Why You Need To Consider Your Training Like Investing
I am in a search for a good analogy to make the explanation easy for highlighting the benefits of training, particularly for the less scientific based training methods. Recently, a trip the financial planner lead me to open my first retirement account (yup, I’m that young – or that far behind, depending on how you look at it).For the first few months I was eagerly checking my accounts on a regular basis and also the learned the basic of financial planning. Then I was astonished to realise that there are parallels between investing and training and how both work under similar basic principles. This provided me a deep insight of my investment approaches and since many people know about investing principles, I feel that comparing this with the training will provide you a better understanding of the later.
Never consider the daily fluctuations
Perhaps the most notable parallel between investing and training is the need to avoid assessing progress on a day-to-day basis. You know what, the biggest mistake I made in my early investment stage was tracking my account every day, believing that this will help to see consistent gains. To my dismay, my initial investment stayed stagnant for a few days before dropping suddenly. The motivation to invest, which had been quite high when I started, waned quickly and I started to think maybe I had made a mistake.
I see this same fluctuation in emotion takes place when runners try to measure their progress in fitness on a daily basis. Like investing, training doesn’t always occur on a linear curve. Some days you make a big progress , some days the training gains will be very less, and on few days you might feel that you gained nothing. This begets a roller coaster training experience, which is hard to sustain long-term.
Your takeaway – Never try to focus on a daily or weekly progress in your fitness. Instead, look at your progression on a monthly, quarterly, or even yearly scale. You may find it difficult to look on a long term basis, but this only leads to true progression.
Growth will always takes time
I enjoy watching the Suze Orman show when I happen to catch it on TV. When I see her analyze the financial condition of viewers who call in during the show, I am truly amazed at how much money the callers have saved. It seems impossible that I could ever save that much money, let alone earn it – these people must be making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. But the fact is, they are the normal middle income US citizens, but I’m not realizing that they achieved this number by their slow and gradual progress.
This same situation happens to runners, especially when they look at the training of elite athletes or are running their first marathon. Runners see the impressive mileage totals of elites or the best runners in their running group and think, “wow, I can never get there.” The same thinking occurs when runners train for their first marathon. Getting from week 1 to 26.2 miles on race day seems impossibly hard, so many runners either lose confidence or try to do too much, too soon.
Your takeaway – Your goals and the ability to train at a top level will definitely takes time to achieve. This is similar to your savings goal where a small contribution won’t turn into million dollars instantly, so you need to be patient with your training progress. Trying so much in one training segment or allowing the fear of a difficult goal to takeover you is a sure way for disaster. Remember that gaining fitness takes time and rushing the process is detrimental to your goals.
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Compounding gains are your friend
The remarkable growth of investment portfolios is largely attributed to compounding interest. The principles behind compounding interest are widely known for investments, but it’s also the same concept that allows you to train harder and faster each year and ultimately get faster.
Each successful training segment builds upon itself. You attend training to reach a new level of fitness and once you reach that goal, you will start to create new higher targets and you will work harder for that. This is especially important to remember if you didn’t run well at your goal race. Many runners think their hard work and training were wasted when things don’t come together on the course for one reason or another. The good news is that if you get trained correctly, your ability to handle training will get elevated and you can build off that segment, even if the final result wasn’t a PR.
Your takeaway – Remember that no training segment is ever wasted. Putting your effort on the training every month is much like depositing money in the bank. It may seem like the training had no benefit when a race doesn’t go well. However, the fitness will stay with you and allow you to build and even bigger base of training for the next race.
Diversify – one type of training will only get you so far
Listen to any investment specialist and they will tell you that diversification is the key to success. Investing all your money in one market will definitely hinder you to reach the investment goal destination.
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The same principle will also applies to running. Focusing only on the long run during marathon training or concentrating mainly on speed work when you’re training for the 5k is a surefire way to fail. Likewise, always training for the same race distance is an easy way to ensure that your progress stagnates. Like diversification in investing, it seems so obvious, yet it’s one of the top reasons where runners find it hard.
Your takeaway – the approach to your training need to be like your retirement account. Diversify your workouts and vary up the types of races you train for each year. By doing this, you will become an all-rounded runner and help you to achieve your goals.
None of the above should be construed as investment advice. However, these are all a great training advice and apply every above mentioned principles to succeed in running. Do you have questions or your own investment parallels? Please share it in the comments section.