When it comes to training these days, we often find ourself looking for shortcuts. You have a goal and you want to achieve it… RIGHT NOW. How do I know? Because I am exactly the same! Unfortunately, in the pursuit of these shortcuts to achieving our goals, we often end up training the wrong way.

What is training?
Structured training or recreational hobby?

There are many misconceptions out there on what training actually is. Training is the action of developing and improving your mental or physical well being through instruction or practice with a clear goal/s in mind compared to a hobby which is something you do in your leisure time for pleasure. Now there is no reason your training cannot be your hobby or your hobby part of your training, but it is important to note the difference between the two. Training can be for pleasure and a hobby can involve the developing and improving your mental and physical well being. The difference is generally, training is much more structured with a clear goal/s to aim for, whereas a hobby generally doesn’t have any instruction or clear improvement focus, it is purely just for pleasure

So, how do I train the right way?

Too much too soon
In a consumer world where we can often get what we want, when we want it, we often translate these expectations to our goals in training as well. We go from swimming/ biking/ running once a week to almost everyday. We buy all the equipment and clothing we could ever need. We enter the next race available. Unfortunately, once the initial hype wears thin and you hit your first hurdle, you are often left puzzled for what to do next because you haven’t taken the time to educate yourself on how to train. Whats the answer? Simple… patience. Take your time, do your research and speak to someone educated or experienced in the area of training you are looking to pursue.

Education, education, education
There are so many types of training out there, with the frustration being that these types of training are constantly being updated, reinvented or even refuted. Then we get the added surprise of brand new training methods that have been introduced into the mix and while it is important to take note of these, it’s also important to note that these new methods may be a fad. So whether you are looking into traditional training methods like interval, strength, S&Q, plyometric, continuous… or even new methods of training like HIIT or lactate shuttling… It is important to stay educated and stay ahead of the curve.

Free online training programmes – Yes please…
We all love a freebie and there is so much free online content out there… what can go wrong? If you do go with this option, you are opening yourself up to some huge set backs. Yes, you may see some initial improvements by following a free plan, but you will soon plateau and not reach your full potential. This is purely because we are all individuals and our training plans need to be tailored to each of us. Whether that means accounting for an old injury, your age, your health, your lifestyle… the list here is endless.

It’s ok, I can coach myself
I am sure a lot of us have had the thought… If I coach myself, its a cheaper option and then I can spend more money on my trainers/ watch/ bike. But the real question is… do you have the qualifications or years of experience to be able to coach yourself? If the answer is yes, then great. If not, then you should look into getting a coach (Read our blog on “5 reasons to get a coach“).

Ego over results
Athlete – “Today is meant to be an easy recovery ride for me”… 30 minutes into the ride you see them making a breakaway to win a Strava segment. What do you think the chances are of them becoming injured if they go hard on their recovery days?

Coach – “Today we are running 10 x 400m all at 90% of our maximum heart rate, run to your own heart rate, not the person in front of you” Athlete A sprints the first 6 sets at 95% of their maximum heart rate and doesn’t finish the final 4 sets. Athlete B follows the coaches instructions and finishes the set. Who do you think will do better in the long term?

The key here is to be disciplined, follow your training plan to the letter, listen to your body and communicate with your coach. If you put your training in front of your ego, you will always have better results in the long term.

Consistency is key
We all have our good days and our bad days when it comes to training, but true success comes from being consistent throughout your training period. Often challenges may come because you have set yourself unrealistic targets to achieve. If this is the case, then reflect and dial back your expectation. Finally, it is crucial to find someone to hold you accountable for the training you have planned e.g. you planned to run 10km at 80% of your maximum heart rate and you actually complete this rather than just running 10km at an easy pace. There are many people that you can use to hold yourself accountable (family, friends, coach, even your social media audience) but the best person is always going to be yourself. You know yourself best and, at the end of the day, it is your goal you are aiming for…so be accountable for all your struggles and take triumph in your success.

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