I recently talked about allowing yourself to skip training or a day at the gym to spend time doing things outside the gym. I believe doing that is vital for many reasons such as not feeling like the gym is an endless cycle day after day, but I want to discuss how having a training specific goal might change that. If we’re training just for general health we have the leeway to take those random days off to enjoy ourselves, but if there’s a specific goal with a deadline then all of a sudden maybe the priority changes.
There’s not many cases where training becomes priority number one, and it really comes down to the size of the goal you’ve set. If you’re going for a record or to be the best at anything then you have to put all your time and focus into it, but you’re also probably already a professional in that area and don’t have many other priorities. The other times training for something could come first is if it’s tight in terms of how long you have to train for it, or if you’re putting the final touches on right before. For instance, deciding to run a marathon 6 weeks before the start date when you’ve never ran over a 10k. In this case you just have to put in the time you have to get your body used to the miles it’s going to be putting on.
For the most part goals have enough time behind them that they can be put second or third behind other things that are just more important. Lots of times there’s things to focus on when working towards a goal that always beat it out. Probably the most common thing people consider focusing on training for is to lose weight, but at best I’d put training as the third priority in that endeavor, behind nutrition and sleep. Of course life also happens and important things come up, but I’ve seen people get stressed out about making to the gym. When family comes into town for a couple days trying to work your time with them around training is gonna cause more stress than the benefit of training can fix. You’re also more likely to not be focusing, and wouldn’t be getting much out of training then anyway.
When first setting something to train for it’s helpful to look ahead to the things that could come up during that time. Is a friend getting married? Have a family vacation coming up soon? Special events are easy to plan for since they’re known far enough in advance to figure out where they fall as a priority, or to adjust your training schedule a little.