After coaching so many people with different objectives over the years at VO2 we have reflected on some of the conversations we have had with our athletes. We found that there were some common themes that have run through the years.
Here is some simple advice we have regularly given:
Set new goals each year
Keep things fresh and exciting by setting yourself new goals each year. From training to improve your swimming, setting PBs to maybe focusing on reaching ideal race weight at the correct time – whatever it may be - make sure you set a realistic long-term goal to work towards.
Set mini goals along the way
If you set a goal that is 12 months away it might feel tough to stay that motivated so set mini goals along the way. Stepping stone goals set regularly will help keep you motivated and help you track improvements.
Never miss training (unless you are ill or see below)
We all know that sometimes life gets in the way of training and our ethos at VO2 is that family and earning a living are top of the list in terms of priority. However, if you have hired a coach to guide you towards a triathlon goal then we figure you want to take your sport quite seriously. If you are committed to your goal it will become a priority and ‘things’ won't get in the way meaning you will hit every training session that you can, and you will improve at the rate you want to.
Everyone takes advise differently but learning to be coach-able is a big advantage. This doesn’t always mean the coach is always right, but it means you are prepared to work with a coach to develop what works for you. A coach will also help you work on the things you wouldn't train yourself as generally if we write our own training we do the things we like and not necessarily need.
Take a rest
One of the best sayings a coach taught us was 'fatigue covers form' so if you are training and not improving there will be a reason for this. It could be that the programme is not correct, and you are taking on too much (in which case an honest conversation with feedback with your coach should address this) or you are simply tired from combining training (and this can be quite impacting for novice athletes) and daily life. Do not be afraid to take a rest to refresh and rejuvenate tired bodies and minds.
You always have more than you think
One of the things we often hear from clients is 'I wouldn't have been able to do that unless you were here'. Having a trainer or coach can help make you accountable and can also help you push yourself more than you thought you could.
Trust your training
If you have a plan that makes sense, and effective communication with your coach it helps to try to trust the process. It is easy to let your thoughts or 'hear say', or the latest article in the industry mags to play with your mind. If you have a goal and a progressive training plan, then stick to it and trust the training.
It's tough, and that's what makes it great
Training day after day, week after week, getting up early to train before work or going out late after work on a Friday night to get in a training session sounds tough right? Yes- you are correct - it is hard! But it is hard for everyone and that is what makes achieving your goals so good. Working hard for something and achieving it is a feeling only you can give yourself.
Enjoy the achievement
There is nothing sweeter for an athlete after all that challenging work than to finally achieve your goal. It is a great feeling if you did it and even if you didn't you can always take some learning from the experience. Whatever the outcome we always try to help our athletes take real joy and pride from the experience and then encourage them to take a very well-earned rest afterwards!