For all of you who grew up in the '90s, the start of this blog is for you. Boy Meets World was one of my favorite shows growing up and still is to this day. I have binged the show numerous times. Today, fans get to relive the show through a podcast, named Pod Meets World. https://podmeetsworldshow.com/ Danielle Fishel(Topanga), Rider Strong(Shawn), and Will Friedle(Eric) recap episodes, discuss filming and behind the scenes of the show and have guests on the podcasts that were involved with the show. Many episodes of this show have meaning to me. As soon as I decided on the subject of today's blog, this episode came to mind.
In Season 5, Episode 4, Shawn begins to wonder what the point of high school is because he thinks he is not college material and begins skipping class. He is invited to a college class by a girl in his apartment building. He attends the class and begins doing well in the class. Shawn decides he can handle college and doesn't need high school. He is excited to turn in his first college paper and is stunned when he receives a bad grade on the paper. When he asks the professor about his grade, the professor says the paper lacks the basics of a good paper. The professor reminds Shawn that he's in college now, needs to know the basics, and that the professor doesn't have time to teach them to him.
Why are we talking about an old television show? There are basics in every sport you have to master in triathlon. Just like Shawn wanting to skip the rest of high school and go to college because he thought he was good at it, many of us in the sport of triathlon want to get fast quickly and skip workouts working on the basics to gain power and speed. We think we will master these basics once we are fast and use them to get faster when nothing else is working. We spend so many workouts thinking about how we need more speed and power when gaining more speed and power is at our fingertips. When you work on the basics, you have to adopt the mindset of going slower to go faster. Putting on the brakes and having some slower workouts is tough when you have dreams of a podium or qualifying for the Ironman World Championships. You feel like you are taking a step back, but in reality, you are preparing yourself for success.
Swimming is one of the most technical sports. When I attended my first swim practice with my triathlon club, I had one focus. I was lifting my head too much when I swam. The coach told me my goal was to look straight down at the black line at the bottom of the pool. Two practices later, I was already swimming faster. Over the years, I did some private lessons with the coach and we tweaked simple things that made a big difference in my stroke that I didn't realize I was doing. Last year when I hired a private triathlon coach, we spent six months working on one thing, distance per stroke(DPS). It was boring. I swam slowly perfecting my technique and getting the most out of every stroke, but my times in the pool are continuing to get faster.
Find more information about Distance Per Stroke here: https://blog.myswimpro.com/2022/02/15/how-to-improve-distance-per-stroke/
Currently, I am working on a faster arm cadence in the pool and speed. No, it is not all rainbows. I swim focusing on all of the things I have learned, and then I realize I need to breathe I am completely out of air as I haven't taken a breath since I pushed off of the wall twenty seconds ago, and then I spend the next lap laughing to myself and telling myself breathing is important to and add it to the list of things going through my mind as I continue to perfect my swimming.
When I first started cycling, my thoughts were to get stronger legs and ride in the biggest gear possible. My friend who originally started coaching me, told me I needed a higher cadence. I ignored him and did what I wanted. Why spin at a higher cadence, it feels like you are going nowhere and doing a lot of work to get nowhere. I wanted a bigger gear and to just grind to get anywhere. My current coach said the average cadence needs to be higher and until it gets there, that's what I'm working on. Once I have a nice high cadence, we can work on speed and power. At first, I hated every second of it. I felt I could go so much faster in a higher gear. I spent many rides the last few months feeling so slow. It affected me enough that I put my bicycle on an indoor bike trainer to work on it so I would not feel as slow as I did riding outside. For almost two months, I rode indoors. It paid off. When I rode my bicycle outside this weekend, I felt like my feet danced in rotation as I spun the pedals at a high cadence. I was surprised at my speed and how much better my legs felt spinning faster. It made me excited for my upcoming racing season and to see where this high cadence takes me in 2024.
Running...the final part. How many of us would never believe we would do something and think to ourselves, "Hey, I just have to run a 5k and I'm done." I know I didn't when I first started training for my first 5k. Running is just doing it, and making sure you have proper form. It gets boring to run at a pace you can do all day, but with some speed workouts and technique, it is necessary to become a more efficient runner.
So how did I adapt a mindset to go slower to go faster? I reminded myself this is for me. It's my journey and no one else's.
"Never judge your life because of one bad day, judge it because of the best day."
I wish life was perfect. I wish everyone would have the perfect race and PR every time, but if everything was perfect, life would be boring. We all have bad days in life and races that don't go the way we thought. It makes you enjoy the good times even more. It makes you love the days that a triathlon goes effortlessly, but on those imperfect days, you usually have great stories, and memories that you often laugh about later.
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