The Secret Sauce

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WARNING: Do Not Read Further Unless You Want To Know The Secret To Performing Well In All Your Upcoming Races.

 

What I’m about to tell you is THE most important thing leading to your success in endurance sports, whether it’s triathlon, running, cycling, or swimming.

It’s…Consistency

Wait, that’s it?  Sounds kinda boring.

What makes consistency the secret sauce?  And why is it even a sauce?  I have gravy with my Sunday pasta, so maybe I’ll just call it the Secret Gravy.  But that doesn’t have the same ring to it, so back to Secret Sauce, I suppose…

How can something as mundane as consistency help you perform well in your races?

Recovery days and days off are needed in order to recover from and prepare for more training.  It’s also when the body adapts to the training that was done.  But you shouldn’t skip a day of running and make it up another day by adding the two days together.  Inconsistent and minimal training may maintain your fitness but will not help you become a better athlete.  In fact, skipping training days too often along with drastic increases in mileage will lead to injury.

Being a good athlete requires patience and commitment.  Whether your sport is running, triathlon, cycling, or swimming, it takes years to build up to our full potential.  That long term consistency is what builds your experiences in the sport and makes your body resilient with stronger muscles, ligaments & tendons.

Sauce isn’t a one ingredient recipe.  Tomatoes may make up the base, but there are spices and other ingredients that improve the flavor.

The spices that add more “flavor” and lead to improvement are periodized training plans, form improvement, speed work, recovery, and strength & corrective exercises.  All of these help you improve in your sport and racing.

With a periodized training plan, focus is placed on strength, endurance, and speed at various times leading up to you’re A race so that you can peak for that race.  How these are scheduled into your training varies based on the type of athlete you are, your strengths & weaknesses, and when you’re A race is scheduled.

Form improvement increases your efficiency, which means you use less energy at a given speed.  Why make your body work harder than it needs to?  Good form results in more efficiency, less fatigue, more speed, and lower risk of injury.

Speed work teaches your body to go faster and also helps with efficiency.  You can’t expect to go fast on race day if you haven’t trained at that pace before.

Recovery is something that you should be working on during the weeks and months leading up to your race as well as after your race.  Think of recovery as part of your training.  Recover techniques will not only help you feel better, but will also prepare your body for the next workout so you can get the most benefit from those workouts.

Including strength and corrective exercises in your plan helps balance out your body by working those underused muscles and strengthening the important muscles needed to become faster in your sport.  It’s important to incorporate exercises that work areas where you are typically weak in order to prevent injury, keep the body balanced, and become a faster athlete.

So, you may be able to finish a race with inconsistent training, but you’ll be injury prone, you’ll plateau, and you won’t be able to improve your race times.  With consistent training and all the extras listed above, you’ll be able to reach your potential.

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