With the race season coming to an end for most runners and triathletes, I thought I would share a list of 5 things you might be doing wrong as a triathlete.
- Eating a huge breakfast on race morning. You would think most people would know better than to shovel 1000+ calories into their bodies on race mornings, but it happens all the time. Unfortunately, that’s not how our bodies work. Just because we have a 3+ hour event ahead of us doesn’t mean we can or should squeeze in that extra bagel and two granola bars on race morning, in hopes that it will somehow give us the energy we need many hours from now. Our glycogen (energy) stores should be full on race morning whether we eat a breakfast or not. Most people still keep it normal or have a light breakfast on race morning and are fine, but we don’t need to overdo it. I’ve done half Ironman events on no breakfast and been completely fine. You can actually train your glycogen stores to hold more glycogen, up to about 90 minutes worth. Contact me to learn how you can do it, too.
- ALWAYS going too fast during easy workouts. “But I felt great, so I ran 6 minute miles”. I would say easily over half of athletes go too fast during easy workouts. That results in not recovering enough to go hard enough in hard sessions, but let’s focus more on going too fast on easy days. Most athletes simply can’t keep their egos out of easy training sessions and end up going harder than they should, using a different energy system and not adapting their body to that specific training session like they should. This is where both having a good coach and, more importantly, the ability to check your ego at the door when it comes to easy workouts, is important. It can be hard to check your ego at the door for these sessions. I like to do most of my training by myself, so that I can follow my paces and efforts that are set out for me for each session instead of training with a bunch of competitive guys and having the easy workout turn into a, “Oh ya I can do better, watch this” sufferfest.
- Not knowing how to change a flat. Changing a flat on your bike is a pretty important skill to know. Shockingly enough, I know many people who have no idea how and actually get terrified of thinking what they will do if they flat in a triathlon. I know it can be intimidating, but like anything, practice makes perfect! Changing a tire will be a piece of cake (mmm, cake) if you practice. Take your wheel off your bike, grab your tire levers, queue up some YouTube tutorials and conquer your flat tire fear!
- Taking the entire day off because you can’t fit in your long workout. Have a wedding you need to get to by the early afternoon? Clouds came it and it’s starting to pour? It happens, it’s life. That doesn’t mean you need to completely scrap your training for the day. You might not be able to get in your full 30 km run or your 5 hour ride, but you can do something. I’ve been guilty of this before, too. We get so caught up on nailing those long sessions that when life happens and we can’t get it done, we just give up and take the day off. You can still get some real good work done and take some serious steps toward your goal. I know lots of treadmill sessions that will leave anyone in a puddle of sweat in less than an hour. Can’t ride 100 miles? Hop on the bike trainer and you can be done and dusted in 90 minutes. Next time life gets in the way of your long workout (and it will eventually) take a deep breath and decide if you can do something shorter, harder, and worthwhile, instead of taking the day off.
- Not expecting the unexpected. Drop all your nutrition early on in the race? Get a flat tire early on in the race? What if you get two flat tires? What if your seat post drops an inch while you’re riding? Do you change your pace and nutrition plan if temperatures reach +30 C? What are you going to do if your competition starts to drop you earlier than expected? These questions only start to scrape the surface of things that can go wrong or happen during a race. Hopefully you have answers to all those questions. I was lucky enough to have a mentor over the last 6 years that has drilled questions like these into me week after week. He would play so many mind games with me and ask me questions about training and race day situations that I never would have thought of otherwise. I learned very quickly to expect the unexpected.
It was hard to come up with a list of only 5 things, but I hope it gave you some things to think about. If you would like to know more about any of these subjects or anything else, fill out the contact form below and ask away! I’m starting to accept athletes for the rest of 2016 and 2017, so if you’re interested in hiring a coach, give me a shout as well.