Becoming stronger every day and every week is a process of constant strain and effort. Once things become easy, you’ve stopped becoming stronger in that aspect. Things being easy is just a symptom of complacency, and if you become complacent in any aspect of your life it’s easy for it to bleed into other areas of your life like a wicked disease. Being complacent is a poison of our existence keeping us from reaching our potential. It makes us think that we can get something from nothing. When in actuality, nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could. The only way to achieve your goals is to invest the time and energy required for such goals. Only continuously challenging your body, spirit, and mind will keep you moving forward!
One thing I am constantly seeing around me during my journey to becoming a professional triathlete is this exact lesson. People can’t expect to train less and gain more ground. I can’t put in less time and expect greater results. And though the reasons are many to keep me from putting in more time, I only need one to keep going, and that is challenging myself!
When we challenge ourselves it brings out a greater part of our strength than just following a good routine. When you truly challenge yourself, it requires not just more physical strength, but also your mental and spiritual fortitude to make up the difference where your muscles may not feel up to task. And this is where people find the reason to keep going: the challenge to be able to do more than last time, to be faster than last week, or beat the competition that beat you last time. Many sports and physical activities have venues and events to showcase the challenge, to put all the skills together and require as much as you have to give. Other physical activities don’t have the large fields and weekly competitions, and here is where you, the individual, need to push yourself, or in other words, Challenge Yourself to do and be more than before.
Heavy challenges and threshold training shouldn’t be done as much as possible, but rather limited to the amount of times your coach, doctor, or trainer tells you is acceptable. This kind of training is intense so none of your body movements or functional systems should be done alone. Always have a buddy to spot, or be beside you just in case something doesn’t go according to plan. Some great ways to train for threshold and really challenge yourself are as follows:
Pyramids, and reverse pyramids: Steadily increasing intensity and shortening duration: or visa versa
Tempo Cardio: Going for a long distance as fast as you can.
Finding your 1 repetition max.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): performing repetitions of intervals at very high intensities with little rest
Lactate Threshold training: With a trainer who is certified to find your VO2 max and Lactate Threshold, keep a pace at the determined intensity for a series of long intervals.
Keep pushing yourself, keep moving forward, and most importantly remember that complacency makes a person weaker.
Every Day… A Little Stronger