Often times I find myself fixating on the small details of training throughout each passing week, putting the majority of that focus on what I could have done better. - Why didn’t I go the full 40 minutes for today’s easy run? I should have got in an extra 500 meters during yesterday’s swim. I can’t believe I let myself skip that bike ride on Thursday. - These are all just examples, but you get the point.
When I flip the fixation from negative to the positives that are accomplished each week, the sound bites look much different. - Wow, I ran 45 miles last week. I can’t believe I broke 1:10 for the 100 in the pool. I rode my bike 5 times hitting a weekly total of over 130 miles. - The crazy thing about this second series of examples is that they came from the same week as the negative examples I shared earlier.
As each week passes, we have a chance to improve. We learn from our mistakes, we gain fitness while increasing our training load, and we hopefully continue to perfect our ability to swim/bike/run for incredible amounts of times and at varying levels of intensities. The thing I’d like to focus on for today is that this only happens if we do one thing…we need to be consistent.
When I’m writing out training schedules for my athletes and for myself each week - I make sure to communicate which workouts are “no-questions-asked-you-have-to-get-this-in” versus the workouts that fall into the “would-be-nice-but-if-you-want-to-sleep-that-is-okay” category. The reason for this is that I know that if we hit 80% of the workouts and truly execute them (remember, make your easy days easy and your hard days hard), our fitness will continue to build as the season (and years) progress.
The final sentence I just wrote is important, especially if you are committed to living your life as an endurance athlete and enjoying a long career in your respective sport(s). Endurance is all about the long term plan. Today’s workouts and decisions certainly impact tomorrow, but this months workouts and workload will impact next year.
I have definitely had to remember this over the course of 2016 thus far. I have traveled during 10 weeks of the 20 weeks which has meant that there have been plenty of workouts that have been missed or adjusted at the last minute. However, I’ve made sure to maximize my time and hit the big ones (huge thanks to April for supporting this as I am definitely a weekend warrior) and my fitness is higher this year than this time last year.
The intent of this short piece is simply to encourage you to focus on being consistent and keeping your eyes on the long term plan. If you are consistent, and overall do your best to keep progressing (emphasis on this word!!!) you will absolutely make strides towards being the best athlete that you can be. Of course, I hope that you make a point to enjoy the journey as well - as it's important to remember for us amateur athletes, that this is a hobby (although a very time-consuming and life-changing one) after all.
Be consistent, enjoy the awesome journey, and always remember to look at the big picture versus letting yourself get stuck and negatively fixated on the details of each passing day.