We have great intention when setting new athletic goals, we are motivated and inspired, and surrounded with constant stimulation to do more, especially when the New Year comes around!
We start training, committed, focussed, and the weeks go by. We can easily lose track of the daily work that needs to be put into training, recovery, maintenance, to achieve that goal. Injuries can also arise from training too much too soon, or lack of prehab to maintain strong, efficient, functional mechanics for sport specificity. Or avoiding taking care of any previous injury, soreness, tightness while starting the new program.
Goals have to be realistic, we are in an era of ‘higher achievement’ ; bigger, longer, harder ! It is easy to forget the real picture, your present fitness – your actual base to build from, time-frame available to commit to training, physiological specificity of the goal versus your capacity-genetics and life timing, daily hours available to train, daily energy & productivity, surrounding environment, work & family, to name a few.
Setting realistic goals is the beginning of your achievement, if not, often disappointment, failure, injury, and excuses arise.
It’s never a bad idea to start with smaller short term goals to work from, it will eventually help achieve your main objective. Example: train to race a quality mountain marathon before you try your first 100km. Take proper time required to have the right fitness to race a 100km, don’t rush it. By racing the 50km it will also give direct insight on the efficiency of your training regimen, your weaknesses and strength. It’s also good to test mental toughness, resistance to pain, fatigue. Without forgetting important strategies including: hydration, fueling, proper equipment, feet & hands in the elements, mental demons and so on. We learn by doing and experiencing.
Even if you don’t compete and are a passionate mountaineer or recreational mountain endurance athlete for example, listing your athletic & sporting intentions and planning proper training, will not only be motivating but it will help to achieve that goal that means so much to you.
If committed to training might as well do it right!
The key elements that will directly influence achieving or not your atheltic goals:
-Reality of your life including daily schedule and routine.
-Planning and adjusting routine to fit training.
-Quality & effectiveness of the training program
-Your consistency & commitment to training properly
-To be focused on the purpose of your training
Get to know your body extremely well and take care of yourself. Be alert to tightness, post-workouts soreness, higher heart rate, lack of energy… do not procrastinate and take present action to eliminate long term effect that can directly influence your health and/or disrupt your training regimen.
Train for yourself, get satisfaction, enjoy the process – No ego, stay humble.
Be careful where you get your sport specific training / nutrition / land training / gear info from. So much is available via social media and magazines. Not all accurate ! Look where the resource is coming from, the credential & education of the writer. Do the same if you hire a coach or trainer, look at their experience & knowledge in the sport you are training for, years of experience, accreditation and so on. Ask friends, research a bit and find the perfect match!
‘ We don’t rise to the level of our expectations,
we fall to the level of our training.’
My personal experience in setting an unrealistic goal !
I grew up in Montreal Québec, in high school I ran cross-country and track, 800m & 1500m. Even if I turn-out an endurance athlete I still love speed training and I’m always motivated to do vertical and track intervals.
In my early 20’s, with a girlfriend of mine, we decided to sign-up for the Montreal Marathon. At that time I was training for short distance triathlons and 10km road races. We were so excited, marathon running was really growing at that time and Nike had the ad JUST DO IT everywhere !
By the time we were at the starting line I have to admit, the most we had probably train in a single session was 10km. I can’t recall exactly our training program, if we even had one. We sure didn’t lack motivation and we did believe we could do it. We did it, I finished the marathon, but you don’t want to know my time, I suffered. It probably took me a month to recover and be able to walk without a limp.
I learned very quickly: I hate road running, I dislike running flats, I had no idea how to train for a marathon, being a top 800m runner in high school does not translate to success for a marathon overnight !
I learned so much from that experience, obviously I was young, unexperienced, naive to my challenge ahead, but very motivated. My goal was not realistic, I was a talented short distance runner but I did not have the muscular and cardio specificity required to run 42km. I did not have at that time the muscular strength & endurance for resistance to fatigue. My leg turnover rate was efficient for probably the first 15km and then I spend more time in the air jumping from one long stride to the next and landing in excruciating pain. What I had was my determination and a high pain tolerance with some good endurance genetics – for me not to stop !
I still think of that experience and laugh but I have to admit It was a turning point in my athletic career and from then on I change my strategy towards training and getting ready for a race or an expedition. I never raced on the road again and venture into mountain endurance sports: mountain biking, trail running and ski mountaineering.
Enjoy the process and stay inspired.
Make the most of your potential.
Happy daily training your way!
You have athletic goals you want to achieve? You want to reach a new level of fitness? Make it happen! Join me for our first Winter Retreat beginning January 23rd !