by Carrie Lane, Director of Sport Performance
Training is like school. And peaking is recess and summer vacation. You can miss a few days of school every now and then, and you may not like it every day. But ultimately there needs to be enough there to keep you coming back for more. Or else you're just stuck in kindergarten forever.
There is no “magic workout”. Training is a collection of work with an overall cumulative effect. Workouts build on each other. So what you do in one workout does not stand alone as the secret to your success. This doesn’t mean you can’t have your favorite, feel-good workouts. But, here’s an illustration that my mentor, Boo Schexnayder, uses when we teach together. He says, “When I go into the weight room, I don’t get stronger, I get weaker. I stumble out of there totally exhausted. I’m weak. This weakness, of course, is temporary. How my body RESPONDS to the weight training I just did is what ultimately makes me stronger.” It is not ONLY the weight lifting that makes you stronger. It is what you did the day before to PREPARE for that workout and what you do the day after to RECOVER from that workout that will determine how much strength you will gain from lifting those weights. This concept of course doesn’t apply just to the weight room. It absolutely applies to your endurance workouts and your hard climbing session as well. Over time, the collection of work that you build, will determine your progress and improvement.
Along with shaving off just a bit of training, adding variety has a similar effect on your physical and mental health. Yes, there are some training components that you need to do that you may not like. But taking the time to plan some variety into your work will ultimately keep you enthused about training and will provide balance to both your neuro-muscular system (muscles, joints, tissue) and your endocrine system (energy systems and hormones). However, remember that variety is like a school field trip. It shakes up the monotony of the class, but the teacher doesn't just decide one day to go on a field trip. There's some significant planning involved. Permission slips need to get signed, parents need to chaperone, busses must get scheduled. A good training program has PLANNED variety, not just a bunch of random workouts thrown together for the sake of “variety.” Random = injury.