Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Life as a "full time" Pro Triathlete

It's been about two months since we settled in Richmond and I began my life as a 'full time' athlete. I've been thinking about what has changed for me and thought I'd share.  This is an N=1 observation, but it may give a bit of insight into what goes into training to race at the highest level possible.  Enjoy.

In college, you don't realize just how lucky you are to focus on your sport (while getting that pesky education...).  When I left Pitt in 2007, I was the USAT Rookie of the year and had the idea that I would continue to improve at a steady rate...  Given my newly-aquired MS in exercise physiology and experience as a swim coach at the highest level, I figured I had things all figured out.  I was wrong.  The past 4 years have been mildly successfull including qualification for 70.3 World Champs, a 2nd place in the Rev3 Series, and a handfull of solid results.  Unfortunately, I don't believe I'm much further along than where I was in 2007.  This season has shown steady improvement that will continue into the coming seasons and here are my reasons why:
  1. Coaching.  I hired a coach at the end of last year thanks to persuasion from people much wiser than I am.  Having the objective observer looking over me has been key.  Depsite my education, I wasn't giving myself what I needed to succeed.  Matt Russ at the Sport Factory has been invaluable to my continued Success.  I've also been able to do a bit of online coching with the Sport Factory that allows me to satisfy my desire to coach with my feet up.
  2. Not Coaching.  I no longer stand on a pool deck for up to 6 hours/day.  No compression socks in the world can save the legs from training 2-3 hours then standing for the same amount of time.  Not only that, but I am very passionate about the athletes I coach and spend countless hours and energy planning their training, progress, etc.. Althougth I miss the pool deck and will probably return when I'm done racing, the time and energy that went into swim coaching now goes into my own training and recovery.
Next week:  #3 and #4  Recvoery and Diet 

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