We are in the 'meat and potatoes' of race season, and once again it is time to reflect on the very habits that are going to optimize your performance yield from your hard work, and also ensure that you arrive at your key events fit, but also fresh.
What do we say? Fit n’ Fresh!
I think a little grounding is in order. Let’s get back to the basics of our premise for training.
Why do we train? Outside of the obvious benefits of improving health, energizing for life's activities and because it is fun, from an athletic standpoint we train to prepare our body for race performance.
OK, what’s the mission of training? It is to apply a highly specific stress (swim, bike, run, strength) in order to achieve physiological adaptations that lead us to become fitter, stronger, more resilient and powerful. We seek positive adaptations that ready us for racing.
All pretty simple so far, eh?
So what are the potential interruptions to these adaptations? Well, training is stressful. This means we must map training stress within the context of our current fitness state, our history of ability to sustain training healthily, but also within the context of all the other stressors in life. This includes work, family, travel, self-stress and environmental stress. We cannot apply training stress in a vacuum.
OK, I realize that you know all this as a Purple Patch athlete, but it is important to ground ourselves in these principles. Here is why:
Our supporting habits can be sources of eustress: they can offset some of the effects of negative stressors.
Sleep, post workout fueling, self-care, proper hydration, quality eating (*and enough of it) all act as the great supporting cast of performance acceleration. You cannot adequately prepare for high performance racing through a recipe of hard work, while ignoring these critical supporting habits.
Please remember this -- and dial it in. Reducing sleep at the expense of cramming extra training hours might boost your confidence and ego, and you might feel like you are keeping up with your best mate’s crazy training program, but it is more than likely increasing your likelihood of compromised performance.
It is now the time to have the courage to stay grounded and stick to the very aspect of Purple Patch that tickled your interest in becoming a part of the team. Remember, multiple world champions, a gazillion age group winners and more than 750 qualifiers to the World Championships have taken your journey. The vast majority decided to buy-in all the way. I invite you to do the same.
Now is not the time to compromise on your supporting habits. Dial them in. Embrace them.