3 times this past week I have been asked “what session do you have today?”. AND last week was a quiet week! 🙂
I am a little bit coy about announcing what sessions I do as an athlete. It is not because I am protective of my program, on the contrary, I am very happy to share the benefit of my experience with others. It is because I know that in the question, there is an undertone of comparison.
I used to be one of those athletes that was on strava every moment that I could be and looked at every single one of my contacts workouts and compared what they did to what I did. Then, I would second guess my training, doubt myself, stress and generally become overwhelmed. I wasn’t doing enough, I was doing too much, they were faster than me, fitter than me. Their training sucks, why are they beating me? I am not surprised they don’t do well…. If I do this much more, I should be as fast as them.. You get the picture!
I wasn’t just worried about my own training, I was worried about everyone else and completing my own training based on what I saw others do.
It did nothing for my performance and I spent way too many hours online worrying about and over analysing what others were doing for absolutely no benefit. Strava is a distant memory now and I enjoy the extra time I have in my day! 🙂
So what training is the right training to do? How do you know? How do you stop yourself looking at what others are doing and be happy that your own training is working?
The most important advice I can give is that there is more than one way to skin a cat (I put this particular saying in for a mate who has a particular appreciation for cat death jokes 😉 ).
There is more than one training method, more than one approach, more than one coach… Some work for some and others don’t!
THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL!!
You have to discover what works for you! You have to determine what training gives you the best increases in performance and keeps you healthy and injury free… There is no point in undertaking a super high intensity program if you are injury prone and continually breakdown.. There is no point doing a higher volume program if you are getting slower and slower and more fatigued.
So comparisons with others are pointless. You aren’t the same person and what leads you to better performance is certainly not the same as someone else SO why wonder if you would be better off doing the same training as Joe Bloggs down the road.
The most important ingredient in training is consistency. Regular training that builds a fitness base. There needs to be adequate recovery so that your body adapts and is fresh enough that it can perform the next time you train.
Training needs to be sustainable. There is no point trying to keep up with Joe Bloggs if you burn out after 3 days or pull a hammy and need two weeks off to recover.
Those of you that have a coach, there must of been a reason that you employed that coach and you trust them. So trust that they are setting training that is correct for you and don’t worry what someone else down the road is doing! Don’t be afraid to ask your coach “why” though. Any good coach will happily tell you why you are doing the training you are doing and they will probably also be able to explain why you aren’t doing the same training as Joe down the road…. Use your coach to learn “why”…
If you are not being coached then listen to your body and what it tells you rather what you think it should be saying based on Joe’s training on strava. Follow a guide, go to a club and do their training or just do your own thing but try to keep the training consistent and sustainable for you!
And what if your training isn’t working? Then try something new. Your coach should see that it isn’t working and make some changes. If you aren’t coached and it isn’t working, then try and work out why (are you tired all the time, or maybe you need to up certain training a little more)… There is no one set way of training.. Training methods that were all the rage in the past are often laughed at now but even when those methods were used, they didn’t work for everyone..
It’s all about the person training, not the training method and certainly not about what your mate down the road is doing….
And that person, you constantly compare your training to on strava? They may have struggles you know nothing about!
Peta from Energise Coaching is a Triathlon Australia Development Coach and an Athletics Australia Recreational Running Coach based south east of Perth. She offers personalised training programs for triathlon/swimming/running, generic training plans and structured run sessions for all levels and abilities. Contact Peta and ask what she can do for you!