Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Triton: Find It and Fix It

Many triathletes are heading into the off season now with physical limitations; the very same problems they will finish next season with because they ignore them. They know they have this ‘thing’ with their right leg but they were able to still run and bike pretty well so it can’t be that bad. If ‘pretty well’ is your goal in life then I guess you’re on the right path. However, if your goal is to be the best you can be and to continue doing it for a long time to come, then you better fix the problem. A small strength or mobility issue can very quickly become a big problem that can leave you on the sidelines.

Some athletes aren’t even aware they have a problem so step one is to uncover it. Just as we have an annual physical (you do have an annual physical, right?) I recommend that triathletes have an annual check up with a trainer or Physiotherapist to check their muscular function and mobility. One tool these professionals may use is the Functional Movement Screen. This is a seven test procedure that brilliantly analyzes all of the bodies key muscular and mobility function. If your core is not firing properly, it will show. If your right leg is stronger than the left, it will show. If your left shoulder is lacking mobility, you’ll find out.

Find out what your weaknesses are and now, in the off season, get to work to fix them with strength and mobility exercises. That way, you’ll be stronger, fitter and faster next year and, you’ll be able to continue in triathlon for many years to come.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Triton: Electing Ironman

So, you watched the Hawaii Ironman over the weekend and now fancy a go yourself. You’re not alone. Many people set a goal to do an IM but some do so without much knowledge of what is involved. It’s like saying I’m going to be a become mayor and make a difference in this town without realizing an election is involved.

Crossing the finish line at your first Ironman triathlon (or Iron Distance if it’s not a race owned by the WTC) is one of those life events that will never be forgotten. But crossing the finish line is just the end of a journey and you want to make sure you enjoy the journey, right? I was speaking to a friend once who was nearing her Ironman event and I asked her how it was going. She shared with me words so simple yet powerful, so poetic yet clear, that I offer them for consideration to anyone considering this daunting event. She said, “I’m in the best shape of my life, but my life is not in very good shape.”

You will need to make many sacrifices along the way. The training time will be accompanied by ‘thinking time’. When you’re not training you’ll find yourself thinking about training. You talk about the things you think about so, you will be talking a lot about Ironman. Those around you need to be prepared for all of this.

My Ironman story features a journey that I value even more than the finish line. I managed to keep it all in balance but it was a challenge. For Ironman, the life plan comes before the training plan.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Triton: Teach Your Children Well

Earlier this year one of the most promising young talents in triathlon decided to retire at the age of 22. Hollie Avil was an Olympian and two-time world champion but she was desperately unhappy. Despite being incredibly blessed as an athlete, as a young woman Hollie had been crushed by the pressure to fit the mold of what many around her believed a triathlete should look like. What started with counting calories soon became a full blown eating disorder. While she continued to race after starting to heal herself, Hollie found she must leave the sport of triathlon to truly recover.

The physical is only part of the success equation for a triathlete. The mental strength required to tap into that potential is the real key. Hollie has shown this year that she has greater strength than most any athlete out there for she has walked away. But more impressive than that is the manner in which she has shared her story to help others.

Hollie’s original explanation of her retirement from The Observer.

Here’s a recent blog post in which she shares important lessons learned.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Triton: Renovating a Triathlete

My friend renovates old homes so his job is just like that of a triathlon coach. He looks at every variable, does a thorough blueprint plan for all the work, and then sets about executing. While a great planner, his greatest skills surface when facing the constant challenges that arise during the job, the surprises laying within the walls. These problems always seem to be unique so he goes about adapting the plan to still reach the desired end result.

Taking a set 16 week triathlon training plan from a book seems sensible enough yet you have no idea what is within your walls; you have no idea day in and day out how your body will react to it. If you charted the results of 100 individuals following a set 16 week plan, you’d have 100 unique charts. A set plan doesn’t change so that next workout is there whether it’s right for you or not. The art of coaching is in the ability to constantly adapt the plan, and that is the most important element that Triton offers. The plan is always changing based on how your body reacted to the previous workouts.

A overall plan is important because you need to know where you’re going. The key to success though, lay in committing to the process and executing the plan intelligently. The intelligence comes in the ability to adapt to make sure you reach success, be that a beautiful new addition to your house or a beautiful new addition to your collection of finisher medals.