The difference between being 1st and 2nd or success and failure can often come down to the most minuscule of margins. When it comes down to it, more often than not the result has been determined before the main event even starts. Whether you are competing in a 100m sprint or climbing Mt Everest, the hardest part is over once the starters gun goes off.
How you prepare for any event will be the difference between winning and losing or success and failure. Preparation entails more than just showing up to a training session, going through the motions and getting boxes checked off. The littlest things can add up to make the biggest differences to both your physiological & psychological preparation. So 'go the extra mile'
Just drop your weight on the last rep?
Pull up just before the finish to slow down or let the last few meters of the interval just tick over?
Roll around on the floor after a hard session?
Pretend to stretch after your workout?
Skip eating because you don't have the time?
Individually these may not seem like big issues but when you add them all in together over a given period of time, they can lead to bigger issues of lapses in focus, missed opportunities for growth, poor recovery for your next session and increased risk of injury.
This quote has long stuck with me and I can’t remember where I first heard it or the exact phrasing but it really hammers home on the point I am trying to get across.
“Under pressure, we don't rise to the occasion, we fall to the level of our training.”
So if your training is full of missed opportunities & short cuts how are you going to cope when the real pressure of competition kicks in?
So rather than:
Just dropping your weight on the last rep: Keep it controlled, lower it to the ground or return it straight back to the storage area.
Pulling up just before the finish to slow down or letting the last few meters of the interval just tick over: Keep working until you have fully completed the distance, go 5m or 2 seconds more than you need to.
Rolling around on the floor after a hard session: Stay on your feet take a few deep breaths and keep moving. Be prepared for what could potentially come next… Because you never know.
Pretend to stretch after your workout: Allow at least 5 minutes to cool down/stretch/foam roll. Soreness from a prior session can be a massive obstacle on upcoming sessions, preventing this from occurring can lead to much more productive future sessions.
Skip eating because you don't have the time: If you know you will be short on time prepare something prior, or always have a spare bar/shake on hand just incase.
When the pressure comes the person who goes the extra mile in training will be the person who can handle it under fire. The aim is to do more than what is required or what is expected. It is the unexpected that leads to the exceptional.
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