One of the things you’ll hear repeatedly from your coach is how important it is to train consistently.
Consistent does not mean repeating the same session day in and day out. Nor does it mean training at the same speed and on the same route. It means continually completing structured, well designed and varied sessions that are evenly spaced, and gradually increase in mileage and intensity.
The easiest way to do this is by committing to an event, finding a coach and following a programme – specifically one that takes your personal circumstances into consideration.
It’s always easy starting out on the programme – new goals, high energy levels, much excitement and good intentions. But as the weeks pass, fatigue sets in and the enthusiasm wanes.
Training for a triathlon is hard – harder than any single disciplined sport because of the time needed to train for all 3 disciplines.
Expect a roller coaster ride, with periods of feeling super strong, and periods of feeling absolutely shattered.
Your motivation and desire will be tested. During these times, remember that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment after finishing a hard session.
Also remember why you started triathlon in the first place – was it simply to get fit, to lose weight, to follow a healthy life-style, to set a good example for your children, or to hear the words ‘You are an Ironman’?
Whatever the reason, you need to be able to motivate yourself to push through the hard times. Self-motivation is the key to consistent training.
Be realistic from the outset, about how much time you have to devote to your training.
Consider your family and work commitments. Think about the logistics (distances and extra time taken travelling to and from the pool, gym, track), as well as the added expenses (equipment, race entries).
You also need to assess your current fitness levels and your experience in each of the specific disciplines.
Your programme should contain sessions that are evenly spaced and aim to gradually build your endurance and later on speed, in all 3 disciplines.
The cumulative effect of consistent training over time is how progress is made, whether you’re a beginner or an elite level athlete. There is no short cut to getting fitter or faster.
How to stay motivated and ensure consistency in training:
- Trust your coach and follow the programme you’ve been given.
- Don’t add on extra mileage or put in extra sessions, as these will catch up with you later on.
- Don’t cram any missed sessions in. This will only result in injuries.
- Build a solid base by starting easy and gradually increasing your mileage and intensities.
- Set aside specific times each day to train. If you just plan on swimming ‘sometime today’, you’ll more than likely run out of time. Get into the habit of setting your alarm and going out at scheduled times each day.
- Find a training partner or group to train with. If you know someone is up and waiting for you, you’re more likely to get out and meet them.
- Commit to a goal and make that goal known to others. Once you’ve entered a race, and told people about the race, it’s very difficult to back out.
- Listen to your body and don’t be scared to talk to your coach.
- Most importantly – have fun out there and enjoy the experience J
Years from now, you’ll be able to look back with the memory of crossing many finish lines, feeling strong, confident and still looking good.
Well worth the effort!