rigid to conform to our lives.
- Some age groupers have more time to train than others
- The majority don’t have the opportunity to be relentless in triathlon pursuits. Your approach to the sport starts with a holistic understanding of all of your time commitments and how they play out on your daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis.
- Identify days of the week and time frames when you can train in the 3 categories of always available, typically available, and sometimes available.
- Key workouts should be scheduled in the always available slots
- Typically available slots may take some negotiating to make them work. It’s a lower tier of importance. It’s based on what you need, example you completed 2 swim sessions but feel you need another
- Sometimes available slots are sessions you might be able to pencil in supporting sessions or optimal sessions. Active recovery, general endurance, and technical proficiency are best for theses slots. Don’t feel frustrated or disappointed if you cannot get them in.
Develop a new approach. Pillars include endurance training but also functional strength, nutrition and fueling, and recovery.
- Must enable and maintain the element of consistency.
- It must be specific to the needs of the individual athlete.
- It must allow for continued, smart, short-term progress throughout the season and long-term progress throughout the season.
- It must be built on a firm understanding that true performance, through both short and long-term progression, requires patience.
- The athlete must be fundamentally healthy.
- Our goal as a coach is to understand the individual athlete’s life circumstances, background and history in the sport and then determine how many hours they have available to train.
- Common thread is the desire to improve.
- Organize sport around life.
- Don’t buy into the myth that training success depends on precisely adhering to an unrealistic, rigid training schedule, the “more is better” pattern.
- Hiring a coach relieves the athlete from the time constraints they have with balancing out training and life commitments. Working with a coach takes away the stress for setting up and monitoring your training plan and your progression.
- If your situation does not allow you to hire a coach, I would suggests speaking with one to set up a monthly plan or to do one-on-one consulting sessions.