The key to analysing progress? Recognising your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, says Joe Beer.
Taking an analytical look at your races, whether they be single sport or multisport, is the perfect way to fire you up and set you on a direct course of action.
This is not just to push you into more training, but instead direct action across potentially hundreds of factors that all combine to give you the race results that have appeared next to your name thus far.
Races are not an accident. They cannot (and should not) always be explained by a series of ifs, buts and maybes. Apologetic racers eventually get on everyone’s nerves.
Believe it: you are in control of the outcome of your races from here on in – so take charge and from now on make them what you want them to be rather than what you have just ended up with.
Take a sheet of A4; divide it into four, titled: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). Then think SWOT across each of the following areas:
- Swim, bike, run training
- Daily diet and sports nutrition use
- Swim, bike and run equipment
- Race performances
- Work, family and commitments
Here’s an example about how that may look:
Strength: If you run strong off the bike, say, acknowledge it. But remember strengths can never make up for what weaknesses leave off. Be proud, but don’t get complacent.
Weakness: This may be a physical weakness or diet related. If it’s the latter, you stand a good chance of carrying excess weight, recovering poorly or racing slower. Or all three.
Opportunity: Look for daily training opportunities to make gains and what races have shown you can improve. Keep a log so you have an action list.
Threats: Injury is the biggest threat for an athlete. But your health is the platform on which you build fitness to race and should be your highest priority.
Concentrate on your specific situation
As there are hundreds of variables, you cannot list everything. Instead, think of your situation and where you can transform habits, equipment choice, improve focus or just maintain solid factors as just that – solid. However, ignoring obvious ways to get better is fooling nobody but you.
A classic example of this is an athlete who talks about being lighter in the future but meanwhile they train (and race) overweight. Similarly, you have those arguing the toss about which wheel is fastest in a cross wind yet they can’t descend for toffee. To find, acknowledge and work on a weakness is to harness new levels of control, enjoyment and performance.
It may be understanding your equipment better or getting video analysis of your swim, or looking at being better at making time for breakfast or keeping sports nutrition supplies well stocked. There’ll be many factors to choose from. Just look yourself square in the mirror and be critically analytical. No holds barred.
Constantly doing SWOT analysis of your hobby doesn’t make it a second job; in fact it means you not only waste less money on gimmicks, you also make less excuses and become an ‘action’ person. There’s no better feeling than being able to say you’ve given 100% to a race.
You did your best, had your equipment right and there’s no excuses or ‘story’ behind the time that’s next to your name in the results. So spend some quality time with ‘you’ and get ready to SWOT your competition.