Recently the majority of the athletes in the TTE team had their first races of the season. Though most of the squad did some single sport races in the winter, these were the first races being used as a launching pad for later season “key” races. It’s often said the “proof Is in the pudding”, or in this case it’s the chance to go out and race hard, learn some “stuff” and gain valuable fitness for the rest of the season. In the days leading into those races I made a comment that read; “Don’t be afraid to learn!” Considering the first race of the year exposes us all (coach and athlete) to a variety of items that need to be addressed, the athletes took that statement to heart.
After the dust had settled from the weekend, I asked the team a series of pointed questions to help them evaluate their own hard day of racing. Not only did I ask them to answer some questions, but I’ve asked them to keep the email thread so it can used for reference before their next event. When I started getting replies it was a pleasure to see how many of them had really taken the time to review their days and make thoughtful comments. The best part of this process is, it allows us to make adaptations and solve “problems” together!
Even though there were many good performances we had a wide variety of realizations and adaptations that need to be made between now and next time we toe the line. The following is a sample of what I saw, maybe some of these will hit home with you:
+ Execute my swim workouts better (don’t underestimate the swim)
+ Be more organized during the transitions
+ Smarter self seeding for the swim
+ More pre race fuel
+ Adapt bike position
+ Stick to the bike pacing plan 100%
+ Run the first ¼ of the run easier
+ “Too easy a pace on the bike yielded a far superior run” (I'd like to call this 'running to ability')
+ “ I was able to pace and fuel the bike well even though my watch stopped working”
+ “I need to be more self sufficient during the race”
As you can see there are a wide variety of areas to be addressed and corrected for the future, and these don’t even take into consideration the training changes that I need to make as a coach.
My advice? Do some HONEST self evaluation … write it down … share it with someone … put a plan in place to correct what needs correcting … then, review your list periodically. The fact that early season races expose us is not a bad thing at all, in fact, it’s good. It’s how you react to it that matters.
Have a great 2011 ... DL