Sunday, December 14, 2014

Why I Don't Always Win in Training

I'm a professional triathlete.  My job is to race at the highest level with the hope of making money.  If I do my job well, I end the year with a few good results and a few cents in my pocket...

You could say I'm at the pointy end of the field for most races that I enter, but for some reason I am continually beaten during workouts.  One local guy in particular seems to have my number.  For someone who is supposed to be at the top of my game, why am I not crushing dreams every time I train with the group?  I could come up with a million excuses (10 good ones are listed below), but the reality is I'm not always on my 'A' game.  In fact, you could say that I'm rarely on my A game.  When the plan is to go easy, I go easy and let the boys go.  Even when the plan is to go hard and I'm not up to the challenge, I sometimes have to swallow my pride and absorb a bad day.

When I was a swimmer, I would at times struggle to pace 100's at my goal mile time... sometimes even in the warm up for the meet!  It's not the most confidence-inspiring thing, but I eventually learned to be confident in my preparation and my ability to put it together when it counted.  Tapered races are almost mythical events when when your body is firing on all cylinders and that can't happen day in and day out.  One of my favorite readings talks about the nebulous link between training and racing.  I tend to read it anytime my training is going through a rough patch.

Jeff Kostoff Letter to Stanford Team

The trick is to develop the skill and ability in training to make the results show up on race day.  That takes a lot of hard work and discipline, but it also takes a lot of resilience and faith in the process.  I get beat when I'm tired and I get beat when I feel fantastic, but if I do my job I don't get beat when it counts.  I think, at times, people can look at athletes on the podium and imagine that they are impeccable in training and constantly untouchable.  I can assure you, at least in my case, it's far from true.  I may get beat often, but I'm always working towards those glorious days that I don't!

My Top 10 Excuses
1.  Sidney kept me up/got me sick/ruined my training.
2.  I'm too sore from my 8 (10, 12?) hours of workouts yesterday.
3.  I haven't had my coffee yet.
4.  I've had too much bulletproof coffee (beware of disaster pants).
5.  My second nap got interrupted yesterday and now I'm tired.
6.  I'm just working on technique today (this is a whole other blog post coming...)
7.  I haven't had my weekly massage yet.
8.  I don't know the route and need to follow someone.
9.  I need to take it easy today for tomorrow's hard workout (usually TRUE. yet another post coming)
10.  When in doubt the other guy cheated.