Monday, February 13, 2012
Training your body to improve is a challenge that I think we all agree is a long haul.
The way we apply ourselves in training is crucial in this complex science of performance improvement.
In simple terms, we break our bodies down physically and then, while we are resting between sessions, our bodies adapt and improve to a new and improved level. It is widely agreed that it is the quality and appropriate quantity that is important.
A crucial part of ensuring the high quality is in committing effectively to particular aspects of the sessions.
Athletes who commit appropriately are the ones who develop physically and leave others, who may appear more talented, in their wake.
There is an aspect of this commitment that I would like to focus on which I hope you agree is one of the most important parts of this performance psyche.
Whether you are doing an interval session, a sustained pace training session or reps and sets in the gym, my message is appropriate and relevant…
Always finish the set…
By this I mean if you set out to run 5 miles, then run 5 miles. If you have aimed for 6 sets of 5 reps in the gym, then do them all. This may seem like an over simplistic message, but it is one which comes with a warning to those who don’t complete what they set out to do.
You see, in my opinion, it isn’t the gain from completing the extra couple of reps that makes all the difference, it is the possible negative impact of not completing, of letting yourself ‘off the hook’; of ‘giving in’ and how this mentality can seep into your other training.
If you have committed to a target and you fall short through giving up, the negative consequence is dire from a performance perspective.
You will have sewn a seed of an exit, a new culture of it ‘being ok’ to let yourself down.
This is never an option with successful sports people for one simple reason - because it is never considered and therefore never entertained.
The schedules you set should be just hard enough to challenge, to allow you to reach deep within and to find the next rung on the ladder, not the one which is way out of reach.
In practical terms, this advice might mean something as straight forward as assistance from a spotter in the gym, or a reduced speed for the reps on the track, or reducing the weight for the final set - but always, always, always complete what you set out to achieve. This way, your training will always have a positive impact on your body AND your mind and in turn will allow you to adapt and evolve effectively.