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Spencers Top Tips for a long and successful season

Spencers Top Tips for a long and successful season The triathlon season is about to kick off in a big way and this year the boss has signed Thomas Hellreigel and my place as PX senior pro in under threat. What he doesn’t know is that I am determined to show him why I am a three times world champion and why he has only won one – I’ll give him “Hell on Wheels”. Later this year we are going to take part in a races series for team bragging rights. I was impressed by his performance at Boggle Hole, not sure he had seen anything like it before but man he stuck it out, most just crack and never come back. What was the name of the last Germany bloke Dave? So, as the season approaches and I get the usual barrage of questions from friends, athletes and novices I thought I would give you my TOP TIPS for a long and successful campaign. 1. Set REALISTIC goals! Firstly, without clear goals and objectives for the year I believe it is impossible to get the most out of yourself both physically and mentally. It is vital for any athlete whether it is a professional OR an age grouper to sit down and look at the race calendar. From my first year of competing in triathlons the most important part of the year, was the layout and structure. We generally know most triathletes have an “A” type personality. Very motivated and goal orientated group, which is great apart from the fact that sometimes they like to bite off more than they can chew. This in turn ultimately leads to disappointment. Firstly, choose a couple of “A” races each season i.e. the races that you want to be in peak form for. Next be realistic with the race both in terms of distance, terrain and the result. Space out your “A” races so you can be fresh and ready to attack each race at full capacity. Take your time and choose carefully. The saying, “Horses for Courses,” have never been truer. Just remember you can change or restructure your season at any point. If the unexpected happens be flexible – adapt and refocus on the next “A” race!! Goals must be measurable. Everybody needs to know if they are getting closer to their goal. Set benchmarks for yourself to view your progress. Perhaps in training set a week of tests after a big block of training. Improvement is great for motivation. Be REALISTIC in setting goals, if you ran 40 minutes in a 10k last year, what are your chances of running a 34 minute 10k? Try to make the goals a positive challenge. Visual Reminders. Have goals where you can visually see them from time to time. Yes, a little corny I know but having a small visual reminder for example on the side of the Fridge, in a draw or on your computer etc is important. But please don’t obsess. You know what has to be done and pulling out the master plan now and again just to remind yourself, I think helps. Remember above all, even when it does get tough (because it will) why you started doing all of this? In the end if you stick to a well-structured and realistic plan you will achieve what you first set out to do. End of story! Have long and short-term goals. Rome was not built in a day (although I wasn’t on that job), so be patient. If you can’t reach your goal this season, set it as a long-term project and perhaps something that will be attainable in the seasons to come. 2. Split up the Season For many years I have been a big advocate of splitting the LONG race season into two parts. So perhaps after many months of training and racing, take a mid season siesta to re-charge the batteries and get out of the routine, let the body heal. Change is good and the body is NOT a machine. I liked the fact that after a big race (“A” race) or mid way through my season when I started to get fatigued, I took a break. Now, I did not completely stop training at this time but instead of doing quality sessions that seemed to break me down with the added stress of trying to keep my very structured training routine up, I simply went on sensations for two OR three weeks. If I wanted to run I would but there would be no pressure for me to train if the will was not there. I found though, that after only a small period of time I was ready to get back into it. It works perfectly not only for the body to repair but for the mind also. Rest is your friend not your enemy. 3 Address your Weaknesses What do I mean by this? Well, we all have weaknesses and we all love to do what we are good at but a great way to have a successful season and see improvement is to confront those weaknesses head on. Don’t just think they are going to improve because you are getting fitter or better in your already stronger leg. The best way to keep motivated is by seeing improvement and that means sometimes by having a cycle or a period of time where the emphasis is on your weaknesses. NO, your strengths won’t suddenly disappear because you are not giving them as much attention as your weaknesses deserve. It just means that you should see some BIG gains if you tackle your weaknesses correctly and objectively. 4 You are ready to race. Is your equipment? Preparation is the key and the underlining theme on most of the points so far. Attention to detail with your equipment should certainly be no different. You have trained hard for many hours to reach your ‘A” race in peak form, why let equipment choices (or lack of) ruin your day. There is nothing more annoying than not finishing a race due to mechanical difficulties. Yes punctures occur (I still have a bad taste in my mouth from puncturing in Hawaii in 06) that are out of your control BUT when you do look over your equipment prior to the big event and I do mean in advance NOT the night before and perhaps notice something is compromised, CHANGE IT!! That of course does NOT mean using something new on race day without trying it out in training first but what I am saying is, you should give yourself the best chance possible. Make sure you finish the race drama free so you can talk about your performance as opposed to your equipment failures. I am a big believer in being organized; I think it helps making that successful day a lot more achievable. If you can remember only some of the pointers you are CERTAINLY due for a long and successful season… I promise!! Ok, Good luck everybody… Or as a good friend of my dad once told me, “Good luck is when bad luck leaves you alone.” SS

17 April 2009


  • Jim

    Enjoyed the piece Spencer, especially your #2 point. Thank you for the experienced info.

  • Brad Law

    Sorry Spencer I have to disagree, you are a MACHINE!

  • Reed Haley

    Nobody knows better than someone who has been there and done it.

  • Ron Wordon

    Excellent insight. We can all train but we but we need the voice of expierence to guide us !

  • kev holt

    great info champ ta

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