Consistency is the key to successful training. Together with intensity, these two elements develop the best athletes anywhere in the world. Above all else, consistency and intensity are probably the only elements which truly separates the good athletes from the great athletes, regardless of the sport application.
The reason consistency is important to successful training and therefor performance is because it allows you to maintain a steady growth of your performance, even when going through the rough patches. You progress, while talented inconsistent athletes might be at a higher level initially, you’ll soon pass them and they’ll find it hard to keep up. Building your standard of performance one small block at a time, continuously, will make you a great athlete.
By pushing through and dealing with plateaus and staying consistent, you’ll achieve better results than the person who is unreliable and backs off when times get tough. Don’t misinterpret this as meaning that you should not have any breaks – they’re essential, but they should be calculated and part of your plan, not random and possibly detrimental to a potential peak in the next evolution of your athletic ability.
By staying consistent, you develop mental strength, staying on course, making the most improvements, even if small ones. It even goes as far to say that consistency is possibly even more important than a well designed training program. Put it this way; a poorly design training program which is followed consistently will get you better results than a great program which is not followed consistently.
Keys to Consistency
Here are some tips which will aid you in being more consistent:
* Create a realistic training schedule. Create a schedule you know you will stick to, without conflicting with other life events. Don’t back off from this schedule and only adapt it to tweak it, but don’t make any excuses to miss any training days.
* Track your progress. Log your results and see how you’re progressing, plateauing or even regressing. By tracking your progress you can get a better overview over time and it will help visualise how your program is working for you.
* Rest appropriately. Periodization ensures that you also schedule regular rest and active recovery. Your body needs it and it also allows you to perform at your best when pushing hard, instead of being fatigued and overworked.
* Set goals (short and long term). Goals give you the motivation to reach what you’re aiming for, instead of taking it as it comes. Read this great article on goal setting.
* Take only the positive from each training session. Even if a session is tough and you don’t achieve what you wanted to, find a positive in what you have done and see it as an opportunity to improve next time.
* Break through your plateaus. Look at what might be causing this plateau and effect change which will see you break through this annoying phase and move forward. This article on running plateaus is a great feature to help you understand great ways to do it properly.
* Find balance in life. Don’t focus all your energy on one thing, even if it is just training – especially because you’re probably not a professional athlete. Read this feature on finding the right balance in life.