Why I Can’t…

  |   Endurance, Planning, Psychology, Training

We deal with many amateur and newbie athletes a lot of the time here at Positive Kinetics and as odd as this may sound, one of the most common discussions we have with athletes is why they can’t train. Now, this may sound a little odd, why would people come to us to help with their training and then tell us why they cannot train? It’s actually a very common safety-net that most of us will likely employ at some point in our lives when confidence is low and nerves are high, especially when taking a leap into the unknown or trying to get back to where we once were with something. Listing the reasons why we can’t do something or proclaiming that “I just can’t do that” gives us the safety net to ‘fail’ or not achieve what we really want deep down.

But what if we thought about ‘training’ differently? We all have real challenges in our life – it may be time, age-related concern, injury, perceived ability or all of the above. Whilst these may indeed be a challenge, I can almost guarantee that they are not unique and are almost never the barrier that you may think they are, we just have to consider what your view of training is, what your desired outcome is and what your lifestyle will allow for. Once we have a clear idea of these we can look at how we fit training into your life.

One of the first things we do when discussing goals with an athlete is look at a typical week and all the things that are crammed into it. It’s all well and good buying into that fitness plan that demands a solid hour in the gym 4 times a week for guaranteed results, but if you can’t realistically carve out the time then you’re immediately setting yourself up for failure and potentially wasting time and money trying to achieve something that’s not realistic. Instead what we do is look at what responsibilities exist and where/how much time can be set aside for training regularly during the week. With this knowledge, we can begin to construct a more realistic vision for what training in your life is going to look like and what a realistic outcome is likely to be. Once you have these balanced out, you’ve set yourself up to succeed rather than doomed yourself to failure, but you have to be honest about what you want and the time you’ve got for it to work. As much as you may want to train like a professional, if you don’t have the time, you just can’t do it. You can however train like someone with your schedule!

With a concrete base to devise your training strategy on, the next thing to do is build a programme around what you want and what you can do. Just because you think you’re old doesn’t mean you can’t train. Our oldest athlete at K+ is in his 80’s and he’s still training. We don’t do the same with him as we do with our junior athletes, but that’s ok, they’ve got different goals and ambitions and the most important thing is that he’s still training. Most of our amateur athletes are working a day-job and living a family life too, so we structure the training plans for each and every one of them around their lives so they do what they can, when they can without upsetting the delicate balance of the daily routine. Sometimes it’s just a 20min session, but it all counts at the end of the day.

It’s not rocket science to evaluate your week, but it can be hard to take the time to do it and also to take an honest look at your daily life. This can often be one of the most valuable things I can offer as a coach. More often than not, we find something in the week that isn’t important or enjoyable but because it’s part of the routine it just stays in there anyway. Taking a step back from it all and looking at it fresh can be one of the most valuable things you can do and really allow you to set up your training to become as much a part of your daily life as family, work and dinner. Our daily schedule will change over time as commitments and responsibilities change and this is an opportunity to evolve your training as your life changes. Don’t think that once you’ve made a plan it can’t change. In fact, it should change to keep things interesting if nothing else but again, needs to be done with an honest assessment of the other parts of your life.

Training doesn’t have to be about long, hard sessions time and again. It just needs to work towards your goal. So if you’ve struggled to make a programme work, found it hard to make training a habit, or give yourself reasons why you can’t train. Start with this to take the first steps down the road to moving better, feeling better, getting stronger or whatever it is you want to do, and if you need some advice, you know who to call!

Stay Positive,

Coach K.