How to Become an Elite Triathlete

You've been racing in triathlons for quite a while now. In fact, your race times are impressive and maybe you're not even feeling challenged anymore. Perhaps you've wanted more of a push, but aren't sure what you need to do to take your competition to the next level.

If you've been thinking about becoming a professional triathlete, why not give it a try. If you have the ability, it's not difficult to go to the next level. You just need to get in the right mindset and be willing to do the hard work.

You already know the basics of how to train, transition and fuel. But there's more to it than that. Here are seven key elements that will help you become an elite triathlete.

More: 10 Pro Athletes Who've Done an Ironman

Recovery

One of the big differences between elite triathletes and recreational triathletes is their recovery period. Recovery is one of the most important things you can do for your body. As a professional triathlete, you have more time to dedicate to recovery than a recreational athlete. You schedule it in your training. Recovery is a must.  

Maximize your recovery time by consuming proper post-workout fuel (seek out a nutritionist or coach for the right choices), take advantage of body massages, and make sure you get enough sleep.  

Sleep is crucial to your recovery time. Make sleep part of your training schedule. If you are used to going to bed at midnight, lay in bed around 11 p.m. Start going to sleep earlier so you can maximize your rest time. Turn off the television and relax.

More: 6 Core Components of Triathlon Training

Follow a Structured Plan

A structured training plan is important to step up your game. Athletes like to work really hard, and there's nothing wrong with that. But in your training plan, you need to write out when it's fine to work really hard and when it's necessary to rest. Without the proper rest, you can't work as hard as you need to.

Find a Coach

To stay on track, it's a good idea to find a coach. Working with a coach will help you visualize key objectives. A coach can help you determine your goals, critique your technique and push you to the next level. Your training sessions have purpose and a coach will make sure you stay on track.

Train With Purpose

Keep this in mind: your training may not be more rigorous, but it has to have more purpose. If your training session should be a hard hill climb, then you know you're working with hills. If you have an interval or speed session, you know you are working on your pace and how to pick up time. And every plan has a light day. So, if your workout is a recovery swim, that's what it should be—a nice and easy swim to recover your body from the hard workouts.

More: Peter Reid's Triathlon Training Tips

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