By: Coach Mark Alfaro
In today’s world of age group athletes, success is often defined by completing an event. Whether it is a 5k, sprint triathlon or long distance event such as the marathon or ironman, finishing any one of these event is an accomplishment. To each, his own.
However, it is so common for athletes to think of completing events in a certain order. For most runners, it’s completing a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon. And for triathletes, it’s a sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman, and Ironman. And what happens once the athlete has accomplished each distance? Some athletes stop there, and check the box. Some continue to do more and even consider going longer distances such as ultra-marathons and ultra-ironmans.
Early in my triathlon career I was really passionate about the sport. Luckily I had coaches who didn’t push me to “go long” too early. For 2 years I worked on my short game and learned how to race fast and built my abilities and confidence before I took on my first half ironman and built my experience for another 2-3 years before attempting my first ironman in 2014. These days, too many people sign up for half-ironmans right out of the gate with having 1 or 2 sprint races under their belt or no race experience at all!
An article from the Harvard Business Review caught my eye one day and it described the correlation between practice and expert performance. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article.
“Consistently and overwhelmingly, the evidence showed that experts are always made, not born.”
“The journey to truly superior performance is neither for the faint of heart nor for the impatient. The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment. There are no shortcuts”
The article also points out that becoming an expert takes 10,000 or more hours (10 years) of deliberate practice and for the most successful people, practice is almost always supervised by a teacher (or coach).
At Performance Strength Lab, we are big believers in practice and continuously developing an athlete’s skills and movements through a long term training plan. 70% of the athletes we coach have been with us since we first opened our doors and 20% have been with us for 6 months or more. We train not only for optimal performance for their sport or general health but also for longevity. We train people for the long haul.
At Performance Strength Lab, we train our athletes to be athletes for life.