No pressure training

I may not have a triathlon race on my schedule but I'm training for Kona!

Well, not as a participant this year but I am Karel's official training partner in the pool. Yes, that means that I will be doing every swim workout on Karel's PPF training plan, with him, between now and IM Kona race day.

Teammwork makes the dream work...or Karel's case, misery loves company....as in the case of our main set of 8 x 300's (descend by 2 from 70% to very strong effort) this morning (4500 yards total swim).

I'm also joining Karel for his easier workouts on the bike (Tri and road bikes). 

And for his easy runs.

And, I make sure his post workout snacks and meals are always ready for when he finishes a workout.

It's a tough job but my reward is a 2-week trip to the big island of Kona in a few weeks!

But it won't be all play in paradise as we have two Trimarni athletes racing their first IM World Championship (Justine and Leigh-Ann) so race week will be all about my athletes, as I will be going over nutrition and pacing strategies once last time with them, taking them through visualizations and training with them on the race course (and going over every detail of that race course).

You'd think that Karel would be mentally and physically exhausted right now, after racing two Ironmans in 8 weeks, and now with his third Ironman this season in just five weeks, but Karel is in a great place mentally and physically.
He is so excited for his second Ironman World Championship and every day he looks forward to training.
Despite some obstacles this season, he has gained a lot of fitness this season and a big reason why is his no-pressure approach - he just loves the process of developing.

Now that I finally feel recovered from the Lake Logan Half, the 4-day Greenville Purple Patch Camp and spectating at Ironman Mont Tremblant, I'm back training again with absolutely no pressure to perform. After Kona, I'll be participating in the Hincapie Gran Fondo, where I plan to ride hard for 80 miles on my road bike, on an extremely difficult course and that will officially conclude my 2016 racing season.

While I feel it is always good to train with a purpose, this last week had me thinking about how much pressure we (athletes) put on ourselves when we train for a race. Yes, pressure is good as it means you care and you want to get better but too much pressure can be a bad thing.

Pressure can be exhausting - mentally and physically.
Too much pressure on yourself can also wear out your training partners, friends and family (ex. spouse/significant other). 

Although my training is loosely structured right now, I am still focused on getting the most out of my body for every workout. I can tell you that my mind and body are working really well right now as I am only focused on the task at hand without expectations as to how I need to feel - no pressure training.

I find that I perform my best when I don't put a lot of pressure on myself.
But as you may agree, it's much easier said than done, especially when an important race is on the schedule.

To make sure that pressure doesn't get the best of you, here are some tips to bring the fun back into training:

Running through lava fields is FUN! 

1) Training is your hobby, not your life. If you aren't having fun training, you may want to reconsider why you are training in the first place.
2) Don't compare yourself to others or a past version of yourself.
3) Don't overthink the workout.
4) Go into your workout with no expectations instead of low expectations.
5) Be ok with modifying a workout for a better outcome when you are tired, fatigued or you have a niggle.
6) Always listen to your body.
7) Forget about perfectionism. You will never be perfect. Life will never be perfect.
8) Do the best you can with the time you have. Don't assume tomorrow will always be better.
9) Be processed driven, not outcome focused.
10) Understand the workout purpose.
11) Be ok with making mistakes.
12) Allow yourself to have a bad workout every now and then.
13) Stop telling yourself that you are too slow or that you should be somewhere else with your fitness right now. Be ok with where you are - you are exactly where you need to be.
14) Focus on your individual development.
15) It's never going to get easier. You just learn how to train smarter.
16) Don't be afraid to suffer.
17) Consistency goes a long way. 
18) Don't take yourself too seriously. Adjust the standards you put on yourself.
19) Always bring a can-do attitude to your workout. When you don't have the energy to train, just exercise.
20) See challenges as opportunities to improve.