Ron Tribendis, D.C.
My first trip to Kona was in 2006. I considered myself lucky to get there. I didn't really know what I was doing and hadn’t put in what I consider to be appropriate training for an athlete looking to qualify for the World Championships. However, I happily accepted my roll-down slot, went to Kona that year and then quickly realized that if I ever wanted to get back, I was going to need to make some changes.
While following the Olympics in the beginning of the month, I found myself wondering how the athletes who competed in the final days handled the weeks leading up to their events without being distracted by the excitement, hype, and hassle of travel, the Olympic Village, the media and every other disruption. Certainly the seasoned, more experienced athletes have mastered self-management during race-week. Just as certainly, there were some athletes that experienced “self-sabotage” in the weeks or days leading up to their events.
Kona is tough… raising children is tougher.
When Gordo suggested I write this article, I laughed out loud. Who am I to provide advice on this topic? Yes, I qualified for Kona, but I hardly think I’ve mastered the art of juggling preschoolers with Kona goals. On the day I started writing this column, I overslept and missed my run (up all night with a screaming toddler), I ate a less-than-nutritious breakfast with one hand while holding a baby bottle in place and I left the house for work with two kids in hysterics. At some point, I think I passed by my wife and said, "Hi." On second thought, I think we just grunted at each other. The bottom line is that I have no brilliant gem of advice. I feel lucky to be going to Kona this year. So this article really isn’t about “How,” it’s about “Why.”
Mental toughness comes in many forms. Often, mental toughness is defined as the ability to suffer more than the competition during a race.
Years of training, racing and coaching have expanded my perspective of mental toughness. It definitely pays to be mentally tough when you’re 20 miles into the ironman marathon and you feel like you can’t possibly take another step. But mental toughness is needed long before the 20-mile mark, or even the starting line. It is mental toughness that helps to build real, race day fitness.
A few years ago, I traveled to Ironman Brazil. In the Florianopolis airport, I stood waiting for luggage with another athlete… and his wife and five children. I was baffled. I could barely handle the stress of traveling alone and this man brought a huge family to a race. I vowed to find ways to make travel less stressful. I wondered if I could even make it a positive experience that sets me up well for a race. It took several years -- and I’m not fully there -- but I’ve come a long way in reducing travel stress and staying loose in preparation for race day.
When assessing your limiters for the upcoming 2012 season you may find that the solution is not as obvious as you think. Often, the solution to improving upon a limiter comes from an aspect of your life that you hadn’t even considered.
As you may have noticed, EC’s theme for November is recovery. I’ve decided to tie recovery and longevity together because I strongly believe they go hand in hand. Athletes who know how to recover and re-energize from a long triathlon season wind up being around to race at a high level year after year.
With Vegas a few weeks ago and Kona less than a week away, athletes that have qualified are preparing for the big day and the athletes that missed out this year are trying to figure out the right formula for 2012.
At EC, our theme for the past few months has centered on what it takes to be a fast age grouper. Last month I focused on time management with techniques on how to find the time to be fast. This month I’m focusing on what to do once you have the time.
I hesitate to say that I’m an expert on time management, but as the years go on, I’ve become more conscious of time and have managed to develop a few solid techniques. I'm currently training for Vegas 70.3 and Kona. I have a two-year-old and one on the way. I also have two businesses to run. Needless to say, time management is a critical aspect of my life. I have a few things that help me stay on track while training to be speedy and honoring other life desires/commitments.
As you've seen from some of the other EC columnists, this month’s theme is, "All About Gear." I’d like to address my thoughts on technology in our sport since this topic always presents healthy debate.
What you get by reaching your destination is not nearly as important as what you will become by reaching your destination.
With ironman season in full swing, I’m starting to see more tired, injured athletes in my practice. I often hear the phrase, “I can’t wait to get it over with,” or something similar. While I understand that perspective, I have a few beliefs and practices that help keep me motivated beyond my “A” race. The above quote is what ironman has become for me over the years.
Now that the 2011 racing season is in full swing, I was thinking about how long the season actually is and how athletes may be planning to race from early April through November. That is a very, very long season.
So what should you expect from early season racing?
Editor's note: March is "Training Camps" month on Endurance Corner. Last week, Justin Daerr kicked off the theme with his piece on key things to remember going into a camp. Here, Coach Ron shares his tips for how to get the most out of a camp.
In one of my previous articles I wrote about dealing with winter and a couple things to think about: prehab, endurance training and recovery.
Now that you have recovered from last year’s racing season and worked on preparing your body for the trauma 2011 holds, you will likely notice that you are still dealing with the winter. Every year I notice that a little extra discipline is essential to maintain focus until the warm sun shines again. Here are a few things that may be useful to help you get through these last few months of winter.
As we look forward to the new multisport season we often find ourselves examining ways to optimize performance. Over time I’ve discovered that looking forward requires that you look back… at successes, losses and lessons learned.
In examining my 2010 season I was initially conflicted. I didn’t go to any World Championships; I didn’t PR at an Ironman. On paper it doesn’t look like a very successful year. But digging a bit deeper, I realized that it was my best season ever. Here are a few things that made it that way for me. Maybe they can help you as you consider 2011.
Now that winter is fast approaching here in the northern hemisphere we have to start thinking about different strategies to employ in order to get our minds and bodies ready for the spring.
I was reminded of this because, just like every athlete, I tired to hang onto some summer fitness a tad too long and ended up with a nasty head cold and strained calf. Yes, I know I should know better. It reminded me of a great analogy that a good friend shared this year that really got me focused on the little things for this upcoming winter. It reminded me of the shift that needs to happen in the cycle of training from year to year.
“Consider your prehabilitation, endurance training, and recovery like golf balls, sand, and baseballs in a vase…”