This weekend, three game day decisions were instructive. Each situation involved athletes going off the plan and adjusting to the moment, which resulted in greater positive outcomes.
1) At this weekend’s Season Opener, the race plan was to swim strong using the winter’s consistent pool work to set the race tone. Reality struck upon entering the frigid 59F water. Dizziness and erratic heart rate took over immediately. These athletes quickly adjusted their plan; they let their wave go and waited in the water, getting their orientation and heart rate under control before starting the swim. It wasn’t the plan but it was the right decision. Race results and smart decisions are sometimes at odds with each other. Quickly and intelligently changing the plan to meet the most apparent need resulted in the best outcomes: completing the swim, and biking and running strong.
2) A new triathlete had a bike workout in TrainingPeaks. She has a new bike and is a beginner cyclist. Instead of blindly doing the prescribed bike workout, she spent the trainer workout time learning the gears, shifting, adjusting the seat and feeling out the experience. Smart move. You are better off learning Bike 101 before executing a workout. (And Coach learned a lesson in prescribing such skill-building workouts for future new triathletes.)
3) Another athlete had an important BRick workout on Saturday morning. Halfway through the bike, he realized his child was sick and his spouse needed help. He did the right thing: he stopped his workout and helped his family. No workout is worth jeopardizing your family health and support network. Self-care is important, but defining when it is a net positive versus a negative consequence is a key life skill.
There’s the plan and then there’s life. Use your intelligence, training and discretion when the plan needs changing. Often it’s the right decision! -Jim