When it comes to training, there are very few ‘new’ mistakes being made. There is, however, a short list of common mistakes repeated over and over – often by the same athlete year after year. These mistakes will sabotage your training and limit your growth as an athlete. Commit to getting these right, take the long view of training and you will see true progression.
- Failing to Fuel Properly – At the top of the list is failing to fuel properly during and immediately following training. Proper post-training nutrition will enhance your ability to recover more fully and maximize your performance throughout your training. It will also enrich the other aspects of your life by improving your energy, overall health and body composition. It’s not a snack and not an option. It IS part of your training.
- Working Too Hard on Easy Days – The second most common mistake is going too hard on an easy training day. Research has proven that athletes do better when training at the ends of the spectrum, i.e. high intensity and low intensity. They typical scenario is that an athlete finds himself with an easy day of training, but due to an emotional reaction – lack of confidence in oneself or the training plan; or simply feeling really good and wanting to push things that day – trains at an intensity higher than planned. The effect is that tomorrow, when scheduled for a really hard session, the athlete can’t go as hard because of fatigue. The net result is that the easy sessions are too hard and the hard sessions are too easy – and the majority of the training ends up being in the middle, moderate level – which does the least good. Easy training is there for a reason. Not following the prescription derails your entire training plan.
- Poor Recovery – True growth, repair and rejuvenation happen while SLEEPING. Muscles don’t get built during the training; they get rebuilt [bigger] during the recovery. Sleep must become a priority. You will not be successful without this one.
- Inflexible Training Plan – Most training plans are laid out months and months ahead of time. They go into minute detail about every aspect of training. The harsh reality is that you can NEVER stick to that plan completely. Life is not structured in such a pattern. Life happens. Travel, work commitments, sickness, family and more all conspire to derail you from your perfectly planned training. Your training schedule must be flexible. “No plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.” Know how to adjust your training when life interrupts – because it will.
Correcting most of these isn’t hard to do. It does require you to look beyond today – take the long view of training. Have a progression mindset. Many of these are simply habits that need to become ingrained within our daily patterns of life. Some require us to overcome our emotions with logic and understanding.