This is a time of year when many marathon swimmers are ramping up their training in earnest, in preparation for big swims this summer. It’s a time of year when reports of epic workouts appear with increasing frequency on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. While it’s fun to read of others’ training exploits, it’s important to keep your eyes on the prize – maximizing your performance for your event – and not get caught up in cyber-rivalries.
My friend and former training partner Jared Woodford recently wrote an excellent post on this subject, and I asked his permission to re-print it. Jared is a professional triathlete, a commercial pilot for ExpressJet, and a former collegiate swimmer at Delta State University. Last May he was featured in an interview on SlowTwitch.
Possibly unique to triathlon (and maybe its component sports) is the ability to read about the workouts of other athletes online. Via Facebook, Twitter and blogs there is an access to other athletes that isn’t found in other sports. I’ve never read on AJ Green’s twitter feed about how many pass play routes he ran that day and Kevin Durant doesn’t update us on how hard his last workout was. Triathlon social media though is inundated with completed workouts, epic training day totals and regurgitated coaching mantras.
It can be disconcerting when others are logging epic workouts and you aren’t. And while good people train a lot (endurance sports work like that), remember that the competition is on race day. The goal of training is to race faster, not to train more than your friends. [Emphasis added.] There are no medals given out for epic training days posted online (other than social recognition medals, which could very well be more important to some). And even if there were, they wouldn’t be handed out in January when the races are 5 months away.
As others gain early fitness and hit the web, don’t panic thinking you might be behind. There is no glamour in patience; no online reward for staying the course. It takes great self-confidence to do what YOU need to do. The workouts that make the real difference (the ones that are repeatable and appropriate), won’t foster many “likes” and won’t impress your twitter followers. But remember that the season is long, training is individual, and to keep calm and carry on.