The other day I was asked what I would have done differently in the path that I have taken to get where I am. Noting that there are a lot of athletes who would love to follow the same path and likely do better, I thought I would be post my response.
#6 - Spent a little more time letting go of metrics and numbers. It can be fun to achieve epic training loads and log massive amounts of volume. However, it can also be detrimental to performance when you start to train beyond your ability to absorb. The end result is injury, sickness and ultimately getting burned out. I spent a lot of time logging consecutive 30hr training weeks before I was ready. The end result was a lean, mean, tired (and sometimes injured) racing machine.
#5 - Looked In, Not Out. There is no such thing as the "best" training plan out there, there is just "your" best training plan that works best for your physiology, mental capacity and background. The best thing that I could have done was paid less attention to my competition's training plan and more to my own. Spending more time understanding what worked and what didn't work for me would have likely served me better.
#4 - Invested in a coach from the beginning. In addition to the above, it's hard to keep an objective eye on your training. It's hard to pick the right races at the right times and it's hard to notice everything that works or doesn't work in your training. In addition, coaches with experience will sometimes be able to see things before they happen, helping you to become more consistent and make fewer missteps along the way.
#3 - Been less weight obsessed. Sure there is a benefit to being lighter, but most athletes (including myself) find themselves under-fueled and going slower, rather than leaner and going faster. The time to cut calories is not when you are training the hardest. During this time you are better off focusing more on recovery, fueling for performance and less on the number of calories on your plate. Let your body go to it's self selected weight and only make a few SMALL changes in the last few weeks before your big race (by small I mean no alcohol or no dessert).
#2 - Gotten more satisfaction from my achievements. It's the nature of a driven athlete to never be complacent with where you are at. It's easy to look to the next step and what has yet to have been had. We all want to win (in our own way), but none of us know how long we will be able to do this sport and there are many who will never come close to what we have done. So celebrate your achievements, take some time to reflect and then come up with your next set of goals.
#1- Waited MUCH longer to try to be good over the Ironman distance. I think it's great that young athletes want to race Ironman, win age groups and PR. However if you are looking to really perform at this distance, you may want to wait. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but generally Ironman is something that takes years and years to get good at. No amount of training can trump time in sport. I of course didn't think that the rules applied to me and tried to out train the curve. What I found was a lot of very tough races in my early and middle 20's. So consider waiting...
Part of reflecting on the past is to learn from it for the future and part of it is to help others avoid the mistakes you made. I hope you can take something from the above and do the same critical thinking when it comes to your own training and path.
Thursday, April 03, 2014
To check out the current KPR format and rules, head to:
The basis of my recommendations come from the idea that Kona should be treated like a World Championship in any mainstream sport. A champion is crowned and then the playing field is level heading into the next season. These are extreme changes no doubt, but hopefully some or all of the points can be taken into consideration.
1) Season must end with the World Championship.
To do this, the season needs to end with Kona and start after a certain amount of time has passed. Some of the races will need to change dates to accommodate and the World Championships need to happen around the same time at the end of the year. The new season would then start December 1 or January 1, etc.
2) Standardization of prize purse and points.
This takes out trying to decide if a certain finish at one race is better than another and by how much...Prize purse standard.
$80,000 for Ironman
$40,000 for 70.3
3) Separation of Ironman and 70.3 rankings.
They are different races and placings at one distance should have little impact on another.
4) Elimination of points in Kona.
Most other sports crown a champion at the end of the year and then level the playing field for the next season. This helps accomplish that, instead of granting an easier path to Kona finishers for the following season.
5) Equality in sport.
Though I am all for equality in the world and sport, it's apparent through the awarding of Kona slots (and through analysis of finish times, etc), that qualifying as a male is more challenging than qualifying as a female. With that in mind, shouldn't prize purse distribution follow suit? I don't know how to solve this, I just know that's an issue that should be considered.
6) Champions Go.
Win an Ironman, you are in. Win a Half, you are in. This is how it works for qualifying for a major in golf... Seems to make sense for triathlon.
7) An increase in prize purse each year. ~ AT LEAST 3%