How we can train smarter by not comparing ourselves to others.

For many of us, we compare ourselves to others in our daily lives and when competition can be a great asset to our performance in sport, comparison can be very detrimental. So, what do I mean by this?

Well, let’s take the app Strava for example. Strava is a social media app that allows you to view others sporting activities such as walks, runs, rides and swims. Now, this in itself is a fantastic app to share encouragement, which can provide you with great motivation to get moving. However, if you start to compare your times or the amount of time you are active with others on the app, it can become detrimental to your performance.

As I have my next big challenge coming up later this year, I started training very hard. I was training twice a day, four days a week and It felt great I must say. However, it is a recipe for disaster as first of all, we only have twenty-four hours in a day so, for many of us, it is unrealistic to give up that much time to training. Second of all, your body will only respond to a certain amount of that training until it gives up – no matter your fitness level.

So, in a search to train smarter, I made a new rule for myself. Instead of coming out of every session feeling exhausted (which was what I was aiming for due to it feeling good), I planned my training programme differently. I now have smaller sessions limiting myself to only one session a day with walking and mobility build in around that. This allows me to build up fitness slowly and in a constructive way.

However, this was not an easy task because I had to let the comparison of others go, I could not try and compete with someone’s time or distance because that was not my goal. Allowing yourself to accept that not every training session will have fantastic times/distances is very beneficial. See, my goal is not to get the fastest 5K I can or ride 100km, my goal is to try and complete a marathon and an Ironman in one month.

If you have a goal, it is definitely worth reassessing your training programme. Smaller training sessions/days may allow you to progress further with less risk of forming an unhealthy habit with sport and exercise. Being able to get to a place where you can be aware of what others are doing without comparing yourself to them is a powerful skill. 

As I progress with my training for my new challenge ‘A Month for Mental Health’, I am hoping to use this blog to allow people to follow my journey with the ups and downs, the successes and the defeats.

To follow my journey on Instagram – @jacobportchmouth

Thank you for reading.

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