By: Heather Nielson
Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? The basic premise is that while in pursuit of your goals, whether it’s diet, work, fitness, or money related and you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing on a daily basis 80% of the time, you’re doing pretty good. It’s very rare to have everything in life go much better than that for very long. If you’re anything like me however, 80% just isn’t good enough. 100% is the bare minimum. However, my definition of 100% has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. I hold myself to pretty high standards and for better or worse it’s gotten me where I am in life, career and bicycle racing.
Over the past few years however, I’ve realized that those ‘black and white’, ‘all or none’ standards really aren’t the best idea; nor are they the best, healthiest or fastest path to success and here’s why: let’s say I laid out a training plan for the next 4-6 weeks, slowly building time and intensity on the bike; as well as weight, reps and sets and types of exercises in the gym; then I would go and do THAT. No matter what. I didn’t care how tired I was, how stressed out I was, what the whether was like, personal life (wait, what’s that?), or any other silly life commitments like laundry and cooking. All the other stuff got done of course, but I was continually over-trained.
The last few years, I’ve learned to let go of some of that stubbornness and trust other people who know more than I do, who know me and care about my success to help me reach my goals to advise, guide and coach me. I’ve also learned to listen to my body and take more recovery; even when it didn’t follow my or our training plan. Learning to trust these other few people has been a lot more difficult than I anticipated because let’s face it, I’m a self-made woman. The result? I got stronger, faster and I’m able to balance more of the rest of my life in a healthier way. Am I training ‘more’? No. I’m training smarter by balancing more recovery, maximizing my time on the bike, trusting my support system and listening to my body.
Learning to let go of the ‘plan’ and trusting that if you never stop listening to your body and those you trust, keep asking questions, keep learning, keep moving forward that you’re actually exactly on the path you should be on, and you’ll make gains in exactly the way you should and are capable of. You will get closer to your goals and your potential because you learned to adapt faster which means you’ll get stronger….faster. Trust me.