There are hundreds of reasons that people engage in training. From simply enhancing your physical health, relieving stress, or embracing your competitive nature, any reason can be valid. Because of the many reasons, we often lack the specific focus even when we begin to set and adjust personal goals.
It’s very important to understand that training sessions are designed with goals in mind, and a Coach and Athlete need to work together to make sure they understand the What and the Why of a structured approach.
What do you want to achieve?
For me, I ask myself what is important to me. As a Coach I ask what is it that is important to the athlete? When creating your what, there are a number of factors that come into play. First and foremost, it has to be realistic and attainable. I don’t mean to make it easy. In fact, it has to be challenging or it isn’t really a commitment. But ask yourself if you have the time and support system needed for it. Does it require a level of commitment you’re willing to make? This varies so much from person to person, and lays the foundation for how we create an appropriate training approach for any athlete.
For many years, what was important to me in training and racing was having the ability to race fairly often at a variety of distances/disciplines. I had a focus, or really a lack of focus on anything too specific that would have kept me from the fluid racing and training schedule that I enjoyed so much. This year (entering my 40th year on the planet) my what changed. I wanted to challenge myself to focus on something that scared me enough to demand a more focused approach than I’d really ever been willing or able to do. I also understood the commitment I was making, and in my case, made sure I had the support from my wife and family to do so as the schedule would demand. My what is now defined. It’s important to me and I have a healthy respect and appreciation of the commitment of my support team. That makes it easier for me to hold myself accountable to the why during training.
Why are you doing the training you are doing?
When you set an appropriate goal, that is difficult and that you truly care about, it becomes easier to keep your focus. This allows you to get rid of any and everything in your training that doesn’t serve that purpose. If it doesn’t help achieve my goal then why am I doing it. This helps in so many ways by allowing for a patient and well thought out approach to training. Understanding why you are doing what you're doing will help prevent you from filling your schedule with additional training stress that serves no benefit to your ultimate goal.
For the past few months I’ve been completely focused on one specific goal with all of my training. One thing this does is force me to do what’s necessary to put me in the best possible place to achieve my goal. This helps me avoid overtraining or peaking too early in the process. It prevents me from doing something everyday for the sake of it, or adding in sessions just because time allows. I have a goal, and I have a process to achieve it. Having a well defined what I want to achieve allows me to maintain my focus.
Define your what, get on the same page with your coach and support team and know why you're doing what you're doing!