Smart Training and Smart Progressions
What did you do last week and what is the plan next week? What is the long-term plan? How did I sleep last night? Do I feel any unusual fatigue?
These questions will help you design smarter training sessions. You never want to just throw together some random workouts. Just because it makes you tired, doesn't mean it will help you reach your goals.
Adding one minor piece to your program can break you out of a plateau and help you reach personal bests. Adding 4 to 5 pieces at one time will just lead to overtraining, injury and/or burnout. In your blueprint, map out your training cycles, which gives you specific objectives each training session. Train with focus and be goal-oriented and your performance will reach new heights.
Eat to Train
Your food consumption should support your goals. Whether your goal is weight loss, lean mass gain, improve speed, etc, your nutrition program is just as important as the training.
Every time you put food in your body, ask yourself, "Does this support my goal of 'X'?" Then make a wise decision. If you are trying to reach a specific "racing weight", you will need to block out a few 10- to 20-day cycles where you are laser focused on your nutrition.
These cycles should be scheduled early in your season, when your training volume is at a moderate level. Once your training volume starts to increase, eat to train. Make sure you are fueling your body so that your workouts are high level and you are sufficiently recovering after.
Log Your Training
This is something that can help you years down the road. Once you have been logging your training, you will be able to look back and analyze previous training sessions, specific training blocks, and specific cycles leading up to particular races. This information will give you an awareness of where you have been and what is needed to reach a particular goal.
In this log, make notes on how you are feeling, what paces you were at, the mileage that was completed and any useful thoughts that can assist you later.
There is no such thing as a perfect plan. All athletes and coaches should adhere to this strategy.
Training should not just follow a generic linear model. This generic plan takes individualization out of the equation. People respond to various training stimuli differently.
I always say, "Finish the workout while you are ahead." You would rather call a workout short than risk injury or overtraining. Be disciplined to listen to your body. If you have a high-intensity training session planned and you feel mental and physical fatigue, move the workout to another day and either take the day off or perform a light session instead.
Having this "organized creativity" mantra equates to improved performances, better results, sustainable training and overall success in a program.
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