June 10, 2012

Lessons Learned

I’ve never lived or trained anywhere except Santa Cruz, so living and training in a new environment is something I’ve never experienced before. Because everything is brand new to me (schedule, location, routine, transportation, culture, etc.) I made a major mistake in my training program leading up to Madrid WTS that I will never make again. The reason I am here in France racing and traveling like crazy, isn’t for vacation, isn’t for ITU points, and definitely isn’t for money, but to learn and develop as much as possible so that I will be ready to perform when the 2016 Olympic Qualification starts. I would normally say “What my mistake was…” but I don’t consider what I did a mistake because I just didn’t know any better, but If I repeat what I did wrong then we can call it a mistake; instead I will say “What I learned was…” because a valuable lesson was taken away.

When I came to France I didn’t know anyone, I couldn’t speak the language, I didn’t know my way around, I hate traveling, and I’ve never taken even a slight step, let alone a giant leap, out of my comfort zone before. So when I got here I had a rough draft of my training schedule, but it was full of mostly “fill in the blank” and “follow what the other guys are doing”. This schedule left me not knowing what I was going to do each day, and ultimately, changed everything that I had worked for to get here. My training program was completely flip-flopped and I wasn’t training like I had been when I was really fit in Santa Cruz before I came here. It really showed when I raced Madrid WTS and couldn’t hang on that lead group on the bike (even though 90% of that breakaway are going to the Olympics this year, I still think I should have been able to hold on longer than 1.1 laps).

After that race I really reevaluated myself and went over my preparation for that race. I was shocked when I realized what I had done. You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to know that completely changing your training regimen three weeks out from the biggest race of your entire life isn’t a very smart move! The transition happened so smoothly from “setting up my training program around what I need” to “setting up my training program around what’s easier and more comfortable” that I didn’t even realize I had done anything wrong until I looked back at the three week block of training as a whole.

The lesson learned is that I need to be proficient in maintaining MY OWN training while traveling to new places. It seems like an easy task, but it is definitely a major challenge and takes a lot of sacrifice, and a lot of stepping out of your comfort zone. Now I have a clear glimpse of what happens when I stray from my own training to be more comfortable. I won’t make that mistake again, and with that added lesson, I am one step closer to being able to race my best in any situation.


  1. Glad you're making (and learning) from the mistakes now. "Easily" coming out of the water in the first group is a giant step to being in contention at the finish line. So now you have three years to learn everything you need to do to close that gap! (And I'm guessing you don't even need that long...)

  2. maturity and persistence in this new sport are your trademark Tommy;
    Lessons learned and better results; Proud of you always.