Over the winter, my training took a set-back, partially due to a nagging calf and partially due to an overly busy schedule. I was not able to get in the training I wanted compared to previous years. Some of you might have months like this – or even years. Your mindset during these periods will be crucial to your comeback.
The inclination during periods of poor training is to constantly compare yourself to where you were or where you want to be. This leads to poor confidence and often over-reaching in training which can hold us down even longer. Instead, you need to focus on the now – assess your current fitness, adjust your training zones, and embrace the period of training that you are in at that moment. Allow it to make you hungrier – determined to achieve new levels down the road.
I know this sounds odd but I really enjoy losing fitness and then regaining it. Instead of panicking that I am not where I once was, I embrace the different type of training the new fitness level forces me to do (less volume and intensity) and look forward to the process of re-building fitness. It does no good for me to get frustrated with where I am – I need patience. Regaining fitness is the best part as there is no time in your training when you will improve so rapidly. Once you approach previous fitness levels, the improvement becomes much less incremental – embrace the rapid growth and be hopeful for where you will ultimately land.
If you are in the middle of an “off” season and your fitness is not quite where you want, be patient and embrace it. Ultimately, it will lead to your best season yet.