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Winter – The Extra Mile

Winter.

Unless you’re a snowsports fanatic, toy shop owner or polar bear. It’s unlikely winter is your favourite time of year.

Yeah I can obviously see how you’d enjoy it, christmas, big hoodies, hot chocolate, mince pies. Especially mince pies, they should be available 365 days a year. Tesco, get on it.

The perks are all there.

But really though…. Does anyone actually like winter?

I mean, come on now.

Really?

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Short days, bad weather, training’s tough, if you’re studying you’ve got exams or deadlines, if you’re working your inbox is forever full and your commutes just seem to drag, and lets not forget the bank account takes the biggest hit of the whole year.

But you enjoy that?!

Fat from christmas, sluggish and slow, no imminent holidays in the pipeline, no sign of the ‘beach bod’. Just getting by hoping the summer holidays come round faster.

Summer racing, holiday tans and short shorts. Surely that’s more appealing?!

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So what really happens in the winter? Where does everybody go?

Unfortunately we can’t all live the professional athlete high life, South Africa for the winter, Girona for the spring. Constant sun and nice weather. Miles on miles of training, never a dull day. Or the CEO of some global corporate firm, playing golf or skiing the days away.

It’s often said that a good winter makes a good summer. Fact.

For the athletes, miles make champions. Fact.
For the students, revision gets the grades. Fact.

There is no gods gift, no magic potion. Hard work will beat talent if talent doesn’t work hard.

But when you’ve got 5 tops, 3 pairs of leggings, 2 sets of socks, the worlds thickest gloves and your face covered up to the brink of your vision. You do have to ask yourself:

Why am I doing this?

Is it really worth it?

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Well yes, yes it is.

For any endurance sport building a base is one of the most important aspects of the training programme. I’m aware that you need the high tempo, top quality sessions to get that peak fitness, and you also need ample recovery, hindered by a high volume programme. But the science is there, you’ve gotta build your base.

There are athletes that will go a season training 10 hours a week, and pump out a 9 hour Ironman. I’m not denying that that’s possible, I’ve seen it happen. But what you haven’t seen is the athletes 25 hour weeks, for 10 years previous to this. An endurance base so big, that it just needs topping up and maintaining through the hectic day to day life.

I know some of you will shun it as junk miles, but when the athlete that put in 10 hours a week more training than you cruises past you in the last 10% of a race. You’ll be the first to cry.

There are many similarities between sport and the business world, a blog that will follow in the coming weeks, but I think building a ‘base’ is one of them. And no, I don’t mean you have to start riding a bike, or run more. I mean going the extra mile. Putting in a bit extra here and there, helping others out when they need it, makes a big change.

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Everybody is looking for shortcuts. The easy way out. The quick way round. Well unfortunately ladies and gentlemen, if you want to succeed at a high level. There isn’t one.

And that’s where you need our good friend, The Winter.

Make your short days longer, your time to be out with friends enjoying the sun is coming, trust me. But you have to earn it.

Nights in the library, in the gym, on the treadmill, in the office… it doesn’t matter where your hard work takes place, it just needs to get done.

And unfortunately, there is no audience for hard work.

Some days are really, really long. Trust me, I know this one. I’ve been in the office past midnight. The studio for 3 straight days. Done 10 hours of training when your body just can’t take any more.

I know how it feels.

Work is just too much, your stressed, tired, hungry.. you’re not sure if you need 3 weeks sleep, 8 shots of tequila, 3 espressos, a hug or a combination of the lot.

But it will pay off.

This off season is the time where all the little changes you make, the little extra you put in, it’ll all swing back round.

And trust me.

Your future self will really thank you for it.

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