Andrew Raynor Dover New Hampshire NH

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How Workouts Link Together

Andrew Raynor Dover

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Today’s podcast is all about how workouts link together and why life outside of training is an important factor in the decision process. Your mind and body aren’t always telling the same story, so it’s important to truly understand effort and its relationship to the big picture. When you trust the purpose of today’s workout, that sets you up for more consistency tomorrow and the week, which leads to more success in both training and racing. Managing stress (good and bad) is at the core of happy and healthy training. 

Check out the full podcast here:

Key Takeaways from this podcast:

  • Topic starts around 8:00 mark 
  • Quick Super Bowl talk – Neither Mike or Robbie had much interest in the Super Bowl but they are happy for Andy Reid and the people of Kansas City.
  • Mike’s meditation group – In lieu of watching the Super Bowl, Mike attended a meditation group that talked about finding your refuge. This is not in the podcast, but the big lesson was, we always have a choice when we face tough moments. We can either slide into a familiar place with often bad habits (think addiction) or we can sit with the suffering and learn from the moment. This is also a great reason to build community in triathlon.
  • Today’s Session’s Impact on Tomorrow – When Coach Robbie designs your training week, each session has a purpose and understanding that purpose goes a long ways toward stringing together a succession of positive workouts. The key here is to not reach out of your box just because you might feel better than normal. Stay on the plan with tomorrow in mind.
  • Gauging effort as you go – The more we train, the more our body can trick us into believing we are fatigued when the reality may be we just need longer to warm up. This is a key distinction and amplifies why it’s so important to let your body warm up and settle into what it’s about to do.  
  • Decisions are connected – Forcing a hard workout when your body is saying no can put you behind the 8 ball tomorrow or this weekend. A lot of us have the tendency to push harder than the body is willing to go so think about your hard intervals in a negative split mentality. Take inventory of where you are at the beginning and allow the workout to unfold to “right effort.”
  • Not negatively impacting the next session – Think about tomorrow, especially if your life has been stressful or you haven’t slept, etc. . . and you have two tough days in a row. It’s really easy to blow up two days when you can pull back today to protect tomorrow.
  • Digging a hole and recovering – Triathlon is all about creating stress and allowing ample recovery. If you dig too deep it may impact multiple days. Respect Recovery.  
  • Decision MakingCoach Robbie is your guide, but it’s important to learn and make your own decisions. It’s your life and body. Learn it and be ready to make decisions on your own before, during and after workouts.
  • First, Understand the purpose – Is today’s workout scheduled to help you be rested for tomorrow? Or, is today scheduled to push your limits knowing that the next couple days will be “easy.” Knowing the purpose of your workout simplifies the process today. 
  • Looking at your week as a meal – If the “meat” (ie. big calorie sessions) of your week is served on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, realize that the other days are appetizers and deserts.
  • What to do if you’re fatigued – If you know you are fatigued in an overall sense, we always advocated a day off or backing way down. This can hold true for every day of the week. Get into your workout, assess how you feel after 10 or 15 minutes, then either back down or go after it. 
  • Decision making in training is the most exhaustive part – We have to make so many decisions, both inside of and outside of workouts. When to eat, when to go hard, when to “sneak in” workout. It really adds up. It’s also a huge part of racing. Do I push now or hold on. Do I fuel now, etc. Write these things down, remember them and make it second nature.
  • Consistent training means longer warm ups – One of the strangest parts of triathlon training is that the deeper we get into it, often the longer it takes us to “feel good” or warmed up. It’s not uncommon to ride an hour or two before you actually feel warmed up. This is because our muscles are getting stronger, lactic acid is in full build up and we have to work a little harder to get things going. Don’t always believe what your body is telling you, especially if you know you’ve put in the work.
  • The difference between fast and strong – You know the feeling. You may not feel super fast at the end of a workout or race, but you know your legs and body are solid. For most of us in long course racing, strength is the objective. Speed is obviously important but it can be a relative term and if your body is not built up properly to train for speed, it could be a long term problem.  
  • The Global picture of an athlete’s week – Look at your next week in Training Peaks and work on understanding how it fits into the big picture. Learning the reasoning behind your sessions takes a weight off and gives you clarity in the moment.
  • The sponge analogy – If you throw a sponge in water, it will float. But if you squeeze it into the water it will absorb the water. Prime yourself to soak it in.  
  • Getting out of your head – Let’s say you feel great when you get out of bed or before a workout. You’re ready to rock! This can often be your mind cashing checks your body isn’t ready to cash. We’ve all felt terrible before hitting the road only to have a great run. The same works in reverse. Be careful when you feel great. This is often when we go way out of our traditional warm up zone and suck the life out of the quality session.
  • Don’t look back – every season of life is different – Don’t look at someone’s successful race post and feel bad because you’re not in the same place as them. Your in a different place . . . in a different season. Respect who you are right now and train to that person. It does no good to remember how strong you were 8 months ago and try to replicate those efforts if you’re not in that kind of shape.
  • PRs can be over valued – The reason we caution against a “PR mentality” is the variables. So many things can be out of our control at races. The weather, who shows up, how you slept, etc. Chasing PRs can be the root of a long-term problem that we talked about today. Sometimes PRs don’t happen, but we race really well.

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Andy Raynor Dover

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