The Importance of Consistency
Consistency is, without a doubt, the foundation on which success is built.
It's easy in today's age its easy to be confused and overwhelmed about your approach to training. Social media -from Instagram to Strava- bombards us with sessions other athletes are doing. Pick up any endurance sports magazine and flick a few pages. Before long, it's easy to be overwhelmed with all manner of approaches, perceived shortcuts, tricks and tips to improve performance. At the end of the day, however, this is all icing and cherries. It's the cake that counts when you take a step back.
And, consistency is the most important ingredient.
At a macro-level, it doesn't matter what exactly you're doing on a daily basis, as long as you're doing something.
What does consistency look like?
Consistency is finding a sustainable level of training and sticking to it. Whether that's 3 hours a week or 20: find a routine training cycle that works for you and do your best to stick to it. If you absolutely smash yourself in training to the point of not being able to train for a few days afterwards, you're likely doing yourself a disservice. Undoubtedly, finding a balance between challenging yourself and keeping something in the tank for the day after is a better solution.
Why is consistency so important?
Consistency is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, not losing fitness. 2-3 weeks -or more- of zero training will result in a loss of aerobic fitness. 6 weeks or more will be a significant loss.
Mitochondria levels -a key for aerobic fitness- are shown to drop off after a single week off with no training at all. Detraining for longer periods results in a lot of hard work necessary to get back to where you began! Studies have shown that for periods longer than two weeks, it takes twice as long to build back fitness (i.e. 2weeks off = 4 weeks of training).
Success in endurance sports is built on consistent progression over time.
Early mornings, long weekend sessions, time sacrificed all in the pursuit of improvement is lost when athletes take long, extended breaks, over winter for example. As a result, maintaining consistent training over winter or other breaks will ensure you are building on your hard work, rather than playing catch-up.
Secondly, training consistent builds resilience. Performance in endurance sports is dependent on an athletes ability to endure. Training consistently promotes the body's capacity to train, recover, and perform. Time off aside, making sure when you're training you're doing so in a manner that promotes consistency and as a result, resilience. This will improve confidence and
Get out the door. Train.