Discipline and TRAINING

Today I’d like to discuss a little bit about the discipline and realities of training when you’re a triathlete. Well, any top athlete for that matter.

One thing I mentioned right out of the gate is that we need to balance an over-packed schedule. Because it doesn’t pay really anything to be a triathlete, you have a couple of options when you’re on the circuit. One of them is be a lawyer, heh. One of my friends is, he actually does his legal research while he’s on his indoor trainer. He can go from full out training to dinner date ready in 15 minutes… Flat.

Almost everyone has a full time job in addition to their training and social life. One person I know is allied with http://ElectricianBellingham.com. Anything that will help to reduce some of the stress. Finding backers can be a great help, but can also be a burden. You don’t want anything to bring into question your amateur ranking. It’s a fine line to walk, but worth it for a lot of people.

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So, you have to keep working, and you have to keep training. You can’t stop because it’s suddenly 30° outside, or 115°. You also can’t stop if the wind is gusting 50 and steady at 30, no matter what the temperature. Why? Because those might be the exact conditions during your next meet. So run, bike, swim…just do it. Whether you feel like it or not.

At the same time, you don’t want to over-train. You need to keep a clear mind, and focus. That’s where a social life comes in. So, much like the triathlon itself, you also need to balance work, training and your social life. You can’t make one a priority over any of the other two, or something’s going to go wrong. Ask any trainer, and they’ll tell you.
I don’t mean to make this sound all doom and gloom. You can do this. Hundreds of triathletes, and athletes in other disciplines, do it every day. With lots of success. So, keep up the good work and I’ll have another topic for next time.

Triathlete Injuries

I think it would be useful if we touched on the subject of triathlete injuries and what to do about them. Everyone who knows a triathlete knows that we pretty much just suck it up and keep going during a competition or during actual training, despite the pain that we all experience. However, you can’t keep doing that because what happens is that you get the basic set of overuse injuries.

In other words, you repetitively stress the bones, tendons and muscles, and the tissues around the joints. This is not a good thing. Little injuries (microtrauma) leads to bigger injuries, and the tissue eventually breaks down, which results in pain and inflammation and weakness.

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Ignoring all this and continuing to train can lead to permanent tissue damage and the possible end of your career. If you have ignored your little problems too long, I hope you’ll seek professional advice. Choose wisely. Poorly diagnosed and badly managed injuries can interrupt both training and event schedules. This can lead to weeks or perhaps months out of your training and competition schedule while you recover fully.

Just to touch on the subject, here’s a little standard advice for injury management:

Acute injury: RICE….rest, ice, compression, elevation

Soft tissue injury: acupressure like acupressure Vancouver (a good one), massage and muscle stretching.

Control of muscles: core strength/stability training to correct any muscle imbalances

Biomechanics: Have someone evaluate your cycling position, relative leg length for possible correction, swimming style and running gait. Also check to make sure your bike is set up optimally.

It’s really important that you make sure you have the proper team in place, from your trainer to your sports medical/therapy professionals, to assure that you minimize injury and maximize training efficiency. These are some of the things that have helped me to become a world ranked triathlete, and I sure hope this helps you, too.

Of course, pain and injury management have to be only part of the plan, you also have to exercise properly, eat a balanced and nutritious diet, lead a well-organized life and a few other tips and tricks.

I really don’t mean to be vague on these points. I’m not always totally sure exactly what I do because it’s become so routine. I have to re-analyze my life, dissect it so to speak, in order to relay to you what I do in order to give you at least one idea of what a successful triathlete does.

Who Make the Best Triathletes?

Who makes the best triathletes? As a participant in the sport, I find myself asking that question. I have to assume that most triathletes come from a cycling, swimming or running background to begin with and picked up the other two sports in order to compete in tri’s. I know this isn’t necessarily so, and some people just started out as triathletes. However, I think they’re the rare exception. So, I asked around, and here are some of the answers I got.

First, there’s this fellow who is a novice triathlete. His background is as a swimmer, and a pretty darn good swimmer at that.  He thinks that triathlons are geared toward cyclists and runners. He gives pretty good personal experience data for his opinion, and I can see where he’s coming from; it’s hard to make up time, even if you’re a good swimmer, if you’ve lost time on two of the other legs of a race when you’re a novice bicyclist (even if you’re a decent runner). He calls it like he sees it, and he doesn’t see swimmers winning.

Of course, it was a round table discussion, and others contended that at the more elite levels of the race it’s the swimmers who take the lead. The fastest, most competitive swimmers take the day because they have the best lung capacity/stamina and can take on the running and cycling sports and develop them better than vice versa. In fact, they contended, national teams try to recruit from these master swimmers for their teams. Interesting, I thought. I don’t know if that part’s true, but it sounds good.

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Then, of course, there are those who thought that the race is mostly won via the run. Good support for that theory, too. The caveat being that you have to balance biking and swimming, of course. That part, I agree with. You have to balance all three legs if you’re going to make it through the race.
So, I still don’t know. No one really spoke up for cyclists being the best triathletes, but they weren’t well represented at the argument…er…discussion. Everyone has an opinion, and people from all three basic disciplines have definitely won at some time or another. The awesome thing about being a triathlete? You really do have to perform at an amazing level at all three core sports, because a triathlon is a single sport, not three.