What do you think about breaking up the intervals into shorter segments to try to get a lot of the work in but not sacrificing form and focus due to long intervals?
- There is often a difference in the perception of fatigue and the actual physical resources that you have.
- Secondly, we don’t want to pull the pin on hard work every time you get tired. You always have to give the body its chance.
- Just because you’re sleepy at the start of the day and life has got on top of you, it doesn’t mean that you always take the fatigue option. You still go through warm-up and the pre-main set. Quite often, you go on to have a fabulous training session which might be the one originally prescribed.
- If the body is truly cognitively fatigued then there’s a lot of ways to scale. One of the options in some of sessions in the book is to scale down the duration. Don’t go 400’s, go 100’s but do them well to still get the stimulus.
- Then don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel like you’re a failure. You’ve still got some high value out of it.
- Ultimately, carry this mindset of what happened today until tomorrow which is the pragmatic, honest, and reality-based approach where you’re always looking to yield. You’re not looking to pull the parachute every time you get little bit tired.
- Also, on the reverse, don’t just drive yourself off a cliff because that’s written in the plan, because you will end up getting poor training with little value, high propensity for sickness and injury, and great inconsistency.
How do you combine a busy travelling schedule with training?
- We have a whole section in the book around training and travel.
- You can manage or manipulate things like light, the timing of eating and hydration, before, during, and after your travel.
- On top of that is how you actually weave the training, how you organize your days leaving into and coming out of the travel.
- There are two main factors to consider. First, if you’re crossing time zones in your travel, are you aiming to remain on the same home time zone that you left from or do you need to adapt to the new time zone? This is in order to have peak performance.
Other practical training tips to some challenges during travelling like not having access to a bike or pool, and having long workdays
- The first thing is to take a step back. What we try to integrate as a habit to an athlete that is time-starved is planning.
- Normally during a Sunday, planning is where we look at the landscape of the week. If there’s travel coming up, the first thing to do is to plan for it.
- The second thing is that you can’t ignore the stress when you’re traveling. So we try to avoid high intensity or heavy stressful sessions on the day of travel or even the day before.
- On a macro level, if we know that the athlete is away for a week or 10 days and they will not have access to a bike, we modulate the training program. Rather than on focusing on what we can’t do, instead we use this as an opportunity to focus on what we can do.
- The lovely thing about triathlon is that it is one sport comprised of three disciplines – swim, bike, run. The challenge is working with all three disciplines at once. When you can’t ride a bike during travel, it provides you an opportunity to work on your running and put a little running block there and potentially swimming if you have access to a pool.
- It comes back to the overriding thesis of consistency over many months being the most important thing. So one week of no riding is not going to be a factor.
How to balance a big and busy life with training that allows you to achieve what you consider success
- We have to first talk about stress, the big life that we all live, and the immovable factors in life which for most people is work, family and relationships, potentially some travel, and hopefully some form of social life. Then we’re looking to fit in this demanding sport, getting ready for an Olympic distance, half Ironman, and Ironman.
- These are not mutually exclusive, they interact with each other, and they’re all part of a big parcel. So I spend a couple of chapters in the book framing what success is and how we can actually be successful.
- In training we always talk about maximizing your specific training time while yielding positive adaptations. If you can do this in creating sustainable effort, then the net effect is you should improve across all the disciplines.
- We also talk about the impact of stress with the lack of sleep or very good quality of sleep, poor nutrition or really good nutrition, making sure that we’re ready to perform at work and for our family, and everything else that goes along with the big life.
- If we can get this recipe right, the net effect is that not only should you improve in triathlon but also in other factors of your life. You should have more energy in the day with better energy balance. You should have better health profile. It should be easier for you to come to a better body composition, and hopefully you should be happier.
- We have first to explain how this all interacts and what are the key basic or central habits across all of those disciplines that will yield that rather utopian outcome that we talk about.
- This means that we have to discuss and implement proper sleep, fueling, nutrition, hydration, and ultimately all go around in a very simple smart application that is driven by pragmatism and the reality of life.
- This is why we always talk about performance within context.
Final tips from Matt
1. In a utopian mindset, if I’m training a professional triathlete or someone who has absolutely no restrictions in their life and all the time in the world, then I would apply more training hours.
- When I ask an athlete how many hours they would need to get ready to successfully complete or improve their performance in an Ironman, they typically say at least 20 hours a week. It’s simply not true.
- We’ve had multiple age-group world champions in half Ironman and Ironman that have consistently trained 10-11 hours a week. Is this optimal if they didn’t have any other factors in their life? No, I would apply more training. But in the context of their life, it’s absolutely the appropriate dose.
- But all of those athletes we’re very consistent. They were really healthy and fit but fresh when they arrived at their races.
2. The central part of purplepatch outside the normal coaching and providing training programs is education. So there’s a code in the book that opens up access to all of our education. Once you finish the book, you can carry on your education there.
Links, resources and contact
Links and resources mentioned
Connect with Matt Dixon
Connect with host Mikael Eriksson
Hi! I'm your host Mikael,
I am a full-time triathlon coach and an ambitious age-group triathlete. My goal is podium at the Finnish national championships within the next few years.
I first started the website Scientific Triathlon in autumn 2015 as a passion project to share my learnings with a larger triathlon audience. Later on, in early 2017 I started the podcast That Triathlon Show.
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