As I unwind from the culmination of events I was training for in September, I’ve decided to write about all of the valuable gems I will be taking away from the experiences. There were so many amazing lessons I learned and re-learned as I prepared for and participated in my last two sporting events. September was a big month for me with the Tahoe Big Blue Sprint Adventure Race on Sept. 18 – 19 and the MS Waves-to-Wine bike ride the following weekend on Sept. 25 – 26. So for my next set of blog entries, I will count down for you all of the amazing mental skills lessons I have taken away from my month-of-madness (or month-of-awesomeness) starting with the first lesson:
HAVE A PLAN
From May – September I had a plan for what my training was going to look like. I taped it up above my desk so I could have a visual reminder that showed me:
- That I had a solid plan in place that would help me be physically prepared for my events AND
- Specifics on what I had in store for me in the upcoming week.
Each Sunday I would sit down with my training plan for the week and plug it into my calendar. I looked at what kind of hours I needed to hit and figured out how I could fit them into my schedule. At the top of each day in bold letters I wrote what I was doing that day (BIKE, RUN, STRENGTH, OFF) and then I scheduled in the time that I was going to do it. I always wrote it on the top (which helped me view it as a priority) and then scheduled it into a specific time slot - otherwise it wouldn’t have happened.
I did an amazing job following my training plan and I wouldn’t have been able to follow it as well as I did if I didn’t have all of these elements in place: overall plan, weekly plan, daily plan, all in ink. Having a plan in place makes it more likely that you will follow that plan. Without the overall plan, I would have questioned whether or not I was going to be prepared. My training would have been haphazard and lacking a real purpose and wouldn’t have had me feeling as strong as I did at the end of September. (Haphazard training with no real purpose or plan was my MO for the MS Waves-to-Wine ride preparation in previous years and I wanted to feel stronger this year!) Without the weekly and daily plan, I wouldn’t have gotten my training in.
Case in point – I am now without a plan. I have an idea of what I want to do for my fitness from now through the winter, but I have yet to write out the plan. The last two weeks, I’ve felt a little lost and unmotivated to workout because I have no plan.
If you want to accomplish a goal – you have to have a plan for how you’re going to do it. For recreational athletes, no workout plan means it is much more likely to fall off of the list entirely as you go through your day juggling everything else in your life. Even when your sport is your job, you need a plan if you want to peak for a certain event or improve a certain skill. Overall plan, weekly plan, daily plan – and all plans in ink, not just in your head. The overall plan gave me confidence that I would be prepared for my events and the weekly and daily plans made sure I got the training in. Without these plans you are leaving your progress and goal attainment up to chance. The overall plan took the most time and I enlisted help with that. (More on that in another lesson!) The other planning didn’t take much time at all and was absolutely worth the time it took.