Roadblock- A limit that you reach that can’t seem to push past.
Even when you are feeling in good in your sport you know that soon there will be a time when you hit a roadblock. No matter what you do you just can’t seem to get past that certain weight, speed, time whatever the metric is. It can leave you frustrated and demoralised even questioning why you even bother putting in the hours.
I am a big fan of having systems in place to identify problems and managing their effects so they don’t consume my whole life. I would recommend having a conscious eye on what is holding you back from progressing in your chosen sport. Don’t avoid picking up on what your weaknesses are, be your biggest critic and define the problem as quickly as you can.
Take for example my running performance. I am a distinctly average runner, this isn’t self-deprecation it’s just not the main focus of my training time. I can run an OK 1km time and can run a slow 15km if I need to. However, for some of the events I like to do (fitness racing/Hyrox) I will need to run a several 1km splits. What I do need to do though is get better at running my 5km pace with a lower heart rate so I can use the running elements as part of my recovery. I have identified a key roadblock in bettering my performance.
OK, so I need to look at that roadblock and think how do I move past this? To run with a lower heart rate, I am probably going to need better overall cardiovascular fitness especially at a steady state.
Now we have identified the problem, considered the solution and now I need to put actions to that solution to achieve it.
This is the third part of the system, adapt the training plan. I want to reduce my average heart rate when running, that’s probably going to require a good amount more running. But, I have a goal in mind with this so not only am I going to need to run more, I need to run slower and longer. My focus will now be on finding a pace I can hold my heart rate in zone 2-3 and maintain that over time. Over the next few months I will slowly increase that pace whilst keeping a check on my heart rate with the goal to get back to my current pace of running but being able to use the run as a recovery rather than a sprint.
A WARNING: Changing up your goals and refocussing your training need not be a complete shift. The goal is to become a more proficient runner WITHOUT reducing my other abilities. This is a fine balancing act that many athletes struggle with. One of my favourite quotes is “don’t let perfection be the enemy of good”, athletes who compete across multiple disciplines should be good at many things rather than perfect at one. An athlete who is perfect at a single discipline and only trains for that specific discipline can find themselves insufficient in things they haven’t trained.