Find consistency and success by building a routine that you can accomplish 90% of the time.
When designing a training schedule for myself, I seek to design a routine that I can accomplish 90% of the time. This sets the foundation for consistency. The schedule needs to be realistic enough that day in and day out, 9 days out 10, I can get the training done, regardless of the time of year or how busy I am at the shop. If there is any secret to building long lasting fitness, this is it.
Start by taking an honest assessment of your weekly schedule and habits. Identify any "fitness phantoms"- those habits or things limiting your ability to reach your health and fitness goals. How can you address these phantoms? Next, determine what can be removed from your schedule to open up time for exercise and proper recovery. The goal is to establish a baseline of what your weekly training routine will look like. Don't be overly ambition, remember we're trying to establish a routine you can complete 9 days out of 10. Then build upon this schedule based on your immediate athletic goals and the time of season.
The amazing thing with elite athlete is they prioritize their life and build up their fitness to a point that their "90% Routine" involves impressive amounts of training, often >20 hours per week.
What if your key event for 2023 requires extended bouts of training that is well beyond what's 90% sustainable? This is a red flag, a warning you may need to reassess your priorities and what you can reasonably accomplish during this given time frame.
Many of us get lost in the day-to-day minutia of individual workouts. The 90% Routine can help change your focus from short term to long. When done correctly, few people will be playing as long a game as you. Besides, what good is it to become wildly fit for a season, only to develop an overuse injury or burnout a year later?
Want to take this one step further? Design a 90% Routine that could be sustainable for 90% of your life. Think you may live to 80? Okay, fine: can you imagine the 72 year old version of yourself sustaining this workout routine? If the answer is yes, you're on the right track.