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Missed the previous rules? Download them here as PDF:
Rule #1 - Frequency & the busy triathlete
Rule #2 - Swimming & the graceful triathlete
STL's Rule Book - Rule #3:
The 1% rule
If I told you how much we sabotage our own performances by bad habits, you would argue with me and probably deny that you do these things. But how about we look at it this way? You can get a 1% free performance gain by increasing your attention to detail.
Team Sky and Tim Kerrison have made famous the term of marginal gains. Looking to improve the things we are doing already before adding more things to do.
So where do I look? What am I doing that I can squeeze an extra 1% out of?
Well - I know that you already train as hard and as frequently as you can with life, so the areas I'll focus on are
4. Fluid Intake
I'll take Preparation first due to it being a weak point of my own. Being a business owner, helping to run 4 clubs, having 2 kids and trying to be the best athlete my training allows, being prepared is the only way to help balance all of life and the goals we want to achieve. Simple things like
- a pre packed gym bag for alternative sessions in the car for the week. Sometimes life throws curve balls so having gear for any session type ready to go allows me the comfort knowing I can get something done no matter what - remember that 20 min rule! Well, this adds to that.
- Bike maintenance - lubing, cleaning, pumping - I'm very guilty of not changing that puncture, but it's easier to do straight after a ride than wasting time before your next training session!!
- Being mentally prepared to understand that life and training don't always follow a strict plan - we need to adapt and overcome.
Fluid intake - we are what we consume. Nothing is more important in the makeup of our bodies, and water is the priority fluid intake every day. The effects of dehydration on performance have been exaggerated by many fizzy or sport drinks companies, but the reality is our bodies are roughly 70% water. Now think about all the sweat you drip out during training sessions - now think about what fluids you consume to replace that - what's rehydrating your cells?
This is an intriguing area of sports performance.
Enjoy your coffee but drink your water.
Your body gets fitter the more you sleep. I don't think I need to hammer that home, but the 1% rule applies to how we sleep. Understanding your internal clock rhythms and creating good sleeping habits. This is hard for the shift worker, but consistency is key.
Diet - and I'm not talking about dieting or losing weight. I'm talking about quality of the food we put into our bodies and using the 1% rule being prepared with our meal planning.
- Pre planned menus
- Maybe 1 cooking day per week and freezing your meals if you’re extremely busy. I know for me - working shifts - knowing there is home cooked frozen soup there is a blessing.
- Timing of foods to help sleep
The number 1 thing to the 1% rule is attitude. Your belief in your ability is the number 1 reason you will succeed in your quest to achieve your goals. If you believe it's possible you will stride and strive to achieve it. Your attitude for every session is hugely important. That old adage of “treat every session like your last and give 100%” rings true!
When I'm struggling with motivation I simply take out a piece of paper and re write my year’s dream list and what it takes. From there I write what I need and from there I bring it back to what I can do today.
Every single journey started with one single step. We will all feel overwhelmed or unmotivated at different times, but that simple thing of re affirming your goals to yourself will help kick start your engine.
The 1% rule - I've listed 5 things above, giving you a 5% gain. Go to your last race result and work out a 5% improvement- that might have been the difference between a PB or a podium.
Where else can you make a 1% improvement?
Yours in sports