James Stewart

Compete with thyself!


Training during a global pandemic with pretty much no actual races to run in has been hard for a lot of folks. I have seen it. I have felt it.

Often getting some sort of purpose and motivation requires new tricks and different strategies to keep the training quality up. Virtual races have helped. They really have. And Paul is hosting a very special race that whilst virtual will also allow the participants to see where they are in the field. If you want to know more about it you can find the details here: Exposure — Pyllon

What the last year has brought into focus is the competition with the person closest to your orbit. You! I mean, you can control you. You know all about you. You know your weaknesses. You know your vices. And you have a fair idea of your aims.

Aiming to best yourself is a brilliant way to stay motivated. These can be short-term targets, building to bigger ambitions. But also, getting familiar with yourself and then competing with yourself can be a brilliant way to add meaning and drive to sessions.

For example, you may repeat a hill session and try to get a new total elevation or new benchmark for the climb. You might build towards a record week of training, could be gain could be distance. Perhaps you target a segment on Strava and go after that. You could find yourself trying to set new PBs across multiple distances but do it in training. 1 mile, 5k, 1 hour. Whatever!

We used a WAVA challenge in the Pyllon Coaching group to get runners competing with themselves but also able to benchmark against others. It builds self efficacy, sharpens the competitive iron and brings some focus to the training block. I had a wee hamstring niggle so only did the last of them. I scored over 2 points better than the previous year. I went 12 seconds faster for 5k and I was a year older. Points galore!

It was unexpected and I was really stoked after it. And the point there is that just that wee bit of added internal competition made for a nice bit of motivation and a glow of success. It made me focused even more on the following week’s training and have given me confidence that after a year of lockdown training, no races and no benchmarks, I am actually in better shape now than I thought. Affirmation that the process is working. That’s an exciting thought just as races begin to open up again.

But before that, I have a wee adventure cooking up. Who will I be up against in that? Me!

More on that soon.

2 replies to “Compete with thyself!

  1. Great stuff JS. I’ve surprised myself by finding the motivation to compete wi the bald and bearded guy in the mirror pretty easily. He’s always ahead of me on the road and in the hills, always helping me to just keep going and to stay ahead of the guy behind me with the hood and scythe – I know he’ll catch me one day but not just yet..

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