Every endurance athlete is setting their goals for 2015: goals about racing faster, racing a new distance, or even taking on new sport – but they are always about challenging oneself to achieve more. To reach their goals, athletes take a significant amount of time considering things such as what races to sign up, new gear to purchase, finding training partners, and more. But, are athletes looking at the right foundations for success for endurance training? These are cardio training, strength training, mental strength, nutrition, and recovery. Each foundation is equally important, and an athlete should look at each one and set a strategy to improve in each area. Here are some ways to get started with each foundation:
Most athletes spend plenty of time working their specific sport of choice. Most athletes spend enough time swimming, biking, and/or running, but not always using that time to do the type of work they need to see improvements. If an athlete is new to the sport or looking at progressing to a longer distance, building a strong base should be his or her goal. More experienced athletes may include more intensity into their endurance training.
This should be done year around for most athletes. With year-round strength training, set up proper periodization that matches the rest of training through a season. One of the biggest keys to strength training for endurance athletes is to think about it as strengthening movements and not building muscles. Assessing strengths and weaknesses through a Functional Movement Screen is a must before starting strength training.
An athlete should start by looking at how he or she handles challenges in races. Athletes must be honest with themselves and realize that all athletes need to work on the mental part of endurance training. Positive self-reinforcement is usually the first step.
The first step here is to look at everyday eating habits. Keys are consuming lean proteins, healthy fats, and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables (especially greens). Avoid processed foods and added sugars.
This may be the most overlooked foundation for better performance. Adapt a new mantra: “Workouts break me down and recovery builds me up.” There are several aspects of recovery, but it all starts with high quality sleep. Aim for 8-10 hours per night.
Train smart, work hard, and Reach Your Next Level!