Are you making progress in your triathlon training? It seems like a simple yes/no question, but I am always surprised by the number of athletes who aren’t sure if they are making progress. Furthermore, if an athlete responds that they are making progress, they often struggle with my follow-up question—how do you know?
I encourage all athletes, regardless of sport or experience, to keep a written record of their training and athletic achievements. Keeping a written record allows for one of the most valuable processes in athletics: self-reflection.
Keeping a written record, whether it be a paper journal, calendar, or online training record, allows the athlete to become a student of their training.
Athletes should look back at their previous training. What went well? What didn’t go well? What are possible explanations for a great performance or a tough training day?
One of my favorite TriDot features is the embedded journal. All training is logged. All assessments are logged. (And if you sync your device, you don’t even have to input any information!) This allows both athlete and coach to review past performances and analyze athletic progress.
Your TriDot coach can access all your training and assessments, allowing him to analyze your progress. Analyzing this data allows for meaningful coach/athlete discussions and modifications or changes to the training plan to ensure progress toward your goal.
Depending on the athlete’s level of training, coaches can really drill down into the finer details of the training sessions to push athletes into greater performances. For example, a coach may look at a bike workout and see that the athlete appropriately spent time in each of the prescribed training zones during an interval set, but notice that the athlete’s cadence was incredibly low during the set. Using this information, the coach and athlete may work on drills to increase cadence while riding.
Recording information about race nutrition and execution can also lend itself toward meaningful coach/athlete conversations. Athletes may find that holding too high of a heart rate on the bike portion was detrimental to the run portion of the race. Or they may find that the nutrition on that particular day was “spot on” and something that they should replicate in future races of that same distance.
While these are only a few examples of how using a written record can help athletes reflect on past training and discuss future training and racing with their coach, the possibilities for the implications of self-reflection and data analysis are endless. Using a written record allows athletes to make the most of each minute spent training, which in turn, means that the athletes are improving with each minute spent training.
Using TriDot as an athlete, I always know that I am making progress in my training. Join me in having an easy answer to the question, “Are you making progress?”
Are you just putting in the blood, sweat, and tears of your triathlon training or are you making significant progress? Using a journal can make sense of it all and tell you not only what you’ve been doing, but, more importantly, what you should be doing in the future.
TRIDOT TALK: What benefits has journaling provided for you? Have you ever been surprised at the findings you discovered after analyzing your journal entries?
Elizabeth James is an Ironman, a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach, and a TriDot coach. She made the transition from running marathons to triathlons in 2012 and has completed sprint, Olympic, 70.3, and full Ironman distances. She and her husband, Charles, live in Garland, Texas.