Training or Exercising?
Let me start this off by stating that I realize that this looks like me trying to attract new athletes to my fold. And while that is true, that is not the ultimate aim of this post. My true aim is to fire a wakeup call to all the people out there wanting to get better at their sport but only paying it lip service.
Question for you:
Do you want to qualify for Regionals?
Do you want to go to the CrossFit Games?
Do you want to run 100 miles?
Do you want to pass SFAS?
Do you have major race or event you are “training” for?
If you answered yes to any of these or similar questions I have some more:
What are doing about it?
Do your goals match your life?
Do you recover as hard as you train?
Do you have people in your life supporting you in your goals?
Do you have someone holding you accountable for your actions?
Are you training or just exercising…really?
Do you follow a program that has your goal in mind?
Do you have a coach?
Its been nearly a decade now that I have been putting effort into making myself or others better at some athletic task. In all that time I have seen some constants that never change.
First and foremost is training with a purpose. If you don’t have a clearly recognizable goal that drives every free moment of your mind then you are just exercising. If you have a purpose then everything that you do will be easier. The food choices you make, the time you go to bed, the people you surround yourself with will all be part of the end goal.
The next is all about accountability. Someway, somehow, or someone must hold you accountable for what you are doing. Slack off on your training today? You should be given an consequence. Eat too much cake? Consequence. Kick some ass and hit a new PR? A pat on the back. We all function on feedback. The most stoic of us will assert that none is needed, but that is bullshit. We want and crave feedback, good and bad. Athletes ensure that the feedback is coming often and from multiple sources.
Moving on to using a program that has an end goal in mind. There is so much that can be had from clarity. Do you want to run 100 miles, or run 100 miles in 20 hours? Do you want to be a good CrossFiter or go to the Games? Be precise and then use a program that is just as precise. Methods and results can very greatly in a given sport just based on the specificity of the goal. It allows you to cut away the bullshit and be honest with yourself, your training, and the time it will take to get there. That will then give you the information needed to decide if you are willing to commit to the path. A path that could take months or years more than you thought.
Assuming you do commit to the path, then you have to figure out how to get there. We all have barriers in front of us. It could be a time issue, or relationship issue, or the dreaded athletic “weakness” that is keeping us from the glory that we seek. Once the barrier is identified it must be attacked with all that you have. You can keep sharpening your skills in the areas that you are good at, but if you don’t overcome the known obstacle then you will never reach the end.
The end state of this rant is to tell you that most of us can’t do it alone. For every high level athletic pursuit I have gotten a coach, a mentor or someone to hold me accountable to the goal. Charging hard, managing your recovery, fueling your body are all pieces that add up to a huge workload. Adding in the planning of your training is all but impossible for most of us. It will be either too hard, or too easy, or will miss the point entirely. Enter the coach. Find someone you trust, that you believe in. Find someone who will invest in you like you will invest in their training. The road is too hard and too long to go it alone. Start now. 2 months out from your goal is not enough, not nearly enough.