Every athlete knows it, and most coaches will say it- Consistency in your training is key to maximising your performance. Stringing together weeks of consistent training is always going to be better than the athlete who puts together 3 fantastic weeks of training, but then gets ill for the next 2 weeks. But it is harder to achieve than you may think.
From my 10 years of working with athletes here are my top tips for consistency-
Listen to your body
It may sound really simple, but listening to your body is probably the biggest key to consistency. You alone know your body best and how you should feel. There is always another day to do your hard session, is it really worth doing just because your program says so? Back it off and do an easier session. Being able to adapt and make smart decisions is critical. But not always easy- it can take athletes many years to get this process right. The key is to learn from your experiences.
Recovering from Illness
As much as you hope you won’t get any illnesses, it is inevitable. However, it is not always the end of the world and it is again the decisions you make about when to return to full training. My rule of thumb is always take an extra day’s rest/recovery before getting back into full training. The chances are you are still not quite 100% and your rush to get back to training will most likely lead to a further set back. My advice- take the extra rest, as you will gain more in the long run, than rushing back to those hard sessions. It really isn’t the end of the world and your fitness isn’t suddenly going to disappear!
Easy sessions are easy, Hard sessions are hard!
Getting the intensity of sessions right is critical. Make sure you have a goal for each session. If you have an easy relaxed 2 hour bike ride to do, then do exactly that. Don’t go hard because you feel good, or because the sun is out or you have to get onto the back of that tractor! Keep it smart.
Pretty simple- Get enough of it. Don’t go to bed late on a regular basis. This is the time where the body repairs itself so give it enough time to do that. Switch off before going to sleep and try and avoid being on your mobile phone.
Enjoy your training
If you are in a daily environment where you are enjoying your training, then you will be more consistent. Mix things up to keep motivated and fresh. Meet up with friends for some sessions, or going along to your local club as well as doing sessions on your own.