Tagged: training

What 200 Calories Look Like in Different Foods

Here’s a photo series showing how much of a given food you get for 200 calories. As you think about your training and race day nutrition, check out the benefits of eating well vs junk food.

Being able to visualize how much of a given food pays back in calories might help you make decisions come snack or meal time.

Vegetables are good value for calories. And I know I’d rather eat three eggs than eight Hershey’s kisses.

Nutrition is a key part of training and racing triathlon. Use these photos to guide your diet and decision making.

What does 200 Calories Look Like?

How many calories are there in the foods you eat?

How many calories are there in the foods you eat?

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31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #30: Perform HOT by warming up

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of those tips that will kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expenditure of time or money. How are you going to reach your goals?

Today’s tip to enhance your performance is #30: Perform HOT by warming up

Warm up like the pros before your triathlon practice or ironman training

Many of the athletes I interact with take a warm-up for granted, if they do one at all. They loiter on poolside chatting before swim practice and stand still awaiting instructions before run training.

Look at your favorite pro sports team or athlete before they compete or train. Look at the focus and attention they put into warming up. There are many theories on how to warm-up but the benefits of warming up before intensive exercise are well-established:

  1. Injury prevention
  2. Warmed muscles can contract and relax at faster speeds
  3. Improved range of motion
  4. Increase the heart rate to exercise levels
  5. Improve blood flow and oxygen utilization of muscles
  6. Mentally prepare for the workout
  7. Faster recovery post-workout

It is worth investing time in a good warm-up. An extra five minutes of quality warm-up can help you perform far better in practice and lead to much improved racing times.

Of course, a warm-up does not have to take a long time – focus on quality and tailor it to the practice ahead, e.g. if you are doing some sprinting make sure you build into speed work during the warm-up.

Warming up can include high quality technique work in the form of drills, which over the long term will improve efficiency…all while you warm up for the day’s session!

Have I made my point about quality above all? 🙂

Many warm-up options exist:

  • Jogging: light jogging as a gentle warm-up
  • Technique drills: e.g. single leg cycling on a bike trainer, pull and kick in the pool
  • Dynamic stretching: As opposed to static stretching where you hold stretches these are movement-based, e.g. arm swings, lunges, leg kicks, squats
  • Higher-intensity work: build into faster work in order to get your body used to higher intensity, e.g. 25m sprints in the pool, gradually increase your reps from 90 to 100 rpm on the bike, fast feet and build to sprint while running

Sample elements of warm-ups:

  • Cycling: Light pedaling, gradually increasing rpm’s. Can include single pedal drills practicing good technique and posture (alternate left and right for 5 minutes total). Spin up cadence pyramids (increasing from 80 rpm-100/110 rpm and reduce back down).
  • Run: light jog for 5 mins, introducing dynamic stretching (butt kicks, lunges, hip activators, squats, “fast feet shuffle”) and then adding short runs of increasing speeds building from medium to fast to sprints over short distances.
  • Swim: Initial aerobic swims (e.g. 3×200 swim, pull, kick) then drills (eg 8 x 50) and into sprints (4 x 25 build each length to fast + 4×25 increasing speed with #1 fast and #4 fastest).

Tailor your warm-up to what makes you feel good. Ultimately a warm-up  is subjective and you should include those exercises that prepare you to perform well in training.

As the season progresses, refine the warm-up and keep in mind what you will do to warm up on race day. What will give you confidence to go out and dominate the race? It all adds up to stronger performances in training throughout the season and ultimately on race day – all for a little focus during a warm-up.

How do you warm up?

The “31 Easy Tips” Series:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: 
Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3:
 Ask an Expert
#4: 
Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: 
Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: 
Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: 
Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: 
Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: 
Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24:
 
Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)
#25: Kick!
#26: Sprint!
#27: Race-day training
#28: Visualize Victory
#29: Invest in Recovery

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #29: Invest in Recovery

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of those tips that will kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expenditure of time or money. How are you going to reach your goals?

Today’s tip to enhance your performance is #29: Invest in Recovery

Recovery for triathletes and ironman is important

I have had a few requests from various parties recently about recovery – what are the whats and the hows and the whys of effective recovery?

There are  – of course, since when was triathlon ever simple?! – many facets to post-exercise recovery, and many are open to debate so please let me know what I’ve forgotten or under/over-stated.

What is not in question is that proper recovery will boost performance by preventing injury and allowing you to perform at higher level for longer.

So, what should you be doing to recover after working out?

  1. Post-exercise warm down: do this purely for safety reasons if nothing else, as it allows your heart rate to return to a normal, resting state, and avoid a drop in blood pressure could drop and dizziness.
  2. Stretching: helps relax the muscles, flush out toxins and ultimately helps with flexibility which in turn helps prevent injury.
  3. Hydrate: hopefully you will be well hydrated from drinking throughout your workout, but be sure to drink plenty of fluids afterwards to aid recovery. We often lose weight while working out – this tends to be lost water. Drinking after training helps replace lost fluids and prevent sore muscles.
  4. Eat, eat, eat! as soon after training as possible, preferably within 30-60 minutes. Recommended foods vary, but some balance of protein and carbohydrates is important. Chocolate milk is on most lists as it contains both protein (to promote muscle repair) and simple carbs (to replenish glycogen). I like a banana as well. Make sure you have a good balanced meal after training to fuel your recovery.
  5. Massage: treat yourself to a pro or spend 10 minutes with your foam roller. One is more pleasurable than the next, but both methods may help flush out lactic acid, reduce swelling and heal faster.
  6. Naps & sleep: Get plenty of sleep to allow your muscles to recover. Increased sleep has been linked to improved performance, as when we are quietly (wait, do you snore?!) dreaming, our body is at work repairing our muscles.
  7. Cold/Hot therapy: in the form of hot/cold showers, ice baths and ice packs help boost circulation and flush out toxins. The other day I left my spinning class in my shorts and t-shirt went out into freezing weather on the way to the car. While all my muscles froze in the wind, this is NOT a recommended approach!
  8. Rest days: give yourself regular days off where you do nothing at all except enjoy some rest. While many feel the urge to keep training, a day off will allow you to perform better over the long term.
  9. Active recovery: is exercising at low-intensities and can include the warm-down immediately after a tough main set, or going for an easy swim shortly after your week’s long run. Studies show that rather than resting, active recovery helps flush out lactic acid and has psychological benefits – who doesn’t enjoy a nice, easy session from time-to-time?

There is a lot you can do to help you recover quickly and more effectively. While adopting the tricks above may take some practice, they are relatively easy and quick. Build them into your training plan and your daily routine.

Tons of equipment is available to help e.g. eye masks for a nap, ice packs, compression socks, foam roller, protein shakes and more.

Don’t just work hard during practice. Your training extends beyond your timetable and into recovery hours. The pay-offs will be clear over the course of a long season.

What have I missed? Vote now and I will try to include in the last couple of posts of the series!

The “31 Easy Tips” Series:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: 
Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3:
 Ask an Expert
#4: 
Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: 
Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: 
Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: 
Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: 
Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: 
Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24: Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)
#25: Kick!
#26: Sprint!
#27: Race-day training
#28: Visualize Victory

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #28: Visualize Victory

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of those tips that will kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expenditure of time or money. How are you going to reach your goals?

Your commitment to training hard for miles and miles is but one tool to excel in sports (and other endeavors). The hard work is required, but your effectiveness will only be maximized by taking a holistic approach to triathlon. Nutrition, recovery and technique are a few examples that will add to your performance gains with a little effort.

Today’s tip to enhance your performance is #28: Visualize Victory

10 Success Secrets of Olympic Greats - Phelps visualizing pre-race

Visualization is a technique that has been used by elite athletes for years. It involves mentally rehearsing your race and picturing yourself achieving your goals.

Picture yourself conquering a weakness, of racing fast and performing strongly. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line arms raised aloft, having achieved your goals.

If you get nervous pre-race, anticipate yourself calm and relaxed, steady heart-rate, breathing comfortably while awaiting the gun.

It is not my favorite sport but I am always impressed with the focus of baseball pitchers. They appear to visualize each and every pitch just beforehand.

The more you do it, the more stretch goals become achievable. Picture yourself swimming smooth and long, efficiently powering through the bike leg and finishing fast and strong on the run. The joy of visualization is that you can do it anywhere – while on a long swim or run, in the office, or commuting to work on the train.

Like anything, practice it and you will improve. I have heard anecdotes of swimmers, with practice, being able to rehearse their race within tenths of a second of their goal time!

Picturing yourself outperforming and conquering major challenges will help with your confidence on race day, and will help as you churn in the wash of the swim or as you struggle up that final, steep hill.

I’m in my 30’s but still fantasize about winning Olympic gold and later becoming a professional football player. The more I picture myself covered in glory, the more certain I am that it will happen!

Mo Farah wins gold - visualize yourself sprinting to victory in triathlon races

The difference between many athletes is often self-belief. Visualization can help your believe in yourself and your ability to achieve ANY goal.

What have I missed? Vote now and I will try to include in the last few posts of the series!

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: 
Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3:
 Ask an Expert
#4: 
Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: 
Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: 
Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: 
Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: 
Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: 
Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24:
 
Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)
#25: Kick!
#26: Sprint!
#27: Race-day training

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #27: Race-day training

I am a firm believer in efficiency and effectiveness in training. I don’t have the time, energy or attention span to plough away for mile after mile racking up insane training volumes. Sign me up for those things that allow me to achieve more in less time and have fun while doing so!

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of those tips that will kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expenditure of time or money. How are you going to reach your goals?

Today is #27: Race-day training

Prepare for race day with race-specific training eg open water swimming for triathletes

The triathlon season is long and there are many miles to be covered on the road to race day. Along the way do not neglect your race-specific training. What are the things that will save you minutes on race day and help you outperform your expectations?

Adapt your training to the course you plan on conquering. Get plenty of open water training done and be sure to note if the swim is in a lake or sea which can offer very different conditions on race day. Is the bike/run course hilly? Make sure you are training on hills otherwise the effort on race day will surprise you.

Open water swimming is far different and more chaotic than pool swimming. Be sure to tackle the currents, waves, lack of visibility of open water swimming. Work on your sighting so you do not end up swimming extra distance!

Brick workouts should be incorporated into your training. Swim and then bike, bike and then run. Help your muscles adapt to the changeover.

Nutrition is another element you can practice. What will your pre-race breakfast be? What snacks and fluids will you take during the race (be it in transition or on the bike)? Experiment with various foods and brands. You will like the taste of some and your body will reject others – make sure you find which ones before you ruin your race! Find out when and what quantity you should consume in and around your race – that is equally important. Nutrition can make a big difference.

Get your nutrition right for triathlon race day

Equipment is another variable that can make a difference. While a $10,000 carbon bike will help your cycling time, not all of us can afford that investment. Plus you’re doing it to push yourself anyway, right?! With so much equipment there are lots of choices and a lot of margin for error. What socks are comfortable and do not give you blisters? Do you have a pair of goggles that fit well and are comfortable? Are they tinted in case of sunny conditions and do you have a spare pair in case one breaks? Do you have a comfortable cap for the run and tri shorts? What sunglasses will you wear? These are all smaller items that will not make you faster, but knowing them will determine your comfort level and minimize stress in race week and on the day itself.

Practice your transitions – knowing your routine and making it second nature will be the difference between a 45 second transition and a 3 minute one, which in turn could be the difference between hitting your goal time or missing it. Practice what works for you in terms of order of events, whether to eat or not, do you put on socks for the bike, do you dry off with a towel or air dry? etc, etc.

Learn to fix a flat – Murphy’s Law will dictate that you will NEVER get a flat in training but halfway through the bike leg, BOTH your tyres will pop! Be prepared. Don’t end up sitting by the side of the road waiting for bike support to arrive!

Preparing the smaller, seemingly less significant items will give you the mental confidence to race hard. Free your brain from stress and focus on racing hard and fast!

What tips would you add to the list?

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: 
Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3:
 Ask an Expert
#4: 
Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: 
Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: 
Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: 
Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: 
Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: 
Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24:
 
Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)
#25: Kick!
#26: Sprint!

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #26: Sprint!

I am a firm believer in efficiency and effectiveness in training. I don’t have the time, energy or attention span to plough away for mile after mile racking up insane training volumes. I want to do what I can to get faster and stronger in the time that I have – and then proceed with my social life. Sign me up for those things that allow me to achieve more in less time.

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of those tips that will kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expenditure of time or money. With one month down so far this year, what are you doing to improve your performance? How are you going to reach your goals?

Today is #26: Sprint!

The assumption for triathletes is that you have to do huge volumes at aerobic pace in order to be ready for a race. While being able to sustain a pace for long periods of time is important, and aerobic training provides the base for your season, sprint training plays an important role in triathlon.

Studies have shown that sprinting helps strengthen your muscles and increase the power and efficiency of each stride or stroke. This goes for all three of the disciplines.

For runners, one of the benefits of sprinting is muscle fiber recruitment. Increasing your fast twitch muscle fibers and enabling them for work will help with maintaining a hard pace when your slow twitch fibers fatigue.

On the bike as well as in the pool – sprinting develops the intensity and power of each allowing you to get more out of each stroke. Translate some of that power that to slower speeds and allow yourself to get more out of each stroke.

And if nothing else, sprinting offers variety to your workout. It’s great as part of a warm-up progression, after a long main set or the core of a shorter more intense workout. Recruit your teammates and do relays. The competition is fun and will encourage you to maximize your training speeds!

A sprint workout involves shorter distances at higher speeds with longer rest intervals. Total volumes in a sprint session will be lower due to the increased rest.

There are injury concerns with sprinting given the high intensity and a relative lack of experience. Do a longer warm-up and build into the sprints. Do not do sprint workouts back-to-back, allow yourself to recover.

Get sprinting and give yourself stronger muscles and an extra couple of gears.

What tips would you add to the list? What have I not covered yet?

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: 
Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3:
 Ask an Expert
#4: 
Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: 
Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: 
Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: 
Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: 
Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: 
Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24:
 
Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)
#25: Kick!

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #25: Kick!

Woah! How is it February already? Time really does fly, reminding me of the urgency to do what I can to get faster and stronger in the time that I have. In order to maximize performance gains I try to focus on efficiency and effectiveness in my training.

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of tips you can apply in your daily triathlon training in order to kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expense in time or money. They are small, focused tips but require application in order to make them habits.

With one month down so far this year, what are you doing to improve your performance? What tips would you add to the list? How are you going to reach your goals?

Today is #25: Kick!

Work on your kick to improve your swimming for triathlon - and your bike & run

Kick past your rivals! (2thin2swim’s Flickr)

In swimming for triathlon, the goal is NOT to kick in order to save our legs for the bike and run legs. Swim efficiently, use your upper body to power through the water and let your legs trail behind.

As a result, most triathletes never work on their kick.

That makes sense, but the kick is a very important part of the stroke.

  1. An efficient kick will help with streamlining and body rotation as well as helping propel us forward. At the very least, a good kick and streamline kick will minimise drag and prevent us slowing down.
  2. Kicking also provides a great warmdown and recovery set after a long a long run, by helping eliminate lactic acid in the muscles. The days when I jump in the pool and do 500m easy swim and kick after a tough run, my legs feel infinitely better the next day.
  3. When I was a swimmer cycling really helped my kicking in the pool. In the same vein, working on my kick more regularly has helped my run and cycling. I believe it helps maintain our range of motion and flexibility, particularly in the ankles. It also helps in a holistic manner those muscles that are under-used but provide support.

There are also several types of kicking you can do:

  • Freestyle
  • Backstroke
  • Breaststroke (front or back. Double-arm backstroke with breaststroke is a great warmdown drill)
  • Butterfly (front or back – fly kick on your back is a great ab workout!)
  • Kicking on side (great drill for hip rotation)

You can do it as part of a warm-up (100m kick), a kick-specific set (6×50), incorporate it into a main set (300m swim with every 3rd length fast kick) or swim down (200m easy).

There are plenty of options  so grab a board and work that kick.

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18:  Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24:
 Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #30: Perform HOT by warming up

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of those tips that will kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expenditure of time or money. How are you going to reach your goals?

Today’s tip to enhance your performance is #30: Perform HOT by warming up

Warm up like the pros before your triathlon practice or ironman training

Many of the athletes I interact with take a warm-up for granted, if they do one at all. They loiter on poolside chatting before swim practice and stand still awaiting instructions before run training.

Look at your favorite pro sports team or athlete before they compete or train. Look at the focus and attention they put into warming up. There are many theories on how to warm-up but the benefits of warming up before intensive exercise are well-established:

  1. Injury prevention
  2. Warmed muscles can contract and relax at faster speeds
  3. Improved range of motion
  4. Increase the heart rate to exercise levels
  5. Improve blood flow and oxygen utilization of muscles
  6. Mentally prepare for the workout
  7. Faster recovery post-workout

It is worth investing time in a good warm-up. An extra five minutes of quality warm-up can help you perform far better in practice and lead to much improved racing times.

Of course, a warm-up does not have to take a long time – focus on quality and tailor it to the practice ahead, e.g. if you are doing some sprinting make sure you build into speed work during the warm-up.

Warming up can include high quality technique work in the form of drills, which over the long term will improve efficiency…all while you warm up for the day’s session!

Have I made my point about quality above all? 🙂

Many warm-up options exist:

  • Jogging: light jogging as a gentle warm-up
  • Technique drills: e.g. single leg cycling on a bike trainer, pull and kick in the pool
  • Dynamic stretching: As opposed to static stretching where you hold stretches these are movement-based, e.g. arm swings, lunges, leg kicks, squats
  • Higher-intensity work: build into faster work in order to get your body used to higher intensity, e.g. 25m sprints in the pool, gradually increase your reps from 90 to 100 rpm on the bike, fast feet and build to sprint while running

Sample elements of warm-ups:

  • Cycling: Light pedaling, gradually increasing rpm’s. Can include single pedal drills practicing good technique and posture (alternate left and right for 5 minutes total). Spin up cadence pyramids (increasing from 80 rpm-100/110 rpm and reduce back down).
  • Run: light jog for 5 mins, introducing dynamic stretching (butt kicks, lunges, hip activators, squats, “fast feet shuffle”) and then adding short runs of increasing speeds building from medium to fast to sprints over short distances.
  • Swim: Initial aerobic swims (e.g. 3×200 swim, pull, kick) then drills (eg 8 x 50) and into sprints (4 x 25 build each length to fast + 4×25 increasing speed with #1 fast and #4 fastest).

Tailor your warm-up to what makes you feel good. Ultimately a warm-up  is subjective and you should include those exercises that prepare you to perform well in training.

As the season progresses, refine the warm-up and keep in mind what you will do to warm up on race day. What will give you confidence to go out and dominate the race? It all adds up to stronger performances in training throughout the season and ultimately on race day – all for a little focus during a warm-up.

How do you warm up?

The “31 Easy Tips” Series:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: 
Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3:
 Ask an Expert
#4: 
Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: 
Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: 
Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: 
Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: 
Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: 
Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24:
 
Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)
#25: Kick!
#26: Sprint!
#27: Race-day training
#28: Visualize Victory
#29: Invest in Recovery

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #24 Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)

Woah! How is it February already? Time really does fly, reminding me of the urgency to do what I can to get faster and stronger in the time that I have.

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of tips you can apply in your daily triathlon training in order to kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expense in time or money.

With one month down so far this year, what are you doing to improve your performance? What tips would you add to the list?

Today is #24: Be Persistent and Patient

The triathlon season is long but is like building a skyscraper - take your training plan step by step

Approach your triathlon season like building a skyscraper – with patience and persistence. One window pane at a time! (photo: David Marcel’s flickr)

In triathlon, the season is long and the training sessions are too. 3/6/9 months of toiling in three different sports – and bricks. 5,000 yards in the pool, 10 mile runs, 4 hours on the bike. Seemingly endless at times, it’s hard to persevere when tiredness kicks in.

One of the keys to success in triathlon is being persistent – and consistent – over the course of a very long season.

When training loads peak it is hard to get out of bed, we feel heavy and sluggish, every muscle and joint aches and mentally you just don’t want to go another yard.

However, do everything you can to maintain forward progress. Yes, it’s tough, you might feel you are performing below peak but everything contributes to your race day performance.

It is like building a skyscraper – the foundations take ages but eventually your season takes shape as improvements start revealing themselves. Then as your training plan progresses you add on the windows one by one, until you top out and the job is done – you’re ready to kick ass in a race.

And race day is only a small number of days and weeks away. The adage “time flies” applies to the long triathlon season as well (even if you’re not having fun!). Summer season and race day will come all too quickly. Prepare yourself by being consistent in training throughout your program.

The key is not dwelling on your mistakes or “bad sessions” but to keep trying and keep fighting. Remember your goals.

Enjoy the process, it is not always fun, it is likely tough, but enjoy the progress you make, the milestones you achieve and enjoy the sport, your teammates, the endorphins.

One element that helps me keep going is tracking my progress. By writing down my training performance, I can see in black and white how much faster I am compared to last month or year. It’s a great motivator.

By being persistent and patient, eventually we all finish building the skyscraper. So, don’t give up, just like this Peruvian llama. You will reap the benefits on race day – guaranteed.

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18:  Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #20 Do LESS Freestyle

How is the “31 Easy Tips…” series treating you? I hope it is helping. Implement one or two things from the list (don’t try to do too much) over the course of a few weeks and track your progress.

Today’s tip is #20: Do LESS Freestyle

Phelps is a world class in breaststroke as well as his traditional fly and free, which helps his all-round game

Yes, you read that correctly – do LESS freestyle!

Most triathletes swim freestyle and only freestyle, given that it is the fastest stroke. Fair enough.

However, experimenting with the other three strokes will benefit your swimming in a number of ways:

  • Give your freestyle-specific joints and muscles a break and avoid overuse injuries
  • Make your swim practices more interesting
  • Develop your non-freestyle muscles (e.g. strengthen your legs doing breaststroke)
  • Give you options in a race should you need to switch strokes – take a breather, fix your goggles, etc.
  • Up the intensity in the pool by adding butterfly
  • Give you confidence in your overall swimming ability by mastering the ‘other’ strokes
  • Maybe counter-intuitively, a strong kick can help with sighting in open water as you can use it to get your head out of the water and maintain forward progress

Try adding a mix of the different strokes in the warm up and warm down, and go from there. Your freestyle muscles will thank you!

Previous tips in the 31 Easy Tips series include:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18:  Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!