The Value of Unseen Progress

Have you ever had a plan that didn’t pan out? Ever nurture an idea that just didn’t come to fruition? Ever work on skills in training sessions only to have them lie forgotten in the blocks at the start of your hurdle race, as you shed all thoughts and just compete?

My first heptathlon of the season is behind me (results can be found here). Numbers aside, I can see improvement – in my technique, competitive mentality, preparation routines…but the results show a different story. All my marks were okay, but definitely below my expectations after a rock solid winter of training and an eye-opening month at training camp. I’ve put in a lot of quality work, with nothing on the results page to show for it.

Long jump in the Sam Adams Heptathlon

Progress is straightforward: you think new thoughts, you take action, and you see results.

But what about those times when you think new thoughts, you take all kinds of action, annnnd you see no change??

Do not despair!

Sometimes results take time, especially when you’re applying carefully developed strategies to real world situations. Sitting at the drawing board behind closed doors, it’s easy to make plans. It’s easy to visualize situations playing out a certain way, you on top of your game, delivering when you’re called upon. It’s easy to recall new skills when there’s no pressure, when you’re in a controlled training environment.

But find yourself in proximity to that starting pistol and it’s a whole new story.

Come race day you are probably going to pull out all the stops, switch your brain off and live in the moment. Everything you planned may very well come to pass just as you predicted, but, especially when attaining new skills, it is much more likely that you will default back to your usual habits.

I know that insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. But I also know that just because you don’t see the results you hoped for doesn’t mean the plan is flawed and that you’re insane for staying course. Now, your plan very well may be flawed. But before you go off thinking you’re crazy and making big changes, make sure you give your plan a fair shot. Listen to your heart, believe in yourself, and keep your eyes on the prize.

Unseen progress is still progress.


4 thoughts on “The Value of Unseen Progress

    1. Thank you very much! If you’d like to receive an email notification when I publish a new post, you can flick the “follow” button to the left, near the top of the page.

      I hope to hear from you again!

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