February 13, 2012

Lessons from Training

Having listened to countless stories from 70.3 about “what could have been” I realised again how many people get it wrong on race day.

I wonder how their training went and why they completely mucked it up in not 1, but all 3 disciplines on the day. It got me thinking about all the little things in training that count towards a superb race day performance, which is the benchmark for most athletes. Train all they want, without a race day effort to show the work, they aren’t happy.

This, for me, is problem number 1 anyway. So let’s run through some of my favorite lessons out there:

1. Smell the Roses

This weekend, I had the joy of riding with the 2 guys who have put me in the pain cave more often than anyone on the bike, for the first time in roughly 5 years. Sure, the ride was tough, but for me, it was a byproduct of riding with my “brothers” through the winelands, on a route that has given us all so much happyscared during IM base weeks.

Stop and smell the roses while training. The athletes I train have to train on Sundays but its always their favorite routes at their preferred intensity, so that they will stop and have a look around them.

2. Overload Kings

The athletes I fear the most have the biggest capacity for work. It’s not that they are fast, its that they are fast AND train like madmen.

You should read THIS article if you don’t believe me. It’s the guys with the biggest capacity for work and the highest concentration towards eating ethically and sleeping meticulously that scare me the most. Natural talent goes only a part of the way. Show me the guy who is out nailing Basic Weeks every week and I’ll show you a man I fear on the back end of the run.

3. I am, therefor I am.

What does AeT feel like? How do you pedal at the right cadence when the little computer breaks on race day? How do I know that I`m about to get sick?

So many athletes have no idea of the constant 2 way conversation that is going on between body and mind. For them, its a one way from mind to body, willing it forward. With a bit of finesse and a bit of intuition, you will learn that the body will tell you everything you need to know. When they get sick they are surprised and yet, the body would have given signals for days and days ahead of getting sick.

Injuries don’t occur overnight and over-training takes months to achieve. Wake up and listen to your body.

4. Patience is Rewarded

Every single time. We cannot help ourselves and we attack early. When we get caught within sight of the line, legs totally gone, mind utterly blown, we regret not waiting a little. I have spoken enough of quiet power, of the quiet mind. Without the ability to be patient and make the move when it counts the most, you will fall short.

In training, don’t follow every move your mates make. Listen to your body and stick to the plan. The bottom line, is the finish line and often the guys hitting the summit first on morning rides are not the guys taking line honors on race day. When the moment hits, use it wisely.


Use these simple lessons in your training and you`ll see performance rise, health be stable and injuries disappear.

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