After a few years of weekend training behind me, I’ve come to realize that a big weekend of training is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge.
If you are training for a half marathon or a full marathon, each and every weekend, your long runs continue to increase in mileage. To the point that you know… these miles are going to take a while so I better be prepared.
As I got ready for Ironman, my Saturdays and Sundays were consumed with training. A 100 mile ride on a Saturday could take 6-7 hours for me then a 15 mile run the next day followed by an hour and half swim. Easily another 4-5 hours gone from my Sunday.
That’s a lot in anyone’s book for one weekend not to mention having to do this for weeks on end and if you aren’t prepared mentally, it’s going to be even harder than it sounds.
This weekend I’m headed into some heavy training to kick off my 2012 triathlon season and just like learning to pace myself on a run or on a bike ride, mentally pacing myself is just as important.
Here are a few things I do mentally to get ready.
1. I prepare my gear ahead of time. I get together every piece of clothing or gadget I’m going to need for my training ready. I clean my bike, check the tires, lube the chain, charge up the bike computer and get my on-the-bike nutrition ready to go. I also get my running clothes, shoes and swim gear laid out. The less I have to think about my gear being ready, the more I focus on the training ahead of me.
2. I plan out my weekend of time spent with friends or family so that I can get in bed at a decent hour. Training for most of us takes place at an early hour and we need all the sleep we can get. I’ve been guilty of over doing it to the point that you would think I wasn’t training for anything and find myself worn out from a late night out.
3. Before I go out for dinner I get an idea of what i want to eat before I get there. What I eat today, fuels my body for tomorrow. It’s hard eating healthy when you aren’t eating at home. I usually look at the soups and a salad first then see if there is anything on the menu with fish and veggies. That’s my go-to. Yours might be different.
4. Plan Your Training Routes. Whether it’s running or cycling. Know where you are going and if at all possible plan some stops along the way in case you run out of liquids of food or need to go to the bathroom. There’s nothing more frustrating than running out of nutrition or needing to go have a little alone time in a clean bathroom.
5. Take your phone and a little extra cash. If you get stranded from exhaustion (hopefully not) or you get a flat and forgot your spare tube. It never hurts to be able to call someone to come pick you up. I’ve had to do it and it’s no fun. But sometimes it’s needed. Also… you never know when you need to buy an extra bottle of go juice or a snack. Take some cash. When I’m on my bike, I put my phone and cash in a zip-lock bag in case it rains or I spill liquid on it.
6. I think through the mileage I’m about to do. The miles might seem overwhelming but the more I break them down in my head to smaller chunks of miles, the easier it is for me mentally. Remember, training is a process.
When I think about this process, I find myself applying this to basic parts of my life. Traveling, Focused time with my wife, A weekend with the family.
In short, I think it pays to be prepared and ready and it’s honestly more of a load off my brain when I know I’m going into something more prepared.
Knowing what’s ahead of you and knowing how you will get there is half the battle.
The other half is just doing it.
If you aren’t new to this, how do you prepare for a weekend of training? Anything to add?