Successfully moving from periods of endeavour to periods of health and wellbeing is the method that allows for sustainable and satisfying training. Here I provide some practical steps to achieving sustainable training that allows you to thrive.
It seems rather obvious that our culture pushes us towards achievement, we strive to be anything but ordinary. This is often reflected in our physical endeavours and how we use our body. Endeavours are brilliant expressions of physical performance. Yet while we strive to achieve objectives with our body, be it strength or cardiovascular pursuits, we should always be taking periods where our emphasis is health and wellbeing.
Endeavours are challenges, that push you to your limits, they take you out of your comfort zone and put you in situations that can be truly difficult. Taking on endeavours is a powerful way to progress as they usually require a great deal of specific planning and intentional training before they are undertaken. Not only do they lead to physical progression but can also make us more resilient in other areas of our lives.
Setting the endeavour, creating the plan, the physical act of working towards the goal, all of these steps of goal pursuit are highly valuable skills that will be very beneficial in all areas of life. When we consider how similar the goal pursuit is in almost any other area of life, this skill should be highly valued. This is especially true when it is to be performed in a rational and meticulous manner.
I think performing endeavours like Marathons, Weightlifting meets, CrossFit competitions etc are a great way to express your passion for different styles of movement. However, when this becomes the only reason you move, the only reason you’re able to find consistent training, then your training is likely not sustainable at all.
Health and wellbeing often require an extreme drop in training difficulty through reductions in load and frequency. How fast do we need to be to run a marathon to be physically healthy? How much does our powerlifting total need to be? These endeavours reach a point where they are not moving us towards health but away from it. This is why health and wellness blocks are so important, they help us pull back towards health, which eventually will allow for greater performance.
If I was to design a week of movement to be healthy, it would be extremely different from that of an endeavour mentioned above. A health and wellbeing block will obviously not be the same for every individual, a powerlifter who just finished a meet will not do the same training regime for health and wellness as a runner who just finished a marathon.
Characteristics that make up a health and wellbeing block of training:
When taking on difficult tasks such a marathons and strength meets, they need to be well planned. They will often require a rather large training phase of at least 12 weeks with at least 12 weeks of good consistent training before hand. This is a full 6 months of dedicated, specific training works an event. Obviously each endeavour requires its own plan, specific to the individual.
If there is one thing I would like people to take out of this article, it is that they should plan rest periods around their endeavours. Setting these periods where the foot is on the breaks in terms of physical output, where you can focus on health and wellbeing, getting lots of sleep and eventually moving into another endeavour (if you feel like it). Do not make the common mistake of jumping from event to event to event, never planning appropriately, never recovery properly either. This is usually associated with a great deal of injuries and never approaching your genetic potential to perform at your best.
If you are like a lot of my clients, during a year there may be multiple endeavours you would like to perform. If this is the case, you should build out an annual calendar, blocking out how long you’re training and recovering from each endeavour. This will allow you to visualise your year and build detailed training blocks for each phase. When rest is planned, it doesn’t feel unproductive, it can actually feel as if you’re doing something very productive through allowing your body to reach full recovery.
The plan is a guide, it is designed to be changed. It will never be followed to the letter, unless maybe you’re an olympic athlete who is dedicated you entire output to this goal. Making changes to the plan is where you can be at your strongest, be adaptable and roll with the punches. Being highly organised yet highly adapting is the ultimate goal when it comes to success in all sorts of long term endeavours.
Taking a long term approach to your endeavours, building slowly and methodically with patience with long periods of rest and recovery will not only result in your success, but in making the entire process much more enjoyable and gratifying.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.