10 Things Endurance Athletes Need to Stop Doing

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | By Jim Vance
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10 Things Endurance Athletes Need to Stop Doing

There is a lot that goes with endurance sports training. From the training itself to proper nutrition, good sleep and other aspects, the list of things to be done seems endless. However, there are also things you may be doing that are detrimental to your success. The following 10 items are

1. Stop Ignoring Recovery

What you eat, how much you sleep, the beers, it all affects you. The intensity you go on easy workouts is also vital. Without recovery, there is no training. The formula for training is Training = Stress + Recovery. If athletes only do the stress part, the adaptations won’t happen, or will soon stop. Yet, we all know an athlete that says, “I’m just going easy today,” and doesn’t really mean it. Don’t be the athlete who trains hard, but then eats a bunch of junk food, stays up late drinking and partying, and yet wonders why they can’t get any faster.

2. Stop Doing Other Athlete’s Workouts

Instead, focus on what workouts YOU need. Sometimes, (in fact many times), that means you need to train alone. Peer pressure is no way to train effectively. If you train with a lot of egos, let them go. Limit group workouts to those which are in line with your goals and specific needs, at the right time. This especially includes recovery workouts. (See #1). If you can’t train effectively on your own, then you are not addressing the real issue. If you really are committed to your goals, training according to those goals shouldn’t be in question.

3. Stop Sabotaging Your Training

When life gets stressful, skipping workouts because you're not in the mood only brings about more stress and frustration with training and lack of results. Training is your escape, keep it that way. Skipping that transition run because you think you're too tired, is a missed opportunity to build confidence with a great run, or to learn to better pace your bike. So many of us value performances in our lives, and to not give yourself the best chance to perform, just sabotages your efforts and investment.

4. Stop Ignoring your Diet and Weight

What you eat affects your recovery. (See #1). If you aren't thin, you aren't as fast as you can be. I'm not saying you should look anorexic, or be unhealthy, but to think those extra 10-20 lbs you could lose aren't affecting your performance, is ignoring the obvious. If you're 20+lbs over an ideal race weight, there is no training plan or lightweight bike that can overcome that handicap. The excess weight also means higher risk for injuries, which can sabotage your training. (See #3).

5. Stop Obsessing About Volume

If it really mattered, the athlete who did the most volume would win every race. Ultraman competitors would be the best Ironman and sprint racers. Tour de France winners would win the single-day races. It's about the quality of training you do, not how much training you do.

6. Stop Doing the Same Thing Over and Over

The body responds best to variance in training. If you've been doing the same things over and over for years, and aren't happy with the results, or seem stuck at a plateau, it's time to address the real issue, your training. If you’re not satisfied with what you’ve gotten from your training, then change it.

7. Stop Ignoring Your Warm-ups and Cool-downs for Your Workouts and Races

The older you are, and the higher your goals, the more they matter. It's like sabotage. (See #3) Research shows these help greatly with performance and recovery, so make it a priority.

8. Stop Ignoring Technology in Your Training

You use technology in nearly every aspect of your life, from your iPhone/Android to your laptop and software at your job or at home. Why is it so hard to believe power and pace data can help your training and racing on a daily basis? (See #3). If you’re not willing to learn how to use these tools, how committed are you to your goals if you know they can help? If you’re afraid the data might tell you something you don’t want to hear, then see #3.

9. Stop Thinking you Need a Faster/Newer/Better Bike

You need to get training right. (See #1 through #8).

10. Stop Being Negative With Yourself

There is nothing anyone or any coach can tell you that will supersede what you say to yourself. If you don't believe in yourself when you toe that start line, the result is pretty much already determined.

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