Making The Most of Your Training

How is it that Thanksgiving is next week already?  Thinking of how fast the year is going brings me a fair bit of anxiety when it comes to my return to racing in 2018.  This means that in 6 months I will be packing my bags, gear, family to hop a plane to race Ironman Hawaii 70.3 (Honu)!

I am so thankful for the perfect timing of my business reading this morning as I work my way through one of coach Matt Dixon's latest books.  I am being reminded that while the world tells us to focus on our end goal in order to stay motivated, that focus, at least with this goal, scares me beyond belief.  To the point of feeling a bit paralyzed.  In coach Matt's book he reminds the reader that one should be focused on process goals, not the end product.  This is such a departure from many other sources of "advice"  See, if I focus on the event itself then I quickly start to compare where I am now to where I want to be in just over 6 months (pause taken here to go execute that process goal and get in a Brick (bike/run session).

"For any given workout, you need to have the presence, understand the purpose of the workout, have your resources and energy available, and make a habit of executing the intentions of that workout."    - Matt Dixon

When I focus on each session and the solid execution of that session, the end goal will take care of itself.  This somehow takes a great deal of the pressure off.  Because at the end of the day worrying about what is six months down the road does me no good in solidly focusing on the day's tasks and the training at hand.

Some days this means scaling the training session due to things outside of my control and being ok with that.  It's life and it is good, messy but good.  This does not give me the green light to not plan ahead and just quickly throw out the session when any one little thing comes up.  Quite the contrary, I plan, schedule, protect and invest time to set aside the focus, energy and readiness for each training session.  After each session I will take a few minutes to reflect on what went well and what I could have done to improve one area of the session.  Often this results in recognizing that I could have planned better, starting the night before, to set myself up for success.

Side note, you may have noticed that I refer to training as "training sessions or training"  instead of workouts.  Not sure where I picked that one up, but the reason is quite simple.  In the fitness industry in general there is a long standing feeling or sense of needing each "workout" to leave you in a heap, sore for 2 days, and really feeling like you "left it all out there".  The problem with taking that mindset into endurance training is that it will lead to plateau, burnout, injury or illness (see last week's blog on "Moderate Training Rut").  Training sessions each have a different purpose.  Some are meant to leave you in a heap on the ground, some are to force you to endure for long periods of time at a lower intensity.  Not easy but definitely a different type of hard.  While others are meant to leave you feeling more refreshed than when you started.

So to summarize, while there will be days when you are just checking a box that the training has been completed, you will improve so much more if you begin to understand that each session has a purpose, and that bringing your best, most prepared self to the start of each session will take you so much closer to your goals.