I’m just finishing a vacation with my family in Hawaii. And it’s been a great week to spend time together and relax.
But even though I’m on vacation there are still times when I notice little things that will help me as a coach. Below are the 3 takeaways from my time in Hawaii.
Slow down to learn
It seems as though everything in life is automatic and has to happen now. We can stream pretty much anything online without having to wait, do our banking in our pyjamas and have learned that we don’t need to wait.
While I was snorkelling near Waikoloa I would float over a some corral and not notice too much. I could very easily have changed directions, looked elsewhere or switched gears and grabbed a boogie board instead.
But I waited and just floated there for a second. And a variety of life came out from hiding. Fish that had tucked under the corral or stopped moving to blend in with it assumed everything was safe. The amount of life, colour and activity that presented itself was amazing.
It’s all because I gave it 5 seconds to develop for me.
Do the same thing with your training. Don’t rush things. Be patient. Really learn to listen to your body, to the movement and to notice the subtle aspects of your training.
Because if you’re always in a race you’ll miss a lot of the little, very important lessons right in front of you.
There is always lots to improve
As you become more patient with your training you will notice more things that you can improve. Take breathing as an example.
The complex where we were staying at had a gym. And by gym I mean a 10×10 foot room with a treadmill, bike, elliptical and a universal gym. So no gym.
But i still wanted to stay active and so I joined my father in law for his morning runs. Each day I would think about something different to focus on with my running. For example I would:
* run with a hand on my belly to ensure I was breathing with diaphragm and not solely through my chest
* run while shaking out my arms to ensure no wasted energy through the upper body
* pay attention to how quiet my feet were when contacting the ground
* focus on having a forward lean
* focus on trying to run tall
* pay attention to what areas of my body developed tension after the runs
As you can see there lots of things to focus on and improve with regards to running. The key is run only fast enough that nothing falls apart. For example, as soon I noticed my breathing becoming more chest rather than stomach based I would dial back the pace to bring this back under control.
Start with and always revert to the basics
If you’re a runner you’re probably looking to run further or faster. And if you’re a lifter you’re probably looking to lift more weight or a similar weight for more reps.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in the end goal that we gloss over the steps that help ensure we safely achieve our goal.
For example, what if the goal in every workout was to initiate each rep with proper posture? What if we established a neutral pelvic alignment by contracting the flutes first? What if we ensured a neutral rib that didn’t flare up? What if we set or braced the abs? Or packed the neck?
From this ideal starting position I’m guessing each rep would feel a lot better. I’m guessing loads would feel a lot easier. I’m guessing the potential strain that accompanies poor posture would all but be eliminated. And I’m guessing the recovery time for your workout would be reduced substantially.
And that’s if we just looked at posture.
The key is to remember what is your foundation and always come back to it. It’s a great way to center yourself and have a great starting place before trying a new lift or attempting a new max.
The take home message is that we can use opportunities to improve when all the conveniences of home aren’t readily available. Just remember to slow down, pick something to improve upon and always come back to the basics.