In line with the earlier article I posted, let’s get down to the specifics of what we should try and do during this long preseason. Here are a few tips on how you can make the most out of this time.
Work on your Technique – I always say that there’s no perfect technique but rather, there’s a technique that’s perfect for you. Think of the way we swim, bike, or run like your own handwriting. Each person has his or her own style that is innate and natural. To impose one style is not only very difficult, it’s also counterproductive. There are still ways we can tweak our technique without making it seem awkward or difficult. The most common way of addressing technique is through drills. Give the right drills by observing each person individually.
Build your Strength – You don’t immediately feel the benefits of strength work in endurance sports such as triathlon. Nonetheless, it’s still very important and integral in our development. Despite participating in different sports and performing different movements, we still have our fair share of muscular imbalances and weaknesses and these need to be addressed. When neglected, such imbalances can lead to nagging injuries such as ITB, Plantar Fasciitis, Runner’s Knee, etc. Perform stronger, more efficient movements for longer periods of time as the season progresses with a strong foundation.
Be Patient – Oftentimes, we have this polarized view of training: either we’re pushing ourselves or we’re completely idle. People tend to forget that there’s middle ground that we should emphasize. As Lao Tzu says “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” It’s important we don’t burn ourselves out too quickly. As endurance athletes, we should learn how to pace ourselves, and this also relates to how we view training. Think of this as preseason as a marathon in itself. The goal is to improve gradually over a long period of time; don’t rush things.
Recover – Recovery isn’t necessarily the same as rest; the two are closely related though. Scale back on volume, and keep your load in check. A lot of stressors surround us and we shouldn’t burden ourselves with overtraining. That being said, lack of exercise is another problem. Not only am I talking about health repercussions from lack of fitness (remember, the general consensus is that unfit individuals are at greater risk), I’m also talking about the difficulty of getting back to form once the season starts. You’d probably see a lot of people forcing themselves to race despite being out of shape, and this is another problem in itself. Finally, exercise helps with mental health. Keeping ourselves fit can also help us deal with anxiety, stress, and depression.
Manage your Weight – I don’t mean to emphasize that lighter is better, rather, just make sure you’re eating healthy and managing your calorie intake. “Quarangain” is a popular term now and this shouldn’t be taken lightly (pun intended). Sedentary lifestyles, bad eating, and huge amounts of stress are dangerous by themselves, put them together and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s easy to stress eat and pig out during this time but remember to take care of yourself.
I always tell my athletes that time is the only commodity you can neither multiply or replace. That being said, try and avoid wasting your time. This pandemic took away a lot of from us but this also created opportunities we can fill in. With the extra time we have now, it’s good to focus on the basics I outlined earlier. You’ll have a bigger chance of mounting a strong comeback next year!