Many athletes underestimate what moderately consistent training does to your progression. I see many extreme training sessions passing around me and on Strava followed by several days of complete rest. Athletes sometimes feel that if they train just as fast as Jan Frodeno once a week and then rest for a few days, then they are doing well. Making progress and growing as an athlete requires consistency, doing your training every day, every week and every year. Step by step lets you grow as an athlete in the long term. This does not mean that hard training is not necessary, on the contrary, but it is often the quieter training sessions in between that make you a better athlete in the long run.
Train with a purpose
Many athletes put on their running shoes or go to the swimming pool without having a real purpose for training. This is of course fine for a recreational athlete who just wants to exercise and be healthy. For an athlete with goals, it’s important to start training with a goal.
If you are going to do swimming training and just go swimming for an hour and see what you are doing it can sometimes be difficult to stay motivated and that hour of swimming seems to last forever. If you go to the swimming pool with a clear goal, you are much more motivated to reach this goal. For example, a goal to work on your technique and speed during your swimming training by starting with a technique set and then doing 10x100m at the race pace with 30 seconds of rest.
If I do this type of training myself, during the training I am actually not concerned with how long I have been swimming but only with the next interval.
Finding the right balance in work / private life / sport is crucial to keep growing and to keep fun in your sport. I myself also struggled with this at the beginning, you are fanatic and want to do everything to achieve your goal. You can keep giving everything for an event for a couple of weeks, but in the end you are, without balance, milking yourself and your family. You get mentally burned out and at the end of the season you do your training because it “must” but you actually look forward to the off-season.
Listen to your body
Listening to your body is often very difficult for fanatic athletes. Athletes do everything they can to do their training and ignore signals that the body emits. Sometimes athletes are even a bit proud that they have only slept for 4 hours and yet set the alarm clock at 5 am to be able to grab that hour of training for your work.
Remember that your night’s rest is the only time that your body really recovers and is actually trying to get better. During your training you break down your muscles and it is the trick to let your body recover a little better during rest than it used to be, also called super compensation. If you continuously compensate for your rest, you do not give your body the chance to this super compensation and you risk getting injuries and overtraining in the long term.
Do not be afraid to skip training once if your body indicates this.
Pack your bike, cycle for 3 hours and keep pedaling firmly and guaranteed that you will be very tired at the end of the training. A good endurance training but qualitatively you are training a lot in a gray area. You actually train at your pace and you are mainly busy making your body very tired. It is better to do a qualitative interval training in which you train really hard, around your turning point, and cycle very quietly in between. This way your training does not always have to take a long time to do a lot of work (I cycle in preparation for, for example, a half triathlon but rarely longer than 2 hours).
Keep it simple
I sometimes see swimming training on the wall of the swimming pool that barely fits on 1 a4. The same applies to cycling and running training that contains endless exercises or variables. My rule of thumb is that the training must be simple enough to remember. Of course you have to work on many technical aspects while swimming but it makes little sense to do 10 different drills during your training. Do a maximum of 3 and perform this very well. The same applies to cycling and walking, make sure that you work on your points for improvement and do a good interval training but do not cram everything in 1 training.