So onward and upward. Here is the part two of My Top Ten Secrets to a Personal Best:
5) PEDs Performance Enhancing Drugs Some pros may have access to such banned substances as EPO, steroids and even the ultra expensive HGH (Human Growth Hormone). However the rest of us also have access to our own PEDs. They are called Advil, Tylenol and Motrin. Pick your favorite pill put definitely use one of these over-the-counter pain killers before, during, and after a race.
My personal favorite is Advil as it does a great job in numbing some of the pain from a lifetime of sports injuries. As an added benefit, most of these legal drugs also help reduce swelling and inflammation after a long race. And this is a very good thing, as those of you who have completed a long race of any sort will surely know.
*Legal Disclaimer: Everyman Triathlon has little to no medical training beyond stopping a bloody nose or removing a hang nail. We advise you to consult your physician before using any medication.
The week before your next race take about 15 minutes at night and get yourself into a quiet place with no distraction. Try to remove all the daily clutter from your mind and visualize the race.
By this I mean see yourself in the water swimming with a strong and steady stroke. Visualize yourself running out of the water and putting on your helmet, your biking shoes, sunglasses, and heading out onto the bike course.
Did you notice what I just did? I completely forgot to see myself removing my wetsuit. That’s why you do this every night before the race. So that at race time you know exactly what you will do, and how you’ll do it. BTW: It is a lot easier to go back to transition for your gel in your mind than it is to do it in a race.
More importantly, the other reason you want to visualize the race is to see yourself winning, or getting a PB or finishing strong. You pick what you want to do, but the first step in reaching your goal is to visualize yourself doing it.
3) Get yourself a great triathlon mantra.
A triathlon mantra is a verbal formula repeated in racing or training in such a way as to innovate a desired outcome. Now that’s a mouthful to read so here’s the easy Everyman definition. It is a saying that you repeat in your mind to help you overcome those difficult moments.
My mantra is a simple one: “Fast, smooth, and in the groove”. I know it may sound silly written down but I use this one because it helps me stay focused on the basics.
A) Fast. I want to make sure that I know that I’m racing for a reason and that reason is to be as fast as possible. Some of you may not care about being fast so use a different key word.
B) Smooth. This word helps me keep in mind that I don’t want to overdue it. I need to be fast but at the same time I don’t want to bonk or push myself beyond my limits.
C) Groove. This keyword is to help me remember all that training I did, and especially to focus on form. To me, groove means to maintain that long swim stroke, that powerful bike pedal rotation and that perfect proud running form.
More importantly, I use the mantra when my thoughts turn negative. You know when the pain, the heat and the distance all conspire and threaten to make you crack. At that moment I say out loud “STOP” and switch my mind to “fast, smooth and in the groove.” Give it a try. I bet it will work for you as well.
If your goal this year is to break a three hour Olympic distance time write down 2:59 on a bunch of Post-its and stick them everywhere. Put the Post-it on your refrigerator so that you see the goal when you are going for that unneeded snack. Stick it on your rearview mirror of your car so that it gives you a reason to get to the club for that post-work swim. Place it on your computer so that after you are done reading this you’ll remember to head out the door for that cold-day run.
There is a famous study that concluded people who actually wrote down their goals were something like four times more likely to achieve them. So pick a goal and remember to make it measurable, and attainable. Don’t forget to stick it on your spouse's or boy/girlfriend's forehead (or any place that you are likely to want to see often) so that you’ll never forget why you are doing this crazy sport.
Drum roll please.
Now, what you have all been waiting for, the number one secret. And the biggest of secrets is...
Have you ever wondered why some athletes are fast while others are a bit slower when they race?
Elizabeth Stein thinks she has the answer and it can be summoned up in one word: Nutrition.
Click HERE to listen or download my podcast with Liz as we discuss the #1 Secret to a PB...Your Diet and Nutrition.
Finally, for or all of you eager beaver newbies who still want to know more, here's a bonus secret. The real key to a PB is to stay healthy. That means you can't forget the five basics rules of training:
1) Stretch before, during and after training
2) Don’t overdo it. If it really hurts, don’t train through the pain. See a pro.
3) Remember to warm up and cool down
4) Get plenty of rest. In order to get stronger, your body needs time to recover.
5) Don't crash your dirt bike and break your collarbone five weeks before your IM big race. But that's a story for another day!