It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of training for a big race. I’ve seen both pros and amateurs make plenty of errors in their training that have led to detrimental race results or a loss of an entire season due to injury. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes I’ve seen and my tips on how to avoid them.
1. Training Without A Plan. If you fly by the seat of your pants when training, it’s unlikely you’ll stay consistent and you can very well end up injured. Seek out a coach (preferably one who’s certified by IRONMAN U). If you don’t work with a coach, at least ask one to review your training program. This will help structure your training weeks properly. When designing your framework I recommend:
- Write down your training days and how many hours you can train each day.
- Include how much swim/bike/run you can do each week. I like my athletes to do 3 workouts of each discipline per week.
- Lastly, note on which days you’ll perform your high intensity sessions. It’s vital to keep speed in your workouts!
2. More is Not Better. I frequently see athletes perform a long run and long ride every single weekend. Contrary to popular belief, this is not good for your body. Many people think by simply going longer their fitness will improve. Not true. You’ll actually wear yourself out! Chronic Long Ride/Long Run weekends will result in faster races. Instead, include a longer day once or twice a month and — within that longer workout — mix in short segments of higher intensity intervals.
3. Signing Up for an IRONMAN or 70.3 is Not a License to Overeat. Now that you are exercising you don’t have free reign to eat all of the ice cream or sample all of the new sports energy products. Watch your weight and waistline during your training. Don’t rely on simple carbohydrates. Eat healthy vegetables, fats and proteins. Monitor what you are eating and drinking during your training sessions, then replicate a similar plan in your races. For more on this see my article on 4-Race Day Nutrition Mistakes that Undermine Your Performance
4. Don’t Overdo Your Taper. I’ve seen so many athletes who want to squeeze in that last “long day” on their taper. Again, longer is not better. Maintain the same schedule you’ve been following during your training; your mind and body are used to this schedule. Keep the workouts aerobic, but be sure to inject short intervals of higher intensity. You want your breathing rate to rise, and have a good, solid feeling of effort in your legs. Here are some examples of taper workoutsthat I recommend and also my article on Designing A Perfect Pre-Race Taper.
5. Don’t Neglect Your Mobility, Stretching & Strength Training. Perform mobility and stretching prior to strength training, twice a week. This will keep you more resilient and ward off injuries.
Stay tuned for my new 70.3 and IRONMAN Training Programs coming soon on Training Peaks.
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