Over the past three weeks I have laid out what I consider to be the key components that can lead to success in reaching your goals as a triathlete.
Some of these components, such as your genetic make-up and physiology and mental toughness are not so easy to work on but the final component is one you really can work on — and that is “maintenance”.
Maintenance is too often overlooked by triathletes who would rather be out on the bike than working with an exercise ball.
Maintaining your body is at least 50 per cent successfully meeting your goals and generally avoiding sickness or injury.
Maintenance means principally:
• Working on strength (core strength is so key).
• Improving your biomechanics, which can be as simple as getting shoe orthotics or improving flexibility or muscle balance.
• Having a proper diet, which I have discussed in previous articles, and getting enough sleep.
A strength-and-stretching programme should be a component of your weekly schedule and in the off season you should work on weaknesses.
Have regular blood tests, especially if you feel constantly fatigued or get a lot of colds or wheezing or sneezing, which could be caused by the onset of asthma or allergies, both of which can affect performance but are very treatable.
Make sure your swim, bike and run biomechanics are optimal to avoid injuries from poor swim technique, poor running gait or improper bike positioning.
Sessions with a swim coach, a run biomechanics analysis and a bike fit at a bike store are all very worthwhile.
Also, change your run shoes regularly and avoid stressing injuries. I know of many athletes whose injuries have become chronic because of their obsession with getting their training in no matter what.
When injured follow your rehab programme (such as stretching) religiously.
Eat properly for the type of training you are doing (see previous columns) and try to stay at your optimal weight. Finally, make sure you get enough sleep.
Some things you can’t control (such as your genetics and to some extent your physiology) but there is much you can do to become a better triathlete.
Look after your body, plan and be consistent and you will soon see the benefits in your races.