As the 2014 season approaches this is a great time to sit down and think about some basic but all too common training mistakes. Here are my top 8 mistakes to avoid in 2014.
8. Skipping your post workout meal:
All too often, athletes forgo the post workout or race meal. This is a big mistake and one that usually leads to very slow recovery phases. Do yourself a favor, find a recovery drink that works well for you and drink it within the crucial 30 minutes after your workout. This will get you on the fast track to a full recovery and since it is a drink, you will be able to enjoy your recover meal no matter where you are.
7. Not resting on your rest day:
I hear this all the time, “I felt good on my rest day so I just skipped it”! This type of training approach can lead to burn out and sub-par training sessions. Rest days are important and should be considered an important part of any athletes training schedule. The problem with skipping a rest day is that it does not allow for adequate rest which will then affect your performance on intense training days.
As your fitness increases, your rest days will become less frequent, all the more reason to take advantage of your rest days.
6. Training largely off of miles:
I spoke about this in detail in one of my past posts. The general idea is not to get too involved with the idea of training miles because it can lead to a decrease in training quality. Concentration should be on quality and not quantity; this will also make your training time efficient which is a huge plus for those with busy schedules.
5. Training off of others:
Training off of others is an easy mistake to fall into. I like to think of this as co-pilot training. What happens is you slowly start to change your personal training plan to fit in with others, a mistake that can make it hard to excel beyond the fitness of those around you. In moderation, this is not that bad but once it turns into a weekly habit it is time to make some changes.
To keep things social while staying on your individual plan simply work your training into your ride with others. Do not be afraid to tell your training partner or people in a group that you will be going easy at times and hard at others in order to stick with your training, they will understand!
4. Only training your strengths:
At times it is really hard not want to train only your strengths. After all, when you go out for a training session that plays to your strengths you naturally feel better about your training time. This is a hard mistake to break since your body and your mind will want to go with what they do best.
To make the most out of your training, make sure you are putting in enough time working on your weaknesses. Stay away from picking training rides that only play to your strengths, if you know you need to become a better climber, schedule some climbing days. The idea is to improve enough on your weaknesses that they just become secondary strengths. As one of my former coaches would tell me “train your weaknesses and race your strengths”.
3. Training with old target zones:
Training is an ever changing process. As such, you should stay on top of your training zones and make changes with your fitness levels. Neglecting to update your training zones can lead to over and under training. Try to revise your zones once every three months; this will keep you training in the correct zones for your fitness.
2. Neglecting to lay-out a proper season plan:
This is a mistake that is easy to avoid but sadly, all too many people fall victim to it. Creating a proper season plan and trying your hardest to stick with it, will improve your fitness and performance.
A proper season plan will have specific goals for events and training. Make sure to be as specific as possible when laying out your season goals “do well in a road race” means nothing when compared to “finish top 5 in cat 2 race at Holly Ridge Road Race on April 20”. Laying out a good season plan is one step that will also help you avoid some of the other mistakes on this list. Do yourself a favor and start laying out your 2012 season plan as soon as you can.
1. Forgetting to have fun:
Remember back to when you started your sport of choice, what was it that hooked you? For most people, their answer will include the word “fun”. Sadly, few people will use that same word to describe their current training in the same sport! Training will not always be fun but with a little effort it can certainly be fun most of the time.
Try to mix fun elements into your training whenever possible. This can take form in various ways, for some they might have a few dirt roads they can jump onto during a long road ride; others might find it fun to do some swimming drills with the local college swim team. Whatever makes you smile during your training is well worth incorporating into your schedule.
Staying true to the “Fun” that hooked you to your sport of choice is crucial to your life as an athlete. Forgetting to have fun will lead most people to walking away from sports, something that should be avoided at all cost.