Focus is your friend

If you’re a triathlete, you know already that each workout must be quality and have focus. As opposed to single sports cyclists and runners, you won’t have time to squeeze in ‘junk miles’.

Any chance I get, I like to remind athletes of three questions you MUST be asking yourselves before you carry out a workout:

1. What is this workout for?
2. Which TWO metrics am I using to carry out the workout?
3. How do I know if I succeeded at the workout?

A good example is a simple 45-minute recovery ride. This workout could have been placed in your programme to flush out the legs, encourage some cadence drills or just to give you time in the saddle to challenge the mind and test the patience.

Let’s say the two metrics are time and intensity: 40 Minutes within Zone 1 Power. If an athlete rides for 90 minutes, they didn’t succeed. If they spent half the session sweating profusely and puffed-out, they didn’t succeed. It sounds simple, but I see it in the pool during recovery week time and time again.

As a side note, I have written elsewhere about the importance of TWO metrics being used for any workout. If anyone has a simple “run 10km” in their programme they need to be asking for more detail. And then… “what is this workout for?”

Athletes need to be asking questions regardless, and I was recently asked about my blog email that discussed stretching (or not). I love this. I talk a lot and share papers from around the world on various topics, but do my very best to make sure the papers have a wide range of citations from other trustworthy sources (University research, large control groups etc.). 

The conversation I had was around ballet dancers and how – although they are not classed as athletes – they are incredibly prone to injury, and are very often seen stretching A LOT. I even have an ex-ballet dancer on the books now, so it was good to talk with her about the topic at the weekend too!

My instinct was to dig around to see what was going on outside of the realms of sport and I found this article:

The comment that really stuck in my mind was this one about the 2016 Olympics:

“You used to see sprinters stretching their hamstrings before the race. And almost inevitably, one of them would tear a hamstring during it. In the most recent Olympics you saw them doing dynamic warm-ups, jogging, keeping their body warm – they’d probably done some strengthening and dynamic stretching quite a while before the race, so immediately pre-race it’s about keeping their heart rate up, all their muscles warm and their body active, but without any extreme range of movement.”

Sue Mayes, physiotherapist.

She has a point, right? I can actually remember seeing such things on the track. I love the sugar reference too.



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