Consistency is the key.
What you do every day matters more then what you do every once in a while. Consistency is the most critical parameter to training success. It’s the secret weapon that helps you level the playing field between you and your more gifted peers. In fact, it’s the best kind of secret there is – it’s so obvious that no one pays attention to it. One of the biggest mistakes most self-coached athletes make is not training consistently. Lacking consistency makes it hard work in the pool, on the bike and around the track. So how do you master the art of consistency?
Be accountable to a program.
The beauty of doing a training program as oppose to training instinctively is you’re accountable to its pre-formatted schedule. If the program calls for you to swim Monday, ride Tuesday and run Wednesday you know what you’ll be doing the next day. A program makes demands on you. Instrintive training doesn’t. Incorporating the base, build, peak and race phase ensures your volume, intensity and purpose changes as you progress through the program. This keeps you looking forward to different phases of training and with each phase you’ll be getting closer to the end result.
Be accountable to a coach.
If you’re already accountable to a training program, adding a coach will improve your consistency even more. One of the main reasons athletes work with a coach is to keep them accountable.
Whether you’re aiming to improve in a discipline or aiming to race in 6 months, we need to set goals. This keeps you honest. Goal setting is a great internal motivator. You’ll want to train consistently to seek that improvement or be 100% ready for that race. It’s much harder to drop a scheduled session when preparing for a race. Your race date will be lingering in the back of your mind every time you consider skipping a session.
Map your progress.
Whether this be through TrainingPeaks or Garmin Connect you can monitor progression. You will need to see small improvements in your data to provide a positive sense of achievement. Mapping progression and improvements provides an incentive to keep training consistently to achieve your end goal.
The heart of consistency is moderation. You should moderately increase training stress in conservatively measured amounts to ensure you train consistently week after week. When you binge and periodically pile on huge doses of stress or skip a recovery week you dramatically increase your risk of injury, illness or burnout.
When there is a break in training for weeks, fitness is lost. You have to step back training and start over again. Many athletes often experience this and as a result never realise their full potential. To produce your best performance you need to train consistently. The key to consistency relies on all of the above. Get it right and your best season will follow.