5 Powerful Tips to Get Faster Using Accountability in Your Training
The best training plan in the world won't do you any good if you don't stick to it.
Accountability in training is vital. But you don't need rely on just your willpower or good intentions to get you where you want to go. Here are five simple tips to keep you on track.
Rather listen than read? Listen to the podcast below with FasCat founder Frank Overton and new FasCat content director Ben Delaney talk about how everyone benefits from being held accountable — including the top pros.
So what is accountability?
At FasCat, we have an acronym for this: FTfP! As in, first - have a plan. Then follow it. Sounds simple, right? But as humans we can easily find excuses to stray from the plan - whether that is overdoing it, underdoing it, or not doing it at all. So having someone — or something — hold you accountable can make all the difference.
Here are our 5 tips for using accountability to improve as an athlete.
1 - Have a plan
This can take a few forms. The simplest is putting a target goal on the calendar. Don't put down something vague like ‘get faster’, but have something specific like an event or a target power output or even just a number of hours or miles on the bike.
The main thing to do of course is *have a plan* — get a training plan that you can follow each day.
And the best option is to have a coach who will write a custom plan specifically for you and your goals.
2 - Tell someone — or something — your plan
If you have a goal but you don't tell anyone about it, it's pretty easy to back out. So commit! This doesn't have to be an international declaration with a press conference; just tell your friends and family your plan. When you sign up for an event, share that.
Think about how meeting friends for a regular ride holds you accountable. They might give you grief if you don't show up. And of course it's a lot more fun when there is group momentum behind an activity instead of your goal and the steps to it being entirely a solitary venture.
Also, things as well as people can keep you accountable. Your TrainingPeaks account will turn green when you complete the workout, and turn red when you flake. Similarly, your Whoop band or Oura ring can hold you accountable with objective feedback on how you are recovering.
And of course having a coach is the best way to stay on track; there's simply no replacement for having a professional focused on your goals and your progress.
3 - Measure where you are
How will you know if you are moving towards your goal if you don't know where you started?
Whether you want to lose weight or improve your climbing power or get better sleep, step one is simple: measure yourself.
The tools at your disposal may vary from the simple (weight scale, time up a favorite climb) to the sophisticated (power-to-weight ratio at various durations, HRV trends, VO2 capacity), but the idea is the same: measure at the start, then again as you progress.
4 - Follow the plan
Sounds pretty easy, right? It can be. But it’s easy to fall off the wagon without someone or something keeping you accountable.
Take advantage of external feedback to keep you on track, and enjoy the process of completing each workout successfully — including rest days!
5 - Take feedback and learn
Once you’ve completed your plan, take stock of how the process went. Did you achieve your goal? Why or why not? What worked and what didn't? Use that information for mapping out your next goal.
If you are being coached, you'll get objective takeaways in addition to your subjective retrospection. Now is the time to enjoy the progress you've made, and think about what's next!
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