Thursday, January 10, 2013

TRAINING: staying committed on those hard days

The original source slips me at the moment but I once read a quote that said "Champion boxers aren't made in the ring; they're just recognised there"

I believe this holds true to all disciplines of sport, and in fact life.  If you're not prepared to put in the hard yards when no ones watching, the results will speak for themselves when it's time to put rubber to the road.

What's my point?  Anyone can lace up and go out for a training session when we feel good, when the weather is perfect, when we've got spare time, and when all the moons seem to just line up for us.  But what makes the difference between the average and the successful?  Put quite simply, it's the ability to work hard in the dark times!!!!  The emotional depth to pick yourself up and get out there on those days where you just don't want to or feel you can't due to some reason.

The reality is, everyone is busy in some form or another.  Everyone has obstacles and commitments in their lives.  You'd be a fool to think you are unique in this area.  I too have had times where I just can't find a reason to do something I know I should be doing.  "It's too hot. Too cold. It's dark. I feel down. I had a bad day at work.  The kids are too much today."  Blah blah blah blah. 

The key to your continual growth is not follow along the easy road.  That's where everyone else is.  If you want to chart new ground, go where no-one else is going!  By this I mean, be prepared to do something that is different to your average folk.

I see it all the time in multiple contexts throughout my life, and I'm sure many of you do too, that someone with great capacity, skills, and ability continues to go along with the flow simply because they are following the crowd.  This may be in sport, business, personal life, or many other areas of their existence.

I'm probably not revealling much that isn't common knowledge already; but the point stands that knowledge is useless when not actioned.

So, how do you get from the point of "can't or won't" to out the door????  This is the real message here isn't it?  Well for me it's fairly simple.  GOALS!!!!  And by goals I mean SPECIFIC, TANGIBLE and ACCOUTABLE GOALS!!!!!!! Any time in my life that I've looked back to realise I've been 'floating through' life with not much direction, I've pin pointed where I've either dropped focus on my goals, or life circumstances have meant needing to change them and I haven't countered for it.

The same holds true for running.  Here's an example:  Let's say you decided to start running because you wanted to lose weight.  Pretty common reason.  Here's the problem: If you're only goal is to lose weight, where does it end?  Is there an end?  How much?  By when?  What happens once you do it?  Sadly, the majority of people who take up running don't follow through with it; either at all, or very sporadically.  No clear goals!

WHAT do you want to achieve? 
WHY do you want to achive it? 
By WHEN do you want to achieve it? 
HOW are you going to do this?
What are you prepared to SACRIFICE for this?

These are all vital questions that must have specific, detailed answers.  Any cracks here and you can be sure you will not achieve what you desire in the given topic.

Again, this may be common knowledge to most.  There's unlimited resources on this type approach.  Why is it that many fail to apply it?

For me personally, since I can't speak for everyone else, in regards to running; I not only have very clear answers to the above points, but I also award a VALUE to each training session.  By this I mean, I visualise and strategically plan towards my next event and map out my training to achieve it.  No training session is included for no reason.  There's a purpose for each and every one.  Far beyond 'I like running'...........  If this is your only motivation to go out there, it won't work.  Therefore, I know that each training I skip out on or cheat myself in, will DIRECTLY COST MY BOTTOM LINE in the race, and following events shortly after.  This jeapordises my results, which is in direct conflict to my STUBBORN GOALS!!!!  Goals that I am not prepared to negotiate unless it's to improve them!

Is it difficult to get up and out the door when it's cold and raining?  When your feeling a little flat from a bad day at the office.  Yes it is.  Will this stop it from being difficult?  No it won't.  What this approach will do, is give you reasoning.  Reasoning beyond whether you feel like it or not.

Give yourself a winning chance of achieving greatness this year.  Take 10-15 minutes RIGHT NOW; go find a quiet place on your own away from the daily grind, and write down some detailed answers to the earlier noted points.  The more specific, and more detailed the better.  As mentioned in other posts I've written, my favourite most relevant quote is "Today I'll do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what other can't"

Personally, I have my training programme printed on a spreadsheet mapping out each day and what activity I have on there.  This is kept in front of my face daily and makes me accountable for hitting each session.  Should I miss any, it will mean I will not reach the month end target.

Be prepared to face the hard truth that should you skip todays session, IT WILL COST YOU!

Lace up and get out there.  If an emergency comes up, deal with it as required and then get back to your training commitments.  Who cares if it's later on that night, or 4am the next day.  Make it happen!  You'll be thanking yourself come next race when you smash out a PB.

The unrelenting commitment to your clear goals is your key to a successful 2013.  Go out and get it!!!!


  1. Good post Matt. I agree goals are a great way to stay motivated on the low days. I get moody/grumpy if I miss too many runs and that seems to be enough to get me out most of the time. Then I fall back on my long term goals, although mine aren't specific enough for me to say if I miss one session it will directly affect my goal. But I get your point!

  2. Thanks Pat. Of the course the true key is finding what works for you