Hard Learned Secrets
What is the most important focus of your cycling training or endurance training for triathlon? I bet you’re focused on crossing that finish line. And you probably want to cross the finish line gracefully.
So, the main focus of your endurance training is that weekly long workout – the long ride, the long run, or the long swim. Or maybe all three!
Why? We all need to convince ourselves that we can go the distance!
Novice triathletes often fret over being able to swim the distance of that first race without stopping to hold on to the side of the kayak. A runner training for that first marathon wants to know that s/he can break through “the wall” that all the veterans talk about. The cyclist wants to avoid the embarrassment of the “sag wagon”. Our primary focus is to go the distance, to cross the finish line – to endure!
Here is the secret to going the distance:
Execute the next stride or stroke perfectly.
...And then execute the next one perfectly.
On my endurance training journey from “Turkey Tri” My First Sprint Triathlon to Hawaii Ironman in 11 months, I was obsessed with going the distance – one-hundred-and-forty-point-six-miles to be exact. Sure, I already had a few marathon finisher’s medals around my neck, and I could swim the 2 miles across Kealakekua Bay to Captain Cook’s monument and back without stopping and without panicking in the middle of the 600-foot deep bay.
However, cycling training was new to me. I was very concerned about prefacing a marathon with a 112-mile bike ride in a wind-swept lava desert. So I devoted every Saturday – regardless of how I felt – to serious endurance training. I saddled up for another agonizing and painful 5-to-7 hour bike ride. And the cycling training wasn't enough. I followed that with 4-to-10 mile run out by the legendary Energy Lab. Every Saturday.
It didn’t matter how fatigued I was, how burned out I felt. This was endurance training! I had to prove to myself that I could still go the distance. I persevered the relentless winds out on the legendary Queen K Highway. And late every Saturday afternoon, I returned home weary, but with slight reassurance that I could still do it. While it was great mental training, the cumulative effect was devastating to my body.
It was my obsession with going the whole distance of the race – 140.6 miles – that finally led to my near-demise – Chronic Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome five weeks before Hawaii Ironman. You don’t have to go there.
Remember, just execute the next stride or stroke perfectly.
I have learned the hard way. There is a more intelligent way to train, and still cross the finish line gracefully, even if that finish line is 140.6 miles away.
There are three crucial elements to endurance training that you need to consider - besides going the distance.
Now that I have discovered and integrated these three elements, I know that endurance training and long distance cycling training is not simple math: I do not train for a triple iron triathlon by tripling the swim, bike and run mileage that I do for a single iron-distance triathlon.
(By the way, a double iron is still “small potatoes” – there are Deca Iron Triathlons! For more on training for ultra triathlons, read about my recent endeavor, the 2012 Triple Ultra).
Are you ready to look at those three elements crucial to endurance training?
Two Training Triangles examines two principles that will help you to train intelligently and avoid over-training.
Beyond Energy System Training Zones offers a unique, engaging approach to endurance training that goes beyond "the numbers".
The Exercise Physiology Triangle looks at the three physiological systems we train as athletes, and how to maximize your training results.
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