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Signing up for a long distance endurance event happens one of two ways. The first is a calculated decision based on research, motivation and allows for six to nine months of precise training. The second is impulsive, probably due to fear, procrastination, peer pressure and may or may not follow a botched race the previous week. Which one has the highest probability of failing? The answer is; they both are equally susceptible to failure! There are a few ways to nail a race, leaving tons of “woulda, shoulda, coulda” moments along the way. We’ve all had the, “What have I just done?” moment after you’ve jumped head first into a huge challenge. The difference with an endurance event is a whole lot can go wrong between when you sign up and when you actually have to execute your special day.
How can a seemingly thorough plan turn into a colossal learning experience? Besides injury, a common weak point among athletes is complacency. Usually, race day is pretty far into the future and the initial process seems very exciting. However, once you’ve announced your intentions via Facebook and the buzz has faded, the training needs to really start. If you have a coach, he or she will do their best to pass on all knowledge, hoping that vital plan is absorbed like a sponge taking on water. The truth is, at a certain point, when the hours add up and the excitement passes, sabotage comes about. Here are two common pitfalls we see as coaches.
Whether you’re getting to that first 5k, running a 100 mile race or tackling your first long distance triathlon, you should always surround yourself with athletes who add value to your experience. I’ve found truth in a phrase I once heard and I’ve tried to tailor it towards endurance racing. I believe your athletic competence and achievements will be the average of the five athletes you train with. I’ve always trained up, meaning I seek out those who can challenge me in a positive way, avoiding complacency and ensuring my body is adequately fueled for the demands of the day. After all, this is a solo effort on race day and you’ll need to be a mental and physical fortress from head to toe! From the moment you sign up for a race, no matter how it’s come about, you’re either moving forward or falling behind…this all depends on your willingness to plan, learn and execute.
Good luck and above all have fun!
See you out on the course,