Why you don’t want training to be difficult…

I was looking through Gray Cook’s book Movement and along the way I keep picking up some great linesthat I wanted to share.

The first is “specificity and special interests kill objectivity and logic”. This is a great way to sum up any debate about what specifically is “better” in riding and training. In mountain biking its clipless vs. flats, base miles vs. intervals, 26 vs. 29 inch wheels, single speeds vs. geared bikes, 9 speed vs. 10 speed or dozens of other things. At the end of the day everything is “better” and nothing is “better”; it is up to you to keep some perspective and logic as part of your decision making process.

The second thing he wrote about that really spoke to me was the difference between “difficult” and “challenging”. Difficult just means that something is hard to complete while challenging infers that you are just at the edge of your abilities. You survive difficult tasks while you learn something from challenging tasks.

Too often we seek difficult and get good at surviving things but not really progressing much overall. Feeling like you’re working hard and actually learning something from your training sessions are two different things. Seek challenging first and it will become difficult as you master the exercise or drill; you can’t go right to difficult and expect mastery to happen.

As you can see, the principles and thought process I have towards training has a much different influence that some of the more popular “go hard or go home” mindsets on training. Move well first and then move often – you can’t do it the other way around (another line from the book I’m going to rip off). Durability is a big part of the game of life and you don’t want to regret ignoring these principles as you get older.

-James Wilson-

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  1. Greg says:

    James, a lot of people confuse training with racing. A common way of thinking is, training intensity needs to match racing intensity ALL THE TIME. They do not understand Hans Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) and how to apply it to improve performance. They do not understand that there is time for everything (endurance, speed, technique drills, … ) and that different intensities (energy systems) at different times combined with adequate recovery ultimately and surely lead to performance improvement. Whereas high intensity ALL THE TIME ultimately leads to injury and a performance plateau. Thus, it pays to be patient, take it easy when easy is required, push it when adequate and finally rest to be fit in time for your next workout.

    Reply • November 14 at 5:43 am

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James Wilson
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Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson