Technically, for most January 1st is the “fresh start” to the year. A day of reminiscing the past year, looking forward to the new year and setting new goals for going forward.
For myself, and a lot of other triathletes, the “new year” starts in spring. There is something about the air in spring. It is a time of new beginnings. It is the start of a new season. New goals. Fresh enthusiasm.
As a coach, some things I do are in an “old school” manner. While yes, my athletes' training plans and data are all saved “online,” I also like to keep track of some things in (several/many!!) good, old-fashioned spiral notebooks. At the start of the season, I like to look back over these. I like to see where athletes started at the beginning of the season, where they ended up, what they improved upon and where we go from there.
As an athlete, each spring, I like to read over my own past race reports. Races gone-by. From another day, another lifetime, another me. It is always refreshing to read about the inexperienced “new” triathlete and reflect on the older, wiser, more experienced me. Who was I when I started? What kind of athlete am I now? What do I need to do in this new, fresh season? What will I look back on and read at the end of THIS season?
Whether you are a brand new, newbie to the sport or on your 20th season and “been there, done that,” I highly encourage you to start keeping some sort of record of your successes, lessons (I call them lessons vs failures) what you set out to achieve (and did!) and what you need to achieve going forward.
Write your goals down. Put a timeline on them. Look at them. Often.
Your athletic goals don’t have to be about numbers and physical training. Below are some suggestions on areas other than physical training that you can work on and then be able to look back and reflect on:
- Mindset: Your mind is a powerful tool. It is like a computer. You can program it to believe anything you consistently tell it to believe or not to believe. Make these thoughts empowering and strong. Don’t let them belittle and break you down. Work on starting a gratitude or “strength” journal. Each day, write down three things you are either grateful for or that you like about yourself.
- Body Composition: Need to “put some meat on those bones?” Trim down a bit? Add some muscle? Maybe even shed some muscle. These components all take a bigger toll on our training and racing than we imagine. Need some help in this area? Gather some training buddies and help hold each other accountable. Check in with each other. Start using the app, MyFitnessPal, which is kind of like “Strava,” for our day to day eating! You can “see” what your friends on MFP are eating, their calorie burn, weight loss (or gain!) Nothing like knowing everyone is going to see your food journal to make you tighten up what you are eating!
- Balance: Are you the typical, “Type-A” Triathlete who has a hard time NOT putting their training before everything else? Maybe balancing life and training is a goal to work on this season. Work on making time to fit in family, friends, and downtime into your training schedule. They will thank you for it later! Sit down with your family. Discuss some ways everyone can cooperate to work the training in, but also make time for fun with each other. Family conference time!
- Recovery: One of the most powerful, but under-utilized secret weapons of all triathletes and runners both far and wide! Train Hard! Race Harder! (But where does the recovery fit in?) I will tell you where! When you get injured from overuse injuries, or worse yet burned out and end up sitting out an entire season (or more) is when you are going to get some forced recovery! Don’t let it get to that point. Utilize daily recoveries such as recovery drinks, quiet time, stretching, foam rolling, compression therapy (hello Normatec!) bodywork and meditation.
- Gear Organization: What is UP with that dirty bike chain? How about those tri shorts that are threadbare? Always entertaining to be riding behind someone with see-thru shorts on! (Time to order some new Tri Sirena gear!!) Can you see out of last season’s goggles? Is your tire repair kit stocked? How are those nasty a$$ bike bottles from last year? Any black, stinky stuff down in the bottom? What is your fueling cabinet looking like? Make a shopping list of all of the things that need replenishing, replacing or purchased before kicking off your season. Put that right into your “race” budget! Without the little necessities, your season isn’t going to go as smoothly as if you were stocked up. Be prepared! (Piss Poor Planning makes for Piss Poor Performance!) Nothing like meeting friends for a bike ride only to be late, because you spent 30 minutes searching for something you are already out of anyhow!
So, here we go! Another season! Let’s do this!
Written by Jackie Miller, Siren Luminary & Triathlon Coach
Follow Jackie on Instagram! @jackiemiller5298