Triathlon Mental Training: 3 LESSONS I LEARNED WATCHING THE 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS

By Jim Hallberg of D3 Multisport

I really love watching the Olympics, I look past the politics and look at the essence of the sport and the sportsmanship. I look at what has allowed these amazing athletes to become so successful and what we can take from it.
Here are my three big takeaways from the Olympics.

LESSON 1 – STAY CALM NO MATTER WHAT
In the Men’s cross country skiathlon, Norway’s Simen Hegstad Kruger was a big favorite to win. In the first 250 yards, Kruger fell, got knocked in the head, and broke his pole. He was now in last place. Without any panic he got back up, grabbed a spare pole, composed himself and set out to rejoin the group. Rather than a huge effort to quickly get back, he worked his way up steadily to the group. With 8km to go he was in the group in fifth place. Then, he put in an early push and ended up crushing his competitors, taking the Gold medal with plenty of room behind him.

The takeaway for triathletes is that regardless of any mishaps during your event or even pre race, from your goggles coming off in the swim, a flat tire on the course, or you can’t find your bike in transition (I’m guilty of this one) don’t panic. Adapt to the mishap, adjust your strategy accordingly and most importantly stay positive. If Kruger has said to himself that his race was over after his crash, he never would have put on one of the best performances of the Games. So, if you haven’t had a major mishap, you will eventually. Make sure you keep you head about you and make smart decisions.

LESSON 2 – TRAIN WITH A TEAM
The downhill skiers from Norway, the ones who called themselves the Attacking Vikings, they seemed to know what they were doing. As it turns out, they train as a team, race as a team, and have a lot of fun along the way. This camraderie is not only good for having a good time, but it also creates accountability. Not only can they not skip workouts, they are pushed by their teammates.

So, in your training, the next opportunity you have to train with others, you should do it and do it often. It holds you accountable to attend and to work hard. If Masters Swim club is too early in the morning, make the adjustment to get to the pool for that practice. If there are group rides or runs in your area, especially ones with a group of other triathletes, make an effort to get to those rides. You may find that you push yourself harder in a group setting than you can on your own. You may also find yourself having more fun too. If you want to stay in this sport, it has to be fun.

LESSON 3 – DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN
Did you notice that the most successful athletes there also seemed to either deal with the pressure or simply didn’t have pressure? As one skier pointed out, if your not having fun, whats the point? Yes it’s hard work, but in some sense it is also playtime. Sure beats painting your living room, or doing your taxes.

So, from the smallest race to the World Championships, it’s not luck that got you there, and it won’t be luck getting you across the finish line in a triathlon or a marathon. It will have hard training across many months. In order to have the consistency it takes to be successful, you must have some fun along the way. Maybe it’s finding a group to train with (see Lesson 2), maybe it’s making your workouts an adventure (ride to that coffee shop in the next town over), or simply enjoy the wind in your face on your bike. Your goals will drive you, but enjoyment will keep you coming back.

Jim Hallberg is certified by both USA Triathlon, USA Cycling and TrainingPeaks. He works with athletes of all ages and abilities and believes in a balanced training program to solidify your strengths and bring up your weaknesses. Jim is also a highly competitive triathlete, having won USAT Nationals in 2007, 2010, and 2016.

Zwift National Championships – Will you Participate?

D3 coach Jim Hallberg has this to say about the upcoming Zwift National Championships:

The middle of winter is an unusual time for a national championship… but this virtual event is a good way to check your FTP and overall fitness.

Even if this race might feel out of your league, any Zwift race can really test your fitness and push your limits.

Although you likely don’t want to be in great shape in February, it shakes up some competitive bike juices. If you are a triathlete, one of the best ways to get faster is to do a bike race with roadies. What better way than in a Virtual Championship!

About the Race:

The biggest one-day race of 2018 is almost here!

Zwifters from across the globe will battle for a year’s worth of bragging rights and the right to wear the National Championship jersey for 12 months.

Zwifters in 15 countries will battle it out. There will be a men’s race and women’s race in each. Each race will have just one winner.

More Info

USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships to Draw 4,000 Triathletes to Omaha This Weekend

Nation’s top amateur triathletes to compete for national titles in sprint and Olympic-distance events

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — More than 4,000 amateur triathletes are registered to compete at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, happening this Saturday, Aug. 12, and Sunday, Aug. 13, at Levi Carter Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Age Group Nationals weekend is USA Triathlon’s largest and longest-running National Championship event. Also held in Omaha in 2016, the event will feature two days of competition with national titles up for grabs on each day.

Races begin at 7 a.m. CT each day, with the Olympic-Distance National Championships on Saturday and the Sprint National Championships on Sunday. The Olympic-distance event, which has been held annually since 1983, features a 1,500-meter swim, non-drafting 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run course. Athletes in this race qualified to compete based on a top age-group finish at a previous USA Triathlon Sanctioned Event. The Sprint National Championships, which have no qualifying criteria, will feature a 750m swim, non-drafting 20k bike and 5k run.

On both Saturday and Sunday, athletes will be competing for national titles in their respective age groups. Top finishers in each age group will also earn the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2018 ITU Age Group Triathlon World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, in their respective race distances.

The top 18 finishers (rolling down to 25th place) in each age group of Olympic-Distance Nationals will automatically earn a spot on Team USA.

Sprint-distance competitors must finish in the top six in their age groups to secure a spot for the Sprint World Championships, which will feature a draft-legal bike leg. Athletes can also qualify for the Sprint World Championships by finishing in the top-12 in their age groups at the Draft-Legal World Qualifier in Sarasota, Florida, on Oct. 7, 2017. More information about Team USA qualification for the sprint race is available at usatriathlon.org.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia are represented by the competitors in this weekend’s field. The youngest athlete on the start list is 14 years old, and the oldest is 88.

In total, 16 national champions from 2016 will be back to defend their Olympic-distance age-group titles.

Colorado Athletes Racing both the Sprint and Olympic distance events:

Lena Aldrich
Kathleen Allen
Tea Chand
Julia Gorham
Ellen Hart
Michele Hemming
Heidi Hoffman
Barbara Kostner
Melissa Langworthy
Kimberly Malinoski
Nancy Mallon
Stephanie Meisner
Tatiana Morrell
Karen Rice
Dorothy Waterhouse
Karen Weatherby
Sandi Wiebe
William Ankele Jr
Michael Boehmer
Simon Butterworth
Alan Carter
George Cespedes
Kirk Framke
Jim Fuller
Joseph Gregg
Daniel Haley
Jim Hallberg
Tom Hennessy
Tim Hola
Grant Johnson
Thomas Murray
David Pease
Erik Peterson
Kevin Sheen
Vincent Trinquesse
Nathan Turner
Gary Waterhouse
Andrew Weinstein
Lockett Wood

Mother/daughter racing Sprint
Christy & Hannah Croasdell

Average women’s age 54
Average men’s age 46

Hallberg, Walker set pace at 37th Annual Longmont Triathlon

From the Daily Camera

Longmont’s Jim Hallberg heads for the bike segment of the 37th annual Longmont Triathlon on Sunday. Hallberg won the men’s title in 55:09 and was the fastest overall finisher.

On a sunny Sunday in Boulder County, the 37th annual Longmont Triathlon went off without a hitch, as Longmont’s Jim Hallberg and Aurora’s Lori Walker both raced their way to victory. The course ran in and around the city’s Centennial Pool, and was graced with the participation of 268 competitors from teenagers to 75 years old.

Throughout the morning, competitors started out with a 525-yard swim, transitioned to a 12-mile bike ride, and then finished with a 5-kilometer run.

For 39-year-old, D3 Multisport coach Hallberg, who finished first overall in 55 minutes and nine seconds, the title of Best Longmont Triathlete has become familiar to him over the past three years — every year of which he’s won.

“I’ve done it the last few years, and this is a fun race,” Hallberg said. “It’s low key and a very fun beginner (race), but some people always show up, so I always try to defend my title, if you will, to keep first place. It’s good, I’m glad it’s over with.”

Despite the worsening conditions of the race course, he said he’s happy with how he performed.

“Today, my strongest event was the bike,” Hallberg said. “I’ve been fairly consistent between all three disciplines, but usually the bike is my strength. Unfortunately, the course is getting chopped up with all the traffic. There’s more and more. There’s potholes, there’s construction going around causing that, unfortunately. I know the course. I live here, so I’m very familiar with the bike route and the run one, so I know what to expect, what to avoid.”

Between 2002 and 2008, Hallberg competed in multiple Ironman races, including the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in 2008, so to him, races like this are a little more relaxed.

Read the full story

Tri Coach Tuesday: Pre Race SEX, yea or nay?

by Coach Jim Hallberg, D3 Multisport

Pre-race nerves can threaten your race if you let them get the best of you. And while managing them can be easier said than done, all it might take is a fresh look at your pre-race routines to come up with a new strategy to calm down.

Without some coping strategies, you might find yourself defeated before the gun goes off, and consequently will not rise to your capabilities of having a great race. There are a number of resources available to help you with open water angst, and other pre-race jitters, in fact, at D3, we recommend checking in with our mental skills expert, Will Murray. But I’d like to leave those skills to him because what I want to know is …

Will sexual relations the night before your race help with nerves?
Male or female, I’m talking about everyone. What does sex do to you the night before a race?

I’ve learned that the amount of energy required for such bedroom training sessions is about as much as walking up two flights of stairs, or 25-50 calories. Your glycogen stores will not be depleted. (2) I promise! And if you can’t handle walking up two flights of stairs to get some relaxation, you’re probably not tapered enough to race.

Evidence suggests that hormones do not change negatively during bedroom training sessions and can be eliminated as any concern that would affect your race, in fact, it looks like it could enhance race day performance. In men, testosterone peaks after 7 days of abstinence, but then dramatically falls after 30 days (if you don’t use it, you lose it). Yet after such training, there are no acute changes that either increase or decrease your testosterone, but rather a gradual rebuild of testosterone occurs. (1) In women, sexual activity releases pain-blocking endorphins which can help mitigate sore muscles.(2)

Studies have actually been conducted with the greatest athletes of all time about their advocating for a bedroom training session before a big event. From Muhammed Ali to Joe Namath to Pele and Jimmy Riccitello they are noted as saying respectively no, yes, yes and yes. (3,4) So unless you are in a contact sport, it appears that you get their support for going for gold in the bedroom before an event. It is acceptable, suggested, and maybe even required for improved race performance.

Now, let’s get this straight. It’s not the same if you fly solo on an evening training session. It’s not the same emotional, relaxed confidence building session. However, you might not have a choice so here is some advice.

If you need to relax and fall asleep, take two melatonin and I’ll see you at the start line. If you travel solo to races and a partner might not be right there alongside you, I do not recommend finding a new bedroom training partner the night before the race. Even if I was 23 and unmarried – no, thank you! You don’t need new saddle sores or to wake up with a flat the next morning because someone let all the air out of your tires. Be smart, not desperate. Casey Stengel, the legendary coach of the New York Yankees, who said, “It isn’t sex that wrecks these guys, it’s staying up all night looking for it.”

Let’s get a little specific about this training session. How long should the session last before pre-race benefits are achieved? Will 3 minutes, 8 minutes, 20 minutes be sufficient? My conclusion is, whatever, it doesn’t matter! If you wind up with a TSS (training stress score) score of 3, maybe an IF (intensity factor) score of .95 or even 1.5 (if it was amazing), it’s all good. I hope you know I’m joking at this point and are not actually going to try and calculate either of these.

If you’re so focused on a race that you cannot relax and unwind, then do yourself a favor and indulge. It’s not selfish to take time for yourself to relax, in fact, everyone around you will appreciate the calmer you. A calmer you means a smoother race day and you will be able to better adapt to all of the conditions a race can toss at you. There’s one caveat to all of this. Like your nutrition and other race strategies, don’t try anything new the night before the race.

Coach Jim believes that every one of us has the capacity to improve our efficiency, get stronger and run, bike or swim faster. Sure, it takes time, dedication and discipline but it’s possible.

1-https://examine.com/nutrition/does-ejaculation-affect-testosterone-levels/
2-http://www.neilbaum.net/sex-before-athletic-events—facts-and-myths.html
3 http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/10/health/sex-athletes/
4. http://www.triathlete.com/2013/01/training/performance-pointers_68968

 

Original article on D3 Multisport here