At the age of 8, I was initiated to triathlon for the first time and I had to learn the basics in the three disciplines (swimming, biking, running). At the beginning, a triathlete discovers his skills and becomes aware of his/her strengths, weaknesses and the aspects on which he/she needs to work on. As the years went on, it was easier for me to detect my weaknesses. It can be discouraging in the long run and even eclipse the main objective which is to have fun while training. Afterwards, and with the help of several individuals who accompanied me throughout my journey, I tried to focus on my strengths and on the aspects in which I was more at ease to keep hope and maintain a certain level of motivation.
After 14 years of triathlon, I can assure you that even if I practice the three disciplines at an elite level day after day, I still have to constantly target my weaknesses in order to improve and to perform better. We always have something to learn and that’s the beauty of the sport!
With my trainer, we are targeting the workouts that could be necessary for the next competition and we work on that together. For my part, the swimming and biking techniques are always important to practice in my daily routine. I encounter very different courses through my competitions and I need to be prepared for anything (for instance: swimming start in the sea, swimming start in a lake, slight diving and hairpin turns in bike, climbs on several kilometers, narrow courses, etc.). You also always have to hydrate yourself, especially while biking. In fact, technique is fundamental to be successful as a triathlete.
You just have to add one or two workouts to your training plan to work on what makes you more uncomfortable and at the end of the week, you will realize that you are improving your weakness little by little. It is very rewarding!
I give you the example of the bike technique, but running is often the decisive portion of a triathlon. I remember the feat of Gwen Jorgensen (gold medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games) earlier in her career when she exited water in the middle of the pack and made a dramatic comeback during the running portion! Thanks to a superb acceleration, she caught up to her competitors to win the race!
Our objectives are all different and we all have some weaknesses. These weaknesses sometimes create fears, but we can reduce or eliminate them by clearly identifying our weaknesses. This will allow us to challenge our own limits and we will be proud of it! You’ll see!