5 Tips For Goal-Oriented Training
So you signed up for that race contest, mud run, challenging bike ride or triathlon and now? You’ll probably walk or run an extra mile, bike or swim lanes in your free time. Every week a little further, and a little faster and voilà!
Or you postpone training until right before the race and wonder why you’ve enlisted in the first place.
Although you’re inclined to just go out there and train because you don’t have a plan, a little advice: do not train without a plan! It's not wise or fun! The latter may be the most important. From experience, I know that the road to the goal, the process is the best thing to enjoy after all.
Now, by nature, I'm not a planner, but I learned to plan because you need to work effectively to achieve your goals and get results. In this FIRST blog, I will give you some tips that you can use to keep working towards your goal. By following these next 5 steps, you’ll be done the planning and on your way to reaching your goals, in no time.
1. Begin with the ending in mind
This may sound crazy, but that's exactly where many people are already mistaken. Setting goals are easy. You wish for something you want, which feels good, but you just continue to dream further while laying on the couch. This is nothing less than desire, and with only that you won’t get the results you want. So start with the date of the race and put it on paper. Grab the calendar on your laptop or, even better, put it on paper and underline the date. Make it visual and hang up in the calendar on your fridge. Every day, that goal sticks to you. Motivates you. And reminds you that you’re that much closer… don’t give up!
2. Divide the road ahead into small pieces
Count back to where you are now. Divide this period up in blocks of time - months, weeks, days. Personally, I divide my planning into groups of 3 weeks. Then I keep the third week of every period open. In every three week cycle, I take apart the last five days.
- Always take a rest day a week, preferably on a fixed day.
- Start easy the first three days of a new cycle. Don’t go all out yet.
- Use the last 5 days of each cycle to recover. These are relative rest days. Relative because you do train, but at an easier level.
Imagine having nine weeks to go, so three cycles of three weeks. Then divide them up like so: the first three weeks are the weeks in which you will spend the most hours. Build up training to the level you can handle and use all the hours you've considered to work out, start calmly and gradually increase your training load. Don’t do the first two weeks to do the double amount of workouts then you’re used to. In the second cycle, you take down a few hours in training but increase the intensity of training. And in the last 3 weeks, you reduce the number of hours by 50% in the last 10 days and do short intensive training once every 3 days.
3. Alternate, a good mix is key.
For different purposes, you will need different training sessions. To work out your body for a specific race, you have to work out of course. But exactly on the amount in which your body has the chance to adjust fort his hard training. If you do the same sessions 3 times a week, your body gets used to it, you plateau, and you will lose progress. It’s like if you do the same crossword puzzle time and time again. You won’t learn anything and this also applies to training. As an example, you could alternate between light endurance training with doing heavy intervals. So alternating between different workouts is KEY.
4. Apply interval training sessions
In interval training, you cut the work into small pieces. For example, you can perform a 10 x 1-minute workout at the intensity you imagine your race or current challenge would require, and then continue for 1 minute at a very slow pace to repeat this 10 times. Also, rest days are a change of training rhythm and are often forgotten. So plan for a good mix of training sessions by including power, endurance and circuit sessions like I do at FitChannel. FIRST also helps to get me through these training sessions and perform better in them.
5. Work in silence
You set your goal, and the plan is done. Now you want to tell your whole family and closest friends… but I don’t advise it. The way I see it is the more you share the final goal, the more you enjoy sharing without having even taken one step in the right direction.
‘Let your legs do the talking’ is a beautiful expression that I often come across in sports and that should also apply to you. Stick with your plan, in silence. Let your results do the talking. If you analyze yourself, keep working day by day and continue to progress, you will perform the best you can. In the end that is all you can do, and it’s a lot better than finding excuses.