For anyone that’s been training for a while sometimes you need a reason to carry on with the efforts. Because when we first get started it can be easy to get motivated for training.
Sometimes we are exposed to a new style of training that we really like. And we meet new people. And we develop a new skill. And because we are new at this type of training the gains come quickly at the beginning.
Consider for example someone who is active but has never done any resistance training. This person goes for runs, plays rec soccer and does yoga. But they have never done any type of lifting.
In the first few months they may go from controlling their own bodyweight during an overhead squat, to doing a goblet squat with 65 pounds and eventually back squatting 240 lbs. Obviously this rate of progression does not continue indefinitely or everyone would be squatting 1000 lbs within a year.
So for those people who aren’t newbies to lifting how do they find purpose with their training? How do they continue to improve? How do they ensure they are on the right track?
The answer is to enter a competitive event. And below are three reasons to enter a competitive sporting event.
#1 – Know Thy Numbers
For people that train they can quickly rattle of what they squat, bench or deadlift. But these numbers are based on gym training sessions. These are numbers that were generated with our buddies spotting us maybe a little too generously. These were numbers we gave ourselves based on our interpretation of complete range of motion and ideal technique. Enter a powerlifting meet and you quickly find out how everything changes.
But besides the fact that your best-ever lift in one particular lift is not the same as doing all three on one day in a meet, there is a bigger benefit to competing. And that is that you learn your numbers.
If it’s a lifting competition you learn your max in the particular lifts. And if you enter a road race of some type you learn what your total time is for a given distance. You learn what your splits are at each point of the race. You learn how fast you headed out as well as how strong you came home at the finish.
All of this info will help you to design a more effective training program going forward.
#2 – ID Your Weakness
There is definitely value in having a genetic advantage in something athletic. Think of rowers with their long levers, strong legs and hips and wide backs. Or picture a bench press champion with a barrel chest and incredibly strong hands. Or the massive yet explosive sumo wrestler. It’s easy to picture the ideal athletic physique in each of these sports.
For ourselves, we may have a genetic predisposition to doing something really well. And that’s great. But ultimately we are only as good as our weakest link. And neglecting or avoiding this weak link holds us back from realizing our true potential.
Imagine the triathlete that is a former competitive swimmer and is solid on the bike but get caught by everyone on the run. Until they work on their running they will never finish as well as they might hope.
After competing take a look at what was hard? If it was running how were the hills? Did you finish strongly? Was your overall time what you were shooting for? Answering the questions as to what was hardest will give you clues as to what you need to work on to get better next time.
#3 – Accountability
There’s a lot of benefit to entering a race. Once you have put your name down, paid the registration fees and shared this with others you are now committed. And this a a great thing.
Once we have a date for an event coming up it is a little easier to find motivation to train. And it’s a little easier to push a little harder on days where it’s just not there. And it’s a little easier to fast track your results which could otherwise be stretched out indefinitely when there is no date circled on the calendar for a test.
But besides holding you accountable to your training there are benefits to other areas of your life. I know for me personally I tend to clean up the nutrition before a race or event. And I will try and get better sleep. And I try and take better care of myself with massage, foam rolling and other recovery strategies.
#4 – Fun
Training should be fun. It’s one thing to suffer through difficult sessions because the end goal is worth it. But don’t think that we can’t enjoy the ride there as well.
And when you enter a race or meet with others the experience is even better. Next time check out the picture above the desk from Tough Mudder.
If you had been there you would have seen the endorphins in full effect. We’ve all just finished the race and are basking in the sun. This is such a great feeling it makes you want to find a competition every weekend.
When was the last time you entered an individual competitive event? You can get similar insights from team sports but not as many and not as specific to your needs. If it’s been a while and you need a spark to ignite new results and passion with your training look to enter a competitive event. If lifting is your thing talk to us at Okanagan Peak Performance Inc about our powerlifting and Pump & Run competitions. As well, we have some of our team doing triathlons this summer. Figure out what sounds most appealing to you and we’ll support you, help you get ready and see you on race day.