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April 14, 2012

Strengths and Weaknesses

by hammonjj

The first thing that any aspiring athlete that wants to take their sport to the next level should do is create a list of their strengths and weaknesses.  How else are you going to create a plan to effectively target the short-comings in your game in order to get better?  The second thing they should do, CREATE A PLAN to target those weaknesses whilst not giving up too much in their strengths.  This all sounds very simple and common sense, but it amazes me how many athletes I meet that just sort of go with the flow and never actually get any better and then wonder why.  Outside of the first couple of months or years of competing in a sport, you won’t make magical strength gains.  You will eventually plateau and every performance gain thereafter will take serious dedication.

The biggest challenge when coming up with a plan (and executing it) is to be completely honest with yourself.  Very few people like picking themselves apart while at the same time giving themselves a pat on the back for the stuff that they do well.  Below is my list of strengths and weakness and some associated ideas to improve upon them.  This, however, is by no means a complete list and will need to be added to.  Because I just started to work on triathlon, it’s going to take me a while to truly understand what needs to be worked on and exactly how to tackle it.  For example, my leg turnover on the run is good right now, but that may just be some cycling fitness carrying over and I may hit a wall here in a bit.  Additionally, a more detailed plan for each item will need to be outlined, but these are the first steps a serious athlete needs to take in order to become better than they currently are.

One caveat to making a plan, you have to make sure to really tackle your weaknesses head on.  Many people have weaknesses by the mere fact that their strengths are more fun to work on, this is all well and good, but, if you are serious about improvement, you have to take a solid chunk of time to work on your low points.

Strengths:

  • FTP and General Strength on the bike, especially when climbing
  • Leg turnover during the run.  I don’t seem to have any problem keeping my legs going even when I am tired.

Weaknesses:

  • Run endurance:
    • Will need to keep the volume high for a while until my running legs catch up with my cycling legs.
  • The swim in general:
    • My plan here is to continue to focus my swim sessions on technique and endurance.  I will also attend Master’s swim class starting this week.
  • Comfort in the aero position:
    • I can maintain a nice aero tuck for 45 minutes, but after that my neck and shoulders start to fatigue.  I will evaluate this one more fully in the coming weeks as I still need to adapt to more time on the TT bike.  If it’s still a problem by the middle of May, I will need to adjust my fit.
  • Flexibility:
    • I’ve begun (4 weeks ago) a daily stretching routine to help with static flexibility.  This should help facilitate recovery as well as make me more comfortable on the bike.
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