Friday, September 20, 2019

Moving forward with positivity

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So it wasn’t quite the end to the 2012 competitive season that I wanted, but having ranted and raved about my frustration with the race in Auckland, it’s now time to pick myself back up and look forward to 2013.

The fact is that each of my frustrations with performances in 2012 point towards specific goals for improvements in 2013.

Without going into too much detail, having reviewed my races this year these are my takeaways for winter training:

Swim – in domestic competitions, my swim was reasonably strong this year. In Auckland, us Brits were (for the most part) totally outclassed by our southern hemisphere rivals. This has served as a wake-up call that I need to invest time in improving swim technique specifically, not just putting miles in the water.  I overheard one of the commentators in Auckland saying that: “Swimming is the only one of the triathlon sports you need to be taught. Without technique, you can put as much effort in as you like for little or no gain.” That hit home at the race and so my focus for winter training will be finding more swim speed through better technique, rather than just swimming ‘harder’.   This means attending more coached sessions, so I will need to find the time for that.

Bike – I’ve already said, and the results support, the bike has been cemented my strongest discipline this year.  Just like everyone else, I want more speed, but my main focus is going to be on tweaking my fit, nutrition and ability to put in a strong bike leg while still leaving enough in the tank for a better run.

Run – it’s no secret that my running has been my single biggest source of frustration in both 2011 and 2012. I won’t go into the details here, but rather than dwell on what’s gone wrong in 2012, I want to focus on how to make 2013 go ‘right’.  To that extent, I’m going back to basics. For me that starts with getting my body ready to run properly. So I’m going back to gym and working on run-specific exercises to promote glute activation and strength; I’m also going to work more on core strength (I’m coming to terms with the fact that a six pack does not equal a strong core!). Judging by the DOMS in my butt and legs after only two gym sessions, it’s clear I have a real weakness here which you have to assume will benefit from continued conditioning work.

And I’m going to run slower, yes slower, over winter. I’ve really struggled with this before, but need to get my head round the fact that running slower on recovery sessions or LSRs (Long Slow Runs) will ultimately leave me more refreshed and able to run faster when I need to.

So it’s not exactly a firm training plan as yet, but it is a set of guidelines around which a training plan can be constructed. And all of those guidelines are positive. No more negative thoughts.  And that leads me to my last area of training for 2013: mental toughness.  I need to change this 'devil on my shoulder' mindset that says “smash it on the bike, lose it on the run”.  I’ve said before, it has become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy in the last couple of years.  2013 will be different, I will be smashing the run just as hard as the bike!

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Matt Fisher runs TriathletesDiary.com - so it's all his fault! He pretends to be a triathlete, but really he is a husband, father and company VP. But he has raced for the GB Age Group squad a few times and is a two-times qualifier for the IM70.3 world champs

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