One of my main challenges for next year is going to be to remain focused during my races. I am planning on completing both a Middle Distance and Long Course Triathlon and know that the bike and the run is going to take a long time. In comparison to the bike and run, the swim will be relatively boredom free. Concentration for an hour is quite easy, especially with a fresh mind and body. However, when it comes to the bike and run, boredom and more importantly, lack of concentration could come to the fore. So, how do you overcome boredom?
In trianing, it would be relatively simple – on the run, wear an ipod (or other music device) to take your mind of things. Run or cycle in a group. Play some music, or watch a movie or programme whilst you are on your turbo. But ask yourself this question:
“How often to you race with an ipod?” – “How many times do you watch a film/programme whilst you are on your bike?” The answer is never. So, if you don’t race like it, why train like it?
My running at the moment consists of running around (and around; and around; and around) a track. This is for 2 reasons. Firstly, the races that I am participating have very flat run courses, so I don’t have to worry too much about terrain. Secondly and more importantly, it’s boring! The monotony of running lap after lap can get to you. But I use this as an important training tool. I need to make sure that I remain focused at all times. Focused on my run technique. Focused on my Heart Rate – did I ever tell you that I am fanatical about Heart Rate training? No? Well, that’s for another post! Focus on making sure that I am fully aware of how I feel at all times. I have also noticed that the time I run actually seems to go quicker if I focus on what I am doing. I don’t clock watch, but really focus on every 2 1/2 laps. This for me makes the kms go quickly.
When it comes to the bike, too often have I been out on a ride and then suddenly ‘woken up’ with the thoughts “where did those (xx)kms go?” Then the realisation that I had either been going too easy (more often than not) or too hard; failing to get the most from the ride. Now, I really focus on my bike technique, concentrating on how my legs are turning over. Making sure that my upper body is as still as possible – I am really keen to concentrate on not losing energy through poor bike technique. But the bike can still get boring. One trick that I have looked at in my new training plan is, as with the run, break the bike down into ‘managable’ chunks. If my bike is 80+km, then I will break it down into 10km sections. Psychologically, this suits me well as I am tricking myself into thinking that I only have 10kms to go – a more manageable time to focus on and releave the boredom of a long, lonely ride.
If I am on my Wattbike – NO TV; NO MUSIC. Just focus on what I my body is doing, learning to be comfortable in my own ‘zone’.
Bottom line – Train how you will race and the race will not surprise you. If you learn not to get bored during training, this will pay well during the race where concentration is key.
Do you get bored during your training? If so, how to you overcome your boredom?
Have a fit and healthy day