Posted by on Jan 7, 2017 | No Comments

T3 – Tools To Triumph

There is always room for improvements.

But, we need to be willing to take a deliberate practice approach. There are many people who need to experience how much they can change if they are willing to invest into directed training and coaching.

When I am willing to do the work that is needed to refine my skills and conditioning I lay the foundation for success. Knowledge is not enough, – we also need to know how to apply this knowledge to get what we want. Many people have an idea of how to get to the end goal, but I wonder whether they really do the right things to get there.

An experienced and dedicated teacher/coach can help those individuals with guidance, support, knowledge and constructive feedback. The coach can set deliberate challenges that improve his/her students’ skills and enforce an attitude of overcoming setbacks and to “never give up”. It’s important to provide people with opportunities, which they can actually understand, and goals they can work towards to.

When I am willing to do the work then I can move toward a more fulfilled life.  As I do the work the motivation will come because I feel the success.

Coach: Torsten Abel T3 'transitioning to the next level'

Coach: Torsten Abel
T3 ‘Transition to the next level’

A training stimulus can be achieved through

  • Intensity
  • Volume, ie extension of distance/duration

This means that we need to vary training to accomplish fitness gains on a physical level (muscular & metabolic system), but also mental level (confidence, mental stamina, ability to focus and concentrate for many hours if needed based on length of challenge).

We always need to push ourselves a little bit further to improve and to release chemicals in the body that trigger a response which then leads to growth after proper recuperation time. It is true that we’ve got to stretch our body & minds with key workouts, but doing it too frequently or at wrong times can lead to diminishing returns and potentially disaster.

We also have to understand that training or racing for that matter is not always what drives us, but the rewards that follow when we completed and reached the end of a task. We also tend to enjoy the sensations that come when we have conquered challenging workouts, or when we have overcome a lack of willpower. We all love to finish races, brag about it. Who doesn’t love to stand on the podium, hear compliments and enjoy respect from peers. Hard consistent work, perseverance and getting the job done even though it is not always enjoyable and pretty will pay off sooner or later.

We mustn’t forget to look and focus on the end goal regardless of how daunting or unrealistic it might seem at times. A ‘Never give up’ attitude, a willingness to overcome imperfection and frustration and not let these dishearten you, gets you further and further ahead eventually.

Successful athletes have one thing in common. They are passionate about what they do and they persevere, never letting up or give up hope.

The successful Ironman athlete is conditioned to keep going when everyone else around him/her must slow down or falls apart.

Within the arena of long distance endurance racing, we need to be clear that it is not so much about speed per se but more importantly about developing superior strength endurance that empowers us to complete the full distance. It’s our ability to resist fatigue, which inevitably would lead to a drop in speed. He or she who is not slowing down, or at least not as rapidly as everyone else in the race, will usually achieve faster finishing times or may even win.

We could do all the speed work in the world but it won’t matter much in long distance triathlons if we don’t have conditioned our leg muscles to endure the full distance through long -specific- aerobic workouts.  I am afraid but there is no short cut. You’ve got to meet the requirements of your chosen race distance. A 5 or 10k runner can’t do without intensity and a marathon runner can’t do without volume (miles). Both runners still need a huge aerobic system and a marathon runner needs a somewhat moderate developed anaerobic system as well in order to run fast.

If you train for an Ironman (IM) and you think you can get away with 13 miles as your longest run then, trust me, your “wheels” will fall off in the marathon sooner or later.

In the 70.3 or IM preparation phase we need to meet the critical volume as best as we can without getting injured and or overtrained. Slowly but surely, our body & mind will adapt to healthy training.

Endurance athletes have to have a long term plan of at least 3 -5 + years.  We build each year gently. A strong focus on all performance attributes that are needed to excel in our discipline are going to lead to amazing results inevitably as long as we practice and apply the right training techniques over and over again.

I have met and heard of amazingly talented and smart people who quit something before they achieved their full potential or experienced a breakthrough. When I started to train and focused on triathlons my skill level was pretty average. I couldn’t swim fast and I lacked strength and power on the bike. But, you know what I kept trying even harder when everyone else stopped. In every single workout throughout my whole career I was motivated to train at my very best. I took every opportunity to train – rain or shine, snow storms or even at midnight. I got the job done. I built character that way and over time I become stronger and faster; then all of a sudden I reached a level I thought initially was out of reach (8:16 h IRONMAN with a 2:48h M or 32min 10k in a short distance triathlon or 2:03h for 56miles in a 70.3 or starting out 1991 with a 25:00min 1500m and 9 years later swimming the same distance in 16:50min (25m short course pool) ).  We can all improve when we are willing to work.

Dedication. Passion. Perseverance. Knowledge.

Torsten Abel

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