Endurance sports require a perfect blend of volume and intensity. Our competitive edge always tries to eke out a bit more out of our training to be faster. More often, that actually harms our progress instead of gaining momentum. In part 1 of the article, I shared some of the biggest training mistakes you should avoid. Here are a few more to add to that list.
Everything is hard before it is easy. – Goethe
Mixing up a healthy diet with eating disorder
There’s a misconception that dieting is not eating or reducing food intake. Cutting out whole food groups, obsessive about caloric intake, or prioritizing a particular food or nutrient shouldn’t be mistaken for healthy eating. Nutrition is a very complex topic and one of the most common training mistakes.
How or what you should eat depends totally on your training goals. Are you training for an IRONMAN? Then your diet must include a healthy dose of carb, protein, and fat to perform optimally. Are you in-between seasons and taking a break? If so, reduce your food intake slightly from your peak training diet but not by much. The effect of calories depends mostly on what you eat at what point of time.
Skipping meals totally or crash dieting can hamper recovery. You’ll feel week and sometimes unable to perform workouts at prescribed intensities. It also slows down metabolism and promotes even more fat storage. Having a cheat meal once a week is actually a good thing if you’re at peak training phase. Be smart about your food choices, don’t make your life miserable.
Do you sneak in a workout when it’s not scheduled? I know, I’m guilty of doing that in many cases and most of the time I regretted later on. A proper training schedule is there for a reason, to perform the workouts at their intended goals without compromising the other sessions. Hence, adding an extra workout without thinking through can actually do more harm than good.
The same can be said pre-planned workout also. It’s tempting to prolong a 90-minute session to a 120-minute session if you find yourself having some extra time but that will add extra stress and you risk overtraining. Before you decide to increase the duration or intensity, consider the factors such as your training goals, how you recover, how it’ll help you, etc.
Trust your coach and the training plan. Remember that, on days that it’s scheduled, rest is your part of your training. Otherwise, training mistakes will pile up.
Being too rigid
Most of us aren’t pro athletes hence we have other priorities to fulfill. It’s practical to miss workouts due to those obligations. The same can happen if you’re sick or suffering from a niggle. When such things happen, it’s easy to beat yourself up mentally, after all, no one wants to deviate from the plan.
When such situations happen, just let go of your anxiety and stress. A missed workout once in a while isn’t the end of the world. Take it positively as a rest day and tackle the next one properly. Also, it’s paramount that your training plan is flexible. A rigid schedule with no leeway between sessions can make things hard to maintain and you’ll miss more workouts more often. Make sure your plan Is fluid and adaptable.
Ignoring working on techniques
Efficiency is key in endurance sports and developing good techniques is an important way to reduce energy cost. Unfortunately, most triathletes do minimal technique work in the pool and almost none on the bike or during running
Allocate a specific amount of time for technique building every week for swimming, cycling or running. Concentrate on your form when you perform your workouts. Even better, if you can assess your action through a coach or physical therapist. In that way, you can modify yourself according to their suggestions.
Lack of goals and progression
A lot of the time, amateur athletes train randomly or without any specific goals. That’s one of the key training mistakes I see more often. There isn’t any magic formula for endurance training. You must set a goal, be patient and train progressively to have success.
When you plan your routine, you must ask yourself the question “Why” and “How”. Why you’re planning? How it’ll help you? If you aren’t clear about those objectives, most of the time those training turns out to be junk.
When you plan your interval sessions, make sure they are at the right intensity with the right progression. The same goes for long sessions. It’s even worse to do the same type of sessions and reach plateau. You just can’t vary your sessions haphazardly.
Break your training into phases and move step by step from your present state to the expected state on the race day. your training should include a base phase, a build phase, a peak phase, and finally a taper phase. Sequence the various types of training according to the phases so that they converge to the goal that you’ve set for your target event.
If you see yourself in any of the five training mistakes that I have talked about here, try the fix I suggest. It’s natural that you want more fitness return on your training investment. If you really want to do that, be smart about your training. Focus on How and Why you want to suffer rather than how much.
If you have missed part 1 of the article, please click here to read.