After a long break from triathlon training, some athletes have a hard time getting started again while some dive back in without a road map of where they want to go. Training blind is one of the easiest ways to derail your own training. Here are some easy tips that will help you start training again, stay motivated, and set yourself up for a good race season this year.
Use a Training Plan
The most important thing you can do when you return to training is to have a plan. It doesn't matter if you choose a training plan from a magazine, the web, or a book. Have a plan and commit to it. The old adage says, 'it's easy once you commit." This has never been truer then once you are following a plan. Tell your friends, write it down, and post it up so you see your workouts every day. If you do these things, you are much more likely to follow through.
Set Attainable Goals
Ease back in. Don't take on a twenty hour training week if you've been averaging five hours per week for the last few months. Implement a plan that lets you build your training hours slowly. Setting attainable goals that you can reach will allow momentum to build, and you'll feel more confident as the race season gets closer. If you set a goal that's unattainable then you'll be disappointed in the first month of the season. And that's not a good way to start the training cycle.
Weight training not only builds strength and helps prevent injury, it also increases your metabolism which can help burn excess calories from the offseason. If you have been out of the gym for a while try some basic functional strength exercises to get started. These can include:
- Standing squats
- One leg squats
- Side lunges
If you can learn to be creative, no matter where you are, you can always get a good strength training session.
Get a Training Partner(s)
"Misery" does love company. Recruit some friends to join you in your training. Having other athletes to hold you accountable for showing up is a strong motivator. Knowing that master's swim is every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7 a.m. helps motivate you on those dark, cold winter mornings. Having a group is not only a great way to show up in the first place, it's can also help you push yourself to new limits. There are always athletes looking to train with a group, so form your own and get the momentum going.
Learn a new sport...but not an aerobic one. Yoga or stretching can help increase flexibility, improve recovery time, and promote lengthening of muscles. As we get older we lose pliability in our muscles and keeping them supple with yoga or stretching will help us avoid injury.
Other benefits include mental and physical relaxation, and improved quality of sleep.
Set a goal: Train for a triathlon.
Mike Ricci is a Level III USA Triathlon Certified Coach with more than 20 years of coaching experience. In 2000 Mike founded D3 and has slowly added top-notch coaches each year to handle the demand for high quality triathlon coaching. In addition to coaching the 2010 and 2011 National Collegiate Champions, Mike is the University of Colorado Triathlon Team coach. He can be reached for personal coaching at firstname.lastname@example.org.