Your Pillars of Performance

Mar 12, 2012
Outside Magazine

What’s the secret of success in endurance sports? I get asked this a lot. The answer can be boiled down to one phrase: consistency of effective training.  Performance does not arrive overnight. It comes out of a consistently applied training plan that is appropriate and specific to your level and needs. It takes hard work and a willingness to integrate training as a way of life, instead of a burden on top of life.

Runners via Shutterstock Photographer: Maridav

Once we understand that consistency is the real cornerstone of performance improvement, it is easy to understand that any single session or week or training is not going to make you improve. In order to remain consistent you must stay healthy, motivated, and injury-free. This means your path to performance must include components that support consistency, maintain health, and optimize recovery throughout your journey toward your triathlon. 

Enter your purplepatch pillars of performance!

No matter what level of athlete I am working with, we always refer back to the pillars of performance. They are the foundation of your training success and are given equal philosophical and emotional important in the training approach.  They are:

Endurance training:  The obvious one!  In your case the swimming, biking and running that you do to prepare for your triathlon.

Nutrition: To support your endurance training, you need the appropriate approach to both nutrition (daily eating habits) and fueling (fueling your muscles during and immediately following activity).

Recovery:  Properly integrated recovery allows the positive adaptations from your training to take effect— and allows for critical recovery and rejuvenation, leaving you balanced and healthy.

Functional Strength: You must support your endurance activity with a program that synchronizes movements, balances your musculoskeletal system, and improves biomechanics.

None of the pillars are revolutionary in themselves. But viewing them together, and placing equal importance on them all, sets the appropriate lens to your performance journey.  So often I see enthusiastic athletes simply focus on training hard, while ignoring the other crucial elements. They the swim, bike and run, but forget or ignore the value of proper nutrition, recovery, and functional strength. They usually end up overly fatigued or injured.

As you begin your training, realize that each of the pillars of performance are not just recommendations—they are critical component of the training plan. Before you even look at the daily training plan, or begin a session, know that the plan is worthless if it is not supported with proper nutrition and recovery. And while you won’t spend as many of your weekly hours working on functional strength as you do swimming, biking, or running, don’t fall into the trap of skipping these essential sessions.

You are not ready to perform your best today, the goal is to get you ready to perform your best and be success on race day.  We have a few months, so lets embrace all the components of performance.  You won’t regret it!

Matt Dixon

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