It is now time for a reality check. It is easy to go online searching for a training schedule or ask a friend to provide you with a copy of the training plan that they used. The information obtained in that fashion misses on the fact that each program must be adjusted to the individual, at different stages during the training process. To use an analogy to illustrate the point: the choice of clothes that look good in a friend do not necessarily look good on you -regardless of what the fashion industry or friends tell you. Furthermore … How do you know whether the approach was effective for your friend and whether (s)he achieved the best possible result?
There is another element that is important to understand. A training schedule just by itself omits its tight integration with other elements that also need to be considered during training and racing. The point that you want to take out from this conversation is simple: a coach is your best allied in the process, the person that is going to provide -either him/herself or by bringing experts- education, support and feedback at the right time, the person that will ensure your program is adjusted based on your unique set of circumstances. Sure, you can research and eventually find some answers, but are you willing to spend the time and go through the trials an tribulations associated with that learning approach, and possibly never get the right answer?
The diagram above illustrates the METSA methodology, which is followed as the basis to the program that is created for each one of the athletes that use our services. It is a proven approach that leverages science and technology, in a continuous cycle of improvement. The stages in this cycle logically group the different elements and activities in the appropriate sequence, in order to prepare you to tackle
This is the initial stage in the program, its objective is to develop a comprehensive profile that maps out a variety of individual characteristics and predispositions. This includes genetic and bio-mechanical tests, complemented with detailed assessments that help identify your current abilities, skills and fitness level, as well as your personal availability and preferences, race goals and performance expectations. Some of these assessments are conducted once, others are repeated at key times during the process. It is often stated that you get to know yourself better after participating in the sport, we are just giving you a head start … quite literally !!!
A solid knowledge base in all aspects of physiology, technique and equipment -to name a few- is fundamental in succeeding in the sport. The approach followed aims at removing barriers and complexities, while providing unbiased information that will help in informing you, and those close to you, about what is to be expected in the process. It will go beyond the training plan, by providing you with details about current trends and it will help in clearing misconceptions that are common in the sport and make informed decisions. Real life experiences will be provided and incorporated into your training program, so that all aspects associated with the specific race(s) in which you will be participating become familiar to you.
There will also be instructional sessions geared toward each one of the disciplines that are part of the sport. Technique and drills will allow you to develop awareness and a very good understanding of how your body is expected to execute all the phases of movement involved in each discipline. Since you will know how mechanically sound movements feel like, you will be able to recognize early on when your form starts to change during practice sessions or races, so that you can adjust and reduce the associated risk of injury. It will also allow you to become energy efficient, therefore allowing to cover more distance in less time and using less fuel. To cite a popular adage: “work smarter, not harder”.
Once your current state and your goals are known, and while providing the education needed for you to know all aspects involved in the sport, the next step in the process is to gradually prepare your body, mind and soul for the demands of the program. It starts by developing a strong foundation with the strength and conditioning plan, which focuses in strengthening your core, developing flexibility and improving your cardiovascular system. The program also includes plans to address your specific nutrition and hydration requirements during training, as well as the changes that need to take place in your diet at the different stages of preparation in your competition season.
Discipline specific requirements are addressed by the core training plan, and, very importantly, the mental aspect. Once the training program is started, qualitative and quantitative data are continuously collected and analyzed, for the purpose of discussing possible adjustments that might be beneficial to your situation at that point in time. We also take a look at external factors that influence both, your preparation and your performance, and establish a flexible approach that adjusts to your progress and your reality, without compromise to the ultimate goal. Communication and continuous feedback are therefore key in ensuring the program is adjusted at the right time.
The road to success requires personal dedication and sacrifice. A wide range of aspects need to be considered and monitored very closely. Through our partnerships, a team of professionals will be available to you throughout this process, in order to provide guidance, answer questions and anticipate most of the technical, social, physical, psychological, technical and logistical factors involved in training and racing, which when overlooked, could carry a negative impact in your journey to success.
The time immediately following races and key training sessions is key, not only in allowing your body and mind to recover and get ready for the next stage, but also in collecting valuable information about the experience and perform an informed assessment that will be applied to update your profile. This is when small adjustments can make a big difference in future races.