There’s a popular nutrition podcast I listen to. The host often says “there’s no free lunch in nature.” I love this saying, and I find that it goes for training as well. There is no free lunch in running and triathlon. What do I mean by this, exactly? Well, specifically this…races aren’t going to train for themselves.
Signing up for races is fun. It gives athletes a little endorphin boost which feels good. Now what? Whether you’re a beginner or have been racing for years, you gotta train. Hiring a coach can help. Having guidance and accountability is useful during training. Someone is there to answer questions, and figure out the best plan for each athlete as an individual. Everyone is different. Each athlete is like a puzzle and the coach can help fit the pieces together, creating a picture of a successful, goal-meeting race day.
Regardless of the distance, training for a race can seem a little daunting. For some, a 5k is that distance. For others, its a 70.3. Whatever “your” goal race distance, the first place to start is believing that you can do it. We live in a wonderful world full of all kind of gear, gadgets, GPS, heart rate monitors, power meters and sensors. All these things are useful in tracking metrics for training. But you know what is equally, if not more important? The athlete’s belief in themselves that they can train for and successfully complete the event. Humans can have a tendency to make things complicated and its important to occasionally take a step back, look at the fundamentals, and be sure your foundation is strong. Belief in oneself is the foundation of training.
Making a plan for how you will train is a good place to start putting belief into practice. Where will you run? What will be your swim days? What about strength training? Where will you ride, and what if there is inclement weather? How will you fuel during training and for recovery? How will sleep and recovery be managed? Talking with a coach, or other athletes will help lay this foundation. Once you get started and get to know yourself as an athlete, it becomes easier and easier to build upon a strong base.
Daily affirmations, mantras, inspirational quotes are all useful to stay motivated. This can be anything from a sports quote to a song to a simple “suck it up buttercup.” Find what works for you and have those in your pocket for the days you need it most. Because you HAVE got this!