by Alex Thompson
Congratulations, the hard work has paid off, you've climbed through the field and now you're finishing 30 minutes behind the Kona qualifiers in your age group. Where do you go from here?
When I've focused on finish time I've compromised my training. I've trained at speeds I'd like to be able to hold, not speeds I can hold; leading to less volume or inconsistencies. What’s worked for me is taking my metaphorical magnifying glass out, pin pointing the exact things that will make me improve, then putting everything into it. I focus on doing it right, and don’t worrying about how long it takes.
I'm in that area just behind the Kona qualifiers -- it’s an interesting place to be. There’s a lot of variety in body types and splits. Swim times may vary by more than 20 minutes, run times by more than an hour! Everyone has different weaknesses and it’s important to understand what you need to do. I've had to overcome many different weaknesses. I'll share two of the big ones.
To put on weight, I hit the gym hard. I picked a tough gym, guys were deadlifting sets of five reps at 400kg! Those guys taught me to squat right. I also focused on my diet. I'm not a natural big eater, but ate almost whenever I felt I could fit food in my mouth. I drank milk after I was full, and protein and oat shakes in the night. Good quality food, in an informal "zone diet" balance. In 18 months I got to 82kg at 12%, right in time to lean up for race season.
Find your faults, work tirelessly and patiently towards achieving your targets. Nothing happens over night, and Kona isn't going anywhere, so you might as well enjoy the journey.
Alex has been a triathlete since 2005 and has competed several ironman and ultra distances races. He is currently working towards making the transition from age group athlete into the pro ranks. He has been working closely with Alan Couzens for the last two years to achieve his goal. You can follow Alex's progress through his blog, TriOnTrack.