By LifeSport coach Jessica Adam
The 2014 race season is coming to a close. First of all you deserve some rest! Taking some down time also gives you space to reflect on how your season went, where you made gains, what you were happy with but also areas that may use some improvement. Did you set out goals at the beginning of the season? If so, go back and analyze which ones you accomplished. What did you do to be successful? If you fell short of a goal, is there something you could have done better? The following are a few common scenarios which might call for some adjustment next season.
Nutrition plan. Did you have any issues during a race that may have been a nutrition problem? Assess whether you were diligent about practicing your nutrition during your training to prepare for race day. You need to dial in your fuel and hydration needs before your event. Don’t veer from what works for you. You can’t always rely on what the race is providing as it may not be what you have been using and could derail your day. You may even want to see a sports nutritionist to establish a plan for next year.
Injuries. If you unfortunately fell prey to an injury this year, use this down time to fully recover. Take some time off, you have lots of time before you need to ramp up again even if you plan on doing a long course event next year. Seek out some rehab solutions like physio or massage therapy.
Training plan. Did you have a well laid out training plan for the whole year or did you start being specific too late in the season? Many times athletes let time get away from them and start triathlon specific training too late to be successful in their goals. Hire a coach to help you lay out a purposeful plan for the whole year and beyond. All phases of your year can be tailored to suit what your goals are. Even the “off season” can be specific. You could plan focus sessions for the sports you feel need improvement, do some one event races like a swim meet, run or cycling race to improve in one sport.
Equipment. Maybe you need some new toys! Is it time to upgrade your bike? Is it triathlon specific and aerodynamic? A better bike is probably one of the best ways to take time off your race day but there are other items like a new wetsuit that could help too. Smaller items such as an aerodynamic helmet, race laces, or tri specific shoes could eat some time away as well.
Taking it up a notch. Sometimes to improve your racing you will need to educate yourself a little more about your training. This is where qualified coach will come in as well. You may want to start working with a power meter on the bike to get more specific and efficient with your training efforts. A power meter will help you to maximize your potential while training and racing because you will know what kind of efforts you can sustain and how to push yourself beyond any barriers.
Learn from your mistakes. Reflect on the mistakes you made at your events and figure out ways to correct them. For example, did you seed yourself properly in the swim? Did you find a good draft? Were your transitions as fast as they could be? Did it take you too long to get your wetsuit off? Then you will need to practice swim to bike transitions more next season. Maybe you need to learn how to mount your bike with your shoes attached to your pedals. Taking care of all small details creates a speedier and successful race.
There are a thousand things to analyze when you are able to sit back and think about your racing but focus on the things that you know you can improve on and start early. Sit down with your coach and go over all of them and decide which ones you can start working on now so that next year you reach your racing potential, setting some personal best times and feeling confident in the process.
LifeSport triathlon coach Jessica Adam has been a coach in Victoria, Vancouver and now resides in the Toronto area. She coaches athletes online all across the country. Jess@LifeSportCoaching.com