Team OPP just returned from the Tough Mudder in Whistler. And we killed it!
By this I mean that we all:
* completed the race
* didn’t suffer any type of injury
* all bounced back as quickly as the next day
* shaved up to 50 minutes off last year’s time (way to go girls!)
But what about you?
Have you ever trained for a specific race or event?
Maybe it was a triathlon or a powerlifting competition. You might like to run and entered a 10 k or half marathon.
Whatever the event was there are a number of benefits of putting your name down for an event. Below are the Top 7 Reasons for Entering a Competitive Sporting Event.
#1 – Increased Training Intensity
For most people knowing that they will have to face some type of challenge will help them to dig a little deeper during training and push harder.
For me it was the hill beside the ski jump at Olympic Park in Whistler. Last year this climb destroyed me and I kept reminding myself that this wasn’t going to be a repeat. Every step on the sand-dunes or run around the block with a sandbag was inspired by the thought of last year’s event.
But even if you don’t have a previous experience to draw upon it’s pretty easy to picture your opponent doing a little extra to gain an advantage. And you don’t want them to get ahead or in competition when it matters so you up your game as well.
#2 – End Point in Sight
Which is harder to train indefinitely until a coach says ‘stop’ or to perform a set amount of an exercise, even if it’s a lot, and know you’re done when you get there?
Obviously knowing when you’re done is easier. And when you’re going through a tough phase of training it’s much easier to convince yourself the discomfort only has to last 1 more month, or one more workout or one more set.
Committing to an event gives you an end point in sight and you feel some relief and benefit as you get closer to that date. Having nothing on the calendar can make training feel perpetual and you wonder when it will let up? With a competitive event you know exactly when this is.
#3 – You Get to Test Yourself
Have you ever heard the expression ‘you can’t improve what you don’t measure?’ And more importantly, do you believe this to be true?
I think we all have to agree this is true. And if so than are we getting fitter? Stronger? Faster? Leaner?
What types of improvements are we making? How effective are they?
The best way to find out is to step up to the start line and compete.
#4 – You Find Your Weaklinks
I’m a big believer in addressing your weaklinks in order to improve. For example, if I’m a triathlete I would compare where I finished each leg of the race relative to the other competitors. If I was first out of the water and had the fastest bike but finished 10th overall it should be pretty clear what I need to work on.
Competition and opponents will expose our weaklinks better than any training session ever will. Learn from your weaklinks, put extra attention there and see the difference this makes in your performance.
#5 – Puts You Out of Your Comfort Zone
One of the unique features of a living organism is that it responds to stimuli. And the more frequent and varied the stimuli the better.
In other words you need to get out of your comfort zone to improve. One of the unique features of the Tough Mudder races is that they challenge you physically and mentally as well. Think of how many people have aversions to cold water, tight spaces, fire, heights and you can understand the purposeful selection of the various obstacles during a Tough Mudder. Deadlifting a house won’t help you one bit when you’re in a small tube where you need to go underground, hold your breath under water and crawl to the other side.
#6 – You Get to Taper
Everyone should have programmed rest periods in their training. But many people don’t fully appreciate these when there isn’t a challenge coming up.
And this usually is related to #1 above. If the intensity hasn’t been that great in training than there isn’t the same urgency to unload and reduce the intensity, volume and or frequency of training.
#7 – You Become Part of a Community
Once you have competed in some competitive events you start to recognize some faces. You know the names of the people in your division that you will compete against. And you also have a network of people to call on for a training session.
This is not to say the same couldn’t be done even if you don’t compete. But if you do, and your training partners do as well, you will push each other a little more. And you’re more likely to train when conditions aren’t ideal just because you know the event is coming whether you’re ready or not.
Challenge to You
Here’s what I’d like for each of you. Pick an event. It doesn’t matter what. If you like to lift come out for one of our powerlifting meets. If you want to try a triathlon we’re doing the one in Summerland on Sept 1. And of course you’re always welcome to join us in Whistler next year for Tough Mudder.
Because unless you compete in an event of some type you may be leaving something on the table with regards to your training.