Thinking about trying something new for triathlon training in 2011?
The Turkey has been cooked, consumed and cleared as have the mince pices, Chrissie pud, chocolates, cake, etc etc. Where did it go? It’s not a trick question, you know where it went and now as the new year ticks closer you may be thinking about your next goal in triathlon? Well, are you?
As you get back on the bike and start working off the Christmas calories we have broken down some coaching areas that you may or may not consider when shopping for that ‘perfect’ plan.
CUSTOM Vs OFF-The-SHELF?
Honestly, this is a no â€“brainer. Buy off the shelf and do as you wish, there is no long-term commitment from either side. You are buying an ‘off-the-shelf one size fits every Joe’ kind of plan. If it is cheap and tempting it is cheap because it is not worth it. If off the shelf is your answer, save the bucks and carry on as normal and go buy some wheels or invest in some ‘go-fast’ stripes for your bike!
Custom costs more because it is worth itâ€™s weight in gold. It is tailor made for you, your lifestyle, and your commitments. It is created to balance in your life. If it at first does not fit, the coach is there waiting for your feedback. So long as you keep paying he wonâ€™t go away. THIS is what you pay for.
Google triathlon coaching and brace yourself for the deluge of programs, plans, guides, books and coaches testifying that they will get you faster than ever and PBâ€™s are guaranteed. Itâ€™s EVERYTHING you want to hear. You donâ€™t want to hear how hard itâ€™s going to be, how much pain, difficulty; the lows, the tough days, the discipline, the commitment, the sacrifice.
Read all you like, research all you want. Personally I believe word of mouth the best recommendation you will EVER need.
When you think you have found the perfect coach what next?
There are a few things that can make or break the athlete/coach relationship and one of the most important in my book is BELIEF. I have been lucky enough in my journey to meet my coaches. Look them in the eye and listen to them. This is huge. This is where I get my belief. I BELIEVE in what they tell me. I know I will listen ONLY to them because I BELIEVE they have my interests at heart.
You must not only believe in yourself. YOU MUST believe in your coach.
This is just as important as Belief. If you do not Respect your coach then you are going to constantly question their actions. Remember they are the coach because they know more than you. This is their job. Some are very good at it. Some are not so good. It is up to you to choose wisely and whoever you choose it helps that you like them, but more importantly than friendship is RESPECT.
Life is about constantly learning, as is your triathlon journey. Sometimes you will never learn enough, other times you will learn all you can and only you will know when it is time to move on.
I have met a lot of people who invested in a plan only to say â€˜it doesnâ€™tâ€™ work. While your training should be FUN if you want to improve you have to follow the plan and commit to it. If you are the type who knows discipline and commitment is not a priority then perhaps you should just carry on as normal.
I do not believe for one second someone who says I am happy ‘just finishing’, and ‘I just do it for fun not to go fast’.
We all have our own little training groups the world over. And within these little groups are egoâ€™s. Some people wear targets on their back. The slower guys dream of going faster but think they cannot. Everyone can go faster and everyone wants to go faster. Just be honest, it’s makes working towards your goal a reality. It does not matter if you do not get there. The point is you tried.
Once you admit it you then have to follow a plan. Remember if you have chosen wisely it will be customized. And this means it will fit in with YOUR working hours and other commitments. This means you will have NO excuses not to execute. If you are not improving with this then it is because you are not being honest.
This is the invisible gold you pay for.
Learn how to communicate with your coach. Let them know how you feel. It does not have to be on a day to day basis, but if you feel sick, have some troubles, struggling in workouts – tell them, communicate. Of course, if you Believe and Respect your coach the communication bit should come naturally. If it does – you know you have made the right choice. If you are not asking for advice and ‘counseling’ then it could be because you do not believe in their methods. If this is the case you chose wrongly!
PLAYING CATCH UP
So you missed a session. For whatever reason, if you have a plan the guilt you will feel at not executing is HUGE. This is natural. And it is also very natural to tell yourself â€˜I will make it up tomorrow and do doubleâ€™. DONâ€™T. You missed it, forget about it. And start again the next day. The plan is there in specific order tailored to let your body recover in-between sessions. Stack them together because you are trying to play catch up and the foundation will start to crumble.
If you are traveling, going on holiday, have no access to a bike or pool, then your Custom coach will be able to give you the peace of mind you need and adjust your plan accordingly so while you are away – the guilt is kept at bay.
You have selected a race to train for and have a plan to take you there. If you want to get the best from it you must focus on that one goal. This is sometimes the hardest hurdle to mentally overcome as your friends and training buddies may be off doing other stuff in between your training. The temptation to take part in these other activities will be huge but also a huge dent on your progress for your own goal. Sacrifice and focus, itâ€™s just for a short time and then you can go back and do the other stuff in your downtime.
A way around this is have your training group sign up for the same race. Training together under the same plan that is customised for each individual makes the training easier and heaps of FUN.
I have left this until last. And that is because at the end of the day it is not about the plan. It is about all the other elements (I believe) above that make or break a successful coaching/athlete relationship. The plan when it is in your hand should you adhere to the above will be followed with Belief, Honesty, Respect and Commitment it deserves.
Do this and you will improveâ€¦it is a guarantee but a guarantee that relies on only your honesty
Wishing you Happy Training in 2011!
If you have used a custom plan, did it work? where you happy? We would love to hear your thoughts.
By Emma Bishop of BEYOND TRANSITION