You Do the Workouts 'They' are Doing
Doing the same workout your nemesis or favorite pro is doing might not give you an edge. That's because it may be completely incompatible with your body and goals. "There's so much advice out there, and a mistake that people make is that they fail to either understand or filter out the stuff that isn't relevant to them," Janzen says. "Advice isn't black and white. You need to figure out what is meaningful to you."
You Sneak in Extra Workouts
Yes, those are the ones where you go 100 miles instead of 50; where you skip a rest day in favor of some hill repeats because you think that the worse you feel, the better you'll get. "I've seen people not take the recovery weeks or rest days as scheduled and run into fatigue issues down the road," says Lucy Smith, coach for LifeSport Coaching (lifesportcoaching.com), and 19-time Canadian champion and internationally ranked athlete in triathlon, duathlon, and distance running.
Trust your coach and commit to the plan. On days that it's scheduled, rest is your training, it's not a break from it.
You Do Lots of Long and Low Base Training
"Going long and slow in the beginning of the season may not be the best solution for many of us," says Freyre.
Many coaches echo his sentiments. "Doing moderate-intensity workouts for five to 10 hours a week does not create enough workout load to stimulate improvement in most triathletes beyond beginners," says Gootman. "People mistakenly believe that interval workouts are dangerous—thus the idea of building a base before doing them became popular. But research shows that the variable most associated with injuries is volume."
That doesn't mean you should abandon longer, slower training altogether. "It's not a mistake to go long, as long as it's done at the right times," Freyre points out. "There has to be a balance."
You 'Train Your Core'
It's time for the "core workout" to take a hike, says Gootman, who is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist. Isolating those muscles won't make you a better athlete. But learning to use them in concert with your arms and legs might.
"Research shows more activation of the core muscles during dead lifts and squats than in 'core' exercises," he says. "Dynamic exercises like these and lunges, step-ups, presses, dips and similar exercises make your whole body, including your torso, more powerful."
In other words, according to Gootman's philosophy, core exercises in isolation might help you look magazine-cover ready. But integrated exercises that involve the whole body could help you pass those cover models on the road and in a race.
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