April 13, 2021
While it’s tempting to compare yourself to the best athletes, it’s not always useful or beneficial. Here’s why.
It’s easy to look at athletes who are significantly better than you and want to emulate them.
I see it all the time; athletes adjusting their training because they see an athlete they admire doing a specific type of session, and they want to do it too.
While it’s nice to aspire to become better and to want to be like the best, it’s not always helpful to look so far up the performance curve.
Often, you’ll benefit more from looking one level up.
If your goal is to finish your first Half Ironman, for example, look to an athlete of similar ability who recently finished their first Half Ironman and is satisfied with their performance. Someone who was able to prepare injury-free, completed the event comfortably, and recovered well post-race
These athletes have significantly more to teach you than someone like Jan Frodeno, who is the best of the best.
How did they prepare? How did they balance training around their job and family commitments? What type of training sessions did they do? How long did they prepare for?
With this information, you’ll better understand what you need to do to achieve a similar result and can structure your training accordingly.
When you look to athletes significantly better and more experienced than you, it’s easy to overlook what put them there.
Genetics, training history, life circumstances, and goals all determine the type of training an athlete can and should do. You can’t tell much of that by watching an athlete train or following them on Strava, so be careful who you try to emulate.
For better performance, look one level up.