Regular readers of my blog will know that I try to impart lessons learned around training, racing etc that I use with Pros and bring them to amateur athletes. One of the things I have noticed where there are the biggest differences is in the general ability to make good decisions when it matters.
Some of the most striking and consequential differences are psychological. I have observed over the years that nearly all elite athletes tend to make very good decisions both big and small, from choosing whether to follow a competitor’s surge in a race to choosing a coach.
I am happy when an Elite has the ability to ditch a workout that they are not performing badly in but also by how comfortable they are with a the decision if it is for the right reasons, which inevitably they are. For most athletes, bailing from a session would strike a blow to their confidence, but Elites kept things in perspective, knowing that their training was going well overall, knowing that a truncated session in isolation is nothing more than a bump in the process.
I see examples like this time and time again, elite athletes consistently strikingly rational decisions when they needed to be made. Recreational athletes, by contrast, very often make decisions based in fear and insecurity. It’s not that they don’t have the ability to be rational, but when the pressure is on they allow panic to seize the moment from reason.
It is my observation that elite endurance athletes tend to be very good decision makers and the belief that it is how you become elite at anything, not just endurance sports. Mastery is the result of a lot of good decisions.
As an example, one area where I see recreational athletes struggle particularly to make good decisions is performance weight management, or the pursuit of racing weight. I see people making bad decisions in goal setting (fixating on a certain weight or body fat percentage they want to reach instead of letting form follow function), method selection (trying extreme diets instead of emulating the proven eating habits of the most successful athletes), and execution (breaking their own rules and giving in to temptations more often than they can get away with without sabotaging their progress).
As with previous posts, the focus should entirely be on the process.
Train Smart, Race faster
Sisu Racing Triathlon Coach