I have a saying that I use a lot when working with riders. I use it a lot because the riders I work with tend to be pretty driven and want to know the “perfect” program or training plan for them. They figure that if they know the formula they can follow it and everything will be great.

And this approach works…for about 1% of the mountain bikers out there. The problem is that most of us have this variable to the equation called “life” and few of us can truly focus on training to that degree.

For the rest of us we have to deal with the realities that life throws at us, which is what lead me to my saying…

There is “optimal” and then there is “reality”. The goal of a program/ training plan is to optimize your reality, not to force some version of “optimal” onto your reality.

What this means is that you have to assess your reality first before you start working on what will be optimal.

For example, are you not able to train on certain days because of work or family obligations? It doesn’t matter how “optimal” it may be for you to train on that day because your reality won’t allow it. You’ll have to adjust your schedule to optimize your reality and spending time and energy wishing it wasn’t that way won’t help.

Another example would be if you got hurt or sick. Obviously this won’t allow you to train the same way and you should adjust your program accordingly. Gutting out a workout while sick or injured because your program says that is what you are supposed to do today will probably set you back even more in the long run and certainly isn’t optimizing your reality.

At the heart of this is the ability to be flexible and to keep the big picture in mind. When you realize that you have years if not decades of training in front of you you’ll start to appreciate how this skills is vital to your long term success. Riders who can’t learn how to optimize their reality tend to get hurt and burned out, which isn’t good no matter how optimized their training program was supposed to be.

Now, I do have to say that this isn’t a license to make excuses. Sometimes you need to be honest with yourself about what you really have to do and what you choose to do in order to make more time for training. A lot of times we get trapped by our choices which means we have to start making different choices.

But this is also a part of optimizing your reality. Whether you need to make adjustments to fit it all in around your schedule or you need to fix your schedule in the first place, when you bring this attitude to the problem it is easier to find a solution.

So don’t beat yourself up if you can’t seem to keep up with a program or schedule that wasn’t made to fit into and optimize your reality. Learning to be aware of and work with your reality is an important skill to learn and one that will serve you well in a lot of areas.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

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