As athletes, we strive to make healthier decisions. We are very aware of the foods we eat, the amount of activity we have in our daily lives and, the amount of sleep we get every night and even when we purposefully conserve energy. Over time, this focus creates a stress on us as athletes and can cause each and every person to lose focus and, as we progress later into our seasons and our training periods, we often need to refocus.
Many times, people view what we do as exercise. Exercise as defined by oxford online dictionary, “activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially to sustain or improve health and fitness.” The department of Health and Human Services recommends that we get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week for a healthy lifestyle. Yes, athletes are looking to maintain and improve health–but let’s be honest with ourselves. Most of us are not solely looking at health or limiting ourselves to 150 minutes a week. Athletes are looking to reach or maintain a higher level of physical fitness in preparation for a specific event. Right? Well, you just defined training.
So, it is official. With all of those hours, miles, workouts logged. you have now been training.
Let me tell you a little secret. Training can be monotonous! Not a secret? You already realize that? You are struggling with the monotony right now? Well, I have one thing for you to do. Suck it up, buttercup!
Training is focused and specific to help improve your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. That monotony can often mean results.
I am reminded of basketball legend Larry Bird. It is said that, even in high school, he was so dedicated to his craft that he would shoot 500 free throws every morning before he even went to class. The same 15 foot shot, over and over again, lead to his 89% free throw career average. It is time to refocus yourself and take your training fifteen feet at a time much like Larry Bird. Your event, your goal and your performance improvements are at stake here! Let’s get back on track with one or more of these four methods.
- Relearn what your “why” is – There is a reason you originally decided to do this. Have you lost sight of it or forgotten what it was all together? If you take the advice of many of the great business leaders you will write this down. Not once, but daily. Constantly remind yourself why you do what you do and keep that goal fresh in your mind to motivate you when times get tough.
- Rest – If you have been diligently focused for months and still have months until your event a transitionary period can often be rejuvenating. At Science of Speed we frequently do this with our athletes who have goals that are at opposite ends of the season. Ten days to two weeks unfocused can create new drive. Maybe it is time you either ask your coach if it is needed for you.
- Reach out to others – Find a training partner(s), that is of similar ability or better, and go out with them on select workouts to add some socialization and fun.
- Re-assess training – Have you been doing the exact same thing month in and month out? It is time to change things up. Training is set up in cycles and, if you have been doing the same thing for months, it is time to hit the body with a different type of intensity for optimal performance improvements. (Ultra athletes can benefit from VO2 work and Sprinters can benefit from aerobic work.)
You have an amazing goal that you have chosen. Otherwise, you would not have picked it. You are on the path to success. Keep up the amazing work and you will achieve your goals.