You know articles titles like:
- Top Ten fruits that really make you go fast
- 3 ways, in 3 weeks, at $3.00 per day to a top (you guessed it) 3 finish
- How to beak the records without breaking your body, your wallet or your wife
- The secret Professional "all salt diet"...never worry about sodium on race day again
- The secret Professional "all pepper diet"...it will really spice up your next performance
- Take your abs to the next level with the kick boxing workout...no kicking or boxing involved, just stand, clench your stomach, and take it like a true winner.
- The "all air diet", lose weight fast and never feel hungry or out of breath.
I think you get the idea.
So I was contemplating the hundreds, or is it thousands of articles that I've now read that all profess to take me from the back of the pack to the front of the field.
And I suddenly realized that they all have one thing in common: They are better at selling magazines than making me much faster on race day.
So being a published author, longtime blogger, and well know neighborhood blow bag, I naturally thought that I could come up with Four Real Ways to go Fast.
Pleas note that I did not call this column Four "Easy" ways to go fast, because they are not easy. In fact, they are hard, but that's what makes them work.
Please also note that these Four Ways to go Fast are for the "developing athlete". That would be any athlete, for instance like me, that has taken up their chosen sport later-in-life. And that's really the secret of my Four Step Plan. It is for the later-in-life developing athletes who are new, or pretty new to their chosen sports.
So here we go:
As a developing athletes we have to be willing to start over and learn the basics.
I know that sounds a bit simple but all too many age-group athletes have never formally learned the basics of their chosen sport. Be it running, or swimming, or even biking, we tend to just jump into a race without having spent our childhood years learning the basics of proper form and technique.
Or, if we did learn the basics today we are using 20, 30 or even 40-year-old racing and training wisdom to compete.
Technology and in depth knowledge of the human body has completely changed the way modern professional athletes train and race. If you are still using "The Joy of Running" as your training guide it is time to start all over again.
The same is true with cycling and especially swimming. The Australians, to a large extent, have completely rewritten the book on fast swim form. Lance Armstrong has changed the way that thousands of pros and age-group athletes attack the hills.
But more importantly, if you've never had any formal training in the different running styles, or proper leg turnover speed, or correct head position in the water, or efficient peddling techniques, your most likely just building your training and race form on a crumbling foundation.
It's like building a sandcastle when the outgoing tide keeps washing away the foundation. You'll only be able to build the walls so high before the entire castle collapses into the sea.
It takes many hours in the pool, or on the bike, or even around the track to get back to basics and learn the proper form. Unfortunately it does not take days, or weeks, or even months. It takes years, and that's why the number one way to get fast involves a lot of perseverance.
Chances are that the next time you race you'll lose, and the time after that, and the time after that. But it takes real confidence to feel like "true" athletes are not judging you and thus get flustered or worried about your lack of experience.
The only way to get past this initial hurdle is to put in the long training hours.
When I raced my first couple of Olympic triathlons, my legs would cramp up horribly on the run. The same thing happened to me at about mile 10 of my first half marathon. I struggled for answers. Could it be my nutrition? My Hydration? My genes? My diet, or lack thereof?
I finally asked a coach and he pointed out the obvious after a few basic training questions. I was no where near ready to race the longer distance. My training was haphazardous and my legs were not ready to run the greater distance.
Duh! Was what immediately occurred to me the second he said I was way under trained.
It takes a lot of confidence to mix it up with the big boys and girls come race day. But you can only get that confidence by putting in the time and effort in your training. That way, come race day, not only will your body and mind be ready to perform, but you'll have the strength to hold that proper form together that you just relearned.
3) The Passion of Means
Speed starts with passion.
True speed will never come as an end in itself. In other words, you have to have a real passion for your chosen sport to get really fast. For instance, you can't just say to yourself I'm going to run a sub one hour 10K without a real love for running.
Unless you love running, you won't be motivated enough to put in the time to learn the proper form, which in turn will give you the confidence to execute that form of race day, which in turn will give you that personal best or even podium position.
The best part of this simple equation is that as your performance improves, so will your passion for that sport.
When you ask a triathlete what's their best discipline (the swim, the bike, or the run)? Their answer will always be both their favorite and their fastest part of the sport.
I have yet to hear any triathlete tell me that they love to run, but they are much better and faster swimmer.
I really believe that in order to develop a passion for a sport, you first need to play.
The love of swimming comes from time spent goofing around at your local beach or pool. Perhaps it comes from a vacation when you first tried to surf, or the lazy summer days spent jumping into your favorite water hole.
It's those fun and carefree hours spent playing in the water that get you motivated to spend long hours horizontally getting faster and faster in the pool.
The love of cycling comes from the sense of freedom you get peddling your bike around your neighborhood with your kids. It comes from feeling the wind in your face and the sun in your eyes as you peddle to your favorite pick nick spot, or from the adrenaline rush as you blast down a huge hill for the first time.
It's those long hours of just peddling your new mountain bike over curbs and up dusty hills that gives you the passion to go on century training rides.
The love of running comes from the feeling of your heart pounding in your ears as you raced the kids at recess. Or it can come from the feeling of being at one with the forest and trail as you run your favorite loop. It can come from running your first 3 miles without stopping and feeling like you could go 4 miles, or it could come from knowing that with every mile you run you're efficiently burning that hamburger you had for lunch.
But it is that love of running that will give you the passion to run through the wall at your first marathon.
You'll note that these four are in the exact opposite order that kids learn to love a sport. But that's the secret to being a fast and successful developing athlete: You learn and grow to love a sport just like a child, you just do in in the exact opposite order.
* This Story was inspired by the fine swim coaches at SlowTwitch.com