In 2014, don't let faith be the unique reason for the results you get for your races. Check those tips I have for you to be successful in your competition, they are true for everyone, Olympian or first timer.
Goal setting – Short/Long term goals, you should write them down and have them displayed somewhere as a remainder. Short terms goals should be easier to achieve so you have the chance to celebrate small victories. Long term goals should be in sight so you remember where you are going and why you are making all those sacrifices.
2. Listen to your body – Push hard but remember to take easy days to recover. Train hard means race hard, but remember that you can’t race all out the whole race. Well training is the same way, some days have to be dedicated to recovery, also known as Active Recovery or Off Load Training. Those session are just as valuable as the hard work out, don’t forget that.
3. Get a Coach – It’s always good to have an outsider looking in, self coaching has never been a successful way to get where you want to go. The coach can see what you are doing wrong, and can have a gut feel of what should happen next. You as an athlete should spend that time thinking of what you are doing, not planning.
4. Listen to your coach – Although some days you feel like the world just crashed on your head, and you’re not going anyway. Listen to your coach, there may be a reason to his madness. But don’t be afraid to let him know how you feel, you might end up in a new plan.
5. Consistency – With a proper training plan comes a routine, I swim on the same day, same time every week and so on. Things to think of are Macro/micro plan, periodization etc. Hire a coach and this will be done for you.
6. Weather & Sickness – I believe that weather vs sickness is what creates many issues with the previous topic in different aspect. When the weather is bad some athlete use that as an excuse to not train. Many choices present itself to you, train inside or go outside anyway. Both have their own challenges, you might
Sickness on the other hand is always dealt with the wrong way; I find that I almost always have a high before I get sick, so when I do get sick, I don’t want to stop to keep the ball rolling. That is bad; you should always deal with your sickness like it was the most important thing in your life at this exact moment. If you are sick and you push one more workout, you might set yourself back few more days. Eat well, drink a lot and go to bed early, you might only need couple of days instead of a week or two.
7. Sleep – Go to bed early, it seems like a not problem going to bed late if the next workout is not word or if you’re not tired, but you might be very tired once the morning come. A great rule of thumb would be to sleep at least 8+ per night no matter what.
8. Eat healthy – See how I didn't say: “follow a diet” athletes don’t diet they eat healthy; it’s a way of living. Your sport shouldn't be a reason to eat healthy. I say that because their actually nothing good in junk food, it doesn't help you performing, it’s very hard for your system to digest, and is the sole reason related to cardio/ vascular diseases
9. Be Strong – Being strong starts with you mental strength, which is followed by your physical strength, one doesn't come without the other, that being said, being physically strong won’t come first. Visualization is a tool to help you being ready for what you will have to go threw in your event. It is the key of success.
Stretching & Mobility – They are often believed to be the same which in fact they work on different aspect. Stretching is the act of flexing or pulling on a muscle in order to enhance the elasticity of this muscle, mobility or to increase the range of a joint which only deal with ligament and tendon. The end result is called flexibility. Improve both are you will gain a tremendous amount of strength and it will also help you to stay injury free.
11. Train with groups – Training with others can bring a great sense of accomplishment and joy, the camaraderie will help fight the boredom of some long workout plus it will help you pushing that extra little bit that you might have had not otherwise.
12. Challenge yourself – When you have a tough workout, try and see if you can bring this to a new level. Dare to see what would happen if I didn't stop there. You could potentially be surprise by the results. Also set some workout only about testing, it will help to see if you’re on the right track or way off line. Your first races certainly shouldn't be your first test of the year. Training session is too long to spend is in the unknown.
Stay hydrated – Water is good and a must, drink a lot of it, but also remember that water alone is not good enough. On long training days and event you may need an extra help. Electrolytes will do that for you, read more about it and try and choose one that best suits you. Other than that, bananas, avocados and coconut water will greatly help you to become more hydrated by increasing the levels of potassium and sodium in your system without becoming harmful.
14. Control – Control what you can control, leave everything behind while you train, the important is you not someone else or work problem. Dwelling on those will only bring bad energy to your training and losing control of what need to happen.
15. Use your Resources – Spread your network, you never know how far it will bring you, people are genuinely good, they want to help and make you reach your goals, talk to them, ask for their help, little things go a long way. Social Network is also good to use, if you need info about a race or a place to stay, often local athlete will be very interested to host you of the weekend, you only need to ask. Knowledge is power!
16. Have fun!