I'm Jennifer Meyer, President of Tri Smart Training Systems. I love triathlons! I want to spend my time helping you reach your goals in our wonderful sport.
During the 10 years I have participated in triathlons as both an athlete and a coach, I have avidly studied the scientific aspects of training, tried several different styles of training plans and made many mistakes (including a 2 minute bike penalty for racking my bike wrong at the National Championships that cost me a top 8 finish and a chance to compete at Worlds). What I do is based on the advice of the experts in our sport plus my own personal experience. I want to share with you what I know and help you set and make your goals as I have done, while avoiding those nasty mistakes.
Before my first triathlons I had no plan - Do I want to swim today? Run today? Or bike today? I did not own a heart rate monitor (or really even know why I would want to!). My first two races were a month apart and at the very end of a season. As the following winter and early spring months passed and I was swimming, running, and biking (still with no plan) I decided maybe I should look ahead and figure my season out. By the time I got around to it (still late spring and still very early I thought) some of the races were already filled! Finally, I started getting organized and following various ideas I was reading about in the training and triathlon books I was poring over.
However, during that season, I made the biggest mistake an athlete can make and the one that I see most triathetes make: I did too much. I did too much training, too much racing and not enough resting. Even though I had tried to gear my season to race at Nationals in September of that year, I remember telling my husband a week before the race that I was glad I only had one race left and I would be happy when the season was over. Clearly, that is not a very good attitude to take into an "A" race! Not surprisingly, I got smoked at that race!
After a little time went by I reevaluated my plans. I had trained too much. I had raced way too much and I did not have a clear goal and focus for my season. I began to schedule consistent rest days and periodize my training. I increased my use of a heart rate monitor to make sure I did not over train and that I trained at the right intensity at the right times. I dropped a few races from my schedule. I set realistic and yet challenging goals.
Once I started making these changes, my performances really began to improve. A big change occurred in attitude. It wasn't that my attitude was negative, as I have always loved to train and race, but now I have been able to keep my strong racing attitude intact for the entire season, avoiding mental burnout before the season ends.
It took a long time for me to figure this out, but it is the basis of my program: it is the type of training you do that matters, not how much you train. I know you've heard that before, but it really is true! I'm sure I am a better triathlete because I have had to be so tightly disciplined with my training time; this discipline has forced me to make sure I am doing the RIGHT thing and not just doing SOMETHING.
Since I made these changes and because I continue to change and develop my my training system(s), I have continued to improve my performance each year in this sport. 2008 was my best year so far, culminating in a high age group finish at the USAT National Championships and looking to the 2009 World Championships as a member of Team USA. As a coaching professional, married woman, the mother of two young boys, a triathlete, and a musician and an avid reader (yikes! too many hobbies!), I have had to figure out how to fit my training into my busy schedule. On a training schedule averaging less time than many, I have been able to accomplish much. If I can do it so can you!
I am currently training for Long Course World Championships in November 2011. I am prioritizing my races and tweaking my annual training plan accordingly. I hope to see you out there.
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