It’s next year

Many people still have not sat down and thought about what needs to be done to go faster in 2010. Do I need to swim more, bike more or run more? Where am I weak compared to my competitors? Do I need more long rides or runs? Maybe I should do more speed work?

Too many people will never answer these questions. Instead they will continue to do the same type of training as they did before. They will wonder why they still can’t run under 1:35 in a half ironman. They will stick with the same program that got them the results they are currently complaining about. Much to a planner’s delight.

Too many will take off the time between now and January. They will run half of what they normally would, which in itself, is half of what they really need. Their bike will sit collecting dust in the garage. Goggles will dry rot from sitting in the trunk for the next 2 months. Their idea of working out is running from the car to the coffee shop.

When their first race rolls around, they will wonder why they got their ass kicked (again) and roll out the excuses. I’ve been slacking on my training (duh, we see your race result), I’m doing base training, I haven’t done any speed work, my long run isn’t up there yet, my build phase starts next week.

Their failure to plan will be your benefit. Their inability to see the long view their demise. They will spend all season playing catch up, only to fall further behind. You can use their strengths to your advantage, while your weaknesses won’t benefit them.

Now compare this to an age group swim team. Their coach plans their season. They don’t take lots of time off transitioning from long course to short course and back to long course swim seasons. They swim 46-48 weeks per year. A week here, two weeks there are their only breaks. Then it’s back into the water. They address things that help them become more efficient early in the season, doing drills, high velocity swimming, working their turns. Making the little things that are crucial to success a habit. They then progress into their training program. Sprinters now train one way, distance swimmers another. Once the championship part of their season rolls around they start tapering. There is no panic about trying to squeeze in this type or that type of workout in. No distress because they have to race in three weeks. The work is done, it’s time to go fast. They don’t hope they have a good race, they just wonder how much faster it will be then early in the season.

2009 was the year where if you wanted an age group Kona slot, suddenly you needed to be 10-15 minutes faster to get that slot. Where elite run times dropped 2-3 minutes over the half distance. Before you could go around 9:30 and give yourself a chance to go to Kona. Now, you are so far out of it, you have to hope the roll down rolls down past the normal roll down roll down. If you are an elite, you used to be able to stay in the top 10 with a 1:22 run. Now all you are doing is counting butts as they pass you by. 53 is the new 55 for the IM swim.

Are you doing the work now to insure success? Are you objectively evaluating yourself, your training and your habits to make yourself a success? A good way to insure failure is to fail to plan. Fail to look at yourself in the mirror. Fail to tell yourself you need to change. Fail to have the balls to actually make those changes.

Now is next year. Now is the time to make the tough decisions about yourself, your life, what you want to accomplish in sport for 2010. Are you starting to do the little things that lead to success? Are you taking a big picture view with your planning? Have you even thought about getting out the door to train this year for next year? Is your rate of change outstripping everyone else’s? Or would you prefer counting people’s butts as they run by?

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