The 5 Hard Truths about Athletic Performance
By: Mark Blomeley
Achieving and optimising your athletic potential is a difficult process filled with many obstacles. There are a lot of things that lead to sub-optimal performance either short term or long term, so what I wanted to give you today is 5 hard truths about achieving your athletic potential.
At some point in your career as an athlete, you will learn each and every one of these hard truths. It’s just a matter of whether you want to learn from these hard truths today or experience these yourself. At some point though, it is inevitable that you will either learn these truths or continue to experience to consequences from not learning them.
- You can’t race all year round.
The fact of the matter is you can’t race all year round. I get it, you go from athletics season into cross country/road running season and the pressure is there to perform across both seasons. The truth is though we need time to recuperate, we need time to train and we need time to compete. I believe that the time for each is what makes up a calendar year. In other words, you have a 4 month window for racing, a 2-3 month window for recovery and a 4-5 month period for training. If we try to shortcut this process in favour of trying to race more then we are not optimising our training or recovery or both.
- You can’t maintain a high training load week in, week out.
The path to better athletic performance is more about quality rather than quantity. If you find yourself falling into the trap of trying to achieve and maintain a high training load then you will find a way to stop this either by getting sick or injured. You’re body simply can’t sustain training monotony and high training loads.
- Failure is a part of the journey
At some point you’re going to fail. Everything might be going awesome in training then you race terribly. You might put the best and most well thought out program together but you still managed to get injured. A champion mindset is one of learning from failure and using the set back to drive you to bigger and better things.
- You’re different to everyone else
This is probably the most overlooked notion in athletic performance, and arguably even more so in running. There is still a philosophy that exists that one training program fits all. While sessions can be similar or even the same for some athletes at some times of the year, it’s important to remember this simply can’t be the case all year round. Everyone is different, there’s different training histories, different distances and different training peaks. These differences need to be treated and programmed uniquely.
- You can’t coach yourself
Whether you’re an elite runner or amateur, if you’re coaching or programming for yourself then it’s a great idea to stop. At some point or another we usually fall in the trap of deciding on a session for ourselves. Hopefully it’s not every session of the week or an entire training block, but this rule is critical. When you program for yourself you can very easily change your program. You might decrease or increase the distance you need to run, you might increase or decrease the intensity of the session. These small changes effect training load, injury risk and performance enhancement.
So there you have it, these are the 5 Hard Truths about Athletic Performance. I challenge you to reflect and consider each one individually and which one or ones you are prone to break. Training to become elite or indeed to be the best you can be is not an end goal or an event, it’s a continual process of growth. Therefore prepare yourself to be open to learn from what has and hasn’t worked for you. What I’ve showed you today is simply 5 truths that provide a framework for assessing areas of your performance which are prone to resulting in sub-optimal performance or injury. It’s up to you to do the work and figure out what you need to change your circumstances and lift yourself up to the next level.
When I initially wrote this article it became far too long. What I decided to do is turn the original version into a free report available on my website. If you would like to read the full version please click here: http://www.markblomeley.com.au/contact-us/the-5-hard-truths-about-athletic-performance/ and I’ll send it to you via e-mail.
Mark Blomeley is a strength and conditioning coach with over 10 years experience in the sports and fitness industry. Currently in Brisbane, he is a specialist strength and conditioning coach for runners from international standard elites to the every day runner.