August 18 2017
There's a trick to the madness.
When you have been running and racing all over the world for the better part of 20 years you learn a few things—mostly from a great coach. When I started getting serious about triathlon after exclusively running road races for many years, I decided to hire a coach and I wish I had done it sooner! Even if you can’t afford one, you can take the great advice mine has given me, free of charge.
At a local duathlon event (run/bike/run) back in 2014, my coach was waiting for me in the transition area. As I came into the bike transition from the run I was the first female. My coach was just outside the athlete area and as I mounted my bike she yelled two words to me: Not “You’re first,” but “Have fun.”
I went on to win first overall female (and a sword) and learned a valuable lesson. If you focus on the fun and not the competition, you will win every time.
There are plenty of days when my training plan looks too hard or I just don’t feel I can give 100 percent effort. My coach changed my perspective by telling me to not try to be better than the day before or hold myself accountable to old paces or time goals. If I truly gave my very best for that specific day, it will always be enough.
Show up every day, do your best and leave satisfied.
Training with a heart rate monitor and understanding your heart rate zones may be the single best way to dial in your paces and never look at your watch again. When you train by heart rate, you get intimately familiar with how a Zone 2 (aerobic) effort feels compared to Zone 4 (sub-threshold) and when you need to shift up or down to endure your workout or reach your race goal.
Start by knowing your resting heart rate and then use an internet tool like this one to better understand your zones. Investing in a GPS watch with either a built-in heart rate monitor or one compatible with a chest strap could be one of the best investments you will ever make.