From Mark Allen Online Coach Luis Vargas:
4 tips for a better 2014 by Luis Vargas
The number one reason for success is you. That is right, the athlete is number one. It’s not the plan, it’s not the coach and it’s not the support system. All of these play a role for sure but the number one reason is the athlete and his/her attitude and training execution. With that in mind here are some tips that may be able to help you. I find that many come up short of their personal goals yet blame it on reasons outside of their control when there is still plenty to do within.
Goal setting. Weather your ultimate goal is to finish your first Iron distance race or to win the ITU World Championships remember to break that up into shorter and less challenging goals. For example you want to finish an Iron distance race. My best advice there would be to set up a series of races including a half Iron on the way to the full Iron. Perhaps you want to break 10 hours in a full Iron. Then your initial goal may be to break 4:50 or better in a half iron with similar conditions. You get the idea. Having intermediate goals will also keep you focused and prevent burn out when big goals are longer term.
Balance. In an effort to achieve their goals many people end up in circumstances that are just way to imbalanced and often pay a high price thus not being able to achieve their goals. Whether it is nutrition wise, or training wise balance needs to be part of the equation. Triathlon and particularly long distance triathlon is an extreme sport and one needs to be careful in not adding more extreme elements to our life. Some common examples of these are forgoing sleep, training without water, cutting all carbohydrates from ones diet or over racing.
Change. As adults many of us are creatures of habit. Most of it is good and has gotten us to achieve many things. However it is also true that there are things we can do better and change. However for whatever reason we are unable, or are afraid to or something inside us prevents us from changing and taking that uncomfortable step. For me as an example this relates to diet and sleeping habits. But for others it can relate to training habits like intensity of simply being able to train alone or train with people. We are all different but try to identify the things to change for the better. Many of us know what these are but choose to ignore and just repeat the same things. Maybe doing the same things a little better can help but a small yet complete change in others can reap bigger benefits sometimes.
Enjoy. For most of us triathlon is a hobby. It should be fun, however, many of us are so goal oriented we often treat it like a job. We have to do this and we have to do that. Yes there is certainly value in that sort of attitude as that is perhaps what drives us. But the triathlon lifestyle has many benefits besides the competitive results. Enjoy your rides, your runs and your swims. Be thankful that you are allowed and capable to do this sport. If you miss the desired pace and heart rate on your run do not get too upset. Getting upset is often not conducive to a great performance. You will hit it next time. Enjoying your training will lower your stress levels and it will actually allow your body to perform better.
Have a great 2014.