Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Patience is a Virtue

The calendar just got flipped over to March. For those of you lucky enough to have a "Men of Triathlon" calendar in front of you in some capacity you've been gazing at TJ Tollakson and Ben Hoffman for a few days; I salute you (and them).

Manly Triathlon Men

I say that simply to say that it is ONLY March. It's not April. It's not May. It's simply...March.

Further contextual elaboration would reveal that I am, in short, saying that it's EARLY in the year. For many people I know (including myself) their big race is many moons away from now in the far off and mostly hypothetical time period colloquially known as "fall."

My big race isn't until October. Maybe yours is in September or maybe it's in November (or maybe it isn't any of those and you can tell me to shut the hell up with my self-righteous opinions! - as an aside, opinions are kind of like a**holes...)

But one thing I always encourage the athletes I've coached and friends around me is to exercise patience when it comes to those fall races and the training for those races.  From a physiological perspective, you're certainly not going to win the race NOW, in March. March (and the months surrounding it on either side and maybe another one here or there) is for laying foundations. I'm not going to use the word "base" because that's so often mis-used I wish to add no more fuel to the fire.

Now, to use a metaphor Brian likes a lot and is extremely apropos, is the time to be adding some cylinders to your engine.  Let's say over the winter your big V-8 engine dropped a few pistons and shafts and what not and is now an inline 4 cylinder engine. Your horsepower has gone down (as it should) and your overall engine displacement is less than what it used to be.

Guess what?! That's ok. It really is. Because now is the time of year when you are pumping out short, hard intervals to max out that little engine's capacity and - therefore - make it a big bigger. Big long sweet spot and tempo intervals in February and March (and April maybe, and later maybe) are just tuning your inline 4 cylinder engine. It's like taking a diesel Jetta and adding a chip tune and an exhaust. You've still got a diesel Jetta. What you REALLY want is maybe a Corvette, but you're taking the Jetta and trying to make it look and sound like a Corvette (and failing miserably at both).

Sure, your Jetta is a bit faster and sounds a bit cooler and maybe looks a little better but at its core it's still just a Jetta.

All of this is to say, the time to be getting specific as it relates to your "goal race" training is kind of when your goal race is. It's ok to be patient now and wait for the big work to come later (this may be a case of me telling myself this as well...). I don't need to be ready for Louisville NOW, I need to be ready for Louisville on October 11th (or 12th or whatever day it is).

Patience really IS a virtue. I am still very impatient when it comes to some things (like the lines at Chipotle in Midtown between 7-8pm, WTF!!??) but at the end of the day I like to big picture myself down to being patient as far as it relates to training.  You don't need to be ready now, but when you DO need to be better be ready.

Right? Maybe?

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