I have stated numerous times recently to athletes that to be successful you must train without your ego. While our ego can be good; we brush our teeth and shower because of it, it can also derail our training by causing us to chase our training buddies on easy days. While thinking of the best way to state this I came across this post by Kristian Manietta of Trispecific who says it very succinctly.
Here is an excerpt:
".....But lets look at HARD WORK through our triathlon lens for this post and what it really means.
I personally believe that the meaning of HARD more often than not gets confused by athletes. The major problem is that most believe they have to bring their 'Rocky Balboa' game to each and every training session.
There is definitely a time and place for that.
But if you try to play there in each and every session you'll just end up a wreck. And your performances WILL suffer.
The HARD work really is bringing your BEST to the specifics of each session and what the coach or session is asking you to do. So when you're asked to go EASY not doing so is not bringing your best to that session or that part of the session.
In short - YOU are getting in the way of your own results.
A comment I get over and over from athletes when I try to get them to slow down. To truly go easy when it matters (and it matters a lot of the time) is that they find it HARD.
"I just can't go that 'slow'" is really just your ego speaking.
Yes it's extremely HARD to put a lid on that ego. But you must.
Going easy is boring, it's not doing anything worthwhile, it's a waste of time are other comments we here often.
That my friend is FEAR speaking.
That is not understanding how the body works.
Grant Giles, a coach I admire recently wrote a short Facebook post about many current day athletes neglecting to build the aerobic engine first.
"In my opinion once you start to ignore the sub threshold level, form will quickly be lost and I think even for the best elites this is where most people take a wrong turn by going too hard at the wrong times.
I've been asked a lot about easy aerobic zones, what pace should you go? Go easy, you will not lose a single thing and you might just gain something that allows you to put more into your quality sessions. So let me be 100% clear about this -if you go even slightly too hard in your aerobic sessions then your quality sessions are going to suffer. The reason behind this is the fact that once your heart gets even a little tired/suppressed and there is too much neuromuscular load it is then impossible to reach the correct power/pace in your quality sessions and you end up with a whole program week that consists of the same paced "Junk"." - Grant Giles.
Bang on the money.
I'm a fan and pretty vocal that it's all about being strong in the back end of each discipline. Form under duress is where you take your performances to unimaginable levels.
Gilsey was also on point with his parting point
"If you can't do something slow with great form -you don't have any chance of doing it at speed. Sometimes it really is a case of go slow to go fast."
Going slow is hard. But is key to your ultimate development as an athlete.
By going 'slow' when you should will allow you to go fast when you need to.
A question I have for you is - how invested are you in getting the results you want?
If you're truly invested then you'll take the delayed gratification route. You'll do ALL the things that winners do.
You'll go truly easy and not bullshit yourself so once it's time to go hard.. you can.
That means there is no junk.
So yes - success takes hard work. Bucket loss of consistent hard work.
But most of the time the real hard work is keeping a lid on your ego."