Focused Training

focus

1.the center of interest or activity.

2.the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition

 I’d like to talk about the difference between junk yardage in the pool vs. real yardage in the pool, junk mileage on the bike or junk mileage running vs. real mileage miles. There are a lot of cyclists, runners, swimmers and triathletes who love to brag about doing tons of miles during training. I love to read posts saying I rode my bike “x” number of miles, run for “x” hours today or even better, the person that swam “x” of yards this morning. I know I have posted a lot of training weeks where I have had some nice mileage and yardage weeks, but I’d like to think most of mine are done with purpose or thought behind them.

I spent the last three weeks coaching the YMCA’s summer swim program. I have been working with the fast lane, or swimming world, lane one. I stand at the end of the lane and I watch the arms, legs, shoulders, backs and heads of each swimmer. I move to the side and walk up and down the lane and watch them from head to toe again. At the end of the set, or sometimes in the middle of the set, I tell them what I see and what they need to do to correct it. Then we repeat the set or do a similar set. Nothing is harder than to watch them do it all over again with the same mistakes. I pull them out and tell them again how to fix it and repeat the set again.

One day, about two weeks ago, I finally asked them, “Do you know why we swim two drills then the set?”. I got the deer in the headlights look with a reply, “To swim more yards”. My response might have been a little loud, as I noticed the other two coaches were now staring at me. I broke it down to them, I said, “It is about focusing on what we are doing. There is no need to just be in the water going up and down the lanes”. The real purpose of training in the pool is to focus on what we are doing in the lanes. There is a reason to warmup. There is a reason for drills, different sets, and cool downs.

The same is true for biking and running. I have had this conversation in one form or another with all the athletes I have ever worked with, whether it was track, cross country, swimming, or triathlon. It is about focusing on what athletes are doing at each training session. Hill repeats, intervals, fartleks, long slow days, sprints, tempo workouts, and easy workouts, correctly and with a purpose only really count if the athlete is focused on executing the workout. Bad form while riding or running is just as bad as bad form in the water.

So, the point of this post is to draw your attention to focusing on your workout and completing it with a purpose.

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