A few weeks back I wrote about the importance of routine in your daily life and how I have been using a routine from a young age to help me feel organized and help me live a less stressful life.
Now I am writing about using a routine in training, pre and post training as well as in competition. Just like you use a routine in your daily life to feel organized and reduce stress you will use a training routine to help you focus on your task at hand and make sure you compete with the least amount of stress and go in there to do what is required of you on game day. Routines can be beneficial for individual athletes as well as team sports and there has been huge amount of research done on the benefits of using a good routine in sport.
I have used routine in sport to help me prepare for major international competitions to even the small local ones. There is no set routine that everyone has to follow, you design a routine that suits your needs and you can stick to that will give you the best results. Its unique to YOU.
Lets talk about my general training routine, from before I get to gym until after. Some days I change it up a bit depending on time or the type of training I do.
When I have my morning workouts it goes as follows:
1. Wake-up every morning with a glass of water without fail
2. Listen to music to get me going as I get ready for training
3. Have a good breakfast
4. Read daily devotions
5. Make sure I have all my gym gear
6. Make sure I have my program written down for the day
7. As I get to gym I start with a warm-up, my warm-ups will consist of full body work and making sure I am mentally ready for my session
8. During training I make sure I am focused on the task at hand
9. Post training, I drink my whey protein and do a post workout stretch
10. On certain days we have recovery sauna
11. After my workout I make sure to have a good healthy meal, protein and carbs
12. Rest and get ready for my 2nd session
13. In my 2nd session I will repeat what I do in my 1st
14. A technique I use a few days a week is visualization of my workout especially when I have heavy lifts for the day.
Above is an example of my daily training routine. These all come natural to me by now so I dont have to write down my daily plan but in the beginning it is important to write down a plan you intend to follow for the future.
Next I will write down an example of my pre-comp routine to give an idea of how I get game ready.
Depending on if I travel, which I most often do for my international comps the routine could change.
The following will be based on an international meet and what I take with me to make sure I have everything I need for this important day.
1. I always start with making a list, this gives me direction with my packing and ensures I have everything ready for when I leave
2. The goods I pack has everything from my kit, to things I need to make sure my weight is on track to competition gear etc.
3. Most important things I pack, scale, supplements, training gear, competition outfit, lifting suit, South African tracksuit, sweets for post weigh-in, headphones, recovery goods like foam roller, lacrosse ball, bands, book to read, ipad to watch netflix and do work while I am away and most important… passport
4. When I have to cut weight I always make sure to have my snacks with me on the international flights, this way I have no excuse but to stay on track
5. Once I get to my hotel and I am all checked in, I look for the gym where I will be training before my competition.
6. I also look to see where recovery facilities are as well as sauna and massage
7. I check the schedule to make sure of my training times and when I will be competing
8. I discuss with my coach these important factors so the program can be tailored to be in peak shape on game day
9. I relax by either reading or watching netflix
10. I make sure before each session I have all my training kit
11. On my bus ride to training I listen to music to get me into the zone
12. My trainings before competitions I stay with the same routine, the body likes routine so I stick with my same warm-ups, cool-downs, etc
13. Post-training and before bed I always check my weight to make sure I am still on track with my weight cut
14. The night before my competition I stay as relaxed as possible and try not to think to much of game day
15. When I get to excited I make sure to focus on some relaxation breathing techniques to get my heart-rate down and focused
16. I pack all my competition gear and post weigh-in snacks to ensure I am ready when I wake-up
17. I put my make-up on and get my hair done for competition day and this also helps me relax
18. After weigh-in we have a 2 hour break before we start and during that time I fuel up, lay down and relax and listen to my music
19. After a while I get into my lifting suit and then its GAME TIME
20. After my competitions I love reflecting and writing down how my competition went and looking at if I changed anything from previous competitions to get a different result
21. I celebrate with a meal of my choice post competitions
This is a general plan I like to stick with before my events. This keeps me focused and organized and helps me stay in the zone to perform at my best. A lot has to do with maturity and experience. Like everything in life, it takes time to figure out what works best for you and yes in time this routine might totally change as you feel you need to make some adjustments to get a better result. Nothing is set in stone, but having a plan lowers an athletes stress levels before events and all you need to do is focus on the controllable and being on the platform lifting your best.
“I wouldn’t say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it.” – Michael Phelps, gold medalist in swimming in 2008 and 2004