Experience the Difference

The Key to Success

Every athlete possesses a point or as I like to call it, their ‘sweet spot’, that when reached guarantees a good event

If just aimlessly training made you an athlete, then everybody would have a go and more people would be successful.

 

After all of this time as a coach it has become more and more apparent that there is a point at which an athlete can hit, which effectively takes the guesswork out of an event and guarantees a good result!

Now this doesn’t by any means, mean that you are going to win the said event as you can’t control what the opposition does but it does guarantee a pleasing result for the individual nonetheless.

It is highly unlikely that this point can or will be achieved any time early in the training and competition cycle of your chosen sport.

This point is arrived at usually after much trial and error and having a person (usually a coach) that can ‘read’ all of the signals that the human body continually gives out every minute of every day.

In fact if a good result is in fact achieved, without careful structures and application to the extremely personal requirements of each individual person, then it means that it has been achieved purely by chance.

Unless there is good documentation and understanding on how to duplicate or even improve previous preparation, then it is very un-likely that you will be able to duplicate let alone improve on your results in the future.

It is extremely common that under these circumstances athletes begin to become frustrated and disillusioned in their sport and try harder and harder to duplicate that previous performance without really knowing how it was achieved in the first place. Many athletes find themselves over train when this situation arises and set themselves up for even greater disappointment, with many leaving their chosen sport far too early.

We need to take it upon ourselves that really good and or talented athletes stay in their chosen sports for as long as is possible and careful structures go a long way to achieving just that.

Now what needs to line up to achieve this point/sweet spot?

Simple really, once the requirements of the chosen event are established, every one of the following points need to be pursued and achieved or you are guessing and going into your next event hoping that you may turn out ok!

 

  1. General conditioning and fitness: The required level of fitness and conditioning is vastly different for every event. The body as an adaptive organism can and will only adapt to the stimuli that it is placed under. The most common mistake I have seen is that people just train with no real plan that contains a progression plan with an outcome that will eventually mirror the requirements of the chosen sport and what is required and when.
    Remember, if you haven’t been there in training, you won’t go there in the event, no matter what the level of hype, adrenaline or even crowd effect may have on you.
  2. Speed: If top end speed is required then training long won’t help achieve that.
    If speed is still required after 3, 4, 5 or more hours of effort, then the conditioning sessions that you have been doing had better have included the correct training at the correct time so that when you make the call on your body to deliver that required speed exactly when you need it, it will be there.
  3. Strength: Stronger athletes fatigue later.
  4. Power: There are not many sports that don’t require an element of power during the participation of the event. If you try to apply power when required and there has been no base power sessions preset in training, then this is very fatiguing and will cost you sooner than later in the event.
  5. Power to weight ratio: If you carry more weight (usually fat) than your current level of strength can support, you will fatigue sooner than is required and no doubt cost that ‘back end’ speed and/or endurance later in the event.
    If you carry too little weight it will be very likely that you will lack the strength to propel your body at the required speed for the duration of the event. ‘Strong athletes fatigue later’!
  6. Body weight: too much weight or too little weight, are both just as detrimental to good results in a sport as each other. Each sport has an optimal bodyweight requirement.
  7. Body fat level: The key to sporting success. When you have this lined up with all of the other components of the preparation for your sport you can just about guarantee a good result for yourself.
  8. Nutritional requirements met and tested in training: The food you eat determines the speed of recovery from training and competing, and how well you are able to back up your previous session with your next one.
    Just as you train everything physically and mentally, so too do you need to train yourself with what you consume during sessions so it is not a shock to the body if you consume something on race day that hasn’t been previously used in training.
  9. Psychological: We coaches prescribe program after program to develop more and more speed into athletes with varying degrees of success. The biggest gains however, are made when the athlete develops and trains their mind. Even when you fail to get more from your body, the mind can continually be developed.
    The body only does what you tell it to do, the speed at which you do it, what and when you eat, how you organize your rest and recovery, whether you train each session to your full capacity and especially how you deal with the level of training pain and suffering that is inevitable in high level sport!……all a choice!
  10. Metabolic rate: When you get to that point with your body where it contains more lean muscle than fat, your body’s metabolic rate increases more and more. When this happens, your body becomes more and more efficient at delivering the required energy at the required rate for longer periods. This is when that ‘sweet spot’ I talk of is getting close.
  11. Total understanding of energy requirements: If you can’t read your body’s messages that you are being sent every second of your life, you will likely not know what the effect of your current level of activity will have on your body later in your event.
    If your event lasts 2hours then what threshold level in the initial part of the event can you work at to ensure you have the speed required in 90mins time?
    Or if you event lasts 12hrs or even more, at what threshold can you safely work at that will deliver the speed that is required when you need it 8-12 hours after the start?

 

You need to be able to stand on the start line of your event pretty well knowing at what threshold level you need to work at, at various times in that event in order to achieve what you have set out to achieve.

 

This ‘sweet spot’ determines that, and takes the guess work and the “hoping I might do ok” out of the equation.

 

 

 

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