Know the Essence of your Workout

Triathlete on the bike portion of an Ironman
January 8, 2017

Jim Hallberg


tagged in:

There are numerous personality types in the world, each influencing how we approach training, from Type A individuals to Nurturers to Introverts and beyond. But have you ever considered whether your personality type might be hindering your progress?

I've found myself gradually identifying more with the Type A description over the years, but I've realized that this might not necessarily be helping me become faster, better, or stronger. This realization extends beyond just training and racing; it affects my mental game as well.

While discipline and establishing a consistent routine are vital aspects of training, it's equally crucial to know when to ease up. Waking up for early morning workouts multiple times a week year-round can take a toll mentally. It's essential to recognize when your mind needs a break from the structured training regimen, just like your body needs recovery.

Similar to how muscles can fatigue, mental focus can wane, impacting the quality of your workouts. It's vital to pay attention to your mental state during training to ensure you can embrace good workouts and overcome less-than-stellar ones.

Understanding your personality type and how it influences your mind and training can help you find balance in the sport. One strategy I've employed to mitigate my Type A tendencies is to identify the essence of my workouts before starting. For example:

Let's say you have a 60-minute run scheduled with warm-up, drills, and accelerations. If you find yourself short on time or unable to complete the full workout, focus on the essence of the session—whether it's endurance, tempo, speed, or strength. Adapt the workout accordingly, rather than adding junk miles or skipping it entirely. Quality over quantity is key.

Knowing when to walk away from a workout is crucial. If you're struggling or not feeling your best, it's okay to call it quits. Listen to your body and prioritize quality over hitting specific metrics, especially during the early season. As you progress toward your target race, you can become more focused on pace and power, but don't force it too soon.

Remember that data like power is just a tool—it doesn't define your performance. Many successful athletes race without relying on such metrics, opting instead to go by feel. If power or other metrics detract from your enjoyment of training, consider ditching them.

Ultimately, training and racing should be enjoyable. Balancing technical feedback with emotional feedback can lead to a more fulfilling experience and, ultimately, better performance. With dedication, discipline, and perhaps guidance from an experienced coach, anyone can improve their efficiency and reach their goals.

Coach Jim Hallberg notices that some athletes spend too much time focusing solely on their strengths or just on their weaknesses. As a coach, he believes you should work on both. Your strengths can give you a competitive edge in one or more of the disciplines but spend an inordinate amount of time on them and you can forgo progress in other areas. Not enough time and you’ll see them diminish. Same with your weaknesses.  Coach Jim works with you to build a plan to balance the two and make you the best overall athlete you can be!

Coach Jim is a 5X USA Triathlon National Champion, a USA Triathlon Level II Certified Coach and USA Cycling Level II Certified Coach.

schedule a call