“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” - Arnold H. Glasow
Humans are NOT particularly patient. The beginning of February is filled with discarded resolutions because of this lack of patience. For triathletes, sticking with and believing in their training can cause some unique issues. It’s the time of year when many triathletes begin to crank their training back up. Goals are set, plans are made and confidence in getting back at it is high. However, after a lackadaisical outseason, even veterans to the sport sometimes find difficulty with getting back in a rhythm and trusting their training. Form is often slow to return, results don’t always come quickly and a lack of patience can lead to a desire to overcompensate and get back to where you “think” you should be. Unfortunately, this can lead to injuries or setbacks that further delay feeling fit. Sometimes the additional “rush” training can create an early pre-season peak of fitness that prevents a proper periodization and creates a plateau that becomes difficult to redirect mid-season. The principles of conditioning like frequency, intensity, specificity, progression and several others are all based on science, and believe it or not, they DO work.
As a Coach, I have found it necessary and often a challenge to teach athletes patience. Trusting training and being patient while waiting for results is just as important for the athlete as the training sessions written for them. And in fact, if I could bottle up patience and hand it out to my athletes, the results would be amazing. Unfortunately, it is a skill we have to learn.
Use these tips to maintain patience with your progress and to believe in your training as you prepare to achieve your goals.
Respect your goals
Be aware and know what you’re truly trying to achieve and don’t lose focus on that. Achieving any worthy goal requires patience. Getting caught up in where you are at a certain time, or what you’re able to do (or not do) at any point in time IS NOT the goal, and ultimately is not important.
Be aware of your progress
If you’re a veteran of the sport, remind yourself of past success. If you’re a newcomer, track your progress and various milestones as they occur. Trust yourself, trust your training, and know you will be capable of putting your best foot forward come race day.
Believe in what you’re doing
Stick to the plan. Do not let negative outcomes rush the process. As we move toward our goals, peaks and valleys occur, but those valleys are necessary to continue to move forward.
With the state of fitness technology, with the most detailed data readily available to be analyzed, and with the openness of Strava/GarminConnect, etc, athletes can get caught up in the endurance sports version of "keeping up with the Joneses." Avoid that. Follow these tips, and stay patient. The more history you have with the sport, the more you begin to realize we are all individuals. We have to be patient with ourselves to make goals happen.