How many of you have ever heard me say, “More is not better. Better is better.”?
There should be a lot of hands going up in the air right now because I say this A LOT. (Some of you may even be sick of it.)
But WHY do I say this so often? Is it because I like to hear myself talk? (Cease the jokes about that one!) No, it’s not. Is it because I have observed SO MANY athletes try to do more, more, more over the years? YES.
I was this athlete once. (Some days, my former athlete self shows up and I have to suppress her, haha!) I know how tempting it is to want to do more. More is better, right? Nope. Better is better.
So this week, my tip is this: I strongly encourage you all to suppress the More Monster inside of you. Don’t do more. Do better.
Many people associate longer durations, more miles, heavier weights with “better.” If you’re not doing more, how can you be doing better?
Focusing on quality, not quantity, is the first step in this process. This means resting or recovering for the appropriate amount of time in between intervals or sets during your workouts (if you think I’m talking to YOU - you’re right). It means taking rest days that are actually rest days. It means scaling back when the body and mind are telling you that they need that. It means getting good sleep. It means optimizing your daily nutrition and hydration. It means doing all of the “little” things well because they end up adding up to be the big things. Yes, all the things that you are actively doing (such as workouts) and passively doing (such as resting or sleeping) should be done “better” in order to achieve optimal success when pursuing your goals.
I was chatting with one of the athletes who I work with earlier and we were talking about how she recently had a breakthrough race. She couldn’t believe how great she felt. I told her (very accurately) that how she felt (and the corresponding very excellent race result) were the culmination of more than a year’s worth of doing the little things well. Over the time that we’ve been working together, when she wanted to do ALL THE THINGS, I reigned her in, preaching patience and wisdom with regard to what we were including her schedule. I am sure that there were days when she thought I was out of my mind, but she trusted me. And doing things WELL resulted in a race performance that surpassed even her highest expectations of herself. What is better than that?
It’s VERY hard when you’re in the middle of “the grind” to see what can result from said grind. It can be hard for you to see how focusing on working on your balance every day now in December will reap dividends for you in your running next summer. It can be really hard to see how nailing your hydration today will help your long ride on Saturday feel that much stronger. It’s hard to see how a strength workout might be more valuable than a cardio workout. It’s hard to see how just a few minutes of stretching per day can enhance both your workouts and your daily life.
It’s challenging (especially since it is December and racing season is so.far.away), but don’t aim to do more, my friends. Aim to do better. Focus on quality, feeling really great about what you are doing, and you will reap the rewards of this choice. It may take a little bit for you to see those rewards, but trust the process, and they will come. :)
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.