This is an article that I posted several years ago, but as the FlightTeam gears up for 2011-2012 season  I thought  it was appropriate that we revisit it.

Training and competition are complex activities; there are a number of things that contribute to success.  However, three very basic rules should always be followed when training.  These cornerstones of being a successful system of training are:

  • Moderation,
  • Consistency, and
  • Rest.

Moderation – The first cornerstone of training is moderation.  Moderation means not going to extremes in any aspect of training.  In fact there have been some studies that suggest workouts lasting over one hour will compromise the body’s endocrine system.  To be more specific, production of testosterone, the male hormone, levels off 50 minutes into a workout and begins to decline after one hour.  Therefore many athletes (male and female) are working at a testosterone deficit if they train beyond an hours time.  An athlete who consistently over trains my feel a need to use anabolic steroids  – which contain artificial testosterone – in order to compensate for poor training methods or over training. Workouts that last too long tend to produce too much of a catabolic substance, cortisol, and no progress can be made until it is removed from the system.  Steroids mask the catabolic effects of cortisol so that the athlete can continue to train unwisely.

In any event the long-term results of more extreme training programs are inconsistent, with more athletes failing than succeeding in reaching their performance goals. Some athletes develop serious injuries, and many become burned out, psychologically drained by the heavy training loads. Or, as mentioned above, turn to performance enhancing substances to compensate for what they perceive as an acceptable means of jump starting their athletic performance.

The human body can take far more stress than we generally give it credit for. However, it needs to adapt to heavier stresses gradually. Moderation means carefully planned training of programs that avoid extremes in physical and psychological stress. Training and competing can be beautiful and exciting part of life, but they’re not all there is to life. Principle of moderation permits the athlete to enjoy the other parts of life as much as his or her sport.

Consistency – The second cornerstone of training is consistency. One way to avoid extremes in training is to train at a reasonable level every day. This does not mean using the same training load each day however. When an athlete trains consistently, the body has more time to adapt to the stress of training, easing its way to higher levels of  fitness and better performances.  If a few days of training are missed, the body loses tone and endurance. A day or two of extra training will not make up for that loss. In fact, the athlete my overstress the body, resulting in an injury or even worse – illness. Extra physical strain does more than simply tire the body, so the consistency of training is critical. The athlete who trains daily at a moderate level will outperform the equally talented athlete who trains extremely hard at times and then skips training at other times.

Consistency has another reward for the athlete. As training continues, a solid fitness base is developed. The longer the time used to develop that base, the less effect that interruption in training has. Although an athlete loses conditioning when training is interrupted, the long-term base loses in conditioning is slower and regained more quickly once the athlete resumes training.

Rest – The third and perhaps the most important cornerstone of training for young athletes is rest.   This may be the training rule least followed by young athletes. A simple rule of training: when in doubt, get more rest. Athletes feeling tired or weak shouldn’t attempt a strenuous training session. Instead, they should have a very light session or simply skipped practice altogether. Athletes must be aware of how much sleep there getting. Athletes in training need more rest and sleep than non-athletes.

Athletes need more rest because the extra work creates extra physical stress, which calls for more recovery time. Second, the body adapts to stress of training when it is at rest rather than during the stress. This is part of the overload aspect of training. If the body does not get enough rest, it cannot recover and adapte fully to the stress of training.

Although the amount varies from person to person with younger athletes usually needing more rest than older athletes, generally speaking most athletes need at least eight to ten hours of sleep each night. It is during this downtime or “rest period” that the body repairs itself and adapts to the stress of the previous training period.  Athletes must learn to be in tune to his or her body; it tells you it needs more rest and when it’s had enough. The body runs on rest, just as it runs on fuel. If it has to little of either, it begins to run poorly.

These three cornerstones – moderation, consistency, and rest are critical to any training plan that coach or an athlete may use. If an athlete trains consistently and at moderate levels while getting enough rest, his or her performance should continue to improve for years.

As an athlete you want to make sure that your training regime is effective and taking you to a point where you are realizing your full potential in your sport of choice.  A training regime that takes into account your limitations as an athlete with goals that are realistic for you without relying on performance enhancing substances that may have long term effects on your health and well-being. As you develop your personal training plan be sure to include the 3 cornerstones of training – moderation, consistency and rest.

Remember FlightTeam, our goal for 2012 is  “20 in 12”  (twenty State Qualifiers in 2012) – but you need to heed these 3 Cornerstones of Training to make sure we get there.

Get Out, Get Up, Get Busy!!!!!!

Coach Murdock

  1. Hi from Japan. Forgive me for my not good English. I used MSN’s translator on your webpage just to tell you how good I think it is! Take Care!

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