I heard a great story today about Alan the English dinosaur. The storyteller mentioned that Alan, "would have looked like a Brontosaurus, rather thin at the front and at the end, and fat in the middle. It sounds like I'm describing a Monty Python skit, doesn't it?"
Apologies to readers who don't know about Monty Python, but also congrats! You get to watch them for the first time! Their humourous skits would start with a thin plot, get very dense-to-absurd in the middle, and then end a bit thinly as well...
So the shape of their sketch comedy looked like a Brontosaurus, if you can imagine...
The Shape of things to come
When he mentioned the Monty Python analogy, I started to think about the shape of our progression of performance training. Think of a visual representation of our training evolution while we approach a big performance.
I just tried to draw what I think is a pretty common shape of performance training that I have often seen and done. It looks like a wavy vase on its side.
Here is the idea:
Timeline starts on the left, and progresses along, with swells and thinning of training quality. We ramp it up right before the big performance at the end.
What would be much better is something that is wide throughout. We also need room for a few dips of intensity along the way. But during our preparation, we fall off our path to successful performance during those large dips in training quantity and quality.
When the shape of our training is too much in the shape of wide-and-thin waves, we can't be sure we'll hit a good wave during our important performance. This topic is a large dinosaur-sized (but hopefully not shaped) topic we can explore deeper in the future. We're surrounded by books, courses, and consultants specializing in this. You're reading a newsletter right now that is devoted to this topic too! I'll research and obsess much more before I try to draw an optimal shape of performance training.
For now, please dive into the inspiring words my dear friend and mentor John Ulmer wrote in response to my rough sharing of my "Shape of Performance Training" idea.
My rough email to myself and John:
(FYI, this is how I collect thoughts each week for newsletters: I write emails to myself with "Newsletter" in the subject - I copied John this time)
Are you in shape?
In what shape is your performance ?
Thin at beginning and end, and fat in the middle?? Like a Monty Python skit?
Or Tyrannosaurus!? Thick throughout??
Most times we ramp it up to close to the event.......and sometimes have no tails...
I love this thinking.
Runners are always in shape-that is, a basic shaped that is their "B" game standard. That's the foundation, and it takes a long, long time to develop. That foundation is actually built not out of intense effort, but out of habits, which themselves emerge from devotion. The intense effort comes in the weeks before the race, when we rely on the foundation we have built (the breathing, the form, the muscle training and nourishment habits) to construct a race strategy that is tailored for the body we have built on our foundation. Sound familiar? What it means is that a victory almost never comes "out of nowhere". It's not a fluke-it's prepared for, and almost never does a runner win in a way that is unaccustomed or surprising. The time might surprise. The margin of victory might surprise, but those are just transitory measurements of the PRACTICE that has been built on the foundation that the runner's devotion has poured.
Task for Today - Pour some Devotion
Amazing writing, eh?! Wow...to construct a race strategy. Let's do this! I'm excited to have shared with you this idea of keeping the shape of our training progress to more of a steady growth shape, gradually getting wider as we improve. Through daily devotion in the form of our investment of time, energy, and choices, we shape our knowledge and skills.
When we perform we share our knowledge and skills.
When you trust your process, you move steadily forward. Keep doing well on this matter.
Find a way today to pour some devotion into your training in a way that wides its quantity and quality.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Ok, so you don't have to move slowly, but you do have to move steadily. Devote yourself to this process of steadiness. You cannot move steadily forward if you do not trust the process. Keep doing what you know will serve yourself and your dreams.
Be steadfast today.
Shape your learning well, in a steady shape of expansion. This is the most interesting man in the world...so he knows. Trust him:
Let's get in great shape today!
"Have no fear...YOU and HERE"
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