If you never try, you'll never know

Going from middle of the pack to Kona qualifier is an attainable goal for most triathletes. Five tips on how to make the Ironman World Championship dream a reality.

| April 18, 2019 | TRAINING

Andrew Perry

Andrew Perry

Photo >Courtesy T:Zero Multisport

If you never try, you’ll never know

Have you ever dreamt of making it to the Big Island, the pinnacle of long course triathlon, but don’t think you are good enough? With the right attitude, training and motivation anyone can make it there.

Andrew Perry, Coach at T:Zero Multisport, went from a mid-pack athlete to an Ironman age group win and Kona qualification. It was a three-year journey achieved by sticking to a plan, believing in his goal and putting in the hard work.

Like a lot of triathletes, I started in the sport in short course, and then progressed through the distances to finish my first full-distance race.

Growing up seeing the Ironman World Championship on TV over the years, watching Greg Welch, Crowie (Craig Alexander) and Macca (Chris McCormack) dominating that race made me dream of one day being able to get there. The feeling of crossing my first Ironman finish line was incredible, but it was also a day of reckoning for me - it showed me that anything is possible. From the moment I crossed that line, my dream to make it to Kona one day changed to a goal. The problem was, I was just a participator, rather than a racer. How was I going to go from being in the middle of the pack to gaining a Kona slot?

It took a lot of effort for me to believe I could finish an Ironman, let alone chase a goal that seemed impossible. By following a few important principles, I was able to turn my dream into a goal and make it a reality.

Be Consistent

With consistency, comes results.

Maintaining consistency is key to triathlon success, which comes from the culmination of the individual sessions all built together consistently. Work out the the amount of time you are able to dedicate to training and stick with it each week. Your body slowly adapts to the demands of training with each session you complete. The more conditioned you become, Through that consistency you become more conditioned both physically and mentally.

But consistency can only happen if you recover right.

Triathlon coach, Matt Dixon once said something that has stuck with me: “Have the courage to recover.” Admittedly, like a lot of triathletes, I had a tough time with this. However, rest and recovery allow your body to adapt and get stronger. This helps you to back up for the next session and lets you stay consistent in your training.

I believe that the little issues that come up, such as niggles and strains, aren’t usually from overtraining, but from poor recovery, which puts the brakes on any consistent training you’re able to get done.

Find your why and believe in yourself

Think hard and work out why your goal means so much to you. What is the reason you are putting in all those hours of training, early mornings and time away from home. Once you work this out – and be true to yourself – getting out the door and nailing every session becomes a whole lot easier.

When you work out your why, you then have to believe you can do it.

Achieving your goal won’t be easy, or fast, but sticking to the plan is going to be your best chance of success. You may think it’s unachievable, but if you want it enough, you’ll work out how to make it work and will see how successful you can become.

When I first set the goal of one day qualifying for Kona, it seemed impossible. But sometimes these are the best types of goals. If you want it badly enough, the results will come, and the hard work will pay off.

It can be overwhelming when your training program for the week comes through on TrainingPeaks and you have that moment of panic where you think: “I can’t do this.” Instead of looking too far ahead it’s better to focus on the individual session that you’re heading into - down to the lap, minute and kilometer, and focusing on nailing that.

Looking too far ahead will only distract you from the task at hand. At that point training sessions set for later in the week are out of your control, so there is no point focusing on them.

The incremental gains can often come from what you don’t see. You will get faster, by staying in the zone and concentrating on what’s right in front of you.

It’s cliché but it’s true. Endurance sport takes time - it’s a long-term game with, unfortunately, no shortcuts to success. Building that aerobic base, and a strong mind and body that is capable of coping with the increasing demands of training and racing, takes time.

When you don’t rush the process, you reduce your risk of injury, sickness and overtraining. We often walk a fine line between too much and too little, but pushing the envelope too far results in setbacks you don’t need. They don’t do you any good in the long term. Setbacks limit training, causing you to lose conditioning and leading to breaking up that important training consistency. As you build the weeks, months and years of consistent training, you will soon realize how far you’ve come.

Pick the right team

On race day you're out there all on your own - everything that happens is mostly up to you. However, every other day of the year triathlon is a team sport and selecting the right team around you ensures your longevity and success in triathlon.

Contact me today if you’d like to find out how I can help you go from a mid-pack racer to achieving your greatest dream. Visit T:Zero Multisport to discover how I can help you.