When looking for long term success in endurance sports, we believe there are 6 key elements you should work into your approach:
Periodization: Don’t race too much. Set up your season with a few key races in mind, spaced apart appropriately. Leave room for proper training blocks, each with a dedicated purpose, referred to as phase. Racing is fun but only race when your body is rested for the effort.
Interplay: The way workouts stack up inside of your training plan is the art of a well written plan. Within your plan there is a delicate balance between work, recovery, and rest. Easy days should be EASY and hard days should be HARD. Every session should have a purpose. If you don’t know how workouts fit together, consult a professional for help.
Patience: Consistency is the key to long-term success. Have a plan, stick to it and make as few deviations as possible. Avoid sessions that aren’t designed for your goals. While group bike sessions and track workouts are fun and exciting, the intensity they carry is only appropriate at certain phases of a season, not every week. Practicing patience will help you avoid injury, allow you to complete workouts more consistently, and ultimately help you realize your potential.
Durability: There are many ways to build durability, some safer than others. We’ve all heard the classic runner’s mentality “I need to do x number of 20 milers before I’m ready for my marathon.” Twenty miles of trail running differs from 20 miles of road running and 20 miles for an elite runner is a MUCH different training stress than 20 miles for a middle of the pack marathoner. Training stress needs to be unique to each athlete. We chose to focus on running for relatability, but the principle applies to swimming and cycling too. It’s safer to build durability through frequency over time than any one single brute workout. A split long run instead of a single mega-mileage run allows for more quality work and reduces the risk of injury. Similarly intensity is safer to apply on the bike than on the run. All workouts must be fueled and a recovery drink should be used following long and/or depleting workouts.
Camaraderie: Group workouts are great, and we believe in communal suffering. That doesn’t change the fact that all athletes are different and even those training for the same event require different workouts, not just adjusted sets. YOUR workouts need to target YOUR limiters and fit with your season, block, and longevity goals. If you’re participating in a group session, the workout was designed, at best, for one athlete and is not appropriate for ALL athletes. Certainly, enjoy training with other athletes but be comfortable doing work within that session that is specific to YOU and YOUR needs.
Too Much Focus on Training: Most athletes place too much of an emphasis on training alone. There are five equally important components and four are often neglected: 1) training 2) daily nutrition/restorative techniques, 3) workout/race fueling, 4) pacing, and 5) mental fitness. In order to achieve success, you must find a balance between all five components. Nailing workouts is the easy part. The real success comes from doing all the little things right.
For guidance in balancing all of these elements, consider reaching out to one of the expert coaches at Grn Mchn Multisports. We specialize in building plans tailored to each athlete and their unique needs. We are available for consultations and testing.