Stacking the Deck In Your Favor Every Training Week

696 452 Patrick McCrann

As obsessed as the average athlete is with data and all their devices, they also have a practically unbreakable habit that negatively impacts their training. Learning to decode this hardwired habit will help you create training momentum and improve your overall training results. 

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Defining The Problem

One of the most significant habits is measuring units of work by seven day increments. Yes, enemy number one is the average training week. 

Benchmarking for performance on a daily level is too granular. Comparing individual workouts across weeks or months is important, but doesn’t give us a sense of our recent improvement trends. Instead, athletes should look week-to-week for indicators of overall progress.


Why Use A Week?

This is a good question! It could just be habit based off of the 7-Day week that we all operate on. Maybe it’s a function of the training software this become popular. Hard to say the reason why, but it is the system in which we operate. We love building training weeks!

In that sense, it is our in order to get more out of ourselves, and our training, we have to not only understand the system we have to figure out a way to beat it.

One of the best ways to when a game is to understand how the game is played. With the knowledge in hand, you can then begin creating the conditions for your success.


Breaking Down The Training Weekly Training Cycle

In a typical training week, the majority of work for the everyday athlete is placed on the weekends. Work, social commitments, life, etc. All of these factors create a downward slope that points to Saturday and Sunday as the ideal training days for adding more work.

So when we look at an average training week with seven workouts, one per day, it’s safe to say that the two biggest workouts will be on Saturday and Sunday.

Put another way, in a 10-hour training week there’s a high likelihood that 40% to 50% of the work will happen on the weekend.


Carving Out Your Advantage on Day One

Instead of waiting until the end of the week to consolidate the work that you’ve done, start your week with the work that sets you on the right path.

Starting strong sets the tone for the rest of your week athletically. Getting that work in, despite the daily friction, creates a small amount of momentum that carries you through the week. 

Knowing this, plan for a decent workout on that first day back. 

If you’re training for a 40 mile run week, for example, your bong run on the weekend might be 12 miles. That leaves 28 other miles to cover in six days, or an average of  4.6 miles a day.

Simply maximize their first day to be a nice steady six mile run. Not only are you off on the right foot – pun intended – you are ahead of the daily average!  


Training Insurance For Emergency Days Off

One of the hidden benefits of the early start is flexibility later in your week. 

Should something arise that prohibits you from training…like it does almost every week…you still have the work you did earlier in the week on your side. 

Yes, the unexpected day off certainly inhibits the flexibility that you had moving forward, but it doesn’t disrupt the progress you’ve made towards your goals. You’re not back at zero, your momentum has just slightly been checked.


What Is The Optimal Day Off?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, I recommend  that the first day of your week isn’t the rest day. Make it an easy day, or a skill day. Incorporate cross training or a different modality that allows you to decompress from the work of the weekend. This isn’t a session that adds additional stress to your system, it’s a session that allows you to exit gracefully. Of course, it’s secretly adding towards your aim for this next week.

With all of that said, we recommend that Friday be your strategic day off from training. this will not only allow you to kick off the week right with your Monday. it also gives you the opportunity for rest, should you need it, before your big weekend.

Whether or not you take that rest, or have to fill that day because of an emergency day off earlier in the week is completely up to you.


But But But…Excuses!!!

Yes, of course there are always valid reasons why people need a day off on Monday. Work can be insane. Perhaps you’ve neglected things over the weekend. Maybe it’s your regular report out that you need to spend time preparing for.

All of these are valid, but there are symptoms of another problem. If you are struggling with meeting your weekly targets, firmly grab hold of this first day as a critical part of your weekly training cycle. Doing that will force you to solve these other issues that you’ve allowed to inhibit your athletic growth.


Days are Weeks. Weeks are Months. Months are Seasons. 

There are only so many weeks in a year, and if you’re able to make this change you will have 52 improved opportunities to reach your goals. 

If you’re still unsure if this will work for you, pick a month and just try it out. Give yourself four consecutive weeks of starting off with a training session. Take notes in your training journal to see how it works. At the end of the month do a retrospective. How did you do relative to your training goals? How negative was the impact?

My guess is that you’ll find not only did you hit your goals oh, but you are also significantly de-stressed later in the week. While we have financial and social commitments that we cannot ignore, now our athletic personality is often the driver seat. Keeping that personality happy makes everything else in our world go a little bit smoother.

Good luck…I’ll be looking for your Monday workout in Strava! 

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