There is so much information about run training and racing that is readily available today. The trouble is knowing what is qualified and what is not. Is it something based on fact and long time experience, or is it anecdotal and just something that worked the once?
It really is a minefield.
Then you add into the mix the fact that experts produce something that is correct yet very generic, or part of a more involved plan that therefore needs a more careful and thoughtful approach to tailor it to the individual.
Yet more of a minefield.
The availability of all this information is fantastic, yet it must be used correctly before the ‘mine’ explodes.
There are few, if any, quick fixes when it comes to training and performance progression for the human body. Perhaps for the spirit, but not the body. Nothing beats good old fashioned hard work tailored to the individual. Yes, there are definitely training structures that work for a vast number of folk, yet not without some customisation. There is no black and white, there is plenty of grey. To improve, you know, we sometimes have to go beyond our next race goal and get right back down to basics and look at ourselves and then get SMART about how we train. Clutching at straws, looking for a quick fix, the one magic change to produce some vast improvement, well, there just isn’t one.
The Three Legged Performance Stool
The stool with three legs: Fitness, Nutrition and the Mind. If anyone of these fails, the stool falls over – get my drift? They all have to be in place, 100%. Yes, it its usually the Mind that causes either of the other two to fall. Usually… through a quick fix remedy, poor planning, lack of training review and so on.
Training Goals, not Racing Goals.
You want to improve then it is best top start by looking at yourself. Strengths and weaknesses are a great place to begin. Are you a good hill climber, is speed over longer distances an issue, what about technique? If you sort you and your training out, step by step, then you are in with a chance of getting somewhere. Change takes as long as it takes and to make those changes is everything in place for it to happen? If you want to run fast, are you strong and stable enough?
Weeks, perhaps. Months and years definitely are required for successful athletic development.
Racing Goals, not Training Goals.
So you have spent time working the races to fit the training goals. You have improved and have been injury free for quite sometime. Now you can look at your race goals and tailor your training to the event ahead. Then when the racing is done you go back to your training goals and start all over.
The Rule of 1%
Everything is in place, training has gone superbly and you are racing at the top of your game. You are strong, stable, fast and have endurance in abundance. The effort required for any discernible gain in fitness is looking like a mountain to climb. So you start looking for the small things that can make a difference. Compression clothing, a small change in diet, tweaks in training, change to sleeping patterns… The Rule of 1%, so often seen as the quick fix.
They can all help, but only in small way. The Rule of 1%.
Not necessarily back to the start, but certainly a few steps down the ladder. To rebuild, to check everything is as it should be. Technique is one great example as is running strength where this may be common place, as is aerobic and energy efficiency. For the more finely tuned, training to a ‘polarised’ method sometimes requires a step backwards during the early training year to allow for a steady rebuild back into full time hard training. Not just a recovery period, but also a period of regression to provide the next springboard to success. These can also take time but can be absolutely essential and very very successful.
This is where good experienced coaches and support teams come in handy. They can be advisers or full-on compilers of training and dietary programs, menders of injury and strength builders. Confidents and advisors, friends and colleagues. They have knowledge coupled with experience. They have a track record of success, and very little failure. Injury to their charges is not that common, occasional only. They can be worth their weight in gold in reducing junk training and poor performance, which let’s be honest is just a frustrating waste of time.
So my message is straightforward. There is no quick fix, no magic bullet for success. You just have to take the information that is out there and tailor it to yourself at the right time, step by step, ensuring all the foundations and fundamentals of running are in place. You have to ensure change is staged and controlled, not rushed and pushed. All the time, every time, regardless of how good you are.
Yes, we can most likely help, Accelerate Performance Centre.