Thursday, April 3, 2008

Getting the work done

Jonnyo “invented” that expression: “Getting the work done”. And slowly but surely, the expression and the attitude behind it was adopted by everyone in the posse. I use the word attitude because there really is an attitude behind “getting the work done”.

“Getting the work done" is about trusting what you are doing and focusing all your energy into execution, both in training and racing. The sport of triathlon is full of overthinkers. They overthink everything: nutrition, equipment and of course training. Proof of the existence of these overthinkers is the popularity of triathlon forums, with their endless pages of often pointless discussion. What makes overthinking an issue is that when athletes overthink, they lose focus. Focus on the truly important things: consistency, patience, long-term approach to development. This is a problem for many athletes, but I see it worse when coaches suffer from it. Too many coaches out there overthink their processes and “infect” their athletes with superfluous questioning of every step of the training process. The bottom line is that overthinking is synonym with underachieving.

“Getting the work done” is about consistency. Every athlete has days where it is hard to get out the door for the next workout. Most of the times this is a mental issue that is experienced by athletes at every level. One way of helping the athlete with these issues is to build the schedule around training sessions that do not need a lot of mental energy to accomplish. I like to call them “bread-and-butter” sessions. They are usually short in duration and low-intensity, but are still a very important part of the overall training program. They do not ask much from the athlete in terms of mental commitment and all he/she needs to do is to go out and get the work done.

“Getting the work done” is about expanding your personal boundaries. In order to do that, you have to go to your limit and then past it. You will be in a place where fatigue will cause you to doubt everything you are doing. And you are at that point, the only way is up and for that you need to get the work done.

Finally, “getting the work done” is about commitment to your goals. A lot of people have very lofty goals but hesitate when it is time to do the work that will allow them to accomplish those goals. For the large majority of athletes, what keeps them from achieving their goals is to get the work done.

Now get out there and just… get the work done!


Blake Becker said...

Two thoughts:

1) Right on PS, today I had a swim session where I felt like absolute crap on my run in the morning and after it, but I went to the pool anyway and what do you know. I had a great swim. Yes, many 'bad' sessions are mental. I like another one of your slogans...HTFU.

2) Many athletes think that it is going to be easy to go from amateur to pro. Some get lucky and it is. But I think it takes 3 years to get faster as a pro. Year 1 you get slower(because there is no draft) year 2 you get where you were as an amateur, THEN year 3 you start to make progress. Many people quit after year 2. Long term.

jameson said...

this is a good one and will be bookmarked...

Ryan D said...

"Proof of the existence of these overthinkers is the popularity of triathlon forums, with their endless pages of often pointless discussion." - exactly why I stopped reading them!!!

I totally agree with the mental aspects of getting out the door. Whenever I am having those thoughts, I just get up, and literally get out the door. It may be hard to get up, but it's twice as hard to sit back down when you're up.

MarkyV said...

Too many coaches out there overthink their processes
You wouldn't believe the number of times I've had a client say... "that's it?" about a training block. I usually tell them to shut up and do it and after it's done and they don't like it then they can complain to me. Haven't heard any complaints yet. Now why can't I do this with my own training... damn.

Paulo Sousa said...


About your #2. Long term is NOT 3 years. You'll get it eventually.


You need to charge more, you will have less questions.

Chris Janus said...

'Getting the work done' was one of the most difficult things I've learned to do in my training. I used to so often rationalize 'I'm too tired, it's better to rest' or 'I've trained so much lately, a day off will do me good' when in reality I was just looking for an excuse. Since I've started to 'get the work done' I have seen improvements in my performance.

I find it funny how so many people dismiss 'consistancy' for one reason or another.