So apart from quality training, which is obviously essential, there are four main things that I do for my athletes alongside their training.
1. Nutrition The first is to work with them on their nutrition, especially their race nutrition. We work out what they need to fuel and when, and looking at their training data,we can usually take a good guess of how much fuel they're going to need to take in.
I get my athletes to do things like sweat tests so we know exactly what liquid they need to take in and when. And from that, along with objective and objective data from training, we can calculate the optimal nutrition strategy to make sure that my athletes are racing to the best of their ability. I also provide support if they need or want help with their day-to-day nutrition. I work with a few athletes who have diabetes, so they're particularly interested in this area to help them to understand the effect that training will have on their blood sugars and to optimise their fuelling to keep their blood sugars stable throughout training.
We work on several aspects of mindset. Top of the list are race reviews. So we always do a review after every race to look at how it went, not just from a data point of view, but from a subjective experience. What was their experience as an athlete? What did they feel? Where did they get distracted? Where did they lose focus? Where did they feel stressed or panicked? Where did they give up? Where did they feel fantastic? What went well? What really worked for them? How did they race? How did their self-talk go? We look at what we need to carry forward for next time and what needs work, then we create actions to take forward. We look at their mindset through training as well. So if there's certain training sessions that they just don't get done, why not? How can we understand the blockers? How can I help them to get the work done, either by changing the sessions or changing the approach? Mindset is a big part of what we do and helping athletes to understand what's going on in their head so that we can either reinforce positive patterns, or break negative patterns and put new patterns in place so they will race better in the future.
3. Flexibility, mobility and strength
I always look at what work my athletes are doing in these areas. Some athletes, they go to the gym, they do their own session, they have a PT, they go to Pilates or yoga. Fine. If it works for them all good - I'm not interfering with that. Some athletes follow the programs that I give them. Some come to my Monday night strength for triathletes class. It varies from athlete to athlete, but we always look at it because it's such an important part of training.
It sits alongside swim, bike, and run to ensure that athletes stay strong and injury free. It's so essential so regardless of what form it takes, we find something that works for each individual athlete and make sure that's in place.
4. Rest and recovery
For a lot of my athletes, it's not just abut including rest and recovery days, or adaptation weeks. It also involves looking at their sleep hygiene, at their stress management. We look at how we manage stress that is happening in day-to-day life and stress caused by work. We look at how we can help them to manage that stress. This is essential because training is also a source of stress so we need to make sure that it is manageable, under control and not taking over. These are the four main areas that I work with my clients on in addition to their quality training. If you're looking for support with these areas, get in touch.