How to train in a wrong way?

part two:

Training conditions are one significant factor in which we give handicap to other world - and this includes also other sport events than track and field. When you train in the Finnish training conditions you are giving lead to other athletes that train in better conditions. Unfortunately, sometimes and almost usually this is a must. Of course, the best place to train would be there, where the world's best athletes do their trainings in the particular sport event. But obtaining these kinds of conditions costs quite a lot...

The life of a professional athlete in the sunny Florida

For a track and fielder training in the warmth is proven to be useful. Muscles are more ready for training stimulus, the risk of injury decreases and recovery from the hard exercises fastens, when sun energizes the muscles. One other positive thing or pro is that the probability of a rainy is close to zero in these best training conditions. Athletes don't have to do their trainings during bad weather and it is almost without exception that there is perfect weather during the training session every time. Then athletes can put all their focus and energy towards the essential thing concerning that training session.

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I had the privilege to see the world's best sprinters and hurdles train in the sunny Florida in Clermont during spring 2012 and at the end of year 2013. I don't think that our coaching or the knowledge of coaching is much behind what they do or know, but everything else related training and running fast is handled in a so much better way there. It was amazing to see and follow, how one single speed training session could last up to 4 to 5 hours. This is the long and proper way to develop speed!

The training session of world's best sprinters

Professional athletes arrived to the track around 7.30AM to 8.00AM. They started their normal daily routine with small talk and walking around the field. The warm-up with all the exercises related to it could last until 9.30AM. Then the top-conditioned bodies were ready for the day's maximal sprints.

Naturally, after the maximum effort it was time to cool down. But the training session wasn't over after the cool down - like we Finns are used to do it. In their program there was the recovery part left. It included ice and electric treatments, physiotherapist's manipulations and some athletes even took some acupuncture...

After these procedures and the sun burning the track over 35 Celsius degrees around 12.30PM to 13.00PM these professional athletes headed to lunch. This is what you call professionalism! How many athlete can execute one's trainings in this way - so professionally?

I realized it there at the latest that if I truly had wanted to become one of the best decathletes in the world, that kind of training conditions, equipments, possibilities and coaches should have always been in my daily routine. When you are a professional athlete you shouldn't rush the training session in any way. There is also no point running from the training to "the next important thing" like I did and many Finnish athletes do currently. It is unfortunate that there is only those about 2 hour slots where the training is possible to complete. This is because every other slot is filled with school, education, family, friends, work and you name it.

Training in a team

Really important thing effecting to training is training buddies and training team - factors in which in Finland there maybe hasn't been put too much of an attention to. In team sports team and training buddies come by itself and people do things together all the time. But in individual sports it is very common that athletes do their training at home or home conditions together with their own personal coach.

And it isn't rare that athletes do their daily trainings all by themselves, because the coach cannot be there every time to follow and coach. In Finland there isn't many professional coaches and it is quite impossible to train athletes professionally when you make your living elsewhere - in your REAL job. In most cases, only those who have lots of resources can have professionals from other fields, like physiotherapist, doctor, masseuse, nutrition specialist and mental coach, in their team.

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Sharing the knowledge of coaching isn't common among Finns. It is more common to keep one's good ideas and experiences in one's own knowledge rather than share them to other athletes ("you might give to your opponents a valuable asset and they could beat you next time"). This is very short-sighted thinking. In a long run, sharing ideas and experiences and doing and thinking together would most certainly be more useful alternative when thinking the big picture. In this way, the whole Finnish sports would benefit from the coaching knowledge that we have here and more athletes could use it in their path to success.

Training in a team should be the aim always when possible, because it makes the training session more competitive in nature and then people especially athletes will work harder and do things better - tries more. This means that this kind of training develops the athletes more, when they have push even harder in every training session. The significance of the team highlights especially during those bad days, when athlete cannot push oneself to the limits. The group gives more energy and forces to give one's best effort. The pressure of the group makes people to excel themselves - you just cannot give up!

The foundation and the possibilities to great results is establishes in a hard professional training environment in which there are the best training conditions, professional attitude towards training, skillful and multi-talented coaching team and the top-condition training buddies. These things give you THE PUSH FORWARD day after day!


Tatu Pussila

p.s. The third part and for the time being the last part of this "How to train in a wrong way" will concentrate on the optimal relation of rest / recovery and training - especially concerning the training of an adult athlete...

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