Every once in a while I come across a post that I have to steal because I think it is well worth the read. I have had Clint Lien on deck coaching our new swim group here in Victoria the past couple of months. Clint has been great and brought out the best in a bunch of us. He recently posted the following on his blog. Well written (he is writer guy after all) and it rings true.
The list of reasons an athlete can pull the reigns on a workout is long.
I'm tired today.
I've got a big workout with the gang tomorrow. I want to be on my game!
I'm just coming off an injury. I need to keep things reserved.
My coach told me to keep it in zone 2 today.
It's too hot to put in a big effort.
It's raining pretty hard out there.
I've got a race this weekend. I'm tapering.
My lane partner isn't here to push me.
I ate too much sushi for lunch.
I raced last weekend and I've not recovered enough.
There's too many dogs on the trails today.
I've got a dinner party tonight and I can't be all burned out.
Working hard hurts.
Some of the excuses are legit and some are bullshit. Usually it's a combo of the two.
But every once in awhile we drop all the excuses, head out the door and lay it down.
I believe an athlete can raise their level of fitness from a single workout - a peak performance - a breakthrough workout.
For one athlete that might be a 59 minute 40K TT. For another it might be 13 miles at an 7:58 mile pace.
Whatever it is, when we have those workouts (or races) we can bring are athleticism to the next level.
When someone first starts in sport they can often achieve these breakthrough workouts almost every time they go out the door but the longer we're in the sport, the tougher it is to go to that place - and too often we just stop trying.
These special sessions don't just come about because the stars have lined up. They come about because an athlete has made a decision to pursue them - to seek them out and grab them.
Every time you get in the pool, straddle a bike or put on a pair of running shoes we have an opportunity to improve ourselves - to up our game.
It doesn't have to mean a PR every time.
It might mean getting to the top of Popeye's Peak.
It might mean finishing a workout on smashed legs.
It may mean just getting out the door.
You may not be able to define what it is at the start of the session but you'll know it when it happens.
And after it happens - it's yours. No one can take it away from you. And if you build on it, if you stay consistent you can have another one... and another one... and another one.
Decide you want it, be prepared to pay the price and go to that special place.
You won't succeed every time or even most of time but every once in awhile you will succeed and you'll be a better athlete for it.
Now go forth and do likewise.