Race Ready: 4 Spring Training Tips from a Pro Triathlete

Ironman triathlete and coach Travis Hawkins shares important advice for training this season

Spring is officially here and whether or not the temperatures actually reflect the change in seasons it’s time to get serious about training. Depending on how you’ve planned out your season (and the amount of training you fit in during winter), you might be in a great position for your upcoming races—or you might need a little help.

Whichever position you’re in, advice from a professional Ironman triathlete and coach is bound to boost your spring plans. Travis Hawkins put together his top tips to help you get the most out of spring, so you can feel confident going into your major summer races.

Build a Network.
Spring is a popular time for local bike shops, running stores and tri clubs to hold free events. Attending these events will not only help you answer all of the nagging questions you have about when to wear a wetsuit and what to eat on the bike, but allow you to meet people in your community who may have some of the same questions you do. Or better yet, you may find someone with answers. Worst case scenario you make a few friends who won’t judge you for waking up well before the sun rises to exercise for hours before going to work.

Commit to Your Long Term Goals.
If you’re not racing in an Ironman, chances are you’ve been talking about a race or two that you plan on doing this season. Put your money where your mouth is by signing up. Motivation to train comes much easier once you’ve officially committed to a race. As an added benefit, most local races have early bird specials for signing up months in advance. 

If your racing schedule is already built around an Ironman you signed up for six months before getting in the pool, now is a good time to sign up for a training camp. 

Shed Some Winter Weight.
If you’re the type to put on a few extra pounds in the off-season, now is the time to focus on weight loss as a goal. It’s very common to think that once training volume ramps up, the weight will just come off.  Unfortunately, this plan can potentially be detrimental to training. Focusing on diet and less calorie consumption now while training volume is still low will allow you to get to your goal race weight sooner, so that those important recovery calories can be consumed later. If you’re not feeding your body for recovery, and training hard at the same time—recovery won’t happen, and injury is imminent.

Focus on Weekly Training (Short Term Goals). “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the training volume needed to complete a triathlon. “How will I ever be able to run for 3 hours at once?” The important thing to remember is this: being able to finish an Ironman in August does not require you to be able to swim, bike and run 140.6 miles in April! Trust your coach and the plan he or she has laid out for you. If you get the work done now, the Ironman will practically run itself.

Find Travis Hawkins on Twitter or at theeverydaytriathlete.com.