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“It takes time to create excellence, If it could be done quickly, more people would do it” - John Wooden
You know the drill. It’s midweek, life is getting real… the emails are stacking up, you’ve been up for the last couple of nights with sick family members, that broken tile in the shower needs fixing and voila… there goes that key run session you were so looking forward to crushing… ‘doh’. If you’re anything like me, when you miss a session, it may or may not lend to the grumpy pants sliding themselves on and dictating the mood of the day or potentially even longer (guilty).
We’re battered with the ‘consistency is key’ ethos from our coaches and whilst this is true in terms of performance gains over the long term, sometimes it can lend itself to being a bit of a slap in the face, especially when we spend our weeks attempting to light Training Peaks up with nothing but Granny Smiths.
The key words from the last paragraph I want you to grab and hold tight are, and make sure you lump these together tightly, are: consistency over the long term. To keep it simple and create our very own acronym let’s call it ‘long-term consistency- LTC (yeah we did)’.
So what does this mean for me and how can this possibly help me stop beating myself up when I miss that session I was destined for?
Consider this: rather than measure the success of your day or week by the number of completed sessions, let’s zoom out and take a much more global view of the situation at hand. Let’s say the average triathlete (swim/bike/run) does 10 sessions per week plus or minus a couple depending on the phase and week. Over a four week block, that’s a grand total of 40 sessions. Six months would be about 260 sessions and over a year... 520 sessions (that’s heaps when you look at it like that - do you agree?).
So… now when I miss that one session due to a bunch of stuff happening that was to a certain extent out of my control, in the grand scheme of things, is it really worth being such a hard ass to yourself about? Or worse still, do we really have to put our family, friends and co-workers through a day of you subconsciously preparing yourself for an audition to play Eeyore in the next Pooh movie?
Hopefully I’m making some sense here. Of course, consistency is still king and always will be, and playing catch up just ain’t cricket, but missing the odd session isn’t going to break the bank. Obviously, if you’re missing sessions regularly, this won’t help you achieve those big goals you have set out. But a missed session here and there… “it’s okay grumpy bear, breathe and relax”, think ‘520 sessions a year’ a handful or two off that number and we’re still in business. That’s a whole lot of bottles banked and on the wall at the finish of the year.
Triathlon, like many things in life, is all about getting it done, day in, day out, for many years. The athletes who are able to see the big picture, stay healthy, patient, and remain in the game, are the ones that reap the rewards.
No magic pill team… just LTC. Don’t be Eeyore, be Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli aka ‘Fonzie’
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