How to become a successful athlete

The off-season gives you the perfect chance to relflect on the previous season. Address things that went well but also those that didn’t go quite to plan. This is necessary to develop as an athlete – capitalise on strength and figuring out why less positive things happened and from there deduce ways to prevent them from happening again.

As the new season is now just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start making plans and laying down the foundations whilst you can. By addressing these and testing them now in the off-season will allow you to create better habits early on in order to become a better athlete.

Below are a few tips to help you to become a more rounded and successful athlete in 2020.

Time management
We already know how time-consuming Triathlon is as it involves 3 different sports in one, so we are aware that it requires and awful lot of time and commitment in order to see results. Being time-efficient is key to becoming a successful athlete. Using the time you have available between work, and family life can be tricky but certainly do-able if you use that time effectively.

There are a number of hacks that you can try. Many with busy work schedules find themselves getting up extra early to cram a session in on the turbo before driving off to work…or they head out for a late-night run once the kids have gone to bed. But an event more time efficient, and super-effective training method is to incorporate training into your commute. If you have to travel a reasonable distance by car everyday, is there a way of switching the car for your bike and banking some solid miles on the bike to get you from point to point and back again?

Or if you are struggling to fit in some longer sessions at the weekends due to a busy social schedule, is there a way of travelling to trips via bike and meeting them there? This is a perfect way to bank that long ride and it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your weekend plans with the family.

Listen to your body not your ego
This is a real error that athletes struggle with (and more often than not try to ignore). One of the keys to being a successful athlete is learning to listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly. If you feel tired and fatigued but your coach or TrainingPeaks is telling you that you have a hard interval session planned for that day, it would be wise to raise how you are feeling with your coach and either alter the session to something easier, or take it off completely.

A reminder that rest plays a vital part in performance and a long successful career. Taking rest days does not make you weak!

Preparation
This falls similarity under the time-management bracket. Being prepared and organised will make anyone’s life a lot easier to manage, but this is crucial for any athlete. For example, making sure you know what your training sessions are for the day and what kit you need to take with you. Or knowing what splits you need to hit in your sessions beforehand and not working them out mid-session. Creating good habits and routines that work for you helps take away any unwanted pressures or stress to your already busy lives.

Mental focus
An athlete who is able to mentally prepare themselves and ‘zone out’ is an effective athlete! Having the ability to maintain focus through sessions when nobody is watching ensures you hit rep after rep. In the cold, wet, dark winter nights throughout off-season is where PBs are made. Focusing on goals, training the mind to endure and face all potential problems that may arise in competition and learning to deal with them is something all athletes should work on.

So when you are preparing for your 2020 season, be sure to look back over these tips beforehand and try to incorporate them into your daily routines. Create good habits now even if they don’t seem necessary just yet. You will be thankful for them on race day.