Bethany Rutledge: Five Ways to Start the Season Wrong

There’s lots of advice out there about what to do to kick off the season right (like this great pre-season checklist). But what about what NOT to do?Below are five common things that will definitely get you started on the WRONG foot. Most of us have done one or all of these wrong at some point in our triathlon journey.

There are many ways to go wrong early. With the excitement of training ramping up and getting close to that magic 12 weeks out mark, it can be so tempting to skip all the pre-work and jump straight into the fun stuff. Fun stuff as in intervals, the all day sufferfests (if you’re in to that sort of thing), basically the type of things that your Garmin /Strava/Fitbit informs you you set some sort of distance/ speed record/ calorie burn record. I see people doing a lot of these wrong, heck I have done all these wrong at some point! So do yourself a favor and avoid these five common pitfalls as training ramps up!

Jumping into crazy with nothing to back it up

Let’s say you had an ample, generous off- season and you’re just now feeling the stirrings of motivation in your soul. What do you do? Don’t check around to see who has the most exciting weekend workout plans and jump right in. In fact, when you’re getting back to regular training, it can be helpful to avoid Strava and the like temporarily while you stick to your diet of three mile runs and mile swims. There will be plenty of time to win segments later!

Start piling load onto a weak and flaccid chassis

I’m not sure those nine words have been put together in quite that way before, but what I mean to convey is strain on a body that has lots of unaddressed weakness and imbalances. If you do have an injury, the earlier you can see the appropriate health care professional the better. Don’t let something that’s nagging you all winter stay unaddressed till it really gets bad, which is coincidentally always when it’s time to start working hard.

Cash in family/employer points too early

Now is not the time you should be coming in late to work or skipping family events for long bikes. I mean hopefully you can avoid doing those things always, but early season is the time to invest in that account by killing it at work so you have some room for grace later.

Overheat the plastic too soon

A spring 70.3 sounds fun. So does an early half marathon. Oh, but what about that 50 mile trail race you promised to do with your friend. And the IRONMAN the week prior? That one can just be a training race, right? We are lucky that there are really TOO MANY fun races to be conquered and good times to be had. But if you target too many you can’t crush any of them so be smart and space them out!

Jump to race specific too quickly

Now that you’re off the couch let’s start getting in some winter centuries for your July IRONMAN! No! That’s an extreme example, but the point is to think about the next thing not the ultimate thing. So an appropriate goal for now for a July IRONMAN may be to work on your weakness, say your run leg. Thinking about your January training as fall IRONMAN training is not only bad for your training, it’s not very motivating either.

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