7 Traits Of Elite Triathletes

Whatever your motive for getting involved with traithlete competing, the overwhelming urge is to better yourself, and your training is all focussed on achieving that.

It doesn’t matter what level you compete at, watching the successful competitors shows there are several common personality traits they hold…

1) These guys are in for the long haul

Being a successful athlete isn’t about more training.  It’s not about less training.  The reality is it’s about defining a training plan that meets your needs and then working to that plan.  What’s the point of preparing a training plan if you don’t stick to it?

Your plan is designed to take to achieving your goal and sticking to that plan is the single most important thing for you to do. It’s a simple discipline that’s in your hands entirely.  For some of us it’s more difficult than it is for others.
To Do Lists; they sound great don’t they? You always feel super organised when you’ve written one and positively angelic if you’ve assigned priorities to your list but are you the sort of person who puts it to one side at this stage and then forgets it?

A successful athlete would make sure they referred back and back and back again to that priority list to make sure they were doing what was most important all the time.

Dealing with it – Making Your Schedule Stick

The only way to make that schedule stick is to make sure you stick with it.  Refer to your schedule all the time.  Do it time and time again until you become best friends with it.  Look, nobody’s saying live your life according to a list but you do need to know what’s on that list, that way when life throws you a curve ball you know what juggling you have to do to keep up with your training schedule.

That’s the real key, know your schedule so well that you understand the impact of changing something and can accommodate it easily.   If other athletes want to get into training together you’ll be familiar enough with the whole schedule.  Perhaps joining them for part of their long run meets the short run you should be doing.

If something is important, a good schedule should always be flexible enough to be changed.  Having said that don’t just drop something in or move it out, talk to your coach about it.  They’re the ones who know what the impact of the change will be.

2) Elite athletes have patience

If you’re talking to anybody in the know about triathlete training they all say the same thing.  Elite triathletes train continuously and will take ten years to achieve their maximum potential.  If you are going to stay that particular course you must make sure you set realistic goals.

If you’re new to training or have been living in a vacuum you may be surprised to know that the President’s Council on Physical Fitness recommends three 20-minute bouts of continuous aerobic exercise each week so compare that to your schedule and to your fellow training partners.

How many of you complain that your schedule is too easy because you’re only working out a couple of times a day?

Then your family pile on more dilemmas because they think your workout routine is obsessive whilst the office thinks you’re Usain Bolt training for London 2012.  Then John tells you that he heard Fred talking about Arthur doing a 140 mile bike ride in one day and you’re off.  You start to think you’re just not cutting it and you have to take that schedule to the next level.

It’s silly really because it’s all about you placing your trust in your coach.  You chose him (or her) so you need to remember what YOUR training program is all about.

You’ve got a training schedule worked out but be honest, how many of you add extras to the list?  Bit of weights here, some Pilates there or perhaps a completely different sport thrown in for good measure thinking you can add it in without unbalancing your schedule.

Dealing with it – staying the 10 year course

If you last a year of a triathlete training program you’re already someone special.  The University of Florida claim that 60 percent of people who start a training program drop out within the first six months, and 90 percent do so by two years.

Staying the course is all about self improvement.  Don’t compare yourself to anyone else – that’s a downhill path.  Remember as well that you should be comparing the now you with the old you, a very old you at that.  You need to focus on how much you’ve improved over the last year, two years or even better, five years.  In that sort of timeframe you will have become aware of all the technical stuff such as GU, Body Glide, electrolytes, IT bands and it’s that awareness that will be driving your improvement.

As you mature (are you over 35 yet?) you’ll become a smarter athlete than you were before and as well as endurance you’ll be delvoping experience so you can plan race strategy better and can avoid injuries more effectively but you won’t have the raw speed you had way back when.

The real reason that developing patience is important is not so that you don’t beat yourself up if every result isn’t to your liking. It’s so that you won’t be tempted to add workouts to your schedule or train at someone else’s pace. That destructive behavior leads to peaking too soon at best, and serious injury at worst.

It’s smart to chart your progress, but look not at how far you fall short from where you dream to be, look instead at how rich your body of experience is.

3) They Refer To Their Schedules

In the beginning it was all so new, so exciting.  In those early days getting your training schedule was a major milestone in itself.  You were so excited to see what you were going to be doing day by day.  Just getting your training plan was an achievement in itself and you felt a justified sense of achievement at even that.  You were excited by seeing your training schedule laid out so logically.

Your plan was exciting because it was teaching you new things all the time.  Then, things began to change.  The plan becomes less new and more routine and you started to think about things in less detail.  It was just  “Monday, bike”, you never bothered to check your training schedule (after all you know it inside out didn’t you) and a new you lost sight of the detail that told you HOW you should riding on Monday.

Every workout has it’s own purpose and you’ll only be aware of that if you keep referring to that schedule.  The devil’s in the detail.

Dealing with it – using your schedule:

Hard copy rules here.  You’ll never remember all the detail so keep a printed copy to hand all the time.  Print it out, print several copies and put them in important places – office desk, loo, fridge, briefcase, I’m sure you can think of plenty of other great places.

Look at it regularly and try to find patterns. Look for the link between patters and your goals for the month.  Is there any link?  Try to remember them if you can, if you can’t, keep checking back with your schedule.

Look ahead and see how the schedule fits with your work and family plans.  to your work and family calendar. If you will be travelling how will you be fitting your training schedule in.  Where can you swim and where can you run?  What facilities will you need to track down if you are away.

Remember, checking back with your schedule is critical to keeping yourself organised and staying focussed.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article!

Good luck!

Terry

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