by Dave Latourette
This article originally appeared in October, 2012.
Most athletes, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, are winding down their triathlon racing seasons. While many athletes may put their triathlon gear and thoughts away for awhile, the goal driven, performance driven athletes are planning. They are planning the next year or the maybe even the next three years. Although you have some down time from training, do yourself a favor and begin thinking out how you might want to plan next season (more than just the races you sign up for) and potentially the years beyond.
My thoughts below take in a number of ideas I have written about across the past year and there might even be even a few nuggets of new information. Long term goals are like puzzles: it takes a lot of pieces to put together a finished product. For those who want to play, it’s time to empty the puzzle box onto the coffee table.
For some associated reading you may want to read how my personal long term plan played out.
Items To Consider When Planning Long Term
- Equipment - If you feel like you need to make any equipments changes or adjustments that will help you improve your performance, consider starting the process now. You certainly don’t want to be making those changes as you hit key periods of training.
- Nutrition and Body Composition - Take a square look at these factors and decide if and what can be improved. The best plan is to have one that allows you to complete your training and recover successfully on a daily basis.
- Training - Be sure you know ahead of time what your weekly or two week blocks, six week blocks, six month blocks, and year blocks look like. Of course these are all adaptable based on life circumstance but it’s good to have at least a rough draft.
- Racing - Plan your races out accordingly based on with how they affect your key races, training, recovery and overall enjoyment factor. As well, be sure the “goal race” you choose suits not only your physical capabilities but it should also be course and a place you look forward to racing.
- Recovery/Rest - Be sure that this is structured in weekly, by training blocks and across the big picture plan. It should be designed so that you can do the best work you’ve done in the last eight to 12 weeks before your big race.
- Family/Social - The plan you are working on should be shared with your family and possibly your closest friends. If they aren’t aware of what you are trying to do it’s going to be tough to get support when you really need it.
- Motivation - If you are planning a long term goal, it needs to be one that keeps you motivated. If not, you may need to re-think it! As well, the training progression needs to allow for the motivation to stay high across the long term.
- Professional Support - Seek out a coach, coaches, advisors or any resources you trust to help you move more effectively to your goal. Having someone to discuss ideas with and guide you in making small adjustments along the way can help dramatically. Just choose wisely and be sure the resource has experience helping athletes like you move towards a goal like yours effectively.
- Confidence - You’ll have plateaus and sticking points in your process towards the big goal, but if the overall progression of your plan is well laid out, you need to have confidence in the fact that the plan is sound. Too many athletes abandon their plans much too soon in the progression.
Take your time to think it through and be sure give it, and you, the time to develop.
Dave Latourette is a full time triathlon coach living in Santa Rosa, California, who works with athletes from newcomer to elite. His top athletes have won USAT Age Group National Championships and raced in World Championship events that include the ITU World Championship and the Ironman World Championship. You can learn more about Dave and follow him at: TrainToEndure.com, his blog, or on Twitter @dklatourette