We all have more potential than we are aware of, that is for sure. Maximizing that potential can be dangerous. Often times the juice is not worth the squeeze; requiring too much time, energy, cost and thought.
At VQ we try to find the balance in uncovering as much of that potential as possible without throwing the athlete’s entire life out of order. This can be done through effective training and education that teaches the athletes about their bodies.
The process always starts with an evaluation and a goal. Once these two things are in place, the process of uncovering your natural gifts can begin.
Many of you reading this are at different places in your potential discovery, but please read on. See how far into the process you are and get a glimpse at how to keep on rolling.
After you have a goal and a general idea of needs for achieving that goal, you need to develop a consistent training routine. The routine might include working out every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for 30 minutes. This routine will become part of your weekly habits and you will see tremendous growth as your body starts to adjust and accommodate this new consistent weekly stress. The key is consistency. Making the routine doable is very important. It needs to reflect what is realistic.
To take your growth a step further, you may want to slowly increase the intensity (how hard you go), frequency and duration of training within that routine; thereby increasing your volume of work and adding more stress to the system to further elicit a stronger training effect. Now here is where it gets tricky: at some point you will no longer be able to increase your duration and frequency since you have no more time available to train. Many of us find ourselves in this space at one time or another–“stuck” in our progression. Once you are here, you need to start doing the following to further the process of uncovering your potential:
- First, record your training and how you feel during and after your workouts. Once you start doing this you will want to move to stage two.
- Next, while recording how you feel, also include other information gathered from your training tools. You may want to invest in tools that monitor speed, heart rate, power, distance, calories or kilojoules burned, cadence, etc. Many of us do both of these things pretty well, but the most important component comes next…
- Finally you need to analyze this information. Looking at your data and your comments about how you feel and then comparing that to your outputs, helps you learn what workouts are the most effective in making you better. Looking at trends in your training and trying to determine when you need rest and when you need to push it will further help you dial in what types of loads will help you maximize your improvement.
Over time this process helps you learn your body and how it responds. This is key because once you learn your body and its responses you can work so much better with a coach or training program.
At Vision Quest one of our big goals is to create an environment where all these things are easier. We do performance evaluations and goal-setting sessions before athletes start to train with us. We have some really great VQ event goals for them to engage in if they do not have specific goals of their own. We have a variety of workout offerings to fit various lifestyles and we try to get people in training routines that do not disrupt the balance of life. We have swim, bike and strength workouts at all times of the day to make it easy for all our athletes to find a consistent training routine. Our cycling software allows them to keep track of a ton of information and auto-upload to their e-mail or TrainingPeaks account (online software used to track performance and input comments on how they felt). The analysis is the toughest part early on, but over time as you learn from the VQ coaches, staff, data and other athletes, you will find what works best for you. This is an ongoing process that changes as you change from beginner to expert, younger to seasoned, low stress to high stress. The process needs to be meaningful and reflective of the realities of your life.
This process of maximizing your potential is part of the joy of training and getting fit. It is not about winning or keeping up with the guy that trains 30 hours a week. It is about being the best you can be with the time you have. And, through it all, really enjoying the process of learning more about your body, how it works, what makes it tired and how much training intensity, time and rest are needed to optimize your fitness!