By now you have probably set some goals for 2013 and have heard the broadcasts about your high probability of failing to achieve them by the end of the month. Well I am here to provide you with one simple suggestion for the year that is hopefully easy to follow. Train with Consistency.
As I continue to read about the human body and how to improve performance I have been continually reminded that the best way to see fitness gains is to train consistently. Fitness is not stagnant. At any moment in time you are either gaining or losing fitness. Breaks at the end of the season or when you are sick are perfectly fine but frequently missing more than 2 workouts per week can have a negative impact on fitness level and overall self-efficacy. Not only does the body respond well to regular training but the mind also remembers these experiences and benefits from them. As was stated in the Essentials of Strength and Conditioning book “We believe that the most powerful determinant of confidence and a sense of preparation is quality physical practice in which a number of positive experiences are stored in long-term memory.” Personally, the guilt conscience takes over if I miss too many workouts and as a result my race performance suffers because I know I haven’t put the time in that I was planning to.
Of course, I am still encouraging you to utilize periodization fundamentals, to vary the workouts and weekly training hours. Please note that I am not trying to tell you to overdo it and put yourself into a state of overtraining. More is not better if it leads you to having to take time off due to overuse injuries or burnout. Instead, what I am referring to is the daily effort to keep moving. In fact, an athlete who truly understands this concept recognizes that the goal is to do the least amount of properly timed, specific training that brings continual improvement.
Therefore, while deciding whether to bear the cold and get out for that 5 mile run you had scheduled for today don’t listen to the excuses that might be running through your head. Instead choose consistency. The benefits will pay off in 5 months from now when you put that swim cap on for the first tri of the season and are confident that you have put the constant work in to be successful. Remember too that you can’t make up for lost time. In other words, if you skip a few workouts in a week, you can’t add them on next week and expect positive results. With that in mind, if you do choose to stay on the couch on a given day, think about the fact that your competition might not have.