Only By Training Hard Every Day Can You Become A Good Athlete

As athletes we’re a competitive bunch. We strive to lớn improve our physical condition & always look for ways how lớn become a better athlete. But there’s one common theme that frequently comes up in my conversations with friends và amateur athletes. And that’s professionals và elites.

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How come they are sooo far ahead? What makes them that good? Is it really training all the time or vị they have some secret formula?

How to lớn become a better athlete

There’s a misconception out there that since professional athletes don’t need khổng lồ work a day job they have all the time in the world lớn train và recover. Và that’s what makes them who they are.

The truth is that many professionals bởi work full-time jobs, just like ‘regular’ people. & they have a lot khổng lồ balance besides training as well. All the sponsor commitments, interviews, photo shoots, product launches and much more – it all takes its moral toll.

Olympic champion in triathlon Gwen Jorgensen won her first professional race years before she left her full-time job as an accountant.

But, in a way, most professional & elite athletes bởi vì have a ‘secret’. That’s knowledge và experience (or at least a coach) they’ve gained over years of training và racing. They structure their training process differently và focus on different things, so that no time is wasted. & that’s what separates them from amateurs và ‘hobby’ athletes. Not just putting more hours of training in.

As much as there are many aspects that impact athletic performance, there are many ways how to lớn become a better athlete.

A great athlete is a well-rounded one & there’s a lot that goes into it.

Apart from effective training process & methodology, there’s an even bigger mental component. Discipline, lifestyle habits, self-awareness & personal development – all of that (and more) combined create an athlete that is strong, endure, fast and, most importantly, injury free.

Scroll down for a list of ways how to lớn become a better athlete & be the best version of yourself. These are in no particular order.

#1 Start the season with a solid foundation

One thing professionals have dialed in that amateurs tend to lớn overlook is the foundation. Things like long & easy aerobic base building sessions, conditioning and overall strength building exercises, mobility và injury prevention & so on.

Yes, this low intensity ‘easy’ work doesn’t sound fun, which is why it might be tempting to lớn jump straight to intense intervals. However, that’s what sets athletes for success. It makes them fatigue slower, tolerate more training load later in the season (where it actually matters) and, therefore, improve more.

One doesn’t need years khổng lồ build a foundation. A couple of months of focused low intensity training will already provide significant fitness boost & prepare the toàn thân for the hard work ahead.

#2 Have a weekly schedule & be disciplined about it

Finding time for training often comes down lớn time management. Most of the people can carve out 30 minutes from their day to go for a very focused run session or bởi any other form of activity. And that’s every day.

Due khổng lồ my full-time job, I did a lot of 30 minute sessions myself during my Ironman training. That was one of the key factors that helped me build endurance & speed required for the race.

Having a specific weekly routine và being disciplined about it will help khổng lồ stay on track even when you don’t feel like it. Maintaining training consistency throughout weeks & months is one of the most effective ways how lớn become a better athlete.

#3 Prioritize sleep

Sleep is the most powerful recovery tool. It stimulates muscle tissue repair, calms down the nervous system và normalizes internal processes.

While many don’t sleep 8-9 hours that on average is required to maintain an intense training schedule, it’s not only about quantity. A truly restorative sleep is what matters. With a couple of small changes it’s possible lớn significantly improve the quality of sleep & speed up recovery.

#4 Have a goal and focus on it

Focusing on the long term goal và end result really helps to lớn not get caught up in the moment. I learned it the hard way, as I always pushed myself a little more on recovery sessions or stayed up late.

When one sets a bigger goal và focuses on it, all decisions get easier. All of a sudden going out và staying up late is no longer fun, because that compromises recovery. Taking intervals harder than needed or testing oneself during recovery days breaks up the whole training program.

#5 Be patient

It’s in human nature lớn be competitive & sometimes impatient. We want results fast and often over-estimate what can be achieved in a year. Both in sport and life. However, there are no quick fixes or shortcuts. Real and sustainable progress comes over time.

It takes a while for the body to adapt to lớn an increase in training load và it’s important not to rush it.

Recognize where you are in your training and focus on getting a little better than yesterday. Every day.

There might be times when progress is not visible and that’s ok. Training is like an upward spiral – with daily ups and downs you can really notice fundamental changes only as the time passes.

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#6 Train the core

Core is the most important muscle group for any athlete. It’s like a central hub that all other muscle groups connect to.

Often the pain that athletes experience in one area is caused by tightness or weakness in a different muscle group. Strong bộ vi xử lý core keeps muscles across the body in balance. Training it is one of the best way to lớn prevent injuries và improve efficiency and form.

#7 chạy thử your limits

Frequent testing is an important part of a training process. It helps athletes & coaches assess progress, phối benchmarks, re-adjust training paces and, in general, learn what the toàn thân is capable of. Going really hard can be mentally tough, but it’s a great way lớn find what your weak areas are.

There are various ways how to incorporate testing into a training plan – stress/VO2max lab test, field chạy thử (time trial) or even a race. Make sure you’re completely recovered for these sessions to have the best overview of your physical condition.

If you’re doing a field demo on your own, keep it short lớn avoid burning yourself out. Stick to one repetition only (sub-20min), but go really hard on it.

#8 Keep a training diary

Training diary is a powerful tool every athlete should make use of. Writing down how training sessions feel, how recovery proceeds and how does the overall progress go is a great way to lớn learn what works and what doesn’t for your body.

Besides that, taking the time on a daily basis to process events và emotions helps khổng lồ become more self-aware & emotionally resilient. It’s an overall very good strategy how to lớn become a better athlete.

Related: 5 Ways A Training Diary Helps Athletes Train and Perform Better

#9 Strength train

Nobody ever said ‘do it slower’ or ‘throw weaker’ to lớn an athlete. It’s always higher, faster, stronger. And there’s a reason for that.

Becoming stronger has an impact on all areas of performance ability. With specific strength training sessions athletes can develop power, improve maximum speed, promote muscle economy và even build endurance.

Strength training impacts all areas of performance ability và is a great way how khổng lồ become a better athlete.

#10 vày a cool down & stretch after a hard session

Take some time after the hard effort to let the body toàn thân ‘cool off’ before jumping to lớn other daily commitments. Besides physical benefits it’s also a good way to lớn relax mentally after an intense practice.

As little as 10 minutes of low-intensity movements speeds up the process of clearing the lactic acid and other metabolic waste from the muscles. A gentle stretch, on the other hand, helps khổng lồ relieve muscle tightness & promotes blood flow.

#11 Plan in years, not weeks

One of the best ways how lớn become a better athlete & ensure consistency is to have a periodized training plan. Think ahead of time how the season might look like, when you’ll have more time lớn train, which races or travels you have in mind & so on.

Start with the off-season và split the plan into phases that focus on one specific area at the time – strength, power, endurance, etc. Make sure the plan is adapted to lớn your lifestyle, takes the current fitness cấp độ into account and is balanced in low, moderate và high intensity. There’s no point in having a plan which you can’t follow.

#12 Train in hard conditions

Mental strength is just as important as physical strength. Often conditions on race day are not ideal or something unexpected happens. In such cases athletes rely on their ability khổng lồ stay resilient, push through obstacles and not let destructive thinking take over. On top of that, mentally strong athletes are also able lớn push themselves harder.

Learn to train your mind as well as your body. Expose yourself khổng lồ as much uncomfortable things as possible to practice mental strength. Deliberately vày something you don’t feel confident in – train in harsh conditions (wind, rain, cold), bởi vì long sessions alone in silence or even try new training practices.

Be willing khổng lồ be uncomfortable in training, so that whatever happens on race day feels easier.

#13 Be open-minded

Successful athletes are mở cửa to critique, feedback and, most importantly, change. Consistent research, trying out different training approaches & incorporating best practices into the training process are all great ways how to become a better athlete.

Listening khổng lồ podcasts, in particular, helps khổng lồ discover new ‘tricks’ & hear different perspectives.

#14 Work with a coach

If you don’t have one yet, consider hiring a coach. Having someone look at your training from the side và tell what you’re doing wrong is by far the best way how lớn become a better athlete.

A coach will be able lớn provide a different perspective to your training, find areas of improvements and help mix achievable goals that motivate you to lớn work hard. A coach will also provide a structured training plan that will take any guess work out of the picture. You’ll only need to lớn be concerned about showing up for your session on time.

#15 Target supercompensation instead of fatigue

Training is a good thing, but it’s worth remembering that it’s only a stimulus for adaptation. Supercompensation effect that takes place after the body toàn thân has recovered from training fatigue is what we’re after. Not physically punishing ourselves và breaking the toàn thân down.

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Quality trumps quantity every time. It’s best to have several short và very qualitative sessions that increase the fitness slightly, instead of one big session that keeps you sore for another 3 days.