For a long time, I believed that the only way to progress and become a better athlete was to ensure everything was perfect. For example, every session had to be done better than expected, otherwise it wasn’t good enough, and I felt like I was taking a step back. This is all well and good, but we cannot expect A* performances every day. It is much more important to save the A* performances for when it counts, race day. I found myself having some amazing sessions, but these were always followed by ones that I couldn’t complete. I was always aiming for perfection, but it left me disappointed and struggling to find consistency. However, I have come to realise that everything doesn’t need to be perfect, instead consistency is where the value lies.
Don’t need the perfect build up.
Prior to the Great South Run last weekend, I had had a couple of difficult weeks due to some personal things going on in my life. The emotions of life left me feeling quite drained and tired. I wasn’t sleeping well, I wasn’t fuelling myself as much as normal, and the goal in training was just to get it done. Yes, I found training a great escape and release from everything that was going on, but because I wasn’t feeling 100%, I just listened to my body and ran to feel. None of my training smashed it out of the park, but I got it done. I won’t lie, I was a little apprehensive as a result going into the Great South Run, but I knew I would get a lot of benefit out of the race regardless of how it went. Every race is a good one, because there is always a lesson to learn.
I was still confident in my fitness, but I was prepared to not feel great, and I wasn’t going to beat myself up if this was the case. To no surprise, I didn’t feel amazing, but I had prepared myself for this, and quite honestly, you never feel great in a race because it’s hard, so I never expect to feel ‘great’. However, I actually had a really strong run. I didn’t feel amazing, but I trusted myself.
It really showed me that sometimes we need to cut ourselves some slack and have faith in ourselves. Our preparation for a race, an important presentation, or an event, doesn’t need to be perfect in order for us to execute it well. If we just listen to ourselves, be prepared for any scenario, and relax, you’ll be surprised what you can do off of a ‘non-perfect’ build up.
Every session doesn’t need to be A*
This also applies to weekly training. It can’t be said enough, but consistency really is key. You may look back at a session on paper and think it was very average, but this is exactly what you want. If you take 10 sessions, and all of them are consistently average, this is much better than having 3 great ones and 7 sub par ones. This is because you are consistently getting some great work in the bank, without overreaching and putting yourself in a hole, which impacts your training further down the line. It is ok to be good, and not have to be great all the time.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!