Setting personal best times, beating the competition, and accomplishing goals that once seemed unattainable are just some of the outcomes that are possible when you are in peak condition. Once you've acquired a taste for the feelings associated with being in that sort of shape it can be hard to have it any other way.
You should know you can't have it that way all the time, of course.
- They're the ones doing the same routine that worked the “first time”...5 years later.
- Their body composition doesn't change. (Subtle fluctuations in body fat can be a good thing.)
- They're lifting the same amount of weight as they were this time last year or not lifting at all.
- Their [insert race distance here] time is the same.
- They're not excited about training and find themselves going through the motions.
The biggest tip I can offer is to realize that if you are going to reach for 'unreasonable' goals, then you will have to be, well, unreasonable.
“The bigger the goal, the bigger the action”, my wife Jen, a Lean Eating Coach with Precision Nutrition, says. It may mean learning how to strength train properly, adding distance to your regular routes, incorporating drills, hills and speedwork, and/or meeting new people who share a similar goal/passion. Either way, in order to change there will be some degree of discomfort involved. It's the only way the body adapts and gets stronger.
It may also mean saying “no” to people and situations. For some, the 'pain' of a hard workout is nothing compared to having to decline an evening invitation because you have to get to bed early or waking up early to squeeze in that essential workout when everyone else, it seems, is enjoying their deepest sleep in the pre-dawn hours. Ugh, hate that one! – though it does feel great to have it done.
This isn't to say that you have to hit home runs everyday in training. Quite the opposite, actually. You've got to be smart: follow a plan and hit singles and doubles most of the time, recover as hard as you train, and structure your life so that it supports your goals. And make sure you thank those around you who ARE so supportive.
So about that peak...
Here are some questions to consider when thinking about your goals for 2014.
When do you want to hit it out of the park?
What's the event or occasion?
Do you have enough time to create a peak?
If you train year-round, have you taken a significant break from training in order to de-train?
Why is that goal more important than any other fitness goal at this time?
Who can you count on for support during the build up?
What are your weakest links currently? (Think movement/running form, strength, aerobic...)
The bottom line...
To create a huge peak and blow away your previous standards for fitness sometimes requires that we lose fitness for a short period of time. Trust me, it works. But then, once you're suitably out of shape, it may seem like peak fitness is a LONG way off.
Just keep showing up, hit singles (and a few doubles), and thank your fans. Next thing you know, it will be time to rest again. This time with some new personal bests under your belt!
So what's YOUR big goal for next season? Share please!