What separates the old hands from the newbies? The answer is simple CONSISTENCY.
Every day they have their routine, not just at training but also in their lifestyle. No workout is especially difficult, but training is so constant, day in and day out. This is the key. It's not what we do, but how we do it.
This correlates for age groupers as well as newbie pros, as most do not put the consistent background and time in before they want to go fast - increasing their injury risk. All want to go faster than I allow them, and when I say ‘your body is not ready’ they find it hard to understand as here is 'supposed to be the place where everybody gets smashed on a daily basis’. This could not be further from the truth.
Athletes no matter how fast or slow need to have their bodies conditioned to actually accept training. They need to train to get ready to really train. To do this all must ‘hurry slowly’, put the time in building muscle, tendon, ligament strength to cope with faster training paces. It is my belief that 90% of all triathletes (age group and pros) do the work too fast for their bodies, and then not enough to get the body ready for what they ask of it.
Then to confuse them more, if they do pick up certain injuries and they ask where the physio is, I point to lane 8 and say ‘see how slow you can run out there - work under your muscle pain, if you feel it go slower, if you need to walk, you walk’. ¨There is no loss of respect to do that, however it's a revelation how many athletes would rather pay a physio $100 three times per week for the next two weeks, and be told to do no training, rather than to walk or shuffle really slowly - it's like a right of passage to stop!
What confuses them even more is they get better, and seem surprised that the injury is improving while they still train albeit very slowly. Is it a revelation? Not really - I was always told that Oxygen heals, and the best way I know to get that to injured muscles is through very slow exercise.
I have also observed how frustrated newbies get when I say you will be flying in 18 months. Instead of being so happy that I see them becoming very good athletes, it seems like a let down as most want it in 18 days, while the more patient 18 weeks! The reality gap here is I ask for 3 years! This type of talk sorts out those that really want it from those who want the quick fix.
If we 'hurry slowly' we will get a quicker result. It’s not so easy to motivate people for a 3 year outcome, as they ask 'why so long?' I then point out that some of our older members started out at the same slow pace and could not do more. They seem incredulous as they watch the oldies now hammer around like a Swiss watch, not just in the pool or track but on the bike as well. ‘They could not be that slow ,and blow up that early at that speed as I can do that now!’ The answer from ole doc is standard 'EXACTLY that's my point’ It's not ability you lack but consistency to work to a plan that allows you to lap at the same pace as these do now.