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Commitment Over Talent

Triathlon is much more than swim, bike, run. Whether you are focusing on a Super Sprint, a Standard or an Iron Distance there are no quick fixes to meeting your potential. Of course, it helps greatly if you can run a sub 35 minute 10k or swim a 19 minute 1500m before you take up the sport, but talent in one discipline (or even all three) does not necessarily make a successful triathlete.

In the years that I have been coaching, I have been lucky enough to work with some really talented triathletes. What working with these athletes has taught me is that it is not those with the most talent who tend to make it to the top. You can interpret ‘top’ at any level you like, the principles are the same at a novice level, an age grouper level or an elite level. The athletes who excel within their club, their region, or their country show not only physical strength and ability, but importantly, they possess a mental aptitude for unwavering commitment.

These triathletes leave little to chance, their success is never by accident; it comes through careful planning, diligent training and a positive mental state.

They eat well, they sleep well and they listen to their bodies. Whilst having the latest gadget to boost performance may interest them they are secure in the knowledge that their potential for success goes much deeper. They are in it for the long term.

So what lessons can we learn from the behaviour of highly motivated, committed triathletes?

  1. Set your goals carefully for each season and make sure that these goals mean something to you. Choose a goal that is realistic based on the time you have available to train.

  2. Work backwards from your goals to build your training plan.

  3. Ensure that your plan is specific to you, your lifestyle and your ability - consider your sporting background, injury hisory, family commitments and the type of job you do

  4. Have trust your training plan!

  5. Regularly review where you are and if any changes are needed - enlist a coach or a 'critical friend' to help you.

  6. Join a club, get a coach, find friends to train with or get friends to follow you on Strava if you struggle to get out on your own. Feeling accountable to someone can be a powerful motivator.

  7. Ensure your family and friends underst.and your commitment to your goal

  8. Be self-aware – don’t over train, and protect yourself from injury.

  9. If you do get injured, seek professional advice.

  10. Work hardest on your weaknesses.

  11. Don’t get distracted or intimidated by others - believe in yourself

  12. Use positive self-talk when times get tough.

  13. Focus on the positives and not the negatives. Think about your desire for success, not your fear of failure.

  14. Prioritise health and recovery.

  15. Learn from each experience and come back each season fitter, faster and stronger!!!

Adapted from an article published in Triathlon Plus 2016, written by Kate Offord.

Kate is a BTF Level 3 Performance Coach, Co Owner of Smiling Tri Coach, Head Coach at Manchester Triathlon Club and Coach Educator at British Triathlon Federation.



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