I recently caught one of the early commercials promoting the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. I could watch these over and over and it would still bring goose bumps to my arms and leave an excitement in my veins. Knowing some of the athletes in the commercials, understanding what this moment means to them, understanding what it takes to be there; they’ve already lived it every day before it even happens, just as the title and USOC motto above, suggests.
I’m often asked, “Does your training change in an Olympic year”? “Do you do anything different?” Well, the short answer is – No. I don’t suddenly change everything and start doing something I’ve never done before. I don’t suddenly double my training load or add 25 kilos to my previous squat max. Instead, and what others often do is continue to improve on the little things we’ve already been doing all along.
Whether it’s the Olympic Games, World Championships, National Championships, or State Championships, don’t expect to just flip the switch a matter of months prior to a meaningful event because of a sudden boost of energy. That’s tantamount to saving your energy for the final interval in a set when you can see the end in site. Anyone can do that and many do.
The better approach is to already have those good practices in place and turn your focus to getting better at the small things. Small things may include improved rest, improved family relationships, improved nutrition, improved mental prep and the list goes on. I believe the key is always striving for this improvement. In those months prior to the Olympics, I viewed 2.5 pound weight plates in the gym as Olympic material. The reason being is that I’m already pushing myself to the point that a five pound plate would be too much. But a 2.5 pound plate is enough to get a little closer to my goal and make that marginal gain.
My suggestion as the excitement of big races and meaningful events mounts – be excited, but look for those 2.5 pound improvement areas in your endeavors now, and practice them every day. Then take that new found energy and channel it towards something purposeful. You’ll thank yourself for it whether you achieve that goal in the end or not.