Growing vs. showing

The other day I was running on a rocky beach during an easy lunch session. A guy stood a few meters out in the water swinging his fishing rod and as we greeted he asked: Isn’t it difficult to run on the loose stones?

My spontaneous answer was: Yes, absolutely, that’s why I’m doing it?

– Aren’t you afraid of tripping or slipping?

– A bit, but I get more and more relaxed for every session I run here.


After a brief discussion about the frequency of char in the waters, I continued and my thoughts wandered from chars and stones to the ability to accept ”poor performance” during training. ”Poor” defined as slow splits, low watts, coming in last after every interval etc. I thought this was a topic relevant to share my thoughts on, and my view is very simple:

”Training sessions are for growing not for showing.”

It’s actually a phrase I use frequently in my role as consultant and trainer with managers and teams. All too often I meet development session participants who do their best to show how great they are – instead of being curious, self-reflecting and eager to grow. The same goes for athletes. An easy swim session becomes a threshold session; a steady run is slowly transformed into an all out sprint session. Not to mention the classic: ”What’s your average speed on your long ride…?” As if overall average speed had anything to do with how well my TRAINING session was accomplished. (I never have average speed shown on my bike computer).

It requires discipline to stay aligned with the purpose off the training, and this challenge can be even bigger in group sessions. After all, it’s quite tempting to turn it up a bit just to see if I can pass my training partner(s). But then thou shalt remember:

”There are no medals awarded after training.”

I think this mind-set is a key contributor to my training efficiency: Relatively low hours input and high performance output – in races that is 😉

I hope you can sense that you grow in your next session, and save the show for your races 🙂 .


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