Spinach is good for you or so I have been told. When I was kid I was constantly admonished by my mom to eat my spinach so I could have muscles like Popeye, but I didn’t like spinach, I did not like the taste of it. I tried closing my eyes and holding my nose, that didn’t work. I tried mixing it up with stuff on plate that I liked but that did not make it any more palatable. Finally my mom gave up and we all moved on. Certainly there were no dire consequences. Today I actually like spinach. Why? Yes I know it is good for you if prepared properly so that all the good nutrients are not cooked out of it, no that is not the reason. It is simple I acquired a taste for it. I found different ways to prepare it and ways to mix it with other veggies. It is much better in a salad that boiled.
So what does this have to do with training? Pretty simple actually. There are many “spinach like” elements in training, things that we just don’t necessarily like to do, but must be done. Sometimes it is mundane things and other times more significant things. The difference from spinach is that if these things are not done there are consequences; some are dire like increasing potential for injury and some just manifested as performance decrement. You certainly can’t wait to acquire a taste for these things. They must be on the plate and eaten with regularity. The secret is to sequence them with other components that are compatible. They must be put in the plan and supervised. They must be measured so that the athlete can see the importance. In training so much of the “spinach” is doing the little things, like thorough post training static stretching or a complete warm-up. Not eating the training spinach means cutting corners. Sometimes it is only eating what you like on the training plate and ignoring everything else, for example an overemphasis on one component that you are good at and ignoring something else you not good at and don’t like. The solution is simple, mix it in a salad, flavor it with a salad dressing you like and eat the whole salad!