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What is the hardest thing an endurance athlete faces to become good?


Enjoying a daily spin through nature.

Getting Into Shape.


And the first hard thing is that getting into shape takes time. It takes regular and consistent work to get into shape. A frequent error people make is following a plan built on the assumption that progress is linear. Frequently programs are written in this fashion:




Week One 6 hours

Week Two 6.5 hours

Week Three 7.5 hours

Week Four 6 hours

Week Five - 7.0 hours

  • repeat the above pattern with more training each week.


In this approach, the athlete gradually trains more. Through training more, they become fitter. However, this approach ignores factors that may negatively impact your improvement from training, such as; poor sleep, illness, school or work demands, family activities, hormonal changes or other higher energy demands. Following this progressive training approach and “hitting” the set times or distances may push you to do too much before you are ready. This can result in injury, sickness, fatigue, stagnation, lack of enjoyment and even burnout.



A Flexible and Holistic Approach


Instead of focusing solely on increasing training volume, a flexible and holistic approach takes into account various factors that may impact training. This approach prioritizes establishing consistency and regularity in training by setting a specific number of training days or sessions per week rather than solely focusing on increasing the amount of training.


By establishing a consistent routine, you can build a solid foundation of fitness without pushing yourself to do too much too soon. This approach also allows for flexibility. For example, you can adjust your training plan based on sleep, illness, work or family demands, hormonal changes, or other higher energy demands.


For example, if you typically train four days per week but feel tired or sick one week, you may reduce your training to three days that week to allow your body to recover. Similarly, if you have a hectic week at work or with family obligations, you may choose to reduce your training volume slightly to accommodate those demands.


By taking a flexible and holistic approach to training, you can avoid pushing yourself too hard and experiencing negative impacts on your health and well-being. Instead, you can establish a sustainable routine that allows for consistency and progress over the long term.


Example:

Week One 4 to 5 sessions

Week Two 4 to 5 sessions

- evaluate week 1 - keep the same, decrease or increase

Week Three 4 to 5 sessions

- evaluate week 2 - keep the same, decrease or increase

Week Four TBD

Week Five - TBD



Keep It Enjoyable


The hardest thing an endurance athlete faces in becoming good is getting into shape. Getting into shape takes time, and it requires regular and consistent work. However, many athletes make the mistake of following a plan built on the assumption that progress is linear. Your athletic progress and fitness development is an accumulation of training rather than a tabulation of hours. By using this holistic approach to getting in shape, athletes establish consistency and regularity in training through a planning process that is responsive to how they are adapting to the activity and how their capacity to train is developing; athletes can avoid interruptions such as injury, sickness, lack of motivation, and burnout. Adopting a consistent and responsive training plan gives endurance athletes the best chance of achieving long-term fitness goals. Prioritizing the accumulation of training and overall progress while encouraging them to be mindful of their body's responses to training will keep their training enjoyable.


About The First Lap Coaching: Enjoyable and Sustainable Sport - 2-1-GO!

The First Lap offers year-round and in-season coaching for cross-country skiers. Our coaches can support all levels of skiers, from beginners to competitive racers. Our programs and clinics are designed for enjoyment and fun, to develop your skiing skills, improve your fitness and ultimately sustain your participation in winter sports and year-round training and physical activity.


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