Focus Your Efforts
by Vince Matteo
Prior to working with a coach, I really had no clue as to how to train. Back then, I did whatever, whenever and however.
But despite being clueless, I knew deep down that I would need to hire a coach to move beyond the bottom of the pack.
Shortly after hiring a coach, I became familiar with the fundamentals of triathlon training and the positive results were almost immediate.
I became energized and I wanted more -- more training and more racing.
In a frenzy of excitement, I whipped out my credit card and I began signing up for events:
The races were mixed up across the season and when I sat down with my coach to strategize a plan, she explained that we should prioritize my race schedule.
I'm certain at that point I had a puzzled look on my face because she asked: "You do understand race priorities... right?"
Still looking puzzled, she began explaining A, B and C races and then she asked me to assign priorities to each of them.
"They are all 'A' races", I declared.
Clearly, I did not understand. Or at least I didn't understand within the context of my goals. At the time, my goal was to be successful at ironman. In fact, that goal has never changed and it still remains near the top.
Fast-forward to the present and when I look at that list of races, I would shorten it to only include the two half and full iron distance events. Everything else would be gone.
If your goal is to do a bunch of races, then there is nothing wrong with having a mixture of events and distances. My goal, however, is to be successful at Ironman. So when I think about my goal and I consider the
In summary, the lost training time, required recovery time and the potential for injury do not outweigh what I consider to be little, if any, benefit.
Now as far as prioritizing what remains, it's fairly simple -- the half iron distance events are B races which essentially means I taper very little in an attempt to maximize training time and the iron distance events are obviously A races.
This approach aligns well with my lengthy list of goals, but at the top of the list is:
Speaking of which -- I've qualified for Kona in each of these past three years and people are often curious about my training and racing as they pursue their on Kona dreams.
I was chatting with a friend the other day and I explained to her that I felt she could qualify for Kona if she focused her efforts.
Without even thinking, she blurted out, "Do you know what it takes to qualify for Kona?!?"
I chuckled and at that moment, I think she realized what she had just said.
I replied, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I've got that figured out."
Vince is an experienced ironman competitor and multiple-time Kona-qualifer. You can follow him on his blog at felog.net and on Twitter @felog.