I know and have met many successful age group triathletes since I started triathlon just under 10 years ago. However, there is not one formula, one path, one secret, one plan that makes you great. While there are multiple paths all of which lead to the podium and PRs, I have noticed some common trends in the behaviors, habits, and training of these greats. They….
- Manage stress: Stress is a two-sided coin. Apply just enough and it makes you stronger, but apply too much and it will break you. Successful athletes (or their coaches) know this and have mastered the ability to listen to their bodies and apply just enough stress to get the adaptations that they want, recover (see the next step) and then hit it again.
- Prioritize recovery: There is no point in training if you cannot recover from what you are doing, so successful athletes make sure they get the nutrients, sleep, and downtime to optimize their training.
- Do the unsexy stuff: Mobility work, stretch cords, and drills are not as sexy or interesting as banging out 100s on sub 70s but the successful athletes do it anyway because they know the little marginal gains will add up to major successes.
- Control the numbers and don’t let the numbers control them: It is easy to get caught up in the numbers like watts, splits, pace, etc. but successful athletes actually go more by feel. If they are not feeling a specific pace they tune it down (or up) and roll with it. If they are not feeling the workout at all they change it without stressing.
- Plan and communicate: Triathlon training is logistically harder than most any other sport. With juggling three sports, one of which, swimming, you have specific windows of time to get to, on top of life stressors, successful athletes plan out their weeks and communicate when and where they will be once they know so if something comes up (i.e. they get lifed) they can make adjustments.
- Don’t follow a diet: The majority of successful athletes do not have a specific diet that they follow. Yes, you have the occasional podium finisher who swears by “[insert diet here]”, but the majority eat their veggies, fuel their workouts, and enjoy their treats on occasion.
- Control the controlables: Successful athletes envision themselves of the podium but know that qualifying for Kona and getting top 5 is largely dependent on who shows up that day, which is out of their control. They recognize this lack of power and instead of stressing over it, focus on what is in their power like their own training, preparation, and race plan.
How many of these traits do you exude? Did we miss any? Let us know and tweet us back.