When I sat down to write this blog I began to think about how do I explain the concept of the one percent because it’s a feeling that comes from within and that takes time and practice to put into place.
The idea of the one percent and how I use it in my life started with one of my early races with Coach Sam in my first season. She mentioned in my race plan that when the going got tough, she wanted me to give one percent more. Some people can define this as making yourself a little more uncomfortable. For me it is about being uncomfortable, but there is more to it.
Here is how I define and put into place the one percent in my training and racing.
Once I figured what this concept meant to me, I needed to come up with a strategy to execute the plan. At first I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish this. The more I thought about it, the more I thought I just needed to be more focused on how I felt. During the race when I felt I was comfortable and complacent I needed to push myself harder. When my breathing was settled, I needed to push harder so it would be more labored. When my cadence and legs felt good, I needed to pick up the pace and increase my cadence. When my mind would start to drift off, I had to bring it back to the moment and focus on pushing myself harder. I had to take myself outside of my comfort zone and give it just one more percent effort. This would happen periodically during the race, and eventually the race was over. I remember being completely exhausted, but also feeling exhilarated. I felt like I had executed my race very well. I also knew that I didn’t leave anything out there on the course and this was a race I could be proud of, regardless of time, placing, or if it was a PR.
The key to the one percent is practice! Giving one more percent and making myself a little more uncomfortable can be applied in training, racing, and our everyday lives. If we incorporate this into our workouts everyday it starts to become more natural. During training I try to apply this concept as much as I can and incorporate it with visualization. It doesn’t matter if it is strength, yoga,recovery or an endurance workout. If I’m working out and yoga is on the schedule, I will try to stretch a little farther than I did the time before the last workout. For strength training it might be one more rep, add more weight, or add more time to a plank, etc. For the endurance workouts, I really try to make sure I hit the zones, not the bottom, but the middle. This can be difficult when training alone. Focusing on the current workout and concentrating on how I feel at that moment helps me become more aware of my body and how much more effort I can give during that time. When starting out, it only happened occasionally. The more I practice, as with anything, the more it becomes a habit and the easier it is to put in place when the pressure is on in a race.
I know that the mind is very powerful and can persuade the body to overcome many obstacles. I think about my A race and why I’m training. Why am I putting in all these hours for a race? Why do I want to make sure that my workout is completed and checked off? I do this because I want to be a better athlete. How am I going to accomplish this? By giving one more percent in my workouts.