Plan­ning for the Next Sea­son

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

2. Put that en­ergy to good use

Plan on a few projects or goals that don’t re­volve around rac­ing. Switch­ing gears and get­ting some other things done pro­vides a nice bal­ance to the sin­gle-minded fo­cus of big sport goals. Choose some al­ter­nate ac­tiv­i­ties for a while, ones that you can en­joy with your friends, part­ner, kids, etc.

3. Re­flect on your race and your sea­son and re­view your process

Re­flec­tion is a great process for ap­pre­ci­at­ing your ac­com­plish­ments and find­ing a sense of pur­pose and hap­pi­ness about things you love. If jour­nal­ing isn’t some­thing you do eas­ily, sim­ple lists will do. Make sure you in­clude things that you did well and things that need im­prove­ment when look­ing at your race. List five goals you ac­com­plished dur­ing the sea­son and five work­outs you loved. Note five things you want to learn or im­prove upon.

4. Post-race eval­u­a­tion

If your sea­son ended in dis­ap­point­ment, wait sev­eral days be­fore writ­ing your re­view to give your­self time to ab­sorb the ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore mak­ing de­ci­sions. All races are op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn and, while dis­ap­point­ing races are hard to take ini­tially, they are of­ten the ones with the big­gest hid­den gifts of mak­ing us more re­silient, smarter and ap­pre­cia­tive of the good mo­ments.

The great thing about sport is that you have to live in the mo­ment and think ahead. While most peo­ple think only of their next race, or in one-year sea­son cy­cles, great train­ing plans en­com­pass de­vel­op­ment in two- to four-year spans. This pro­vides a sense of per­spec­tive that al­lows you to fully ap­pre­ci­ate all the mo­ments that a sea­son of­fers.

1. 2. 3. 4. As­sess your rac­ing sat­is­fac­tion hon­estly and make sure your new goals align with what you want.

Did you love the dis­tances you chose? All the dis­tances in rac­ing are le­git­i­mate and make sure you are choos­ing a dis­tance that you love and feel ex­cited about do­ing.

As­sess your de­sire to com­pete. As­sess your abil­i­ties and what you love. Em­brace your strengths.

While you do want to work on be­ing an all-around, pro­fi­cient triath­lete, do not un­der­es­ti­mate the power of what you do well.

5. Be your own com­pany.

Make a list of de­liv­er­ables and work back­wards. Short­term goals might in­clude: need a coach, need to be a bet­ter swim­mer, want to be bet­ter at open wa­ter, want to be stronger on the bike, etc. Here are some skills you can adopt that will help you turn your race ex­pe­ri­ences into ed­u­ca­tion and fu­ture suc­cess:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. While ac­knowl­edg­ing dis­ap­point­ment is nec­es­sary, do not to dwell on the neg­a­tive. 6. Make some ob­ser­va­tions on your sat­is­fac­tion of the way your whole sea­son went. 7. Re­view and re­cap your big­gest events soon af­ter they are com­pleted so that de­tails are still clear in your mind, but wait a few days to let the over­whelm­ing emo­tional feel­ings sub­side.

When things go well we feel on top of the world and that we can do no wrong. Con­versely, when things do not go as planned, we feel we must over­haul our whole lives. Give your­self time to process and ac­cept what hap­pened be­fore you re­view.

Once you are ready for re­flec­tion, hon­estly ac­knowl­edge how your sea­son went.

Write down both the things you did well and the things you would do bet­ter and in­clude both phys­i­cal and men­tal as­pects to your pro­gram, not­ing train­ing, pre-race emo­tions and race-day self-talk. How you felt in the days lead­ing up to the race and how you per­formed your ta­per are some of things you can eval­u­ate. Some­times, when we com­pare what we had planned with what ac­tu­ally hap­pened, we are sur­prised by the dif­fer­ences.

While look­ing at your list, note any changes you might make for a more en­joy­able process.

This ex­er­cise can be one of the great­est ways to im­prove as an ath­lete. You can also gain per­spec­tive, and ad­vice, from coaches and friends you trust to build this into a pow­er­ful learn­ing tool for the fu­ture.

Make a game plan right away for im­prov­ing your pro­gram and re­view it fre­quently in the com­ing sea­son.

Turn your sea­son re­view into next sea­son’s goals. If you lost time in the wa­ter be­cause you couldn’t see where you are go­ing, you need to work on your sight­ing skills for the up­com­ing sea­son. Specif­i­cally, you need sight­ing drills, open wa­ter swim­ming and ex­tra coach­ing in this area.

Ac­cept and move on. Also, don’t dis­credit your whole sea­son be­cause of one or two poor per­for­mances. Per­haps you weren’t able to hold pace on the run this year, but don’t over­look the way that you pre­pared for the race. Per­haps you ex­ited the wa­ter in great po­si­tion, or held your de­sired out­put on the bike. Triathlon is a com­plex event with many races within the race, both phys­i­cal and men­tal. It can take sev­eral sea­sons to get it right.

Even if you feel dis­ap­pointed about what you achieved over­all, there were no doubt things you did right that you can strive to re­peat in the fu­ture. Things to look for in­clude the fre­quency of races, the du­ra­tion of long train­ing rides and runs, your nu­tri­tion plan and your race ta­pers. The length of the sea­son is also im­por­tant. Emo­tional and phys­i­cal stamina are im­por­tant fac­tors in sea­son plan­ning.

From your re­flec­tion of your sea­son and races you can start think­ing and plan­ning to­wards your up­com­ing sea­son’s goals. 8. Keep things in per­spec­tive.

Many athletes are too hard on them­selves in their ef­forts to reach their goals im­me­di­ately. Look at how far you have come as an ath­lete and give your­self a pat on the back for what you have al­ready achieved.

9. Be aware of fac­tors that are en­tirely out of your con­trol like weather, draft mar­shals and other com­peti­tors’ ac­tions.

De­vel­op­ing men­tal for­ti­tude in the face of ob­sta­cles and chal­lenges is one your great­est rac­ing tools.

10. Adopt a cu­rios­ity about rac­ing and keep a light­hearted at­ti­tude about it all.

Re­mem­ber that fail­ures are the great­est op­por­tu­ni­ties of all for learn­ing. Look at ev­ery­thing as a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, not a re­flec­tion of your self-worth. This will, in turn, make the jour­ney ex­cit­ing and con­tin­u­ally fresh as you in­crease your sport knowl­edge. Suc­cess is the abil­ity to learn from your fail­ures.

You have an op­por­tu­nity to be great ev­ery time you train and ev­ery time you race. What can you do to­day to be a bet­ter ath­lete than last year? Re­flec­tion and anal­y­sis of key races is one way to turn ex­pe­ri­ences into tools for suc­cess. By fol­low­ing these steps you will start vi­su­al­iz­ing your­self rac­ing and ex­e­cut­ing the goals you have set out for your­self in 2017.

Lucy Smith is a na­tional cham­pion run­ner and coach with Life­s­port Coach­ing, Life­s­port­coach­ or email [email protected]­s­port­coach­

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