A triathlete endures a beautiful mix of mental and physical feats up to the point when the animated race announcer signals the start of a triathlon. The draw for an amateur triathlete, such as myself, is to compete against one person.
Competing with myself starts with learning to respect the distance by training and preparing months and even years in advance. Training gives an athlete a level of physical and mental confidence to push hard during the race. Athletes break personal barriers by setting goals in training and in the races.
Here is a sample training schedule: Swim, bike, run. Swim, bike, run. Swim, bike, run. Simple, right?
The goals for training need to be specific and measurable:
- Increase my speed on the bike by increasing my cadence from 65 to 71 RPM.
- Improve sighting in open water swims by correcting stroke form and practicing more in open water.
- Improve 6-mile pace to 8-min/mile with interval track sessions for increased speed.
- Brick bike/run workouts to improve transition efficiency.
In training for the Santa Barbara Triathlon on Aug 22nd, I started a 3-month training schedule set up by Kyle Visin from Killer B Fitness. The program mixes up strength, endurance and heart rate zone workouts that are geared towards achieving my personal goals.
Goal based training has improved my health and lifestyle.
As crazy as it sounds, I actually enjoy the workouts. The workouts are painful, but morning swims before work combined with post work bike and running workouts make for fun water cooler conversations. Co-workers and family get inspired and join in on the grind. Work trips are no longer meetings followed by dinner and drinks. Rather they are more efficient and creative with training sessions in unique locations such as Nike's HQ in Beaverton, Oregon or at a vendor's HQ in the heat of Plano, Texas. Family get-togethers are based on activities where sweating through a few t-shirts is ok and considered fun!
The concluding thought is that respecting the distance means that strategic training is a must. The body will go through stress during the race and it will only be able to handle the distance if proper training has taken place.
So train hard, smart, set goals and enjoy what the journey has in store for us.