Discipline Trumps Consistency
Consistency. Traditionally hailed as the holy grail of triathlon training. The theory is (and it is a great theory) that consistent training; that drip-drip-drip effect of quality training load, is the most desirable trait in an endurance athlete, and enjoys the greatest results.
At this stage I would like to make one thing abundantly clear. As an endurance coach I feel that consistency is phenomenal. Period.
But when we look at endurance athletes, especially the self titled ‘Type A’ triathletes, it becomes painfully clear that consistency is not something we lack. Scan over the more ‘sharing’ athletes social media pages and we are regaled with stories of workouts done, volumes achieved, Training Peaks boxes turned a highly addictive shade of green. We are often consistent.
The problem is (and it’s a problem that lead to the PB+J Coaching motto) an endurance athletes discipline is often poor.
Discipline is the gel that binds together all aspects of a successful athlete. Consistency will get you some of the way, but it’s fed by a ‘get it done’ mentality.
You can be consistent without discipline, but true performance comes from being disciplined.
Discipline is the trait that ensures an athlete takes note of the content and structure of a training session and adheres to it rather than just completing ‘a workout’. It is the ability to put into practice a nutrition plan rather than just consistently taking some nutrition; or adhere to a strength training routine. Discipline is the ability to pace well in a race, rather than just being in a race and not being motivated by the over-enthusiastic endeavours of the 120km Superman exiting T1, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he has to actually ride 180km.
We can be consistent in all of those things, but discipline is what makes that consistency valuable by increasing the quality of the work being consistently done.
More importantly. Discipline is the trait that overcomes roadblocks so that consistency can happen.
The discipline to get out of bed and get to the pool, the discipline to set aside time, to manage your lifestyle. People with discipline make less excuses
Discipline is the air consistency breathes.
The PB + J Motto
It is a damn good motto when it comes to endurance sports, and Ironman in particular. Because so few people achieve what they perceive to be “.. a performance that reflects my ability ..” Simply, they do not feel their race times are indicative of a performance their training indicated.
This ability to successfully complete an interval, a workout, a week of key sessions, a training block, a nutrition plan and, most importantly, a race plan requires discipline. It requires that you care about, commit to and execute the plan.
The payback is immense. Athletes with the best discipline almost always punch above their weight and achieve results that shine brightly amongst their peers.
When it comes to race day, all of your training is within you. There is only one rule left to follow, a rule that few manage to achieve. A rule that acts as a springboard for your age group and race position and a rule that requires discipline. That rule, and also our motto, is …. Don’t Fuck It Up!