May 11, 2011

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Endurance Athletes


Over the years, I have tried to learn as fast as possible what it takes to get to the top while working a normal day and dealing with normal stress like the amateur guy I am. I want to race among the middle pro’s and beat all the other guys with jobs. So what does it take? How do you get there?

Go out and read what the best guys are doing. Doc Gowans taught me how to do that – that man absorbed more knowledge on Ironman racing in the time he was a serious age grouper than most of you will in your lifetime and it worked. I learned so much from him and read all the books he read, all the forums and websites. Be studious… like the 8th dwarf.

1. Consistency:
Doing the work every day. I have found that my body and my mind work best with an average of two hours of training per day. I make sure my workout time is treated as high priority for every day, twice a day in heavy load periods. Essentially, its a meeting with yourself to better yourself. Make sure you arrive on time.

2. Be a Geek:
Work on your aero position, your running form, your swim style. Try different shoes, saddles, socks, creams and eye wear. Make sure you have what works best for you. The most expensive might not be the best for your riding style, your foot strike or your body type. Make sure you are geeky about saving seconds. When you add all those seconds up, over the years, it becomes more than just a few minutes.

3. Recovery:
If you analyze your hours in a day, a very small percentage is for actual training. Your primary focus should be on what you can do to recover stronger, better and faster. Eat like it’s your job. Sleep like it is your religion and find the little things that give you an edge on recovery: hot tub, ART, massage, compression, ice baths, mongolian rugby midgets running back and forth over your quads, etc.

4. Eat like a Champion:
When I look at the diets of the guys and girls around me at races, those at the front are eating for their wins. They cut out the processed stuff when it counts and sure, they indulge, but not like you do. Real food only: veggies, nuts, meats, etc. James Cunnama taught me to never take my body to depletion and this especially counts with what you eat. You are what you eat. Your body is your vehicle, feed it the best quality fuel.

5. Compromise a little each day for gains in the long run:

Could you add 30min a day and keep your weekend rides to 5 hours instead of 7, risking injury and illness? I try and forgo a bit of time every day to not have to ride ALL day on the weekend and run for 3h30, risking injury. Find the biggest volume you can do in the week and reduce the weekend “cramming of miles” as a starting point.

6. Hire the best:
Buy your idol a beer and pick his mind. Find a professor in applied movement online in a forum and hound them for the right answers. Having a training plan from a guy is great but you will need to do more than that. I make the effort to hang with the pro guys because I learn from them far more than they will allude to. I am not a threat to them and neither are you. They are the pinnacle. When it comes to a coach, choose someone who works within these 7 habits.

7. Push that envelope:
From time to time, you need to throw it all out the window and go big. I prefer bike camps, as they limit the risk of injury, but you need to go way beyond for a week to get through the ordeal. We learn from ordeal because our central governor is broken and keeps us in the comfort zone. Get out that comfort zone and push that envelope. DO IT, but in limited quantities that leave you exhausted but not depleted, fatigued but not injured.


Super simple, right?

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