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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !
Mental : Physical : Tactical : Technical
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.