Training with Purpose: More is Not Always Better!

Training with Purpose: More is Not Always Better!

📅June 2nd, 2015, 10:58

Many people think going faster, doing more, or pushing harder is always better. But that is a recipe for training burnout and injuries, not to mention the toll it takes mentally when you aren’t reaching your goals. Training with purpose means you specifically workout with your goals in mind. And if you step back, you will find that more really is not always better when it comes to training success.

Smarter, not harder, training is really the key to athletic or personal success.  An enlightened chapter from the book, “From Last to First; How I Became A Marathon Champion” by Charlie Spedding, details this perfectly:

“For years I had assumed that my failure to run better was down to a combination of injuries and not training hard enough; but I started to wonder if it was my own self-image that was holding me back…

I also decided to develop the ability to switch things round in my head, so that when I was faced with a problem I didn’t react to it, but instead I responded to it by finding something positive and useful in it.”

EFFORTS AND COURAGE ARE NOT ENOUGHThis chapter, famously called ‘The Beer Drinker’s Guide to Sports Psychology’, details perfectly what many of us need to learn so we don’t make big mistakes after a disappointing performance.

We think sometimes that each workout defines our fitness, that an individual workout or competition is pinnacle to success.  But it is your training plan as a whole – the entire journey that matters. When you change your outlook to encompass the whole plan for long-term success and focus on the purpose of your training, then you are training perfectly to reach your goals. Sometimes training harder will not help you, but actually impede you and lead to setbacks as well as injuries.

You will want to immediately ‘react’ after a bad performance with hitting the gym or your workouts harder, when you need to ‘respond’ by looking at all the factors and how you can use the experience to make you better.

“Most people believe our level of performance should be the same as our level of talent, assuming we have trained properly for our event. But have you ever had a bad day, a really bad day when you performed well below your level of talent? That straight line between talent and performance can be bent downwards by circumstances.”

Really look into all circumstances that can affect your workouts or competitions:

  • Level of Fatigue
  • Hours and Quality of Sleep
  • Overall Stress
  • Weather Conditions
  • Training Period or Cycle
  • Nutrition and Hydration

Once you have looked over all these factors that contribute to a singular performance, the next step is looking into your overall training plan and assessing if you are still on your way towards your goals. Many times you’ll see that a focus on your recovery will help you absorb all the training you have put in and have you bouncing back stronger.

Train right and train specific…not always harder!  Obviously you need to work hard to reach your goals, but if you focus on the long-term, then you can reach higher levels you maybe never even dreamed about. Have the confidence to train with purpose…more is not always better!

Renee Metivier Baillie


Video of Charlie Spedding in the 1984 Olympic Games, surprise Bronze Medalist!