Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Focus on Process or Results?

I haven't blogged in a while for a variety of reasons but I read an article in Inside Triathlon today that got me thinking (always a frightening concept) so I thought I'd put out a blog to see what others thought about this. The gist of the article was a coach having his athletes focus on the process rather than the results during the season. By focusing on the process, results will follow and potentially will be better than by focusing on results.

I thought about my training and initially thought I was completely results focused. Almost every bike training session is designed to hit a power number and almost every run is to hit a pace or distance target. Body composition has been all about the scale. Then I realized my swim workouts, are more process than results. What I mean by that is that I focus more on form and duration as compared to pace and distance. Some of this is due to the fact that almost all of my swimming is either in the endless pool or open water (when it gets warm enough). These venues make measuring pace and distance more challenging.

Which works best? I don't know. Maybe I need to focus a bit more on the process for my biking and running and see what happens. At least it will give me something to think about.

In reality I only skimmed over the article but I expect to read it again in more detail and perhaps look at some related research. What are your thoughts?


Jeff Irvin said...

My thoughts are they need to coexist in harmony for one to have success.

Carolina John said...

oh, that is a good one. I think both approaches are important, but that's why we periodize our training plans. Base building? all about the process. Watch your form and how you feel while you're running, and body composition, speed, and endurance will take care of itself. And that can last as long as you want. Build phases have to be timed appropriately, where you do focus on power, speed, and distance. That's the only way to feel confident about hitting a goal that's based on a specific performance, like a 20 minute 5k or 10 hour ironman.

joyRuN said...

It's a very appealing approach, esp for me.

Running has lost a lot of its luster since I've piled on a lot of expectations (i.e., results). Invariably, I blow a failed run (defined by not getting the result I aimed for) out of proportion & start to second guess everything.

If I took most/all of that out of the equation & just RUN, I can only imagine how liberating that could be.

Kepa said...

I think there is some merit to the article. As Jeff says, however, they can probably co-exist. Maybe some training days are results oriented while others are process oriented.

Patrick Mahoney said...

I thought about this one for awhile and what I'm about to write is complete crap or a decent analysis, not sure.

Last year, I swam, biked or ran about 460 hours. Of that 460, 10-12 of them were during a race.

So I had a 2% window to put whatever results based training I did to the test. Thinking about it, I don't like those odds.

I certainly hope that at least subconsciously, I understood this and treated my training as a process based endeavor in an attempt to get stronger and hopefully faster while using the races as way-points to keep things interesting.

Big Clyde said...

Thought-provoking, as usual.

Most of my initial success as weight loss and fitness was "event-based". I would train for a specific race or goal, then lapse backward after achieving it.

That would tell me that a focus on process (or frequency of workouts) might be far more influential toward my long-term physical health than a results-driven tracking system.

So, I am now challenging myself to achieve consistency, rather than performance.

(Does that make any sense?)

Al's CL Reviews said...

For your other post...when I was lost my job a few years ago, you provided a quote that resonated.

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Winston Churchill

Glad your physical health is good, and that you realize you can't be Superman. Just letting you know you got friends out in blogland.

Big Clyde said...

Al's smart...I'll comment on your most recent post here.

You are smart and have a great family. Find ways to laugh, get your sweat going and do your best with the work stuff. I have no easy answers there.

I'm starting a new weight loss challenge with a friend on my site, between now and 6/16. Join us if you'd like.