Progressing in triathlon and running takes planning and understanding of workouts, physiology, and the individual athlete.
Have you ever done a workout or exercise and wondered “Why haven’t I done this before?”
Some athletes have wondered why they weren’t doing the workouts or exercises they’re doing now when they started with the sport or with coaching.
When I start working with any athlete, I take an athlete-centered approach and build a periodized plan according to their strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. In other words, I build plans that are specific to each athlete and their goals. This includes taking into account quite a few things, including: physical age, athletic age, years in the sports, history of any injury, previous racing experience, and life stresses.
In order to reach your goals, you have to start training at the level you are currently at in order to build up to where you want to be. So, while my athletes all swim, bike, run and strength train, they don’t all do the same type or length of swim workouts, run workouts, bike workouts, or strength exercises. And if you look back at what you were doing a few years ago and compare it to what you can do now or to what others are doing, you may think “Why wasn’t I doing this back then?”.
While there are many ways to reach same goal, the simple answer is because you may not have been prepared for it at the time.
As an athlete, you must consider not only the length of the workout you’re capable of completing, but also your skill level.
While your physical age may not be young, your athletic age could be. Skills, technique, and experience need to be developed before jumping into workouts and exercises so that bad habits do not become set into a new exercise or workout. This will do more harm than good.
Consistency is also another important aspect to be considered.
If you aren’t doing something consistently enough to improve, then you can’t progress to a more difficult or longer exercise or workout. A base needs to be developed and your body needs to learn to execute a movement with efficiency before moving up to more skilled movements.
I’ve had quite a few athletes come to me that are new to either running or triathlon. Even if you are experienced in another sport, starting a new sport takes time and experience to learn and improve. If a runner comes to me with years of experience running marathons, he may be in great cardiovascular shape, but with no swimming, cycling or triathlon experience, there is a lot of technique to learn. There is a lot of experience in racing and training that needs to take place for that athlete to reach the level he may be at in his running. Those early years of training and the base that’s built carries you far into your sport.
So, when you have a question about progressing in triathlon and running, talk to your coach. There is a reason behind the workouts and there should always be an open line of communication between athlete and coach.
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