“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
A good friend introduced me to this quote in the past couple of weeks and I still can’t believe I have never come across it before. What a fabulous sentence that sums up training and racing in such a simple and effective way.
Setting goals and achieving these goals is what training schedules are based around. We train on a daily basis with these goals in mind. We dream of the day where our goals are achieved and we can deem ourselves to be ‘successful’. But how do you measure success?
Is success the number of medals you have hanging in your room? Is success the number of trophies in the trophy cabinet? Is success a simple measure of getting up off the couch and outside in the fresh air? Is success winning a world champs or an Olympic gold? Is success the very simple activity of just moving because before this was something that seemed impossible? We all have different success measures. We all have different goals. We all have different dreams but one thing is for sure and that is that we get out of something what we put in.
To a certain extent that is…
Where am I going with this? Well, racing is such a wonderful thing but can be oh so cruel at the same time. Especially draft legal racing. Time trialing bikes or even non drafting triathlon racing performances are generally a product of the effort put in on an individual basis where drafting is adhered to of course (that’s a whole other blog entry). Drafting races are often not in the same boat here. ‘They are not willing to work, so I am not willing to work’ … a common thought process amongst a draft legal bike group. Not my style…I don’t like this attitude.
I have struggled to get my swim level back to where it once was and so I find myself coming out in chase packs of recent times. This means being in a bike group with work to do and gaps to close down. Last weekend I opened my season with the first round of the French Grand Prix league in Dunkerque. These races always attract the big dogs and they are always sure to give you a good run for your money. I love these races because getting to stand on the start line as a team racing the best triathletes in the world is something special in itself. Last weekend I ended up in a bike group who didn’t seem to have any inclination of wanting to roll through and work as a group. We were a small 28 seconds down off the chase group and that’s such a closable time gap that I just don’t understand why no one was willing to help!! I took my Ribble beauty to the front of the group and stayed there for more than my fair share of time trying to put in a big effort to try help close the gap. Solo efforts are hard when the group ahead is a big one and has a good work ethic!! For 4 out of the 5 laps I gave my legs a good hammering and with one lap to go I decided to sit in and try find some run legs…turns out I didn’t even bother packing them for the trip…but hey ho – the battle field is a tough one!!
So as I was saying, you get out of things what you put in…with draft legal racing being the exception. Work your legs off one the bike and if your group isn’t willing to help, well then you wont reap the rewards you could have…all very tactical really!! The joys!!
So how did I look at my race upon review? Well, finishing as low down as I did was not what I wanted but I had to look at it in smaller sections. With the level of swim volume that I have banked due to heavy work load, was I happy to lose just 20 odd seconds to some of the best swimmers on the circuit? With the little amount of biking hours I have put in was I happy to be able to sit on the front for so long and push hard? With my running…has the big miles all winter paid off? To answer those questions I would say yes, yes and no. Running for me has been a big focus this winter. I banked a fabulous winter and I am running better than even before in training but the first race of the season just didn’t quite have the running I wanted. You can never predict what will happen in a race. You can only control what you do. I knew hopping off the bike I didn’t have great legs but I tried to focus on form and keeping technique strong. I felt I did and that in itself was a success. For me I had many successes throughout the race. I am not looking at the overall placing as a measure of success because that’s not how I will improve. Break it down, learn from it and move on. Success.
Next up is another draft legal race here in the UK this time. We race down in Blenheim palace next weekend with TV coverage highlights in the coming weeks. Hopefully you will see me and my Ribble Rock repping the brand!! If you see me about don’t be shy to come say hi! Always nice to see fellow Ribbler’s rocking it large on the big scale!!
Hope everyone is off to a cracking start to their seasons and I wish you all the best for your next race. Remember, the overall results isn’t the biggest measure of success for you and your results…there are so many small things within a race that you can analyse. Take the good with the bad. Learn from them and move on and improve for next time!
Happy pedaling and stay safe J
P.S. My campaign has a day or two left so if you would like to take a look, please do