Setting Yourself Up for Success – Part I: Consistency

Setting Yourself Up for Success – Part I: Consistency

gina_kona-12015 has come and gone and each year I always like to sit back and reflect on the year by posting my top takeaways I learn from each of my athletes. As I was doing this I realized the most successful athletes were that ones that had the same components in their year end reflection. Those components were:

  1. Consistency in their training.
  2. Mental toughness and workout execution
  3. Confidence and belief in themselves and their training
  4. The ability to maintain a positive attitude

As we get in to 2016 I thought I would share a series on these four components. Part 1,  will focus on consistency in training, Part II will focus on mental toughness and execution of workouts and Part III will focus on confidence and the ability to maintain a positive attitude.

I wrote about consistency late last year, discussing the importance of consistency and how it is one of the fundamental components of training and being successful. I even quoted a few coaches who I have worked with in the past as an athlete and also gave a few good ways to make sure you fit in workouts. I want to go a bit deeper and address the reasons why consistency falls off. My answer: short term consistency versus long term consistency.

Preparing for long term consistency success
Let’s face it, time is the issue.We run out of time. So, how does one create time? The answer is simple: preparation. The average triathlete is a working professional with a family. Trying to balance three sports, one job and a family is one of the trickiest juggling acts out there. One must be organized and disciplined to make it happen. Below are some common but simple answers to creating more time.

Morning workout is one of the key elements to getting in more than two workouts of each discipline. It is also one of the key components to weight loss if that is something you are striving for as well. The problem with the morning workout is: if you’re not totally prepared for it, you end up having to wake up even earlier which is a short term success strategy. You may be able to do it a few times, but you probably won’t be able to create the consistent schedule you need.

Swimming in the morning – The first thing to establish is to ask yourself if heading to work after swim is the best use of your time. Many times it is and getting ready for work after swimming then heading to the office can free up a minimum of 30 minutes. In order to do so you must have all your stuff needed to get ready for work packed and done the night before. Do not say to yourself, I am too tired, I will do it in the  morning. That may work on occasion but after multiple times of adding 30 or more minutes to your wake up time you may find yourself hitting snooze and then the off button more than you wanted.  Have yourself prepared, get up, hit the bathroom, grab a banana and your water bottle, grab your stuff and off to the pool you go.

Cycling in the morning – Cycling is probably one of the more time consuming disciplines when it comes to preparation. The trainer is a great way to keep efficiency up since you stay close to home. To prepare for a morning workout you must put the bike on the trainer the night before and test all equipment to make sure everything is charged and ready to go. Have a white board with the workout already written on it and/or all your zones written on the board. The process of getting the bike ready and all the gear/ gadgets that goes with the bike these days can take close to an hour before you are off and riding. This also applies to riding on the road in the morning. You must consider many things the night before. Ask yourself these questions: Is your bike working properly? Are the tires in good shape and inflated properly? Do you have your patch kit? Is the battery on your light charged? Is your training device charged? Getting this check list done creates a smooth wake up time in the morning and is as simple as getting dressed, filling a water bottle and off you go.

Running in the morning – Running is the most simple of the three disciplines for a morning workout as it typically does not involve travel; just get up, get ready and go out the door. If headed to the gym for treadmill run then you must apply the same prep as if you were going to swim.

Evening workouts can also be successful if you are prepared properly. The first thing is to pass on stopping at the house to get your stuff.  This will often times lead to arriving very late to or not at all to the workout.  The benefit of the evening workout is you can hit these on your way home and bypass all the traffic you would be sitting in.

Swimming in the evening – Easy peasy. Pack the suits and a towel and maybe a parka and you are off to the races after work. Join a masters team so you have a group to meet, which makes the whole experience more fun.

Cycling in the evening – Again, this is the most complicated of the three. If riding the trainer when you get home it must be set up just like the morning. When you get home, you change into your cycling clothes, grab a water bottle and get on the trainer.  If that is too challenging, take a spin class at a gym. Have your stuff packed each previous night to hit the gym right after work. If you hate spin, and can’t ride the trainer alone, bring your bike and your trainer and meet a group and do a session together. Again, have all clothes prepped the night before and throw in the bike and the trainer before you head to work.

Running in the evening – Just as with swimming, this is easy. Pack your running gear and you are off. Meet a friend, join a group.

Being flexible yet consistent – Keep three bins in your car at all times. A swim bin, a bike bin and a run bin. Have two or three outfits of each discipline in each bin at all times. Throw the bike in the car and now you are ready to go at any moment. Create a “no excuses” situation so you don’t miss the workout.

Creating your schedule – Whether you are coached or not, look at your schedule each week to seeing what is ahead. It takes 21 to 30 days to create a routine. Take a look at your log last month and see how many times you created a break in a pattern more than a day or two. Once you start moving a ton of workouts around and you get off synch, it is best to just stop and get back into the schedule. Otherwise you are playing catchup and literally chasing your tail and will ultimately lead to mental and physical fatigue and a never ending cycle of on/off with training.

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