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Coaches Blog

The most important factor for training success

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

When you think of a training program, what do you think of as the single most important aspect for success? Is it how the plan is delivered? Is it the metrics in which the training is performed? What about factors such as heart rate variability, wattage or heart rate? Is total volume the most important thing? Could it be intensity? Is it the coach's or plan's proven success?

There are so many programs and philosophies out there. People can train for the same sports very differently while delivering incredibly similar results.

Some are quick to jump on a new trending tracking metric. Approaches evolve. There are always new thoughts and developments that can make athletes question, re-evaluate, and judge what they are doing and how they are progressing. There are also those that have had success with one approach and have become fundamentally opposed to changing anything. So with all that, what is the best plan/coaching out there?

As Coach Mark likes to say, the only absolute is that there are no absolutes. At Team MPI we coach the athlete, not to some intractable approach we’ve dug our heels into. I wholeheartedly agree with this, yet I see one exception to the "no absolutes." You ABSOLUTELY must have faith in the program.

Faith is the common denominator in successful athletes. All the other aspects of training maintain a fluidity, they can and do vary from person to person. But if you do not believe in what you’re doing, it will not be successful for you.

I recently saw a tweet from Steve Magness (Head Cross Country coach at the University of Houston and one of the authors of the incredible resource Peak Performance) “The #1 factor determining whether a training program will work or not is belief. If you don’t have buy-in, even if the training is perfect, it’s not going to work.

This is totally spot on. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing if you don’t believe in the process. Your results will directly correlate to the belief you have in the training. As a Coach, writing training I believe will give my athletes the best chance at success is the easy part. Ensuring that the athletes have faith in the program is the most important part. As an Athlete, make sure you do have faith in your program. If you do doubt what you're doing, make sure you address it and work to develop a belief. Because without faith in the process, the process simply won’t be successful.

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