As athletes, we put in all of the training to perform on several days a year. Often times, we spend so much time training that we become obsessed with our training numbers. Sometimes that means hitting “cage bombs” in baseball, setting new lifting records in the weight room, or logging more miles each week while running. While improving training is critical to performance, we must remember that all of the training is only meant to prepare us and maximize our odds on race day. It will require proper execution to maximize your odds when it truly counts.
As a coach, all we can do is maximize your odds as an athlete. Individuals get into this mindset that just because they have a coach, they will win events or shatter records. If this were the case, you’d have a lot of coaches being fired as there can only be 1 world record and 1 winner in any event. As an athlete, you need to understand that 50% of the responsibility for a great day comes back to you. A coach can’t ride your bike or swing a baseball bat for you, its up to you at a certain point to perform. In order to maximize your potential as an athlete on any given day, you must be aware of the parameters, but you still must make the decisions as obstacles present themselves on race/game day
Knowing Your Strengths
Inevitably, there is something you’re better at than others. When we have strengths but we neglect to use them, we are limiting our odds of success. For a cyclist who is a breakaway artist, anytime the race comes down to a sprint, his odds are severely reduced for success. For a lightweight triathlete, anytime you pick a flat course that is windy, your odds of success have fallen a little. For a baseball pitcher that has a 100 mph fastball, throwing a 85 mph change up routinely may minimize your odds of success. By understanding your strengths on race or game day, you will begin to shift the odds in your favor for making up ground or bettering the competition.
Speaking specifically about endurance sports now, we need proper nutrition on race day in order to execute a race properly. Anytime you go over 1 hour in an event, you will need both hydration and calories to sustain effort. As you go longer, nutrition will play a large role in how well your race unfolds. For those athletes that neglect nutrition, they will never live up to their training potential and will become frustrated. Nutrition is the great equalizer in long distance races and without a proper nutrition strategy in place, you will constantly be fighting to keep your odds of success high.
Using Numbers as a Guide
As you head into a race, you will have numbers or a plan that would maximize your odds according to training. What you need to understand is that those numbers aren’t fixed. You may come out with extremely fresh legs and have the ability to push harder, or you may come out and experience lower numbers due to other factors. Whats important to note is that a race plan or strategy is based off of your training, but training is a fixed environment while racing is an open environment. Its critical to know that in a race, factors are changing constantly that you must adjust to. Sticking to numbers all the time could leave you behind and regretting that decision.
While training can prepare us for most of the demands of racing or game day, you will still need to adjust in order to maximize your odds of success. Training is often done in a controlled environment that we are comfortable with. As soon as race day gets here, we must adapt to our environment and aim to hit our potential. By focusing on things such as past training, proper nutrition, and knowing your strengths, you can begin to give yourself an edge over the competition. While all of these factors can help, at the end of the day you are out there on your own and you need to adjust on the fly. Each obstacle you come across is going to either benefit or hurt you. If you can aim to make the right decisions, you will have maximized your odds of success and will be proud of the effort you put in at the end of the day.
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