Sunday, April 4, 2010

Maintaining Balance & Positive Thinking

In any pursuit toward an end goal, I think it'd be a heck of a lot easier to focus and motivate oneself if there was a certain and direct positive relationship between time spent/effort and end goal success. If 20 hours of training equaled an average Olympic distance race time of 2:05, and 30 hours equaled a 1:58, etc.. it would favor those most disciplined, which would be pretty nice in a way. If I was told training 60 hours a week would get me to the top, of course I'd put in the 60 hours. Not even a question. If this was the case, however, it also could make life more stressful and frustrating when things got in the way of those efforts or hours put forward toward the effort, like injuries, work, family, etc. since you'd know exactly what you're missing out on.
Triathlon is a sport where a lot is still unknown. I've talked to several people about this last week, including my teammates. When I trained with '05 Ironman champ Faris Al Sultan from Germany before his race in Kona last October, I remember cooling down after a track workout talking about this. Faris, one of the best in the world and one who has been in the sport since his youth, believes we still don't really know the best way to train. Everyone tries things, puts in the hours, but we often don't know if we'd race better with more training or less. We simply train, go along with our best guesses, and race. I think that is something just to accept, to experiment with on an individual basis, use a ton of common sense (& some research) and see if we can narrow anything down and find out how our bodies respond to different types of training.

I have made it a goal to stay positive, and think about these things at times like the past few months when things have gotten in the way of my training, especially how training less may actually help us perform better. Last summer I was pretty overtrained and didn't feel strong on a single training run the last 3 months of the season. I would push through up to 18 miles on Sundays in the hills of Santa Barbara, struggling much of the way. So, with my run volume forced to be down the past 3-4 months due to injuries and sickness, I'm trying to stay confident that some rest is good. I have only been able to run 3 times since Mazatlan due to a calf injury that simply won't go away yet. In the back of my mind, I know my run volume has been pretty poor, and that I do need much more volume in training, but if only negatives creep into our minds, there is nothing positive that can come from it. It hasn't always been easy to stay positive, but it's a goal I have. It's important to turn the negative around and seek out the positive. For example, my swim has gotten stronger due to the running injury. We often dwell on the negative and see past anything positive, which will eventually break our confidence down more and more. Obviously we'd all wish to stay healthy, since many of us have sacrificed a lot to be able to train, and when we aren't able to train as we wish, it becomes stressful since we know how much we've sacrificed. We don't want to perform poorly and hear from the critics. Injuries and sickness are part of life. If we're smart about preventing them, then we've done a good job, and when they come, it's important to simply deal with them, stay positive, and keep on keepin' on in the other things we're still able to do.

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