Many athletes go it alone. At this level of competition most have a huge team behind them. Here are the most important figures to be part of your Performance Network.
Family and Friends – If you don’t have the support at home, you can forget about having a productive season. More on this tomorrow.
Training Partners – Having the right training partner doesn’t mean having someones who is training for the same race as you. Having the right training partner means you have someone who understands there are times when they will be dropped and times when you will let them go on and let you ride sweep. You have a training plan to follow and if you’re supposed to stick in Zone 2 when your partners wants to get out of the saddle and hammer, they need to be okay knowing you won’t follow.
Coach(es) – You don’t need a coach on retainer. Sure, I’m more than a bit biased when I say that it would certainly help. At the minimum you’ll need a reliable and knowledgeable individual you can turn to when you have questions. And you will have questions. If I’m not the guy for you but you like the concept, the USAT website has a listing of all certified coaches and their contact information.
Message Therapist – Find a message therapist who specialized in sports massages and has a background in endurance sports. If the lights are dimmed and you’re getting slathered in lavender oil then you’re in the wrong place. I use Dana Rutt of Podium Sports Therapy. She’s a former Ironman and she gets it.
Sports Nutritionist – Much like the advice above, the key is to find someone who works exclusively with athletes. If their specialization is eating disorders and they only deal with athletes on occasion, they aren’t for you. You need specialized advice.
Strength Trainer – Can’t stress it enough: They need to specialize in endurance athletes. Do they tell you to narrow your stance during squats to mimic the position on the bike? Do they work to develop your lower traps to help stabilize your shoulders for swimming? Do the ramble on and on about the importance of glute strength and lower back flexibility? If not, walk away.
Yoga Teacher – Find someone in your area that puts on a Sunday or Monday class that focuses on Yin or Restorative Yoga. You’ll be getting enough work in other areas. Your yoga practice should put you back together, not further tear you down.
This was post nine in a ten post series about preping for long-course triathlon racing next season. Tune in tomorrow for the final piece of advice on how to have a successful 140.6 in 2012.