Whenever a triathlon coach here at Red Performance Multisport starts working with a new athlete, our first conversation inevitably revolves around that athlete’s race goals. An athlete may be looking to qualify for a particular championship, establish a new PR or even just to finish without puking. Whatever the case may be these are very important conversations to have with your triathlon coach. The coach can then properly assess the athlete’s current abilities as well as his chances as training progresses.
My beginning advice always starts with an “enjoy the journey” statement. Chasing goals can sometimes become a wasted effort if you are not having fun along the way. Many, many, MANY things can happen during a race that has 3 components to it along with a speedy transition in between each leg. Lost shoes, foggy goggles, multiple flats and overheating are just a few of things that can occur on any given race day. While a good triathlon coach will help you prepare for most situations not every possible scenario can be covered. The weather, flats and the actions of other competitors just can’t be predicted ahead of time and any of these can leave you short of your original goal. If you life has revolved around just achieving a particular goal for the past 6 months what happens when that goal is no longer obtainable? We help our athletes prepare for this in a number of ways.
First having an experienced triathlon coach in your corner is essential to enjoying the journey. They can build a program for you that can produce solid aerobic and fitness gains throughout the training phase. You need to really like to swim, cycle and run to be a triathlete and to have fun while to become a better one. If you enjoy the training your abilities will grow exponentially. The coach will guide you from your current condition and abilities without overloading you and thereby making the experience more enjoyable (and fun!). Looking forward to that next swim or a good hard run makes training that much easier. It also take the pressure off you as an athlete worrying if you doing too much or too little training, we got that covered!
A triathlon coach also needs to know your personal schedule so he or she can fit your day-to-day lifestyle into your training. Working in synchronicity with your family, job and other responsibilities are essential to long term success. Race goals are important to any triathlon plan but they should never be the focal point of the plan. Instead look to the improved quality of life you will achieve and the happiness you will derive from the training. This will carry you much further and produce better results then a simple goal-oriented approach.
As race day approaches we prepare our athletes with 3 goals in mind to help them manage whatever race day brings. Their A goal is usually what brought them to us as their triathlon coach. It their ideal race result. Maybe Kona, Xterra Worlds or a personal best time. But if something out of the ordinary occurs, causing him or her to lose precious seconds and position and thereby removing any hope of achieving that A goal, almost any race (of any distance) can become hard to finish. So we provide our athletes with a B goal. Maybe it’s a PR or qualification to a lessor race but something to help them keep going and realizing the good that comes from all that hard training come race day. Lastly if all the wheels have come off and things are looking bleak we always give our athletes the C goal of finishing the race. Valuable lessons can be learned about yourself when you have to dig deep to get across that line. Lessons that can come in handy at the next race when you battling for position.
A triathlon coach working in concert with his or her athletes make the entire training process, from start to race day, a more enjoyable and rewarding experience for everyone (coach, athlete and family) involved. A triathlon coach will be sure to give you the biggest bang for your training time!