You are here: Home / Contact and Newsletter / 2011/05/22 - Newsletter

2011/05/22 - Newsletter

Annoyances in your training

Oh the little annoyances...

Welcome again to the tri-strides newsletter.
This newsletter focuses on your attitude in training.
Maybe you have come to your favorite lap pool and there was no lap free. You have to share - and maybe you don't really want to share lanes?
Maybe you are peacefully riding your bike and suddenly you see a dog charging at you or you see a dog on one side of your path and its owner on the other - both connected with one of those endless retractable leashes.
Maybe there are kids playing on the bike trail or they are zigzagging their way on their very first (seemingly) bike ride.
Maybe somebody asks you for directions while you are jogging and you are not impolite enough to not answer.
Maybe you have a flat during your bike ride.
Maybe your run is interrupted by a phone call that you have to pick up your kid at school for she just threw up.
Maybe the swimmers in the neighboring lap lanes are splashing wildly at you so that you end up with big gulps of water in your mouth.

These (and more) all are situations you can encounter during your phase of heavy training and one probably is as annoying as the next. But lat's take a closer look at each situation - maybe there is a way for you to reverse their being annoying into being useful?

As for swimming: both scenarios are close to a race situation. In an open water swim (even in some pool triathlons) you swim close to other athletes. You will be splashed, you will have to deal with the waves they make. So there is nothing wrong with practicing this in training. You can use what you trained for: Swim breathing to your non-favorite site to avoid the big gulp of water. Be aware of the other swimmer in your lane so you don't run into him. Deal with the waves he makes. It is perfect race training.

As for the disturbances on the bike: Every of those situations will have you slow down only to later accelerate again. You use your power dynamically. You also learn to be more aware of dangers and will train your reaction and reaction time. I am usually super super slow around dogs (or other animals) on the course for they are really unpredictable. Or - let's say I do not know how predictable they are - some are really good if their owner calls. So I rather stop than risking accidents. Even a small dog running into my bike while I'm on a high speed will get me out of my equilibrium. And the consequences for that dog are even worse - they can be fatal. So I stop and accelerate and use it as accelerating practice.

As for kids on the road - the predictability is similar - depending on the age of the kid. And there is no question that their safety comes before my need for speed. Again, my later acceleration is good power training, which will be even better when the eventoccurs on an uphill slope. You also will improve on your bike handling by navigating around obstacles and by stopping sharply. Take what you get and use it to benefit your training.
The same goes for stop signs. I do see a lot of cyclists ignoring them - as I also see lots of car drivers rolling through. Some cyclists also ignore red traffic lights and pass when they see no car is coming. I might be a stickler for the law here but traffic lights and stop signs are there for a reason. Obey them, please - and again use it as short power burst whithin your training. If the traffic light does not switch you might use the pedestrian switch, though, if there is one. And that really becomes annoying
All flats you might have in training train you for eventualities at a race: fixing flats. The more you do it the faster you become. I had six flats on three different bikes in one Summer - and I was pretty quick that year repairing. Of course you have to make sure you do it right and there is no underlying cause for repeats, e.g. a tack stuck in the outer tire.

The running incidents do exactly the same to you. You feel good if you can help somebody find their way - even when it means you have to pause for a short moment. Your heart rate will go down and you'll have to work it up again. Good training - again. As for your sick child - well, that's something different. You will have to stop your run and get to her school. With some schools you might order a taxi to take her home and you yourself might be able to finish your run so that both of you can arrive at home at about the same time (We have an emergency jar with money for such cases - and the kids know where to take money from to pay the eventual taxi).

So whatever your training throws at you - find a way to make it a benefit to your training, Be positive about those little annoyances - you are still out there, training, right? All those things happening to you will make you a stronger athlete.

Happy training!
Stay tuned for the next issue of this monthly newsletter.

Greetings from your coach's desk
Dr. Sylvia Zinser
USAT Certified triathlon coach, USA Cycling Certified coach