The age old saying ‘no pain no gain’ is gradually fading into the distance. Sports scientists and exercise physiologists are discovering that significant improvements in fitness and performance can be achieved without having to finish training sessions bent over on the ground wondering where your next breath is coming from Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should! Most of us have the ability to go out each day and run as far and as hard as we can before exhaustion sets in. If we did that a few days a week, initially we’d notice that we can go a lot further or a lot faster before that point of fatigue sets in. However, if we haven’t become injured already we’d soon find our improvements leveling off and before too long our performance would begin to drop off. We only get fitter and stronger if we can recover from the stress we put on our body. If we train too hard, too regularly our body can’t recover from the training. Not only don’t we improve but our performance actually gets worse! I’ve had numerous athletes tell me they can’t understand why they’re not improving. They do these amazing training sessions but when they come to races they can’t replicate them. Often they think the problem is mental and feel they need to push themselves harder. What they really need to do is back their training off a bit so their body has time to absorb the hard training. Once they do this an inevitable jump in performance occurs. The message is simple. Train smarter, not harder! Those gut busting sessions should be few and far between. Put yourself on a program that you can consistently replicate week after week without breaking down and watch the improvements come.