Always be honest with yourself
Aaaaannnnndddd we’re back for Coach Tip Tuesday!!
This week, right smack in the middle of March, is a wonderful time to talk about managing training loads and being honest with yourself. Spring fever is about to set in, and athletes all over the Northern Hemisphere will start “really” training for their peak season goals. Over my years of coaching, I’ve seen more than my fair share of athletes want to reach peak fitness at this time of year; this time frame is when they tend to fear that they’re “not doing enough” to prepare for their goals coming up in the summer/autumn. As a result of this fear, they will add on additional volume or intensity in order to try to make themselves feel at ease, thinking that this will better prepare them for their goal.
This reaction is exactly the wrong thing to do. As I tell so many of the athletes who I work for: today is not your race day. You are not meant to be in peak fitness and ready to race today. If you read Coach Tip Tuesday every week, by now you’ve all already read what I have to say about how you can really only be in peak shape to race two to three times per year. As such, it stands to reason that you cannot be ready for your race today (unless your A-Race is some random Tuesday race ;) ).
A lot of athletes who I’ve worked for over the years have an idea in their heads about how their training will go, and what it will look like on a week-to-week basis. As we all know, life rarely, if ever, goes the way we expect it to. All of us are managing our complete lives as well as managing our training, and such such, things can go awry. Additionally, despite our best intentions, we may not be able to make that idealized version of our training schedule happen. For instance, you might think that you can fit in a workout in on a day when you’re working 14 hours, but then you discover that you’re too tired to. You may think that you will be able to fit in double workouts or complete workouts six days per week, but you might discover that you need to tend to things like grocery shopping, laundry, and sleep. If this is the case, that’s okay!! Be honest with yourself. Do your expectations of what will be line up with what really *can* be?? If they don’t, that’s okay, too.
I say this a lot, too: more is not better; better is better. The QUALITY of your training is what counts; volume and intensity are secondary. Focused sessions that are shorter in duration, specific to your goal, and that work within your life schedule are much more likely to yield a positive result on race day than you trying to mold your life around a rigid schedule that you perceive to be ideal. Ideal is what works best for YOU.
The biggest takeaways this week?? Your training should fit into your life; you shouldn’t have to change your entire life and be a slave to your training. Best honest with yourself, and manage your training load so that it is truly working for you. You’ll be more successful, not to mention less frustrated, by doing so. :)