Spoke ‘n Words: Commitment is key to achieving "big event" goals
Spoke 'n Words
So you registered, and now there is no turning back from your “big event” – the event whose result you care about above all others. The questions is, how do you arrive at the starting line ready to rumble? The answer is simple: Commitment.
The first step is to define your goals for the event. Finishing is always a good place to start, but making your goals detailed will help you train for success.
As an amateur XTERRA off-road triathlete, my focus event for the year is XTERRA Nationals in Snowbasin, Utah. My goals there are threefold: (1) enjoy the event, (2) age-group podium, and (3) run like a madman.
Within each goal, I create a list of milestones to gauge my success in achieving the goals (for example, a goal time for the run). Then, using the ‘big event goals’ as a guide, I commit to a multifaceted training program to achieve them. I break my preparation down into three categories: physical, nutritional and mental.
The physical category is about tailoring a training regimen that balances stress and recovery to acclimate your body for the suffering ahead. If you are like me and are a “working” athlete, then hiring a coach is a great way to take the guesswork out of developing a training plan. Or, use the bounty of training literature available to create your own plan.
The key is committing to a training plan and keeping a consistent schedule. As long as you are realistic about your training volume, in relation to family and professional obligations, the physical aspect of preparation becomes merely an exercise in fatigue management.
The second category, nutrition, is similar to the physical one. There are many books and publications with nutritional advice for athletes, but at the end of the day, you need to figure out what works best for you. A professional nutritionist could be your best bet. For me, however, part of the fun of an epic training day is tucking into a meal without concern. In general, I try not to set up rules regarding nutrition, but do commit myself to restraining from alcohol and caffeine many weeks out from a focus race.
Finally, and most importantly in my race preparation, is tuning the mental faculties. Our Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries team is chock full of athletes who share a common passion for a sport that creates a positive vibe in communications, training and events. In addition, I use personal mental mantras during training sessions, such as “go go daddy-o,” which was my son’s first cheer. This helps break through the anaerobic fog. I also use lower-priority races to keep me focused. I can’t emphasize enough how important developing a positive attitude while training and racing is to top performance.
In the end, the physical, nutritional and mental aspects of your training program are critical to sustaining your commitment and helping you aspire towards your “big event” goals. Train, eat and be merry.
– Team rider Rich Blanco is the author of this week’s Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing column. Cyclepaths/Wild Cherries Racing is a Truckee-based cycling team focused on racing and local bike advocacy.
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