Anytime I think about “time” I usually get some bad rendition of Time is on My Sideby the Rolling Stones or Fly Like an Eagle by Seal stuck in my head for what seems like an eternity. Walk around with those, or any song about time, stuck in your head all day and you’ll most certainly hate the concept just little bit more. But before I go and get one of those songs stuck in your head, let me get to the reason I’m bring this up.
Time never stops. Time is precious. Time is of the essence.
I know those are pretty commonly know facts that we all live with in our daily lives. We can never get a single second back once it is past and we will never again be as young as we are this very second. In fact, with each word I type and you read, another un-roucpeable moment has passed us by. Most of us try to make the most of each day and cram in everything we need to do even though our todo lists never seem to get any smaller. We undoubtedly live in a world where we will always have more “important” things to do in a day than we could possibly fit. Thus is life.
And yet for most of us in the elite sport world, we are always fighting a training battle laced with patience. When training for events from 12 to 36 months away amongst our wildly congested lives, it’s easy to forget just how precious time is. It’s easy to think “oh I have 3 months till (insert benchmark here)”, or “I just don’t have time today, I will do better tomorrow”. Assuming that even though we did not get to complete our training exactly as scheduled, that we will simply be able to “try harder” or “work extra” later on down the road. Excuses that we justify to ourselves day in and day out under the assumption that we have “plenty of time”. Well brace yourselves for what’s next, because time is running out.
Since we sent out our first newsletter back on October 16th, one of the parts I’ve gotten the most positive compliments about are the countdown timers at the bottom of the emails. Everyone loves the concept of tracking the time left to their big event(s), yet sadly few actually grasp what has happened since October 16th, 2015. Exactly 110 days have passed since then. That’s 15.5 weeks, 77 work days, 2,640 hours, 158,400 minutes or 9,504,000 seconds (roughly). Sounds like a lot of time! And then when you see 173 days till jr/elite nationals, 188 days till master’s nationals or 242 days till master’s worlds, it seems like an eternity away right?!? Wrong.
110 days out of the countdown to any of those events is all over 1/3 of your training opportunities GONE! 1/3 of the possible time you had to make every improvement possible has PASSED. Now take a second and ask yourself honestly how much of that 33% of the year you’ve used to it’s maximum potential? Nobody can ever be truly perfect, but just for example’s sake, lets say you have had 1 day per week over the last 110 days that has been “less than perfect”. Call that 16 days out of a possible 110 for a percentage of 15% lost. Now take off 15% of the possible 33% of time already covered and you’ve got a 5% loss of training and performance gains that you will never get back. Just like time that has passed.
How much is 5% really in the BIG picture?? Well a 5% improvement on a 12.0 second 200m TT is a jump to an 11.4 second 200m TT! 5% on a 4:00.00 team pursuit would be a jump to a time of 3:48.00! Now, I fully acknowledge that training input vs. output is never a perfect 100% exchange, but that’s not my point is. My point is that we all have to become much more conscious and operate each day as though time is of the essence. Just like most of you, I feel like October was just yesterday when it reality it’s not. And like I said before, no one can be 100% perfect 100% of the time. But before you miss that next session, or adjust your training program for whatever reason or excuse you’ve justified it with at the time, ask yourself honestly if your reasoning merits the loss of time. Because while we can sometimes choose to lie to ourselves, the clock will never lie.