When it comes to building performance for cycling and triathlon, many of us have a long list of of "musts" begin to form in our mind. But we’re missing the most vital question of all:
What does it ACTUALLY take to build performance?
Training for performance. . . it’s a whole new ball game, right?
Nutrition needs to be precise, the training plan needs to be tweaked and refined constantly, recovery has to be 100% on point, and we need to have the right equipment.
At least, that’s what we’re led to believe by everything we’ve read and heard, right?
For those who are looking to perform at the top levels in the world, or trying to make that jump through the last level or two to get there, absolutely. every single thing needs to be “dialed in”.
But the rest of us?
Not so much.
In fact, for the vast majority of us, it is in fact, quite simpler.
It’s easy- if you let it be.
What do you really need in order to build performance in cycling and triathlon?
Wait, what do you mean “Consistency”?
Building to performance, really is just about doing the things that ACTUALLY matter, in just enough amounts, over a consistent period of time.
This is where many cyclists and triathletes look for performance increases go wrong. They do too damn much.
“My last VO2 max intervals were 8 watts short, so I need to do another one.”
“I don’t feel tired from my ride today, so I didn’t go hard enough. I need to add another 60 minutes this evening.”
“My strength training only feels like a 5 or 6 out of 10, I need to add extra sets”
“My legs aren’t sore from my strength training, I’m not doing enough.”
Swing and a miss….
Social media, the media, and even those at the higher levels like to tell us that in order to “get there” we have to go hard. You are constantly fed images and videos of the hardest part of a rider or triathletes training, but are seldom shown the numerous hours of EASY riding that they do.
Because it’s boring.
Just like going to bed before 10pm every night, eating 10-12 servings of vegetables a day, and hitting 1.6g/kg a day for protein intake.
There’s nothing exciting about it.
SO BORING EVEN THE SLOTHS ARE YAWNING!
But that’s what it takes:
Consistency over years.
Doing just enough training, and nothing more.
Not looking for KOM’s when you should be riding strictly endurance, and not using $4,000 compression boots, or some supplement that research shows improves your heart power by 4-6%. Use of these comes WAYYYYYYY later.
How to Put This Into Action
For the next 2 weeks, keep a training journal- separate from your normal one, and keep track of these 3 things:
- How many nights you go to sleep before 10pm
- How many servings of vegetables and protein a day you eat
- If you do your training sessions exactly as designed by your coach*
*Self coached individuals may have a harder time with this, as we tend to plan unrealistic programs for ourselves. Either in the number of sessions we can handle a week, or in the amount of intensity we can handle. While this isn’t always true, it tend to hold its weight 90% of the time.
At the beginning of each day as yourself this, in regards to your training:
What if it were easy?
What would that look like?
The glory comes at the end, after all of the boring consistency… but boy is it worth it.