As a coach, I’m in a unique position to see all of my athletes daily training that often goes un-noticed. What everyone looks at is race day performances and how they stack up against competition when it matters. While I love to see athletes crushing their PR’s, I often go back to their training leading up to the event or conversations we’ve had and see very similar characteristics. This blog is to highlight the characteristics that many of my athletes share and could be a foundation for your continued success as well.
While I’ve blogged before on the importance of consistency, intensity, and volume (fitness fundamentals) I really want to focus again on consistency. It’s that important. When I go look at an athlete that has made a huge jump in fitness and race day results, almost every time I will see that they rarely miss a workout. What i want the reader to understand from this point though is that every athlete I work with has a busy life. In todays day and age, we are all busy! However, what these athletes have is an ability to schedule in 1-2 hours a day to get in their workouts. Some of these athletes are Surgeons with crazy schedules, a 5 restaurant owner with 2 kids, An Electrician who was in school with 2 kids, an MBA student/full-time worker with a toddler, an Engineer who drives often across the state with two kids, etc etc etc. I can go on and on about how amazing some of these individuals are, but where they all truly excel is in scheduling time for themselves (often 4 AM wake ups) where they make their training and success as an athlete a priority. With these busy schedules, its inevitable that a training session will be missed, but for the most part, all of these athletes are getting in 5-6 days a week of focused training.
One of the best things of being a coach in this field is that I often become a teacher to athletes. What I’ve found as a coach is the more educated an athlete becomes, the faster they become. There is something to be said for having a coach and letting them do all the thinking for you, but the more you understand about power, pacing, recovery, training stress, etc… the more focused your training will become. As my athletes start to become students and learn as they train, they often take a big step up in their abilities as an athlete. When I go back and look at all of the great performances by athletes recently, I notice that they all have taken a large step in understanding principles of training this year or years past and understand data analysis at a level that at least allows them to make good decisions on the fly. For any athlete that is serious about setting PR’s and becoming competitive, a big key to that is talking with your coach on a continuous level to learn the focus of workouts and how to judge if progress is happening.
Time in the Sport
Nothing pains me more than having someone who wants to be great, but only dedicates one year to the goal. If I start to look at some of my athletes that had the best performances in 2016, its often my athletes that have been on with me for 2, 3, or even 4 years. This is because endurance athletics has a cumulative effect as the years add up. Your muscles become more efficient going through the movements and your body becomes more efficient at utilizing oxygen through these movements. While many athletes want to come into the sport and be great, they often make the mistake of wanting too much too soon! This thought process can leave them discouraged after their first year, but often if athletes can stick with the consistency over the years, they will start achieving those high goals they had originally set in place. This is one of the fundamental characteristics to top level success by each individual.
A lot of individuals look for a secret recipe to get fast or a quick fix. Some athletes may come up to me and say, so… How do I get fast? They often think their will be an elaborate answer that has been passed down from some wizard or other force. However, its quite simple. Start to become consistent in your training, start to pay attention and learn what you are doing, and stay in the sport for multiple years. If you can focus on those three cues then you are going to excel as an endurance athlete. While the day-to-day is important and what the coach is there for, endurance athletics is all about the consistent years and building both your physical abilities, but mental ones as well.
For more information, Jeremy Brown of Mind Right MultiSport will host a live chat on this topic on Wednesday Sept 21.
For questions or comments please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org