I was working with my athletes at the track the other night and did the usual post session evaluation. They had been doing a standard, interval training session on the track to improve their anaerobic endurance. It is a hard session and they build up a lot of lactic acid by the end of it (the burn). Each athlete is given a target time to complete each run.  This is the intensity (their power output – how hard they are working). It is not their perceived effort but a more accurate measure of training intensity that is used to get a specific training effect on the athlete. in this case – developing the body’s ability to operate efficiently under the lactic conditions that occur in the 200m & 400m events (anaerobic endurance). Looking at the times the athletes achieved in the session it is clear that they all ran with a different mindset. One athlete ran consistent times, one athlete pulled up with severe cramp, one athlete started off too fast on the fist few runs then slowed to below the target time for the last runs. One athlete started fast, then had a few slow runs but as always finished with their fastest run. So which athlete will have achieved  the greatest training effect from the session?


According to basic training principles,training must include overload and progression to be successful. The body must be overloaded so that it has to work harder than normal. As the body adapts to a particular workload, the person should progress to a higher work level. For example, to gain strength, the muscles must be loaded beyond the point at which they are normally loaded. As the muscles become stronger, the load has to be increased to stimulate further strength increases. The load should be increased gradually over a long period of training. If the load is too high, there is a risk of overtraining and overuse injuries.

In high intensity interval training sessions on the track it is easy to see how hard the athletes are working  – their relative intensity (how fast they are running compered to their best performance over that distance). I can see who is working within their comfort zone, who has pushed themselves too far, and who has tested themselves. When I spoke to the athletes after the session they were all tired and felt that they tried their best. They will all gain some training effect from the session but some will have benefited and will adapt more than others.

 Highly successful people routinely step outside their comfort zones, to accomplish what they want. A comfort zone is where a person creates and operate mental boundaries to give them a sense of security. A person who has established a comfort zone in a particular area, will tend to stay within that zone without stepping outside of it. To step outside a comfort zone, a person must experiment with new and different behaviours, and then experience the new and different responses that then occur within their environment. Who was brave enough to step out of their comfort zone?

 We all exercise to get results and to achieve a goal but are we doing our best to get the results that we want or are we finding ourselves just going through the motions in our comfort zone and then moaning about how things are not as good as they could be?

 Are we putting in the effort, time and thought?

 Most of us are no-where near giving it our best – we occasionally put the effort in but often in reality we have an ” I am going to do just enough to get by” approach.

 If you are not getting the results that you hope for then ask yourself whether in your heart of hearts you have given it your absolute best. 

 The quickest route to where we want to go is by doing our absolute best to make it happen.  We all get distracted but if we are committed to success then we have to focus sharply on the goal, train with intent, give 100% effort all of the time.

The people who always do their best are the ones that get the biggest results in all aspects of their lives.


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