When you’re training hard to achieve a personal best, you need to adopt a structured training strategy that incorporates every necessary element of training, rest, nutrition and injury prevention.
At the start of your sports career, PBs are easy to come by as you learn the necessary techniques to excel and become increasingly fitter and focused in your training – but the further you progress, the harder it is to achieve those firsts. Most sports people will use professional sports coaches to give them the best possible chance of success. Although every coach will have his or her own preferred route to success which is based on the individual, their sport and their goals and capacity, all successful sports coaching incorporates the elements below.
Realistic yet challenging goals are key to success. If you have an ultimate PB in mind, your sports coach will break it down into smaller and more achievable goals, attained via a structured training programme over time. This helps you to see progression and build the mental and physical gains that you’ll need to slowly work towards your ultimate achievement. For most sports coaches, the mantra is consistent, positive and measurable progression – with smaller gains adding up over time into powerful, large and game-changing achievements.
Train all you want, but without the right nutrition your body will fail to recover and grow the necessary muscles you need to become faster, stronger and more powerful. Adequate protein is key, along with a diet full of micronutrients, good fats, and slow release carbohydrates. Junk food, processed sugar and alcohol will be out. Stick to the diet that your coach recommends and you’ll rapidly see and feel the benefits.
Sports coaching success lies in a training programme designed specifically to meet the needs of a sport, the individual’s own attainment level, and the objectives of the goal itself. Coaches will create a programme with plenty of necessary variation to avoid over-training certain muscles or metabolic systems, and will provide training that works the individual’s speed, strength and flexibility for greatest effect. There will be a primary emphasis on sports specific coaching, with some complementary elements alongside to challenge the body in the right way.
The body rebuilds itself using nutrition when it rests, so adequate sleep is essential when training for a PB. Most sports coaches will recommend at least 8 hours of high quality sleep in order to help the body to rebuild itself at a muscular and nervous system level. This means sleeping in a dark room without blue digital backlights, keeping cool, and generally practicing good sleep habits that maximise this vital aspect of recovery.
This is another key aspect of attaining a personal best, and many sports people will have regular sports massages and physio to keep a check on any muscular-skeletal imbalances or twinges that otherwise run the risk of becoming fully fledged injuries.
Your sports coach will design a PB attainment programme just for you. Be prepared to put in the work, follow the programme, maintain focus, mental strength and positivity even through tough times. It will pay off when you achieve your end goal.