All training programs have an overarching philosophy or worldview, and this impacts the structure and feel of the program, and ultimately the effectiveness. My previous post addressed the basics of training as a mindful practice or habit, and this post will begin to move towards the specifics of training for performance. As noted, a planned performance training program is defined as the “timing, sequence and interaction of training stimuli to allow optimal adaptive responses in pursuit of a specific goal" (Vern Gambatta), and most training programs are structured with similar components. Before we get to putting those components together in a structured training schedule, we need to address a common mistake that can sabotage your success: a training program is useless without belief and trust in it. Therefor, it is important to make sure that the program fits with your worldview. Even if you are self-coached, it is possible to create a program that you can't trust in, so building a program requires self-reflection.
My overarching philosophy in sport has changed with experience, but what has remained the same is beginning with a performance goal. Five years ago, my worldview was "what ever it takes" and this got me through difficult workouts and personal struggles. Now, my outlook has evolved to "for the love of sport". The point I want to make is not to say one worldview was better than the other, but that the philosophy of the program matched my beliefs at the time, and both were successful in achieving my performance goals. One thing we can't change, is that extensive training is necessary to build an endurance athlete, especially in triathlon where mastery of three distinctive sports is needed. An overarching philosophy impacts decisions made on the timing, sequence and interaction of training stimuli, and this is what individualizes a training program.
Here are some tips to build, or adapt, a training program that you can trust in:
Here are common examples of why some programs fail, even if it was created by a successful athlete or known coach:
The shift in my overarching training philosophy came when I could no longer convince myself to do more. Telling myself "what ever it takes" wasn't convincing enough to get outside my comfort zone and train at or beyond threshold on hard days; I found myself changing or skipping hard workouts altogether. It took some time for me to figure it out. Although I still have doubts at times, I can ask myself "am I still having fun?", and a bad workout turns into another experience that maintains my love of the sport, and ignites my desire to do more.