Athletic Performance and Variety Training

Ok. So I am not one to do long posts but my experience yesterday during my run lit a few light bulbs for me that I feel other athletes will benefit from.

So, I have been doing trail races every month since April this year. With it being my first attempt at trail running I new my body would need to adjust and it would take time to feel comfortable and fast like I do on road runs. Comfortable and fast never really came. I struggled all year to run a trail without my legs getting to exhaustion and having to walk up the hills. Very frustrating because I have been following a training program for trail running diligently.

Fast forward to my October 21st race. I actually was not looking forward to it because of my experience all year long. I didn't want to work so hard to do something I love. The race started and things were feeling good as most starts do. I kept telling myself to keep pace, don't rush, you'll tire soon. That tiredness never came! I was running strong, getting up and over every hill with some sort of ease, and I had a smile on my face. I was enjoying it so much that it was then that I came up with the idea of this post. My mind wasn't focused on how many more miles or how crappy I felt; it was on how amazing I felt.

Reflecting back on my training, I asked myself what I did I do differently? (yes, all this still while running, lol) I started to implement CrossFit, more mobility focused yoga, and myofascial release; not to mention I became my own boss which affected my mentality tremendously!

For a long time, I was the person that thought, "if I need to do 'this', then 'this' is all I should do to get my body trained properly. Well, this run proved me wrong. It showed me that when you give the body multiple different avenues to pull from it is then that it will perform at its highest. When your body only knows one thing, that is all it can pull from; when it has strengths in many different areas it has the ability to switch from a gas tank that's getting low to a full gas tank. Each gas tank has different strengths but having the ability to give the low tank a rest and refuel is key. With the variety training I did I gave my body multiple tanks to use...

Run training: gave my body the endurance to get thru all 13.1 miles
Yoga: kept my stride long, body flexible, mind focused, fast recovery time to train strong everyday
CrossFit: gave my body the grit strength to get me up and over the hills
HIIT workouts: quick cardio recovery
MFR: faster recovery and injury prevention

So, what am I saying.... If you want to perform at your highest level, variety is key! Doing the same thing every day does not allow your body to reach its full potential.