Stepping It Up
A few days back, I was working with an afternoon class on a workout that involved squat cleans with dumbbells. We went through some technique work together, I explained the recommended weights that were listed on the board, then sent everyone over to pick the bells that they "wanted" to use for the workout.
After scanning the group to make sure there were no sandbaggers in the ranks, I noticed one person in particular had grabbed a set of weights that I knew she was selling herself short with. I gave her a sideways look and sarcastically mentioned that she might have a better time if she chose a weight that provided a more thorough challenge. After a brief discussion, she went over and grabbed the next size up; I approved.
Whenever these situations ("I don't think I should," "that'll be too much," etc.) come up, I like to keep an eye on the person I called out to make sure I hadn’t set them up with something they weren't ready for. In this case, the increase in weight she made didn't slow her down at all, or break her technique in the slightest–exactly what I was looking for!
In the moment, it’s all too easy for these little advances to come and go with no acknowledgment, but when I thought about this specific encounter after class, I couldn’t have been more proud of the accomplishment this person made for herself.
If you want to get better, stronger, faster, whatever, it’s these small, regular steps forward that will get you there. They’re not nearly as exciting as setting a massive PR on a run time or a big lift, but they’re the kind of changes that our bodies can actually reasonably adapt to, and are what will allow us to continue to make progress for many years to come.
Don’t forget to notice those small advances when they happen! Your coaches see them–but it’s important that you also realize the strides you’re taking.