The 10 commandments in the Bible tells us what we should not do, such as though shall not steal.
The same applies to endurance training. There are some things that we should avoid, a 10 commandments of endurance training.
By following these 10 commandments of endurance training I can't promise you'll be cleansed of your 'training sins'. However, I can promise you'll perform better, be healthier and have greater levels of enjoyment.
1. Thou shall not compare one's self to others - comparison is the thief of joy. Do not fall into the trap of comparing yourself against others. The only person we should compare to - is ourselves. Are we a better version of who we were yesterday? Being on a path of continual improvement
2. Thou shall realise that your ego is not your friend - Ryan Holiday is the author of a great book titled, Ego is the Enemy. I highly recommend all endurance athletes have a read as there are so many principles in there that apply to endurance sport. I have seen ego destroy people's races due to going out too hard, all based on ego. And the same in training training. Especially going too hard in easy sessions based on uploading training data onto Strava or other social media platforms.
3. Thou shall realise success is not all about time, speed or followers on social media - at it's heart endurance sport is a battle against one's self. The ability to endure when our bodies want to stop. To test one's self against the ultimate enemy - yourself and come out on top. To cross the line knowing you gave it all your all.
4. Thou shall learn to listen to one's body - the answers we seek are inside us, not on our phone's, GPS watches or other wearables. Whilst such technology is useful and helpful, the more we are in tune with our instincts the better we will perform and the healthier we will be.
5. Thou shall not worry about what others think of us - just because someone else is faster does not make them a better person. To spend time worrying about what others think of us and how slow or fast we might be is taking energy away from enjoying your own journey. Be unapologetically you.
6. Thou shall accept there will be good days, bad days and everything in between - it is a given that some days in training you will feel terrible and that is normal. And some days you will feel bullet proof. The sooner you accept this the less time you will worry about the days you feel like 'crap'.
7. Thou shall see setbacks as an opportunity rather than a problem - it is highly probable at some stage you will get injured, sick, have a race not go to plan and struggle with motivation. All endurance athletes go through this. Crying poor me only makes it worse. Reframe the setback as an opportunity to learn why things went wrong. Be grateful for the ability to train and participate in sport when many other who would like to can't.
8. Thou shall place health over performance - a healthy athlete is a fast athlete. Placing importance on sleep, a healthy diet, positive mindset and regular breaks from hard blocks of training will ensure you stay healthy. The pursuit of performance is not always beneficial to health and there is a fine line.
9. Thou shall be patient - To achieve one's potential in endurance sport takes years of consistent training. Not weeks or months but years of at times repetitive and boring training at an easy aerobic intensity. It is not glamorous but it works.
10. Thou shall practice routine - motivation is a limited behaviour while routine is not. Athletes who achieve their potential have their life on repeat. Good daily routines and habits allow you to be consistent. And consistency leads to achieving your best. Be a creature of habit.