When there is no finish line…

How to train like an Olympian.

An athlete only has the opportunity to become an Olympian once every 4 years. Many are prepared to train for a minimum of 8 years in the hopes that they can make it to the podium and come home with a medal.  

In all those years before the Olympics, every sport has markers along the way. Winning or losing an event, finals, trials, whatever it may be, provides the athlete with information. What are they are doing right, and what do they need to improve? These smaller events also give the athlete a little carrot to work towards. It helps to keep them motivated as they look ahead to another 2 or 3 years before the final event. But no event is more important than the Olympics. Making it to, and hopefully coming home with a medal at the Olympics, is the ultimate goal.

Today, as we are in the middle of a pandemic and everyone has realized that all of their summer events, races, and fondos are canceled, they are losing sight of their ultimate goal. These are some of the things I have heard, “Without an event; I don’t feel motivated.” “This season is a waste.” “I already built up my base, power, etc; what else is there to work on?” “Why bother?”

Although I completely understand the disappointment and lack of motivation, it makes me sad to see anyone waste a season because their most immediate, short term carrot is gone.

The only wasted season is the one that you didn’t use to train

Nobody gets to be the fastest they can be, the strongest they can be, the fittest they can be in one season. It takes YEARS, and I mean YEARS to be the best you can be. There is never one program, one workout or one specific exercise that is going to make you faster or fitter. It is every one of those individual workouts, built one on top of each other, year after year after year that makes you faster. 

With every new training season, you move your fitness one level higher, inching your way up the ladder, year after year. If you skip out on this season, not only do you not get to move up the ladder, but you may have to take two steps back down again before you can begin reclimbing.

So instead of thinking about this season as being a waste and aimlessly riding around lamenting about being alone, how could you be using this time to improve?

If there is no immediate, short term prize to train for, what could you be doing that can help you in the long(er) term? 

What could you be doing for next year so you can start the season training on a higher rung up the ladder? 

What do you need to improve? Your base? Your all-out power? Your nutrition? Your weight? Your mental strength? Your training consistency? Your hamstring flexibility? 

Stop looking behind you at the carrot that you lost. Turn your focus forward – to next year, and the year after, and the year after that.

Your Olympic event is still far ahead of you. Keep your eye on the ultimate prize. 

Don’t let this season go to waste.

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