Outcome or Process what is more important?

Training, February 06, 2019

How do you tick? What are you looking to get out of your next build?

Are your goals or us your training based purely on the outcome or more process?

If you are not sure ask yourself in a simple way.

If your goal is outcome based you just wanted to achieve a time or a place.  

If you are focusing on the process you are likely to want to achieve a goal or goals that are based on a general feeling or status like to feel better, feel stronger, have less injuries, train more often or consistently.

You can of course achieve both, but how you go about it can directly affect your mentality to training and racing.  Your enjoyment level can also drastically be affected.

I prefer to focus on some process goals that will assist achieve a specific outcome.  The advantage with focusing with the process is that if you don't hit your time or placing it is not going to be the end of your world.  

There are a lot of factors that affect our result on race and a lot of those we cannot control, which makes it very hard to blame yourself or your training if you do not hit your mark.  But there will be a lot of people that turn around straight after a race and say, “I was too slow” or “ I didn't train properly”. Obviously it is shitty when you miss your mark, but it is always better to wait at least 2 days before evaluating your performance.  

At this stage you can see how your body has come through your effort, how you feel now, and how outside factors affected you and the day.

This year the spring marathons and long distance triathlons were hotter than normal and the autumn marathons colder than normal in Europe.  This drastically our performance regardless of how brave, strong, or bulletproof we feel.

However, it did not mean that the work done in the build up was for nothing and a waste.  A common comment that I got on the Monday or Tuesday after the races that were affected by the climate was that their legs felt really good, and that they did not feel beaten up or slightly injured.  This was simply because their body was prepared to push over the race distance.

They had built the right blocks in the preparation. Their process was still correct.

They can still reflect back well on the time they sacrificed to prepare for this event.  

If they were focusing purely on the outcome they would most likely be upset and annoyed at the race, that they spent all the time training for something and it did not pay off.

With this in mind the most of us would choose to focus on the process.  

However, this does not mean that you have to give up on trying to achieve fast times or certain placing.  You just have to know what bricks have to be on place to reach your outcome. If you can do that you are more than likely on the way to putting yourself in a position to achieving that, and if conditions stop us from reaching our goals we would have still improved ourselves, which really is what more important is.

This shows that actually being focused process can help us achieve a good outcome without being too stressed out about whether we are going to get the result or not.  We just concentrate on putting in the work, and if we put the right work in we will get the result anyway.

Focusing entirely or largely on the outcome can result in us ignoring our body or signs of fatigue, as we try to hit the mark every time every session.  We end up tired, sick, or injured and don't get close to the outcome.

Sometimes the key to the best likelihood of a top performance is just turning up to each session and doing the work without trying to smash every session.