You can't double up to make up
Hello and welcome to Coach Tip Tuesday!!
As we steam forward into the heart of the endurance racing season here in the Northern Hemisphere, I think it’s an absolutely wonderful time to talk about this: You can’t double up to make up.
Most of us are average age-group athletes balancing our training and racing with the rest of our very busy lives. As such, this means that there will be missed, shortened, or modified training sessions. That is life, and it happens. It is really important to accept this.
I see the following a lot: athletes have less-than-consistent training cycles, get to the final block before the race (usually about 4-6 weeks out) and then they start to panic, realizing that they might not have done enough work to meet the goals that they set for themselves. They start doing more work in individual sessions, trying to make up for the lost time. Another variation of this is this: athletes have very busy lives during the week and struggle to fit in workouts. Then, on the weekends, they try to do more than is planned to make up for the lost time during the week.
Here’s the hard, real, somewhat depressing truth: You cannot double up to make up. You cannot cram training into a short block before a goal race and expect to have the same results that you would have had from a consistent training cycle. You cannot skip Monday-Friday workouts and do an equal body of training work on Saturday and Sunday. Not only does cramming not work for goals, but it also puts you at high-risk of an overtraining injury, which is the last thing in the world any endurance athlete wants to sustain.
How do we combat this?? By striving to be consistent (there’s that word again ;) ) in our training and preparation. Yes, sometimes life may take over and things won’t go as planned. If that happens, and enough training is missed, it’s advisable to revise the goal for a time when you are better set up for a training cycle that is consistent.
We talk about those Three Pillars of Training all the time at Team MPI: Frequency, Consistency, and Self-Awareness. Today’s tip is asking you to be self-aware of your training enough to assess if you have had enough consistency to reach your goal. Though it might need to break through your barriers of stubbornness (almost every single endurance athlete who I have ever met has been stubborn ;) ), I have no doubt that each and every one of you can rise to this challenge.
If you remember nothing else from this week’s tip, remember this: You cannot double up to make up. What you CAN do is set a plan for yourself that sets you up for success from the onset. And if you struggle with this, I encourage you to reach out to a knowledgeable coach who will be able to work with you to figure out that roadmap. :)