Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Kate and I attended a TrainingBible Tri-Fit Clinic over the weekend in Aurora. It was a trek driving out there, but totally worth the trip. (I wrote a quickie recount of the experience for the TOC blog.) We'll be checking in every so often with snippets of what what we learned--we were both scribbling away in our notebooks and I think it's safe to say we walked away with a ton of useful info to implement in our training. One take-away I'm already putting into action came courtesy of Joe Friel, the renowned Arizona-based coach who has led countless seminars, workshops and camps in addition to writing numerous books and articles on the intricacies of training.

Joe recommends that athletes track not only the distance/pace/HR/etc they log during a workout, but also monitor how they feel before heading out for a training session. Are you fatigued? How many hours of sleep did you get? What's your general stress level? Are you sore? How much do you weigh? It's little numbers like this--which tend to get lost in the shuffle, in my experience--that can help you pinpoint why workouts go well or not-so-well.

Another important piece of information to track: Your goals for the week. This one was a little bit confusing to me. At first I thought, well, that's easy...I'm doing a swim, a long run, a tempo run, a hill workout...but no, those are your workouts for the week. Your goals should put those numbers in context, as in "I want to improve flexibility this week so I will stretch after each run." (Haha, that's a real goal for this stiff-as-boarder.) Or, "I want to bang out my hill workout at a slightly faster pace than I did last week." That was a goal for my week, and low and behold, it made a difference as I was sucking wind and suffering through the last 10 minutes of my treadie hill run yesterday. Normally I'd be content to just survive the predetermined workout, but this time I had raised the bar through the simple act of writing down an aspiration for this session. As much as I wanted to take the pace or incline down a notch, my goal had made itself comfortable in my psyche and there was no kicking it out.

Goals are nothing new to most athletes, but we tend to think of them as big picture objectives, as in "Break my PR in X, Y or Z distance." Setting micro-goals helps put this week's workouts in perspective when the event you're training for feels faaaaar away. Even if it's your off-season, goal-setting can give you a sense of purpose when hitting the gym feels like drudgery. (I'm on the verge of making a weather-related quip here, but....I'm biting my tongue.) Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Photo grabbed from stealmyfire on Flickr. Posted by Liz

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