Flexibility leads to consistency

Race day may be set in stone, most other days can be adjusted if necessary

I know, the subject of this post seems like an oxymoron, right? If you’re being flexible with the plan, how can you be consistent?

To understand this, we need to understand two things.

1) First, consistency doesn’t mean the same thing every day, every week, every month or even every year. It means that, within natural ebbs and flows, you are mostly holding steady. You’re seeing ebbs and flows, not wild swings.

Very few people have ever been able to be extremely rigid and consistent. There need to be up times and down times. Mentally and physically, we need to allow for good times and less good times (hopefully avoiding the real bad times) if we want to keep going for the long term.

2) Second, lack of flexibility is rigidity. Just like in engineering, where a structure that is too rigid is brittle, a training plan that is too rigid is also brittle.

If you’re constantly trying to do the same thing every week or every month, what happens when something comes up? Maybe a slight injury, do you try to run through it and make it worse because you need to stick with the plan? Maybe a family issue, do you try to run through added stress and get turned off of running?

If you’re flexible, you can let a workout or two go to stay the course long term. I often tell people, if you can get in at least 80% of what you had planned exactly as you had it planned, things will go pretty well. If you can get in at least 90%, things will go incredibly well. If you aim for 100%, though, there’s a high risk that something goes very wrong and you’re no longer meeting that 80% threshold. That’s when things don’t go all that well.

Rigidity breaks down. Flexibility is needed to keep you getting things done “most of the time”. All the time just doesn’t happen in the real world.

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