Before reading the rest of this blog have a listen to Bob Babbit’s interview with Sebastian Kienle
That’s what we are. Volume monkeys. As endurance athletes we’ve chosen an event which is challenging in distance. So of course our training plan has to include alot of volume (ie:distance and time). The bigger your base the better and that’s the truth but here’s what a lot of us are doing wrong and I’ll let you know how to do it right.
A few common mistakes.
- Comparing your training volume to someone else
- Ignoring the bodies’ warning signs and being tied to the program
- Ignoring your age
- Your intensity is too high
- Letting your training volume influence your racing mindset
Comparing your training to someone else
I’ve put this number 1 because that’s the main topic of conversation I think athletes have together and also with themselves. “I did 20hrs of training this week… I only did 10hrs of training this week” etc. Total hours of training per week does not take into account the vast array of other metrics involved in a training week. What about work hours, deadlines at work, sleep hours, how much of weekly hours was swim v bike v run? Did you do hills, track work etc. We often have this big pissing contest between one another to see who can do the most hours and we equate that to who will perform best on race day. That’s not necessarily the case.
Your intensity is too high
I’ve developed my own new personal mantra which is “I only go fast on my terms.” Developing the volume/base is all about low intensity training, but a lot of it. Don’t get caught up in training groups that go out to smash each other every time they train. Try and be disciplined and save your ‘fast’ for the sessions that matter.
Ignoring the bodies’ warning signs and being tied to the program
Ticking off every session in your program is no doubt going to leave you in great condition come race day. But sometimes you’ve got to heed the bodies’ warning signs and allow yourself that ‘out’ to save yourself from injury or becoming burnt out. It could be that you’re resting heart rate is too high, a niggle has popped up, or you just can’t hit the session goals that day. Sometimes it’s best to listen to the body and just pull the pin on the workout. But just make sure you can differentiate between being ‘soft’ and having a genuine issue and hold yourself accountable.
Ignoring your age
It’s simple. As you get older you can’t do as much and you don’t recover as quickly as you did when you were 19. You’ve got to be more strategic with your volume and pacing and place a lot more emphasis on recovery into your program.
Letting your training volume influence your racing mindset
For me this is a big one. You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit. My approach to racing is 2 steps. Step 1 is your first time at a race/event distance and you go out to finish and try your best. Step 2 is all about pushing your limits, going for it and worry about the consequences later. You’ve spent all these hours training, money spent on swim squads, equipment, race entry etc so what’s the point coming away with a mediocre result. If you’ve laid down some good consistent training but you’ve had some hiccups here and there, don’t let that influence your determination to have a good solid crack on race day.
Train smart and be focused