The Little Things

I have found that as an athlete and coach, focusing on the little things can sometimes have the biggest impact.

What do I mean? Ok, example 1. While running across the alps in 2017 I had 7 days with over 3000m elevation gain a day, plus 7 ultra-marathon distances to cover. The big elements of training for me to focus on were:

  • The distance (endurance)
  • The elevation (strength)
  • Nutrition
  • Technique (running with poles, how to descend)
  • Choosing kit
  • Psychology

Pretty standard areas to cover and obviously super important, right.  Now what makes the difference is focusing on the little things.

  • Being on a 3000m summit when storm hits and being able to get my jacket and trousers on
  • Changing out a broken shoelace
  • How to layout kit post run stage to maximise sleep time
  • Being able to run 20 miles while covered head to toe in mud.

The above are a few little things that we can train for.

Point 1, get out in the most shocking weather and practise over and over again putting kit on and off.

Point 2, take spare lace on a training run and just change it and so on with the others.

With adventure athletes of mine, I have them doing crazy things on top of what I call the basics, and all have fed back to me how important those “little things” sessions were when they were on expeditions.

A few random examples:

Polar athletes, 15 minutes ice bath, then get outside and set up camp. (obvious one right)

Atlantic rowers, wobble board whilst getting dressed and eating

Mountaineers, tent construction at night no light.

These little things can be make or break for events or adventures, don’t get lost focusing on the big things or you run the risk of not finishing, or suffering more than you need to or even worse.

The timing of this article is not random. Obviously we are in a time when we are unable to focus on big things regards our goals, but this is the perfect time to nail down the little things.

For my athletes, these will be introduced. I suggest to anyone else out there, find the little things and get practising them, make it a training session.

Take a moment and brake down your goal and see what little things you find, read books by people who have done similar events and find those little gems of info and then get practising them.