Expectations, Training and Racing

Like a lot of triathletes, I can be a fan boy to some of the best athletes in the world racing this sport. We appreciate the accomplishments of these athletes because we understand first hand the amount of dedication that is required to be world class. Many of us read athlete race reports and we vicariously live out their race experiences from our cubicles at work while munching down our lunch. My level of fan boy however has even extended to some elite age group athletes. Perhaps it is because these are athletes that are holding down a 9 - 5 just like me that makes me want to read up on what they are doing. One such athlete was retelling his Kona experience in an interview to a well known triathlon website. He framed his second place Kona performance by saying "I did the best that I could on the day, and that is all we can ask. And turns out my best that day was good enough for 2nd place in my AG – tough to complain about that!"

So many people might read that and think, "well what's not to like about getting on the podium?" And while that is true, to those who have landed a podium spot in a race you understand that it's never as satisfying as the top spot of the podium. Perhaps Ricky Bobby said it best when he said "If you are not first, you are last."

But in all seriousness, I began to think more about this statement and I began to apply it to my training. Last year my third son began to walk and he was EVERYWHERE. As all parents would understand, the older my child got, the more responsibility my wife and I have to him. And so last year I began to see my training hours go down. It's hard to process that as a very driven athlete wanting to chase the podium at every race. But the reality was that no podium finish would replace my time with my sons. I needed to learn how to be content with how much I could train and the results that training would produce. 

So I took these words from this athlete and began to apply it to my training as well as my racing. I have so many hours a week to train. Those training hours translate to a race, and ultimately a finish time. I've learned to accept that my 8 - 10 hours a week of training will have to stand against other peoples 16 - 18 hours of training, or in other cases 6 - 8 hours of training. Whatever my finishing time will be, I've learned to embrace that I finished as best as I could with 8 - 10 hours of training per week. If that's good enough for a podium spot, fantastic. If it isn't, that's great too. I know I went out and did the best I could do, and that's all I can ask of myself. I'm guilty of training envy as I see my friends putting in training hours I wish I had, but that's not my reality. It may never be my reality again. And that is OK. 

As you and your Coach work through your goals for the season be sure to set your expectations properly. Sports commentator Jason Whitlock said that happiness is a direct result of your expectations. If your expectations are a 16 hour training week, but your calendar only supports 10 hours, then you will never be happy. Set the right expectations for your training and racing. Once set, go out and crush your training and racing! When you've done this you will truly be happy with your performance. Put your training, racing and results in their proper place and have an awesome 2018 race season. 

Still need a Coach for the 2018 season? Contact Us at South Bay Multi Sport and we will help bring out your best on race day.