By: Coach D.P.
Ah, the age old tug of war in training… Dancing between the stress of high effort and the comfort of easing back on the throttle when we start breathing hard is a well-documented experience. Every athlete who has trained performance (whatever their definition of performance is) has had to walk the line of balancing stress and finding comfort in their “red zone.”
When striving for performance, the stress of operating at our limits is critical. It’s here that we can reap the greatest return for our training. The stressors are what drive adaptation, and since I’m willing to bet that no one willingly works as hard as they do in thy gym to stay exactly the same, we can all agree that adaptation is our goal. You want to be better than yesterday, right?
As a coach, I see athletes (especially new ones) struggle with the discomfort that comes with their own top end of performance. Working that hard is uncomfortable, it hurts, and there’s a lot of uncertainty that comes at that level of effort. The most common way that I see people sneak out of this scenario is conversation. It’s fitness version of “changing the subject.” Since the task at hand is causing stress, conversation with another athlete, or a coach is the attempt at breaking the discomfort.
DON’T DO IT.
First and foremost, the value of our training is in the commitment to our best efforts. Multitasking (training while holding a conversation) guarantees an effort that is less than your best. Secondly, the value of being in the moment is beyond an amount of money in the world. The holy grail of performance and clarity, “Flow” as it’s known, can only be achieved when we have commitment to the moment.
Our work in the gym is too hard and requires too high of a skill set to let your mind wander. The focus you need to navigate a workout should rival what it takes to paint the Mona Lisa or help your 4th grader with their math homework (that Chicago math is no joke). There isn’t time or room for conversation, dinner plans, texting, or wondering when Coach J’s next viral video comes out.
Daily Double: I’ve found that there’s a surprisingly strong correlation between athletes that are guilty of this conversation fault and failure to count reps accurately. Coincidence?
Focus on the journey. Stay in the moment. It’s where you belong.