My friend Karen is a very good swimmer and she train 5-6 days a week. In an event like swimming, you need both very good conditioning (so you don’t run out of puff and sink) and very good technique (so you don’t waste energy as you go through the water).
We were looking at Karens current training timetable and she cycles through “hard” and “easy” days each week. What this meant was, she would crank it up to 11 and go all out on her “hard” days, but simply ease back and go through the motions on her “easy” days.
This kind of thing is ok for getting your body in the right condition, but doesn’t really do anything to improve your technique. You can’t improve your technique if you are concentrating solely on going fast…and you can’t improve your technique if you are “going through the motions” and disengaging your brain.
So we simply changed the names of her workouts…nothing else has changed…just the names. They are now “intensity” days and “technique” days.
- Intensity Days – the priority is working at a high enough intensity to improve her conditioning. Don’t worry too much if the technique is a bit raggedy…just work the body hard enough to get a training response.
- Technique Days – the priority is getting her form perfect. Don’t worry that she is not so fast today (she is supposed to be taking it easy today anyway), just make sure the form is spot on.
This way every training session has a goal to aim for and has a purpose. There is never any “going through the motions”, and you don’t run the risk of burning yourself out by over training.
Even though only the names have changed, psychologically speaking, this makes a hell of a difference!
The same idea can be applied to any event. We get better by working hard and getting fitter…and by moving better and more efficiently.
So instead of having “rest” or “easy” days…have “technique” days. It keeps us moving and avoids us just filling time with “stuff”.