At Vision Quest, we have worked with athletes of all varieties, from young individuals fresh off a collegiate sports background to older athletes who have never participated in athletics or at least not for many years. This wide range of prior experience means that the training each athlete undertakes is as variable as each individual, and so are the training responses. Some athletes progress very quickly, while others come along more slowly. However, the one dependable factor on both extremes has been that those who see the most results are those who have trained most consistently.
Consistent training will yield results. The results may not be immediate, but they will come. Regardless of whether you train for 30 minutes or for 3 hours, each time you start, you are providing your body with a training stimulus that can push it to develop and grow. Of course, it is important that your workouts are of the correct type to offer the right types of stimulus, but you must take the first step by actually starting the workout. Likewise, periods of recovery are necessary so that the body has an opportunity to recover from training stresses and be adequately prepared for future stresses, but this does nothing to take away from the overall goal of consistent overload.
Maintaining a consistent training schedule is certainly not easy. The demands of work, family and social obligations interrupt the best laid plans, often coming at times too late to be adjusted for. That is exactly why developing a routine is so important. Although all of these other factors are variable to some degree, a careful look should reveal the same blocks of time that are available on the same days week after week.
The Vision Quest Coaching approach is to take these blocks of time and design what we refer to as “The Perfect Week”. The Perfect Week is an outline of a training week that takes account of the time available for training and the types of training to complete. From there, workouts are prioritized so that athletes have an understanding of what they should be doing on a regular basis, as well as those workouts they can’t miss.
Armed with this information, the athlete can make training much more productive. For example, the #1 priority for an athlete may be the weekly long ride, normally completed on Sunday. However, if there is an unavoidable commitment on a given Sunday, the athlete also knows to find a way to get that long ride in so that training continues to progress.
Another important component of consistency is garnering support and understanding from those around you, especially family. Training for endurance sports is time-consuming and not always fun, but it is important for your own motivation that others understand why your goals are so important to you. When your routine becomes predictable, it will be easier for others to plan around your schedule so that interruptions, such as the example above, are less likely to occur.
Finally, as noted above, you certainly don’t want to repeat the same training schedule week after week and year after year. That would become quite mind-numbing and is not ultimately a very effective training model since it lacks progressive overload. The beauty of The Perfect Week is that you have established predictable times when you will be training. As training goals change, you can simply pull out the workouts that no longer fit the current goals and insert new workouts into that slot that will keep you moving forward. With an outline like this you will be headed down the right path to realize your own highest level of athletic performance.