When you’re out training you often find yourself looking for telltale signs for how you are progressing, and how training is going. Things like HR, avg pace, wattages, time splits, weekly totals, and even how well you keep up with training partners all provides great feedback and measurement. But there is perhaps another sign that training is going well...when the repetition of training is almost boring. When the routine seems like it is non-stop and your ingrained memory associates each day with particular sessions. This can be boring, but it is also a great sign you’re going well...but it’s not obvious.
One of the top goals for training in any sport is consistency, because without it you’ll be chasing your tail trying to make progress - inconsistency interrupts the best laid plans, and is frustrating. Athletes strive for consistency not just in training, but in racing also...to be consistently good, on demand. Coaches also love consistency since it allows a strategic plan to be applied for individual athletes, to monitor their adaptation and progress, and fine tune training on a session by sessions basis.
But the thing is, consistency can be boring, however in this case boring is good because consistency is good.
There’s other things about training that are boring, like using the same venues, needing to bring the same equipment, doing the same warm-up, the same post session stretching and even training with the same people can be boring!! But each of these things is also a great strength in a good training program.
Using the same venues is great because it allows measurement and comparison from month to month in some key sessions (but not all the time). Using the same equipment has familiarity, and prepares you well for when you’ll use the same – or similar – equipment in competition. Doing the same warm-up reminds your body and mind what is coming up, and what to be ready for, plus, when your routine is so familiar that do it without thinking then you’re more likely to notice if something feels different to normal...which is really important. Doing the same post session cool down and stretching is much the same...they form important parts of your training session.
Training with the same people can be the greatest influence on your performance of all. Not only are they part of your support network – and vice-versa – they are also vital for motivation, feedback, inspiration and as a yardstick for performance. Training partners become like family...and you’d miss them if they weren’t there.
These and so many other things can make training boring, but without them training would still be boring...and probably without the same progression or satisfaction. After all, nothing worthwhile comes easily.
Having said all that, when training is boring it is also an indicator that perhaps you should look to change something, to refresh the stimulus and challenge so you make progress again. Everyone will plateau at some time, when boredom with the process can be symptom, and this can be a great sign that a change is needed. If you keep doing the same thing, you’ll get the same outcome. Training progression should be built into your program to avoid staleness, but there will always be aspects of repetition which is just how it is.
Another good thing about the boredom and repetition in training is that it allows you time to think...about what and how you’re doing, what’s coming up, your dreams and ambitions and even what you’re having for dinner that night. Far from being boring, training can be a wonderful time to think outside the square and immerse yourself in your own thoughts...which is a special opportunity when life these days goes by so fast.
There are many reasons for be glad when training is boring, because it usually means it is going well, and when you consider an alternative is that you might be sick or injured and long to be bored by continuous training, then enjoy what it offers and see training boredom as a positive.