10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Become a Better Athlete
As you guys already know, triathlon is a challenging sport that requires physical and mental toughness. To improve your performance and become a better triathlete, it's not only about the right training, but your lifestyle habits can make a huge difference in performance. I’ve been thinking about this post for the past few days, adding then taking away. At one point I think I had 14 suggestions for you but some of those seemed repetitive. So, I narrowed it down to my top 10 that I think are the most important to help you become a better triathlete. Here are the ten that will help take your triathlon to the next level:
1. Track & measure your performance – I use the Training Peaks app as my bible. I have used other apps before but I do feel that it is the most user friendly. Tracking your workouts and measuring your progress is essential for improving your triathlon performance. If you’re not tracking it, then you don’t know what needs improvement. TP allows you to monitor your performance metrics such as training load, heart rate, speed, pace, and more. This data can help you identify areas that need improvement and adjust your training plan accordingly.
2. Recover well- Rest and recovery is just as important as training when it comes to improving your triathlon performance. I give my athletes one full rest day each week where I tell them to do self-care. Did you know that most of your fitness gains happen when you are sleeping?? Make sure you're getting enough rest, stretching regularly, and taking care of yourself with activities like foam rolling, massage, percussion gun, chiropractor, or yoga. Recovery is when your body adapts to the training stress you've placed on it, so make sure you give yourself the time and attention you need to recover properly. If an athlete is showing signs of over training or fatigue, I always suggest a day or two completely off.
3. Hydrate and fuel your body according to your fluid loss from a sweat test- Proper hydration and nutrition are crucial for optimal performance in triathlon. To determine your hydration needs, perform a sweat test to measure how much fluid you lose during exercise. This will help you tailor your fluid and electrolyte intake to your individual needs. Similarly, fueling with the right nutrition, both before and during exercise, can help you perform at your best. Easily digestible carbs that won’t upset your GI tract are key!
4. Do sport specific strength training for swim, bike and run. Strength training is an important part of triathlon training, as it helps you build muscle and improve your endurance. To maximize the benefits, focus on sport-specific exercises for each discipline, such as swim-specific shoulder exercises, bike-specific leg exercises, and run-specific plyometrics. Go to my YouTube channel for lots of videos on strength training for triathlon.
5. Improve your mindset through visualizations, meditations, and affirmations. Your mental state is just as important as your physical abilities when it comes to triathlon. Use visualization techniques to imagine yourself successfully completing a race or achieving a specific goal. Meditations and affirmations can also help you stay focused and positive throughout your training. You can easily find meditations or specific affirmations from most music apps. Check out my previous blog post with my favorite Ironman Affirmations!
6. Get 8 hours of sleep. No excuses. Sleep is essential for recovery and performance. Aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night, and make sure you're creating a conducive sleep environment with a comfortable bed, a cool temperature, and minimal light and noise. Start your bed time routine an hour or two before bed with calming activites. Stop looking at screens at least an hour before you hit the pillow. I take a product called Calm with hot water to help me unwind at night. I also take getsoul.com sleep gummies.
7. Do mobility and flexibility training every week. Mobility and flexibility are important for injury prevention and performance. Incorporate exercises like yoga, Pilates, or mobility drills into your training routine to improve your range of motion and reduce the risk of injury. Check out my YouTube channel for several videos on mobility and flexibility for athletes. Also, I am a huge fan of the PiYo workout for runners and cyclists!
8. Do Interval training/higher intensity efforts. Interval training is a highly effective way to improve your speed and endurance. Incorporate high-intensity efforts into your training routine, such as hill repeats or speed intervals, to challenge your body and improve your performance. I always say to my athletes that long, slow runs make you a long slow runner. Speedwork is key if you want to get faster in any sport. Higher intensity efforts will not only challenge you but they will activate your fast twitch muscle fibers and help you gain speed.
9. Workout with other triathletes in a group. For example, get with a Masters swim team, get into some group bike rides, or local run club. Training with a group can be motivating and fun, and can help you push yourself further than you might on your own. Join a local triathlon club for added support and camaraderie.
10. Hire a Triathlon Coach A triathlon coach. A coach can provide personalized training plans and advice, helping you improve your performance and reach your goals faster. Look for an experienced coach who understands your individual needs and knows iron distance racing well.
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