“It’s not the will to win but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.”
- Paul William “Bear” Bryant
During his 25-year tenure as Alabama’s head coach, Bryant amassed six national championships and thirteen conference championships. Upon his retirement in 1982, he held the record for most wins as head coach in collegiate football history with 323 wins.
His statement about preparation is a great quote, and speaks to a crucial topic for us, as triathletes. Race day is not the most difficult day. It’s those days that you have to get out of bed when you’re tired, unmotivated, and trying to tell yourself that missing today’s workout really won’t make a difference in the bigger picture. Those are the difficult days. Those workouts do make a difference, but more than that, it’s the will to push through it that will make a difference on race day. Even though we spend an extraordinary amount of time preparing our bodies for the task, when we’re pushing toward the finish, we must be mentally strong. We prepare mentally using the same methods we do for our physical preparation: practice and repetition. We must always be intentional in our preparation, and be consistent.
These concepts are easier talked about than actually done, of course. To maintain this mental focus, there are many important factors, such as proper structure and predictability to your training, good nutrition, rest, and the support of friends and family, which cannot be underestimated. Who helps keep you motivated? Who listens as you recite your workout stats, brag about a new threshold power value, or gives you kudos for sticking to your training schedule, despite whatever difficulties you may be encountering? Whoever that is, go thank them. We need support, as endurance athletes, to maintain that motivation.
Here we are, having completed Week 10:
Base period 1 is done! It’s exciting to complete milestones on the way to that big goal later in the year. It was a good week. I’m giving myself a B this week, because I missed a very important workout. At the end of a period, like where we are now, it’s important to measure progress by performing some testing. I was supposed to do a lactate threshold test (running) on Friday, but after a long swim, I ran out of time. I’m not sure if I’ll do the test this week or wait until the end of Base 2 (which is more likely). I’m due for another test down at the Colorado Center for Health and Sport Science (COCHSS). That’s where I’ve performed my VO2 max testing in the past. I used their exercise bike for the test last time, but this next time, we’re going to do the test on my bike, on the trainer, using my PowerTap and Garmin, so we can measure those results against the test equipment. Should be interesting. When we get the results, we’re going to calculate the zones based on multiple methods, and see where we end up. I’m very hopeful that the upper limits of each zone will have increased since I did my last formal test on December 31st. I can certainly feel a higher level of fitness, in that I can push more power for the same heart rate than I could back in December/January. I’ll keep everyone posted on the results.
I get an A- this week for nutrition. I ate very well, but I didn’t take in enough calories to sustain the training program. My Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is currently 1,855 calories. Therefore, I have to eat at least that many calories, plus however much I exercise, to remain at a balanced weight. I understand there’s much more than just calories that is part of that equation, but very simply speaking, that’s the math. Last week I averaged a deficit of more than 200 calories per day. From a nutrition perspective, that could impact my training, especially as I get into higher intensity exercise, which will require more glycogen. Have to keep the fuel tank full!
As always, thanks for reading, and Train On!!