Perhaps, if you were a pro, you would train like one.
You would wake up early from a 10-hour sleep and eat an extremely well-balanced first meal of the day (probably advised by a dietician who specializes in nutrient intake for athletes).
You would do this before beginning your first of several daily training sessions under the guidance of one or many coaches.
Perhaps you would have a nap in the middle of the day before completing your afternoon & evening training. Perhaps your nap would last nearly 2 hours.
And maybe, just maybe, you’re daily hour of recovery would be spent under the hands of an athletic therapist, or a massage therapist. This would surely speed your recovery from hard training, and allow you to return to the same daily regimen again tomorrow.
If you were a pro, you would most likely train like one.
But there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you’re not a pro…
Professional athletes don’t usually read what I write. I wish they did, but I’ll be the first one to admit it; they have little reason to.
I am an age-group triathlete myself, nothing more… And by day, I work full time as a strength and conditioning coach in a high school.
Daily, I remind students that quality of training trumps quantity of training. Period.
There are plenty of examples I can use with students to prove this point, but they’re rarely required. For the most part, they get it.
Last year at the Lake Placid Ironman I was literally stunned to read about the number of hours the average Ironman finisher claimed to log in a week. 24!
Was I reading that right? It was nearly double the amount I had allowed myself to do on average!
I envisioned three possible scenarios for the outrageous statistic:
- A vast majority of the tens of thousands of individuals surveyed were liars…
- More than half of the athletes surveyed were professional triathletes…
- The average Ironman finisher completes far too much meaningless training…
I was not a triathlon coach. I had completed 8 shorter triathlon races myself before making the trip to Lake Placid, and I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I didn’t say I began to doubt myself. Should I even be here?
Sometimes we allow ourselves to get caught up in the very same mentality as the young (and much more competitively spirited) high school student athlete.
Suddenly, a quality focus toward training loses its value, replaced by the urge to log more hours, more laps, more miles…
I won’t deny that numbers can be extremely helpful when analyzing the big picture of your training load, but they can also be completely insignificant.
Let’s not get carried away with the wrong numbers.
If we were professional athletes, yes, we would train like professional athletes. But since we’re not, let’s operate within reason.
When we find more time and energy for things that go beyond training (family, leisure, sleep), we often see an increase in the quality of work when we are training.
Despite a reduction in overall volume, these increases in quality commonly turn into better performances and better results.
This article and others are on my blog.