Life is like an ice-cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time. – Charles M. Schulz
How do endurance athletes do it? How do they train day-in, day-out…often awakening at 3 am to ride or swim or run for hours? Are they special (a special kind of crazy)? What drives them and helps them achieve success?
Recently, I heard on an episode of Radio Lab that many of the most successful athletes don’t overly focus on a long-term goal – such as finishing an ultra race, swimming the English Channel or completing an Ironman triathlon – but rather focus on setting and executing goals for each day. Each training session is one bite of the proverbial elephant.
This technique helps them stay on track, focus on quality workouts and eventually win events. Of course, there’s physiological abilities that also influence their success.
So, this means if you’re not feeling it one day – it’s not enough to say “well, at least I ran;” or to zone out during your ride and never push your heart rate above zone 1 (unless that’s your training plan); or to cut your swim short by 15 minutes. Only when you get serious and execute each workout as designed for maximum success will you too succeed in your long-term goals. We can’t all win, but we can determine if we’ve really given it our all in training and in competition. Half-hearted training does not result in success on race day – you might finish, but you won’t know your true potential.
Remember, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have days where your training goals don’t seem achievable or your body is sluggish. The point is, do the best you can in each workout – that’s all you can ever do in all things any day: the very best you can.