Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Most Necessary Thing

I don't have a coach. I don't have a power meter. I don't have a GPS device. I don't run in Newtons, don't ride on Zipps, and don't own a swim skin.

I've considered purchasing all of those things. I've thought about spending money I didn't really have on things I don't really need, because they might (in most cases, will) make me faster. And in terms of improving speed, all of these tools are reasonable investments. I'm on the fence about Newtons (seems to me that they could go either way), but all the others, I firmly believe that they will make you faster.

But I'm not going to spend money on them.

Why? Because at this point in my training, they're not necessary. Sure, I could probably ride faster with a pair of Zipps. And I could probably get more speed out of myself with a GPS device, a power meter, a coach. But the truth is that I can still get so much out of myself just by swimming, biking, and running, that the improvements I would see with a monetary investment aren't necessary right now.

Hard work in the workouts is (right now) the most necessary thing for me.

Same goes for the workouts themselves. This year, I think I can drop 20-30 seconds off my mile pace in the 5k just by continuing the pattern of training I've been doing: long run, tempo run, intervals. There's still plenty of room for improvement for me with getting all my runs done, too. So I probably won't consider adding in additional workouts (hills, for example) on any regular basis until I see the current performance gains I'm making level off.

Chances are good that in a couple years I'll start to see my improvements plateau; my times won't get faster, my results won't improve. That's when I'll consider hiring a coach, purchasing new training tools, upgrading my equipment. And that's when I might start looking for new training methods, concentrating more on strength and plyometrics, re-evaluating my plan.

But for right now, consistency in working hard is my most necessary thing.

What's yours?


  1. Love this's so true. Get the basics right and everything else is gravy...and probably more powerful later in your career. I wrote about this a while back on my blog:

  2. Amen, sister! I made a deal with myself (and my wife) that i wasn't going to succumb to the "gadget junkie" mentality that is woven throughout the fabric of our sport. I still think most of the stuff is cool, though some of it is ridiculous, and i love to read about all of it. As far as plunking down my hard-earned dollars for it - well, that's money that could go into race entry fees. Or, now, a jogging stroller.

  3. i am just starting training for my first TRI season, i just have a mountain bike with hybrid tires...not sure if I shoudl upgrade...that's my only "want" right now

  4. I know we're not in the same league as far as athletic ability and all, but I agree with you. Tools can only get you so far. You have to have the inherit desire put yourself into a schedule of hard work and yes, some pain and sweat, in order to achieve anything.

    I would love a proper heart rate monitor with GPS and speed on it...but I don't have hundreds of dollars to spend on that. Beside, it won't help me move faster.

  5. I couldn't have said it better myself.

    Although shiny toys are pretty fun to play with...

  6. Hey, I like your endurance podcast on itunes, where can i get more?
    Heather Andrew