Four things that will always be true about training and racing
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with data and performance tracking when it comes to your training. Every season there seems to be a new training method that comes out as the sure-fire way to guarantee improvement. And over the years, the messages can become conflicting and confusing.
For example, if you stay up on the research and experts in the field, you were first told stretching is good, then it wasn’t, and now it’s good again? What are you supposed to put into practice when information is endless but not always congruent? Without a solid foundation to base your training and improvements on, it’s easy to get lost in the fray of information.
Here are four simple tips that you can focus on and not worry about changing over time. These principles are time-tested and the only thing that may change is the methods to go about achieving them.
Train at or faster than race speed
If you want to improve, your body needs to be exposed to the speeds you hope to achieve or hold in a given race or event. This is what practice and training sessions are for—rehearsals for the real thing. It only makes sense then to use them to allow your body to adapt to hold the pace you want to race or faster so that at the event, your body is accustomed to it already through your training.
Become strong and durable
Whenever you’re injured, you improve the least and your performance deteriorates. To avoid this, your body needs to become as durable as possible to resist injury. The best way to condition your body to stand up to your training demands is to develop a foundation of functional strength. This doesn’t mean bulky muscles, but strength that allows your body to move well and move often.
Eat and rest well
It’s possible to get better as you age, but your ability to recover does slow down and more attention should be paid to this area. The biggest bang for your buck in this realm is what you eat and how well you sleep. So many chemical processes occur better when you eat whole, quality foods and allow your body to get the best pattern of sleep possible. Even just changing these two things can drastically improve performance if you do nothing else.
Believe in yourself
Lastly, if you approach training and competing with the mindset that you can and will improve it’s usually a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if you don’t have the most optimal training plan, if you just have the mindset that you’ll get better and your training will improve your performance, there is a powerful placebo effect that takes place. If you find yourself doubting constantly, examine this more deeply as you can never out-train your mindset.
- Technique and Training