Did you fail to follow your training plan? This is what I tell all my athletes, recreational as well as professional, and it goes for you too if you are following any kind of training regimen or if ypu wish to do so.
Surely you have heard the terms “plan for success!” or “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, or how about “a goal without a plan is just a wish”? They are all quotes with some truth to them used by trainers and motivators, and they’re of course frequently spread through SoMe. I don’t know if you are one for quotes or not, but personally I like this one by the one and only Napoleon Hill (Google the guy if you don’t know of him):
“Plan your work and work your plan”
Work your plan…That is the very essence of this blog post. How many times do you feel like you have failed your training plan because you were too tired to train, had no time to train or had to stop a training session due to either a physical, mental or practical problem? I bet it has happened more than once in your life and guess what: it will probably happen again.
Be honest and Carpe diem
It will happen again, because life happens. For me smartness in training is always about getting the best training session I can get on that specific day. But what does that even mean? First of all, the best session I can get is the session that I will get the most benefits out of both short-term and long-term and that leads me closer to my goals.
From the short-term perspective you need to consider whether to train hard, moderate or easy or to rest today. The decision is made based on the total load from all the arenas in your life: work, family, studies, training. If you for some reason have either lack of sleep, low energy intake or physical pain, hard training is really not the answer to neither improve your physical fitness nor your health. Here is another quote for you with regard to that one: When in doubt, leave it out!
From the long-term perspective you need to plan and adjust your life to allow for time to keep the rhythm of rest and exercise. If you plan reaching some of those big goals down the road, you’ll need to enough accumulate physiological stimuli over time if you expect different physical properties to change for the better, whether it be strength, endurance, body composition, speed, technical skills and what not.
But don’t lie to yourself
There is always an excuse not to exercise today, right? Right now I cant think of at least 6 reasons that I “don’t have the time” to work out today. This is BS, of course, because prioritizing is key and if you are not prioritizing your health you will not show up as the best version of yourself in any of the other arenas. If you have set a training goal for yourself, you actually have to train for it!
As a coach I feel that I have developed a good sense of whether you are full of excuses, exaggerating every feeling of why you couldn’t train today and just not prioritizing the goal that YOU have set for yourself. Or if you life just happened, they day or week took an unexpected turn and you had to give up your training or change it. I know I am not alone in sensing this pretty quickly, because most experienced coaches can do this. We see your patterns and we have seen them all before. Observing these patterns is also what helps us help you break them.
“…That is a part of the training process: set a goal, analyze demands for reaching it, plan, execute, evaluate and ADJUST. “
Don’t apologize and take the consequences
I spend a lot of time on developing training plans for many my clients for all types of different goal settings. Some plans are much more complex than others, nonetheless making these plans take a good chunk out of my week (usually weekends) and it is a part of my job to spend that time planning for their progress and success. They pay and I deliver, but it is more that that to it. We make a type of commitment to each other. I expect them to follow the plan to the best of their abilities, because the plan is one of the consequences of their goal settings. However, that does not mean you should follow the plan at any cause. In fact, far from it! So when a client comes to me with a defeated face and apologizes for not completing the plan or missing a session, I always remind him or her that their training plan is not set in stone and that it is a guideline. You can be disciplined and reflected at the same time, you know ;-) That is a part of the training process: set a goal, analyze demands for reaching it, plan, execute, evaluate and ADJUST.
Just like following a training plan is a consequence you have to take in order to increase you chances in goal reaching, you have to take the consequence of each day. Each day and week is not the same! If you want to succeed in improving your physiology and your physical abilities you ask yourself: what is the best thing that I can do today for my body and mind today in order to take a step closer to my end goal?
Sometimes the answer will be go and murder that barbell or give the uphills hell on your intervals, and sometimes the answer will be to work your plan and change the training session to something different or lighter on the body. Sometimes the answer will be to rest up for the next days and next sessions. This has nothing to do with laziness and everything to do with smartness in training. If you changing or skipping your trainings comes from laziness, you’ll know it deep inside and perhaps the goal is not that important to you after all or you need to train your willpower as well as other things, but that is an other story for another blog post.
- Take the consequences your goals and commit to your training plan.
- Factor in the consequences of each day in order to get the best session possible out of that particular day.
- Take care as best you can of the rhythm between rest and activity.
- No matter how difficult it feels for your ego to define wether to hold back or push, try to make responsible calls.
- And finally: your training plan is not set in stone. Work your plan and use your trainer as a sparring partner, that is why you have him or her.