Triathlon Training

Build a Fire then light it!

“I am building a fire. Every day I train I add more fuel. At just the right time I will light a match.”

Mia Hamm

I just love this quote from Mia Hamm.  As a coach, this is the attitude I hope to have myself and instill in and wish for every single one of my athletes!

I’d like to point out some key concepts that are wrapped up in her simple yet accurate and powerful quote.

1.  Training is the process of putting fuel into your race day gas tank.

The fuel you are putting in is of various types.  It includes:  strength, endurance, aerobic fitness, anaerobic fitness, flexibility and nutrition. Follow your training plan, rest if you feel tired or can’t complete a difficult workout, sleep eight hours per night and eat a healthy diet.  Nothing fancy, nothing magical – just ordinary stuff done w/ extraordinary commitment!

2.  Everyday should ADD to your tank and not subtract from your tank!

Each training session you have, if you follow your plan, you add fuel to your tank.  If you don’t follow your training plan – then you  burn fuel rather than add it.


I see many people who just can’t hold back in their training – just one more work out, just a little higher heart rate, just a little run to see if they can “keep up”. They forget that training breaks you down and resting is what makes you strong and fast. This is what I call “emotional” training.  The athlete does the work because they mentally think they need to!  But you need both – work and rest!

Your training plan more than likely includes key sessions that are timed just right to give you the boost you need.  Wait for them! Be prepared for them! Trust in those sessions to take your body to the next level.  Not every session should or needs to be super tough.

Race day is THE day to light the match.  A training day is not!

3. Lighting your match is not just physical but mental as well.

It is so important in training to keep your race day in mind.  To use key training sessions to visualize what you will think and what you will do on race day.

What are you saying to yourself when you train?  What do you say to yourself when you look at your plan?  Are you excited to train?  Are you intimidated by the training?  Are you committed to doing the training session to the minute and detail of it (barring injury or fatigue)?

Use your training days to build up your positive power talk to yourself.  Use your tough days to practice holding those positive thoughts when your body is being pushed and your mind is telling you you just might die!

So don’t burn up your fuel stores.  Add to them by training methodically, not emotionally. Add to them by building your mental strength and positive ower during each training session.

How about you?  Are you filling up your race day fuel tank?  Good for you.

You’ll be prepared to start a BIG ole fire on race day when you finally light your match!

Me, I plan to light my match on 7-30-11!  Until then, I add a little more fuel  each day I train.

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