How Do You Endure? Step-By-Step.

Stepping Out At The Okie Relays

Friends of Multisport Shares The Results Of Our Spring 2017 Survey

“Enjoy the experience.”
“Relish your ability to do it.”
“Just Keep Moving Forward.”

We asked. You answered. We questioned. You guided. We welcomed. You joined.

During the spring of 2017, Friends of Multisport invited hundreds of athletes and volunteers who’ve participated in our four endurance events to share their views and advice in a Survey Monkey questionnaire. Our goal was to give athletes a chance to share their experiences and to help invigorate the Friends Of Multisport community. Shared interest can be a powerful unifying force. We appreciate your willingness to share. And we respect your openness about your challenges and your triumphs.

You also provided insights into factors related to FOM events. We anticipated hearing a few nuggets of wisdom, as well as useful feedback. And WOW, did you deliver! Nearly 600 individuals responded.

We are inspired by your feedback and want to pass along the knowledge, stories and encouragement. We’ve begun to summarize our learnings here, but with so many great stories and bits of advice, we’ll work to share more information from time to time. We hope to use this platform as an online forum for sharing training tips, and personal stories in more detail. So stay tuned and always feel welcome to chime in!

As many of you know, Friends of Multisport, hosts four endurance races each year. All unique, challenging, and fun in their own right. The majority of survey respondents participated in our Redman Triathlon. Second, 24 The Hard Way. Third, Angel Fire Endurance Race. And fourth, our relay event that takes runners through three states: Okie Relays.

Identify The FOM Events In Which You’ve Participated
The Nature Of Participation

Participating & Volunteering

Of those who responded, all had participated as athletes in at least one of our events, and 15% of these folks had also volunteered in the past. We were encouraged to see and engage with participants who have also volunteered at events because as many of you know, our volunteers make our events what they are. In fact, volunteer support was named one of the top three factors for choosing a race altogether.

Frequency Of Participation

Endurance Event Participation Frequency

Athletes of various ages, nationalities, genders, and experience levels responded.
• A surprising 45% participate in 4 or more endurance events each year.
• An impressive 36% said they race in two or three.
• Rounding out the field, 19% participate in one endurance race a year.

Criteria For Choosing Event

We see three groupings of criteria:
• Distance from Home, Course Difficulty, and Volunteer Support were most important.
• Swag and Finish Line were next.
• Other Activities for those who travel with athletes, Branded Merchandise to Purchase, and Medal Size, while less important, still play a role in choosing events.

Ranking Of Criteria In Importance When Choosing An Event

Training Styles

• The majority (53%) of FOM athletes mentioned they honor a daily fitness routine and then ramp up or modify their regimen in advance of an event. 
• 28% of folks who said they practice a fairly intense training regimen year round,.
• 18% monitor fitness loosely until intensely training prior to a specific event.

Training Styles

Diet & Nutrition Styles

Interestingly, diet and nutrition practices do not follow a similar pattern.
• The majority of our athletes (48%) mentioned they monitor diet very loosely until prior to specific events.
• 37% said they practice a daily diet plan and then ramp up intensity in advance of an event.
• 15% follow an intense nutrition plan year-round.

Diet & Nutrition Styles

Formal Approach Or DIY Regimen?

  • 48% of our participants mentioned that they have tried a few formal approaches when it comes to training, but have essentially devised their own regimen.
    • Just over 25% mentioned that they have adopted a specific training regimen and follow it rigorously — the majority of these folks use a coach.
    • 13% say they train with friends and have developed a routine that they can all sustain together.
    • 12% deploy no formal regimen. (Perhaps these are just naturally fit athletes who are just always ready to go!)
Approaches To Training

Tips for Training

We invited athletes to share tips for endurance event training. Hundreds upon hundreds of tips were shared! We are going to share some top line advice here, but plan to study the input more thoroughly and share it with you moving into the future here on this medium page and in social media.

Here’s a quick summary of the most common tips.
• Many athletes urge others to hire a coach or trainer.
• Get involved with a training group or train with friends.
• Set realistic goals.
• Listen to your body, rest and treat minor injuries.
• Get in a routine with training: “Consistency will beat enthusiasm everyday.”
• “Recon” the course and train on similar terrain/conditions.
• Celebrate your success.
• Food is fuel: Garbage in. Garbage out.
• Sleep.

The most common tip of all? Have fun! One athlete said it best in sharing “If you don’t enjoy yourself, you’re doing it wrong.”

To come: specific feedback including training thresholds, timelines, mileage, nutrition tips, etc. in our posts to come).

Under-Prepared?

One of the final questions we asked was to name a time when you felt under-prepared for a race, and what got you through it.
• More than 50% of these seasoned endurance athletes confessed to having instances where they felt under-prepared.
• Many noted situations where they did not let their body rest enough between endurance events or following an injury.
• Others noted times when ‘life gets in the way’ and they simply lacked the time needed to adequately prepare in the months leading up to a race.
• There was a common thread it seemed in many of the responses: As an athlete, when you enter the “pain cave,” as you nearly always do, there’s a mental drive or determination that kicks into gear, and takes over, allowing you to gut it out, and simply keep moving.

Over and over you shared meaningful, practical and inspired advice:
“Just keep moving forward”
‘Slow down, walk if you need to, but keep moving’.
“Make short-term goals mid-race.”
“Run/walk tree to tree, light pole to light pole”
“Take it one mile at a time.”
“Although there are many places to DNF, you just can’t quit.”

Perspective: Enduring To The Finish
It was encouraging to read from so many that this mental determination comes from a shift in perspective during the race. So many mentioned that they are able to overcome by simply “enjoying the experience”, and relishing in the fact that you have the ability to do it.

There were stories shared of folks who had overcome illnesses, injury, hardship, and pain in the past, and were able to use those events to propel them in not only finishing, but recognizing the gift of the ability to finish.

Encouragement

• Many others spoke to the encouragement and support of others that propelled them to finish, under-prepared or not.
• Many mentioned sideline support from wives and husbands, daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, friends and training partners.
• It was gratifying to hear that volunteers were so often said to have played a key role in willing folks to the finish line through their cheering and encouragement.

Finally, the secret is to just keep taking that next step. With determination, you reach your goal. And then you set another one, whether it is to just tackle another event, improve a time, achieve a distance. As measurable as those goals might be, you’re also reaching for and satisfying higher goals: to prove yourself, to enrich your experience, to fuel your mind and spirit. Step-by-step.

More To Come

Along with tips, some shared above, we are going to be showcasing YOU, our athletes and volunteers, and sharing your endurance stories we’ll refer to as ‘Profiles in Endurance.”

So stay tuned. More to come! And if you have something to share, whether a tip, a question or story, let us know! We want to help build a community here, a place of encouragement and a resource to anyone involved in endurance racing.

  • From us here at Friends of Multisport: A huge THANK YOU to the nearly 600 athletes and volunteers who shared more than a thousand tips, along with your opinions, insights and also your stories of triumph (and at times, defeat) with us through this survey. You exceeded our expectations. But in retrospect, that’s what endurance athletes do!
  • BTW, if you have any questions of Friends of Multisport, feel free to email us at info@redmanthriathlon.com or visit our site: http://friendsofmultisport.com