Category: High Performance

Pain

Recently we have been upping the game with T5 in more of the quality sessions. The intensity being prescribed to make sure you are able to tolerate the demands of endurance competition. When things are getting tough at the back end its good to know you have dealt with that in training and are able to endure just that little bit longer. In the back end of the race it’s key to understand your body is doing one thing and your mind is doing another. The mind wants you to stop but the body is more than likely ok to keep going. Your RPE shoots up to 9/10 or 10/10 when the body is working at 7/10. The key with hard training is that it gives you an opportunity to deal with that before the race and set your plan tolerance level higher.

Patience

The biggest skill in endurance sport is the endurance itself. It is said that training for this sport is like watching your hair grow. On a daily basis you see no growth, but all of a sudden after 2 months you notice you need a haircut.

Just keep at it.

Planning and Preparation

Monday morning and the start of another 7 day “block” of training. Another chance to get a good crack at what is important for you at the moment. That might be re-establishing discipline and routine post big race or it might mean higher levels of accountability with a big race coming up. For those hitting Western Sydney it’s the key period now. Take it a day at a time and give yourself a chance to reflect at the end of the week. Remember to not look for perfection. Dont jump off the wagon and “start next Monday”.
 
A key skill that the best in all sports do really well is organisation and planning. Take it a step up in attention to detail and it not only takes the pressure off you but improves your ability to perform. Thinking ahead will help you. A lot.
 
Yesterday’s High Performance sporting environment of the Bathurst 1000 showed that the team’s that came out on top were the one’s that were best able to manage in turmoil. It wasn’t the ones that had no turmoil. Endurance is a game that demands planning and preparation. If you are ready for the unexpected then you will not only perform bette, but enjoy it more as well.
 
Do what the best in the world do. Plan your week to a level of detail that probably even blows your own mind. Then watch the results come.

Backs to the Wall

Backs to the wall :  

This has been a common theme of late. One I’ll expand more upon in the next podcast, but have a think about how you do your best work. When you have heaps of time ? Or when you are under the pump? 

I know the answer for me is I am way more efficient and do better work when I’m busy.

Don’t wait for the perfect phase in time to have a crack. Do it when you have your backs to the wall.

Perfection

Easily the biggest enemy of the athlete. Why ? Well I really want to keep this short – so the biggest reason as I see it is very simple. If we aren’t ready to do a perfect race or perfect session then we are building the case against ourselves. We confirm our “suspicions” that we aren’t good enough, we aren’t talented enough, our lives are too busy, or our bosses are arseholes.

Nobody asks for perfection other than ourselves. Drop the idea of it and watch the story you are building disintegrate.

Get yourself on the path to performance “enlightenment”. The path where we understand that the journey is the way. Similar to a Buddhist Monk. They never arrive, they just practice their craft and seek peace and enlightenment. The never ending journey to happiness and satisfaction.

Excellence and Expectation

I had a very wise man, with a lot of experience at elite rugby union, tell me once that as athletes and humans we should move towards anxiety. If you are feeling anxious it probably means you are doing something right. It means you are living on the edge and fearing loss.

The thing you are fearing is the thing that obviously means a lot to you ! …. or you wouldn’t be anxious about it.

In the sporting context you can equate it to Grand Final nerves. You aren’t going to be calm prior to the event. You have self doubt and have little to no control over the outcome. You only have control over how well you play and how well you execute your game plan.

One of the interesting aspects of this feeling we get is that the better we perform, the more pressure seems to mount. What if we can’t live up to this new expectation we have formed for ourselves by our very own excellence? You have trained for months for this race – what if it doesn’t bring the rewards of an equally great outcome ? Was it all in vain?

The photo’s below are of two surfers on two very different waves. One is probably very anxious and one probably isnt. The big wave surfer, due to her high level of skill, is placing herself in a dangerous situation. If she gets it right she has the opportunity to be at the top of her game. If she gets it wrong she could die. The surfer on the small wave has next to no anxiety. If she falls off the consequences are less dire.

This isn’t really a story about execution of your skills. Its a story about excellence and expectation. The higher the level of anxiety you are feeling is probably a sign that you are levelling up. You are achieving greatness. You are becoming successful.

Try not to take it as a sign that you aren’t up to it. It’s in fact the opposite.

Change

We all work with change. As a coach I am a change agent. That’s what I do. But that’s where the difficulty starts. Humans really don’t like change! We want different, better, variety …. but that must all be done without change! You can see the problems already.

I am trying to adapt and coerce and cajole you through growth but it’s important that we do that in a meaningful manner and not just for the sake of it.

The key to all this is to remember that we are changing processes and behaviours. We aren’t wanting to change you, your values, or your character.

For instance, if one of your important values is family time we have to get some strategies in place that don’t compromise that value but enhance or work within it. We set sessions at times that don’t overlap family time !

Again – we change process and behaviours – not Character or values !

Training Mindset

When you are training you aren’t just training your body. You are training your body, mind, skills, technique, tactics etc. Don’t just reflect on your output. Reflect on how well you approached the session.
 
Things like focus, skills developed, pre-session nutrition, sleep, etc are all worth reviewing and developing over time.
 
Review using the 4 Pillars of Performance >>
Mental : Physical : Tactical : Technical

Race Craft

It’s not what you think it is.
 
With a couple of races coming up for the team this weekend its a good opportunity to think about that specific challenge. The mind is probably now on what your current threshold pace is and how you might pace it. The usual things come up in your mind. Hold back early, dont go too hard, remember to have great form under fatigue.
 
Trouble is that the biggest race is going on inside your head. Thats where the race is run. You dare to dream and then quickly reassess the situation. You rationalise your current context. Recovering form last race, building up training, life’s been busy. All of which sound reasonable. You have already started the fight.
 
They say that when you feel like you are at your perceived limit, that you aren’t anywhere near your potential within. I can hear you saying it now. Probably nodding you head even. But where you are now is good enough. You love what you do and its all about fun. Sure it’s all about fun… but there’s more fun to be had if we let it in.
 
Shut down your perceptions. The real race is within yourself. Fight it, every time it gives you an excuse, ask it for proof. Keep doing that. 3, 4 , 8 times even. Create doubt about the story you are setting up.
 
Yesterday Thomas Leuchten did his 5k TT in Munich. Current time was mid 18’s and he started the internal conversation. What he did next was what we want. He stopped the conversation and took it out harder than he previously thought possible. He went through all the usual highs and lows but stuck to his guns and just tried to hold his forward lean for as long as possible. And then just drove it home with whatever he had left. End result was his first time under 18.
 
Remember the 4minute mile story. Nobody could break it. Until Roger Bannister did and created an avalanche.
 
The only thing you should doubt, is doubt itself.
 
Race with courage !

The Complexity of Performance

Most people get confused with achieving high performance. It can be a complex animal and has the ability to create doubt when cause and effect takes place. One thing is improved and it can cause a problem elsewhere. You might increase volume but that means you’ll be more tired. It will mean you need more food. It will mean you wont have the ability to do the race intensity sessions with the same intent.

You might focus on technique but that means you have less time for volume. It will mean you have to commit fully to a review and reflect process, thus meaning less time for other things.

There isn’t a secret formula for handling this complexity. It’s hard, but when it’s hard you need support. You need direction. You need coaching. That’s what makes it less complex and overwhelming.