One of my all time favorite sayings is:

"If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got!"

The reason I like this particular line of words is it can applied to any of life's situations, and even more so to the world of exercise and training.

I have had the opportunity to work with and meet hundreds (perhaps a thousands?) of athletes, who are all pretty serious about their training and competing. They put in a lot of time, money and energy every week in an attempt to improve their performance.

Some succeed, others do not.

I have also come to notice that those who seem to succeed more often than not have a number of characteristics in common. The one I am interested in looking at today is their ability to look at themselves with an objective eye and identify what was done right and what should have been differently in the lead up to the big day.

The question "...what should I have been differently", is what sets these guys and girls apart from the rest of the race.

After completing an event, how many of you do the following:

Take 15 or so minutes to sit down quietly to assess and evaluate your race, and your preparation for the race -from an objective point of view?

It is not as easy as it sounds, but the information you will derive from this quick exercise is self critique, will provide you with an enormous amount of relevant and critical feedback, allowing you to make changes (both major and minor), to your preparation for to your next race.

Ask yourself questions such as:
  1. What part of the race was I most nervous about? Perhaps the bike leg of a triathlon or the big hill in the middle of the marathon?
  2. What part of the race was I looking forward to the most?
  3. Which areas of the race did I exceed my expectations on (my nutrition), and which areas did I feel I would have like to have performed better (maintaining a higher average wattage on the bike).
  4. Was there any instance when I felt completely under-prepared (at the start of the swim)?
Answers to these, and any other questions you feel will: assist you to improve your preparation and ultimately your performance in your next race should be kept at the forefront of your mind when you are looking at the coming months of training.

Use this feedback, while adjusting your training program will help you, to fine tune your preparation and maximize your performance on race day.

You will also be confident in the knowledge that you will not repeat the same errors in training, and during the race, that you made last time.

If on the other hand, during your next race, you find yourself still looking for that handful of elusive watts or are still struggling with the hills, you will hopefully have a "Eureka!" moment.

You will then spend a little time dissecting your training preparation and race day performance, and apply your findings to your program.

You will no doubt begin to see the improvements you have been looking for.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
blog comments powered by Disqus