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Coaches Blog

Experience Can Buy You Time!

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

In the multi-sport world, there are always studies and questions on which piece of equipment can buy you the most time, especially for the cost. Some of these things can be very expensive and won't always guarantee shaving time off your next race unless used in the correct way, etc. However, in my over twenty years of competing in triathlons, I have found that while it does take time to get it, experience can shave off loads of time and is much impactful to your wallet.


What do I mean by this? Below are some examples of how having experience can make you more physically and mentally prepared on race day than ever.


1. Racing Is Routine: With many races under our belt, the race day preparation begins to feel routine and, in some ways, automatic. This means that we are not thinking through every step and freaking out that we may forget things or "what if" this happens or that happens. If racing is routine, we have already created a race bag where all of our race day gear is put together, so we don't have to go on a scavenger hunt the night before. As humans, we like to be in our comfort area.


As races become more routine, getting our transition area ready and walking to the start line begins to feel like just another day! The amount of mental energy that is used when races are new and anxiety-provoking is enormous, and mental energy use leads to physical energy drain.


2. Banking On Your Base: With years of experience comes a large base of training. Your body doesn't forget that it has biked across America multiple times. And the number of miles you have put on your legs running would be jaw-dropping if you were still keeping tally. This means that you don't need to do a crazy number of hours of training each week.


Yes, you need to remind your body what it feels like to go the distance you will on race day. You need to ignite each metabolic system, but training is more like a refresher course than a full-fledged course when you have years of a base under your belt.


3. Focusing on the Little Details: This goes along with racing becoming routine, but with experience, you no longer need to spend time on the more mundane aspects of the sport, and you can put focus on smaller details such as finding the right competitor to draft off in the swim, hitting the turns at higher speeds on the bike and, running the shortest line on the run. These smaller detail skills can save you boatloads of time on your competitors.

4. Adapting to Travel: Many of the races we do require some degree of travel. Especially when traveling across time zones, our body must make adjustments and begin ticking on the new clock. With experience, our bodies learn to adapt more quickly to traveling. We also learn new strategies to improve our ability to adjust to unique situations. With experience, we are no longer playing the guessing game of what will work best for our body, but we know our plan, and our body has gone through this all before.


5. Racing With Injury: Trying to prepare for a race with an injury may be the most challenging thing that one can encounter during race preparation. There is some degree of training that you need to put in to physically be ready to race, but when you train, you often tend to break down and worsen the area of injury. This makes training more of a "management" task than anything else, which can be very mentally challenging.


With experience, you find things that you can do that don't flare up your injury but still help you in some way to be ready on race day. What I have found with injury is that it is much more beneficial to go into a race feeling undertrained and healthy than fully trained and injured. When you have an injury, your body is not working efficiently. Therefore you are wasting a ton of energy compensating for weakness from injury.


You will not really gain anything from training in the last two weeks leading up to a race, so it would be best to lay off whatever bothers it if you have an injury. If you have trained hard and have many years of base, then not running for two weeks before a race to allow for injury healing will help you on race day significantly.


If you are reading this and have years of experience in multisports, these tips should give you confidence when preparing for your next race. If you are a newbie in the sport, don't freak out and feel like you have to spend a ton of money on all of the gear but realize that each day you are gaining experience will help you shave off loads of time in your next race. Be confident in your experience and knowledge, and don't let your mind lead you to believe anything else!

 

Aaron Scheidies is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and licensed Physical Therapist. A graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Exercise Physiology, Aaron has coached World Champion Paratriathletes as well as Ironman World Championship qualifiers.

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