Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ironman message to my Team in Training Gang

Team- You may notice that there is nothing scheduled as a group training event for next weekend. That's because several of our past & present coaches and TNT participants are racing at the Ironman in Lake Placid. It's hard not to point out that every single one of them were once in your shoes, doing their first triathlon with Team in Training and looking at the event (in most cases a sprint distance race) as a huge undertaking. Well, they  fell in love with the sport (like many of you will) and continued to race and step up their game to where they are now at the Ironman level.

Now, I'm a coach who views Ironman as an event that's not meant for everyone. Some people excel at shorter distance events. Many, many have very busy lives with careers, family, social obligations and schedules that just don't permit the commitment to training for the Ironman distance. Some, just love racing sprints and Olympic Distance events. And that makes them no less of a Triathlete. For me, when I first started racing triathlon, having come from a running and cycling background, there was only one Ironman event in the world and it was still a relatively small group of people on the lunatic fringe. But I came to love the sport and got myself into an excellent state of fitness racing mostly Olympic distance events. It's not the distance of the event that gets you in amazing shape, it's the commitment to train for your chosen distance.

Our bodies are amazing machines (it's well known that "God doesn't make junk"). We gradually increase our riding, running and swimming and our bodies respond by making physiological changes to adapt to a higher level of performance (which reflects the type of training we're doing). Like scar tissue, the body rebuilds muscle fiber stronger to avoid the cellular level damage that's done while training, to avoid having that damage repeated the next time. We train differently for short events than we do for long events. The specific training that we do determines how the body responds so we can become very fast at shorter distances, or in the alternate, get to where we can go very far without fatiguing. The key ingredients to whatever type of training you're doing is commitment and consistency. Without both of these in place, not much will happen.

As for our coaches and Team in Training alumni who are racing next weekend...these guys have worked really hard over the past year to be ready. Wish them a wonderful day and an experience that will produce a warm glow for a lifetime. And if you have any possibility at all and you want to see an Inspired Performance to where you're ready to explode, come to Lake Placid next weekend to support them and cheer them on...and for bonus points, be at the finish line at midnight to see the entire town of Lake Placid plus all of it's visitors come out to support the last finishers in what is likely to be the best party you'll be part of for years to come.


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