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How to Train When Training Can’t Be Optimal

As the Eurostars go into their US tour this week, it’s impressive to note that most of them have only had a few weeks between now and WCBU. Not many ultimate players will be lucky enough to have this exact challenge. But most of us will face times when we have two important tournaments close together. At the very least, we all run into scenarios when life doesn’t cooperate with our desire for a perfect training schedule. So how do we cope? Here are a few tips to help you figure out what to do when your training schedule can't be perfect. 

Don’t be lazy A common mistake ultimate players make is to think that they need several complete recovery days pre and post tournament. This is nonsense. Stay consistent in your training by doing something almost every day. At the very least, do a thorough warm up to keep your joints moving through a full range of motion. A short and moderate intensity conditioning session can actually help your recovery process by increasing blood flow to the muscle tissue. Doing a short, but intense speed and agility session the day before a big game can help you come out strong from the beginning by keeping the nervous system primed. Don’t be afraid to get to the gym and attack the heavy weights a day or two before the tournament. Lifting heavy in season is great as long as you do it responsibly and at a low volume.

Know the priority Your priority in season or during times of added stress is to keep yourself healthy. That means mind and body. If you have to choose between sleeping and getting in a training session, now is the time to choose the extra sleep or taking the time to prepare and eat healthy food. You also want to maintain your mental health. Continue with your visualization plan and mental toughness training.

Do be Flexible Keep as many habits as possible. Show up to your training sessions on the same schedule. However, if you get to the gym and you can feel that your first set of split squats your legs aren’t cooperating and you’re not able to lift the same weights as usual, it’s okay to change your training plan on the fly. This might mean changing from a heavy lifting day to a light weight, low volume functional strength day. 

It could even mean that you spend your time on mobility and tissue recovery work. Substitute in a light conditioning workout if necessary.

Trust your training! The few weeks between important events should be a very small fraction of your overall training time. If you’ve done your training properly in the off season, you have the reserves required to carry you through a long season. Or as Dunte Hector would say,  it’s time to eat your cake. Trust in the preparation you put in during the off season. Try to relax and enjoy this most intense part of your year. If you’re looking for a program to fully prepare you for your next season, check out The Ultimate Athlete Project . Designed with long term training goals in mind, you’ll develop the type of strength and durability you need to sustain you for whatever challenges you face in season. 

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