For those motivated with their training, it can seem as if time stretches out. We are meticulous with our warm ups, our stretching and strength work, and everything else that goes into being a great athlete. However, I want you to think about a different idea: efficiency. What would happen if the time you had to train was cut in half? For those who enjoy running around ten hours a week (plus let’s say two hours of work outside of running), that’s twelve hours of training per week. What if that time was cut in half? If you only had six hours a week to train, what would you do?
Simple. You’d have to prioritize certain elements of your week. I’d imagine you’d want to keep your two workout days and your long run, so that would take up about three or four hours. Now, you have a maximum of three left, and so many other things you want to do. You’re stuck. Do you keep the strides every day, or do you keep some easy runs? Do you do that half hour strength workout every morning, or do you use the time for hill sprints?
It’s a dilemma, for sure. However, I’d like to put forth that perhaps we should try and think about the most important aspects of our training, and how they relate to the overall structure of our weeks. If we only had half the time to train, we would be forced to highlight some aspects of our training while ignoring others (assuming the workouts are generally of the same length). Are you putting enough emphasis on quality during the week, or are you doing too many runs at the same moderate pace? Volume is important, but so is quality, and if that volume was taken away, there should still be quality left in your week. If not, your week wouldn’t be very productive.
Remember, when you create your training plan, write it as if you only had half the time to train. Make sure that there is a balance between volume and quality, and that you’re prioritizing the essentials. As a coach, your job is to give the athlete the route he or she needs to achieve their goals. Whether this is with twelve hours of training a week or six, you must be able to be efficient with the training plan. No matter the time an athlete has to train, you need to find a way to get the most “bang for your training buck”.
Always keep efficiency and quality in the back of your mind when thinking about training.