Monday, January 6, 2014

What I learned in 2013

Now that 2013 is over, I can look back and see what I learned from the season.  I think it's always good to look back and see what I learned, both good and bad.  It will help me become better in all areas of my life.
Well, if I wasn't a zombie, maybe the kid would be. 

So here are a few things that I learned last year both in and out of training:

1) Being a parent isn't as tiring as everyone has made it seem- Maybe it's just how easy Riley is and that he has been sleeping 12 hours a night since 3 months, but I assumed I would be a walking zombie when we was born and have no time to think, eat, train, or anything.  I have had more time and energy to train than I thought in Riley's first year.

2) Developing a specific training plan is a lot better than trying to wing it.- Yes, I know that sounds so easy, but just as its good to have a training plan, it's even better to follow it.  It's sometimes difficult for me to follow a plan because of my travel and ability to get to a pool, bring my bike, etc.  But when I have followed a training plan, I have had more success and better races.

3) Trusting your training is crucial- Training for races is a process.  Every day and activity should have a purpose. Some days are meant to be hard, and some are easy or drills.  I used to train hard every day and push myself as much as I could.  But I would also get burned out quickly and couldn't get a full week's workout in because I was too tired or sore.  I learned that I should trust in the process and not just push myself as hard as possible. 

4) Laughing with Riley is so much better than laughing without him- Riley has the silliest laugh I have ever heard.  To make him laugh and hear the response is way better than laughing at something else.  It's great to share in the joy with him.

5) Specific Nutrition for me- In year's past I have had cramping issues and never really dialed in my nutrition.  This year, I figured out what works exactly for me.  There have been a few tweaks to my process this entire year, but I now know exactly how and what I need to put n my body during races.  I found the gels that I like the best and give me the energy I need, and partnering with HoneyMaxx has dialed in my liquids and electrolytes.

6) Sometimes a race is a race, and sometimes it's an event- I race hard every time I toe the line.  I always want to have my best showing.  But sometimes, that doesn't happen. Other times, it's just awesome to take in the sights.  I learned that during Boston this year, and while I didn't have a good time for me, I loved racing Boston this year and actually got emotional during the race.  During the HalfFull Triathlon, to see all the cancer survivors was a sight and I knew this race was bigger than me. Finally, the highlight of my race year was spending time in Maine with my family and capping that week off racing the Half.  But crossing the finish line with Riley in arms was an event during the race I will never forget.

7) Swimming or biking for a specific time does nothing for race improvement- Pretty stupid of me to assume this since I always vary my run workouts, but I hardly did that for swimming or cycling.  I would swim for 30 minutes and be done. I did a little more than that for the bike, but nothing major.  Now I know that I need to work on hills, one legged drills, sprint intervals in the pool, use paddles, etc.  I think I'll start to see a big improvement on both my swim times and bike splits in 2014. 

8) It's all about the looks- If you feel good, you'll race good.  I've been trying to coordinate race outfits, sunglasses (yes, I wore 7 different sunglasses in races this year), shoes, bike colors.  Coincidentally, I've also felt good on almost all of my races this year.  Yes, this last one was very vain

9) Off days are needed and don't feel guilty- I've always hated taking off days, and an off-season.  I just don't like the idea of not doing something every day.  But I've learned that some days you just need to shut it down and not feel bad about not doing anything.

10) I sleep so much better when Thunder is around- For some reason, I can't sleep when he's not curl up in my legs at night.  I can sleep when the wife isn't there, but if Thunder is gone for a night, it's so hard for me to get a good night's sleep.  I know weird, but hes been with me for 8 plus years.  I'm used to it now.

11) I need to start planning races in places the wife can enjoy- She made me agree that one.  In the future, I'm sure there will be races in very tropical locations

There is so much more I learned, but I didn't want to add too many.  I look forward to building on a lot of these this year to be better in 2014. 

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