The Perfection Problem: Trying to Play Catch-Up

In our first blog of our multi part series, The Perfection Problem: Fearing Fatigue we talked about the problems associated with not accepting fatigue as a normal piece of the training cycle. In this week’s post we want to talk about the myth of needing to play “catch-up” in order to achieve fitness.

We hate to break it to you, there is really no such thing as a shortcut to fitness. As coaches, we see people attempt to makeup missed training. Whether early on in the cycle they were injured or maybe they even lacked motivation during their training week, we’ve seen athletes attempt to fit it in in order to create some false sense of perfection. We witness and hear a lot of folks say, “well I’m going to do that run tomorrow or next week.” Training is designed to be progressive and well sequenced so that recovery is built in. It can be altered but it isn’t meant to be back or front loaded for the sake of simply getting it in. The key to not feeling like you have to play catch-up is staying consistent. 

We logically know that perfection is not attainable during a training cycle. Instead we offer you this, strive for consistency in the process. Forget about playing catch-up, this all or nothing process is what can be most detrimental to our overall health and consistency. Consistency doesn’t mean perfection, sometimes it means just simply putting in the work when we are tired rather than putting it off till a day when we are not fatigued. The process doesn’t have to be perfect in order for the outcome to be great. 

We can’t lie, training is tough, there is a reason training cycles are long, and we don’t pack four months of training into 4 weeks. In order to achieve the best long term results, health and build the greatest aerobic engine we can, we don’t play the shortcut game. Fitness takes time and work. 

We know the training cycle won’t be perfect, life happens, bad weather happens, soreness and injury happens, but if we do our best to keep the ball rolling rather than think we have to pack in what we have missed all together, we give ourselves a greater chance to get back to consistency. As we strive to be more process oriented, let us allow ourselves to put in the work that makes sense on each given day and not try to play catch-up on where we think we need to be.  

Myth: We can play catch-up in order to achieve perfect fitness in the training cycle. 

Reality: playing catch-up puts us at greater risk for injury, burn out  and overloading the system with fatigue if we try to pack too much together too soon. 

Big Picture Reality: Consistency in the training cycle and giving yourself and your body opportunity to adapt and recover from different stimuli is the easiest and best way to show up fit on the start line. 

Also related: The Power of Consistency-How Training is Like Investing 


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I've been running since April of 2011, and I got into it mostly for weight loss purposes.  I quickly realized that I loved running and became interested in getting better and setting goals.  Each season brings different challenges, and I like being coached by people that coach me based on my personal goals, rather than a generic website that makes us all one type of runner.  RunningLane is perfect for runners seeking specific training tailored to their own personal goals.