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Coaches Blog

Progress, Not Perfection

Updated: Jan 14, 2020

by Amanda Leibovitz

If a training session happens and nobody is around to see it, did it even happen?

Spoiler alert: The answer is always YES.

But how many times have you deleted or edited a data file because technology failed, there was some interruption to your workout, you left your watch running for six hours after the session was complete, or you just weren’t happy with your performance? How many times have you felt the need to describe or explain, publicly and in detail, the reasons why your pace was slower than you would have wanted or that your workout didn’t go as planned?

I’m asking you to chew on this... 1. One performance (training or competition) is not an accurate measure of who you are currently or your future potential as an athlete or a person.

2. Many performance results might reflect your current abilities as an athlete but are NOT a representation of your future potential and do NOT reflect your character.

3. Our HABITS (what we do before, during, and after performances regardless of the outcome) are the most accurate measure of who we are as athletes, our future potential in sport, and our values. Beyond our physical skills and abilities, there are countless reasons that workouts don’t go as planned. Sleep, nutrition, weather, equipment, work, kids, stress, facility closures, getting lost, getting hurt, getting sick, getting distracted, giving up, blowing up, compounded fatigue, and the list goes on and on… When you really get to think about it, it’s pretty amazing when a training session actually DOES go exactly as planned. So how about we start celebrating those “perfect” workouts for the miracles they really are and start accepting all the imperfect workouts as totally normal learning experiences? If you’re with me, keep reading. If not, feel free to click on to the next article. You are hereby FREE from the need to spend any extra energy explaining a sub-optimal performance to the public. You do not owe anyone on Strava, Facebook, or Instagram an explanation. DO you know who does deserve an explanation? Your coach. That information is sacred feedback for you to keep progress moving forward, so be intentional about investing your precious energy into REFLECTING and LEARNING from that imperfect experience to hone your focus for the next swim, bike, or run.

Because here’s the thing: When you are so embarrassed or ashamed of a data file that you feel the need to delete it from existence or edit it beyond recognition, you are sending a message to YOURSELF that your best effort isn’t good enough. You are telling yourself that all those steps counted for nothing or all those pedal strokes were invalid. And that is simply not true. Every. Workout. Counts. The choice is yours: You can honor your imperfect PROGRESS toward your goals or you can stay STUCK chasing perfection. Don’t know about you, but door #1 sounds way more rewarding and enjoyable.

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