Lunch hour

The Pete Plan blog

Take motivation where you can

Posted by thepeteplan on August 7, 2008

On the erg, with the ‘numbers’ staring you in the face throughout your session, you need to take motivation where you can, and play mind games to get you through the hard sessions. Today’s session was a progression from the 4 x 1500m last week:

4 x 1650m / 4R:

5:29.1 / 1:39.7 / 31
5:28.9 / 1:39.6 / 31
5:28.8 / 1:39.6 / 31
5:25.1 / 1:38.5 / 32

Ave: 6600m = 1:39.3 / 31

The average is exactly on my 5k pb pace, and this is faster than the 1500m reps last week, and the 1350’s the week before. Next week we take a step backwards to 1400m reps, but with a corresponding slight increase in pace.

Where did I draw my extra motivation from today? Other people in the PP08 training group had found this session a struggle yesterday. This is the great thing about training in a group, if other people struggle it gives you extra motivation to meet your targets, and in turn motivate the others. Especially as coach of the group it’s important I lead from the front and make my targets, because if I can’t meet my own targets, doubts could creep into other people’s minds whether they can meet theirs. As it is, the targets for this type of session are always within the physical capabilities of the athletes, but they are close to the limit. A mental doubt, or some unfavorable parameter like high temperature, lack of sleep, inadequate nutrition or water, can be the difference between making the target or not. If you don’t achieve a target it is not a failure, it’s just part of the process. We learn from it, try to analyse why it happened – was it hot, did I not eat breakfast, was I stressed about work, did I have mental doubts before I started, was the target just unrealistic? If you can work out the reason then you can use that next time it happens to have realistic expectations of whether you are likely to fall short of the target, and plan accordingly.

It is easier for me self coaching in many ways than the athletes I coach. I know if I need an extra day off, or need to adjust my targets a little lower. For the others I’m sure they’d feel like it was a failure on their part if they took an unscheduled rest day, or went slower than target deliberately. And if you’re not mentally strong enough you might take it as an excuse for a day off just because you don’t feel like training, and that’s always a slippery slope to get on – the first “I can’t be bothered” missed session is the hardest, after that they get easier. We’ve all been there before. Also we’ve all had those sessions where you think you can’t make the target as your legs are tired, or you feel like you’re lacking energy, but once you warm up into the session you feel great. Until you’ve been training for a good number of years it can be very difficult to assess when you really need that unplanned extra rest day.

The way the people I coach train though, with a full day off once a week, and alternate hard and easier days, it should never get to a point where you’re a long way off making a target, or really need an additional rest day (unless you’re ill), so trust in the targets, and let me know if you’re starting to feel run down.

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One Response to “Take motivation where you can”

  1. davcra said

    I find I need at least 2 rest days a week. I put this down to 28 years of squash and find that my knees and back need the recovery time although with rowing I have found my second wind from a fitness perspective and I am probably aerobically fitter now than at any other point in my life (definitely not squash fit). Consequently I dont find it difficult to take a day off but I do find it difficult to alternate hard and easy. I dont like to waste a session so find myself pushing it even on steady distance days. Tomorows hard 10km will be tough but I plan to do it as planned and then have a recovery row on saturday.

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