For The Everyday Athlete: How To ‘Own’ Every Workout
Being honest did you totally own your last workout or merely just survive it? We all want to be fit, strong and healthy, right? Can’t we just throw ourselves 100% into every session? Isn’t just surviving my training session enough? I want to put this out there: I’m not opposed to hard work and taking part in the odd session that kicks your butt is not a bad thing, but being a full-time member of the “go hard or go home” club can not only lead to injury but it’s also not the smartest way to move forward (AKA fitter, stronger healthier). It’s this distinction between just “surviving” another workout to “owning” your training sessions that I want to talk to you about today.
What Does It Look Like To Just Survive A Workout?
I’m sure you have all been there, I know I have. You’re hunched over with your knees just about holding you up. You can feel your heart is almost pumping out of your chest…you look up just in time to see the clock reveal that it’s time for another set…
Call me a sadist but I have been there more than a few times and will probably visit again sometime in the future. It’s a test of not only your physical strength but your mental capacity too and though they are horrible at the time those “hurt locker” training sessions are most certainly rewarding when they’ve finished. Like I said not a bad thing…once in awhile.
Be it a 10km race, the Strength Matters swing test or a run up the side of Pen Y fan. These are tests of our ability. It’s important to remember that you can not test your ability and train it at the same time. Running a race or taking part in extreme workouts every other week might provide some improvements in the short-term but long-term is not such a pretty picture.
If That’s The Extreme End Of “Surviving” What Is The Opposite?
Well for me it’s the total and undeniable dominance over a given task, load or event. You “own it”! You survive a 10km run under 40-minutes but you own a 10km run at 50-minutes. You survive 100 swings in under 5-minutes with a 32kg but you own it in just under 10-minutes. These are just examples and could very well be higher/lower to you. I have always loved the Eastern European idea of a Personal Best.
It’s not what you can do on your best day, in competition in your high-tech lifting shoes but rather what you can pull out of the bag anytime anywhere in nothing more than that a set of flip-flops. (Okay, that last bit is a bit extreme but you get the idea.)
So looking back at your last training session did you have total and undeniable dominance over everything you did? Or did cracks start to appear in your pursuit of that heavier bell or that faster time? This is where I have fallen guilty. Great that I can swing the 24kg and off I go to grab the 28kg, but the truth is that I only displayed competency with the 24kg. I had yet to display complete ownership of it.To do this I would have to hold off a few more weeks, maybe longer, until such time as that 24kg (for a lack of a better word) becomes easy. Then and only then could I say that I “own it”. This means “putting your pride in your pocket” and doing the smart thing. A hard thing for a chap like me. Interestingly enough, adding those extra few weeks also act as a buffer between load/volume increases and thus creates a deload time.
Now I’m sure more than a few of you reading this are nodding along thinking “I already know this…” and you probably do, but are you practicing it? That’s the golden question.I would also like to highlight at this point that we are all terrible self-analyzers. In other words, you probably think you are better at doing this than you actually are.
For evidence of this ask anyone who has completed a food diary after saying they are good at eating their veg only to find out, in fact, they are pretty poor. Only with the data of a food diary do they final see the reality of what they practice.
The same could be said for a training journal. For me, I know that I was never stopping to truly “own it” before moving on. That was a mistake and one that I corrected and I’m sharing with you now. This idea of “owning it” goes beyond that of just physical training but also applies to nutrition coaching, habit change and just about ay area where you are looking to improve/develop. My take home point is this: whatever you’re doing, be it strength training, running or habit change make sure you “own it” before moving on.