Heading into the long course season in Australia and Geelong 70.3 on tomorrow there is no doubt many athletes ready and raring to go; however there will also be a number of athletes that have already signed themselves off for being ‘underdone’ or didn’t do enough training.
Let me say that if you haven’t done the training and leading into the race you lacked consistency, don’t lose all hope, sport and life indeed rewards long term commitment. For those that have put in a good preparation and may have come down with a late niggle or illness that hasn’t totally stopped them, look back to what you have done over the past year/s consistently and this is a better gauge of your performance.
‘But it’s all about the last few weeks, I have to nail those key sessions!’. That’s right in the ideal world, we live in the real world not the ideal world though and sometimes life happens. Last year I had this occur to one of my athletes and the results at the end were different to what most would predict.
Sarah, one of the athletes I coach, was winding up her year after a string of great performances. Lots of goals were checked off along the way including 70.3 worlds qualification, first long course podium, first ironman and a top 30 finish at the worlds. Now Sarah doesn’t shy away from training and if anything in our time working together I’ve very much been holding the reins on. Consistency wise in her training she really can’t be faulted. I remember a tired text coming through questioning if the second run of the day was required heading into her first IM. No arguing when she received a ‘yes’ back, she just got it done.
After the worlds in Austria she had 2 more races booked in for the year, 70.3 Western Sydney and Ballarat 70.3. What I was hearing from our conversations was her body needed a break. Little niggles started to set in and were becoming long term. My job is to help my athletes achieve what they want but at the same time keep them injury free. Sarah wanted her 2016 70.3 worlds spot and with her swim, Sydney was going to suit her. Unfortunately for Sarah her body wasn’t going to let her run without pain, so as her coach I wasn’t going to let her run either. The last month leading into Sydney Sarah only did 1 very easy run on dry land 10 days out from her race. I was optimistic knowing the work that had been put in during the 14 months we had been working together, she was not so certain.
Fast forward and 1hr 35mins after starting the run leg (5min pb) at Sydney 70.3 and Sarah ran a pb overall and had the fastest run leg in her age group. Getting to the start line ‘underdone’ was not really the case. She was fit, but she wouldn’t be able to access that if we kept pushing in training. By being smart in those final weeks this got her there in better shape than ‘doing those key sessions’. The key sessions are the ones relevant to a particular athlete and where they are at. After just missing the worlds spot at Sydney and a 2 weeks rest, we lined up again at Ballarat only to lower the run / overall pb further and grab the worlds spot, just to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Straight onto a rest then and training has only just started back now.
Look past your last 3 weeks to see the real work that has been done to get you ready for your race. If you have done the work over time it doesn’t disappear overnight. Remember, consistency is king.