It’s A Long Road
This article is based on a conversation I’ve had with numerous athletes/clients/friends/colleagues over the years, from 2009 to 2017. The length and depth of each of those conversations may vary, but the message remains the same. The athlete is having a small scale existential crisis (I’ve had a few in my training life as well). They are no longer in the initial love stage of training, what was fun is slowly morphing into work, and what had started off as a fun exciting new challenge has turned into a PR less drought of skill practice and sweat.
“What’s wrong with me?” the disheartened athlete asks, “Why am I not getting better? I used to PR all the time!” .Oftentimes this turns into “Why am I even doing this?” rather quickly. Generally this comes after a particularly hard work out where said athlete didn’t perform as well as they would have liked, or say a benchmark workout where the athlete, despite feeling confident with the movements, struggles and fails to set a personal best. It is in these situations where I like to relate to the athlete one of my favorite quotes:
“Training is like moving a pile of dirt – some days you get a shovel, and other days you get a spoon but as long as you get to move a little dirt every day, you are moving towards your goal”
John has a very unique prospective on strength and conditioning, that of a former all pro NFL offensive lineman. As a professional athlete, John has been training to vast majority of his life, from middle school into his 30’s, and he still owns and operates a gym in Texas. John, like all of us, has had days where the barbell feels like a feather and everything just clicks, and has also had days where 70% of his 1RM feels like 125% and sprinting feels like power walking. What he’s saying is that days like that are just as important as the great days, in fact I’d say they are more important. When the barbell spits you out backwards, when your Grace times slows down, remember Welbourn’s wise words. Getting fit is a lifelong journey. Along the way you’ll have all sorts of tools at your disposal, some good some bad. Remember that your best tool is always perspective. Indulge in the good days, and learn important lessons from the bad days, just keep showing up, just keep moving the dirt. It’s a long road folks, let’s get to stepping.