This is the time of year when training tends to take a back seat to life, which is understandable. There is a time to train and there is a time to make up for missed time with family and friends, and now is that time.
However, without consistency in training, adaptation does not happen, which means that gained fitness cannot happen. Every training session is an opportunity to gain fitness, and every missed session is a loss in fitness. Add up all of the daily gains in fitness day after day, week after, week, month after month and you can see how your amazing body can adapt from one level of fitness to a level you never dreamed of achieving. But if your training is spotty and includes a lot of missed sessions, then you’ll never give your body the opportunity to adapt to higher loads of training.
But keep in mind—“consistency” doesn’t mean training with the same intensity during the off season as you did during the meat of the season. Instead, use this time to prioritize shorter, more quality sessions so that when it comes time to increase training load as part of the “preseason” ramp up, you’ll be in the best place possible and won’t have to play catch up.
The Consistent Athlete
See below for the training charts of one of my athletes who does not miss training sessions. The green completed sessions are on top and her fitness tracking is below. She makes sure to get in every training session she is assigned. If she has a conflict, she communicates the conflict with me, her coach, and I adjust as necessary. She does what she can, and she gains fitness.
If you look at the blue line in the chart below you can see a consistent upward trend. This is increasing fitness.
The Inconsistent Athlete
Now let’s look at an athlete whose training is spotty. No matter how much I stress consistency and communication, the athlete does not make training a priority Remember, training sessions do not have to be life-dominating. The sessions must work for the individual athlete and that athlete’s individual schedule. A coach can always adjust to make the sessions work for the individual, but the individual must communicate any consistency struggles to the coach.
On top there are spotty missed sessions (shown in red), mixed in with green, completed, sessions. As you can see below, the blue line remains flat and stagnant with no real gain in fitness day over day, or week over week.
We all have goals. Whether the goal is finishing a race, winning your age group, or just becoming fitter, you have a goal. The only way to achieve that goal is to commit yourself to what it takes to be successful. If you’re spread too thin, or find yourself trying to cram everything into the given hours of the day, not only will your tasks become a chore, they’ll get done with less than optimal results. You must be dedicated if you want to truly achieve YOUR best.
The title of this article is Consistency + Adaptation = Fitness. I want you to remember this mantra the next time you are struggling to get out the door for a run, get to the pool for a swim, put on your helmet for a ride, or hit the gym do some core work. A missed session is a missed opportunity to adapt, which is a missed opportunity to gain fitness. A missed opportunity to gain fitness is a missed opportunity to better yourself and ultimately be the BEST you can be day in and day out, and especially on race day.
Like I said, your training does not have to be life-dominating. My most successful athletes have conflicts in their schedule, but they communicate these conflicts to me, and I adjust accordingly. As a result, they stay consistent, they adapt, they gain fitness, and they hit the start line in the best shape possible.
Keep those workouts GREEN. Keep the blue line going UP. Stay CONSISTENT. ADAPT. Gain FITNESS. And be the best YOU, you can be!