8 Training Mistakes to Avoid in 2012
As 2012 approaches, this is a great time to sit down and think about how to avoid some basic but all too common training mistakes in the upcoming season. Here is my list of the top eight mistakes to avoid in 2012.
#8: Skipping your post-workout meal
All too often, athletes forgo the post-workout or post-race meal. This is a big mistake and one that can lead to a slow recovery phase. Do yourself a favor: find a recovery drink that works well for you and drink it within the crucial first 30 minutes after your workout. This will get you on the fast track to a full recovery. Also, since it’s a drink, you’ll be able to enjoy your recover meal no matter where you are.
#7: Not resting on your rest day
I hear this all the time: “I felt good on my rest day, so I just skipped it!” This type of training approach can lead to burnout and sub-par training sessions. Rest days are important and should be considered an integral part of any athlete’s training schedule. Not allowing for adequate rest which will affect your performance on intense training days.
As your fitness increases, your rest days will become less frequent, which is all the more reason to take advantage of them when you can.
#6: Training largely off of miles
I spoke about this in detail in one of my past posts. The general idea is not to get too involved with the idea of training in miles because it can lead to a decrease in training quality. Concentration should be on quality and not quantity. This will also make your training time more efficient, which is a huge plus for those with busy schedules.
#5: Training off of others
Training off of others is an easy mistake to fall into. I like to think of this as co-pilot training. What can happen with co-pilot training is that you slowly start to change your personal training plan to fit with those of others, a mistake that can make it hard to excel to your personal best or even beyond the fitness of those around you. Adjusting your plan when training with others not that bad from time to time, but if it turns into a weekly habit, it’s time to make some changes.
To keep things social while staying on your individual plan, simply work your training into your ride with others. Don’t be afraid to tell your training partner or group that you’ll be taking it easy at times and pushing it harder at others in order to stick with your training plan, they will understand!
#4: Only training your strengths
At times it’s really hard not to want to train only your strengths. After all, when you go out for a training session that plays to your strengths, you naturally feel better about your training time. This is a tough habit to break since your body and your mind want to do what they do best.
To make the most out of your training, make sure you are putting in enough time working on your weaknesses. Stay away from picking rides that only play to your strengths. If you know you need to become a better climber, schedule some climbing days. The idea is to improve enough on your weaknesses that they just become secondary strengths. As one of my former coaches used to tell me, “Train your weaknesses and race your strengths”.
#3: Training with old target zones
Training is an ever-changing process. As such, you should stay on top of your training zones and make changes with your fitness levels. Neglecting to update your training zones can lead to over- and under- training. Try to revise your zones once every three months; this will keep you training in the correct zones for your fitness.
#2: Neglecting to lay out a proper season plan
This is a mistake that is easy to avoid but sadly, all too many people fall victim to it. Creating a proper season plan and trying your hardest to stick with it will improve your fitness and performance.
A proper season plan will have specific goals for events and training. Make sure to be as specific as possible when laying out your season goals. “Do well in a road race” means nothing. Compare this to “Finish top five in the Category 2 race at Holly Ridge Road on April 20”. Laying out a good season plan is one step that will also help you avoid some of the other mistakes on this list. Do yourself a favor and start preparing your 2012 season plan as soon as you can.
#1: Forgetting to have fun
Remember back to when you first started your sport of choice. What was it that hooked you? For most people, their answer will include the word “fun”. Sadly, few people will use that same word to describe their current training in the same sport! Training will not always be fun, but with a little effort it can certainly be fun most of the time.
Try to mix elements of fun into your training whenever possible. This can take form in various ways. Some may have a few dirt roads they can jump onto during a long road ride; others might find it fun to do some swimming drills with the local college swim team. Whatever makes you smile during your training is well worth incorporating into your schedule.
Staying true to the “fun” that hooked you to your sport of choice is crucial to your life as an athlete. Forgetting to have fun will lead many people to walk away from sports, and that is one thing that should be avoided at all costs.