I Am Not Borg, And Neither Are You

I am not Borg, and neither are you. Some of you many be thinking that this is an odd title for a training blog. For those who may not know what that means, it is a Star Trek reference to a group of people that have been assimilated into a collective with one mind. What prompted this blog, aside from watching Star Trek reruns, is that we are all individuals, not a collective of people that make one. The idea of the Borg is that they all do the same tasks, have the same thoughts, same training, same programming, and they require the same food intake, all to reach the same results. The other part of the Borg concept is that they are seeking perfection; they have no defects.

 

I understand the use of generic training plans gathered from books, magazines, and/or the internet. We have all seen them. Especially for someone new to the sport, they promise to deliver results, and we are sure that if we try them, we will have the same results as other people. These plans normally specify that you should be able to do something specific before starting out. The problem I have with these plans is that we all have different starting points and different goals. If you desire a different result than others, you would do best with a plan built specifically for you, with these things in mind. A one size fits all plan not only doesn’t take into consideration different starting points and goals, they bank on the fact that we all have the same lifestyle. Some important considerations in plan building are work schedule and family obligations. We all don’t have the same amount of time to put into training, and that is kind of a big deal. An individualized training plan is designed to fit your lifestyle, not someone else’s.

 

The idea of Borg is that everyone is perfect, without injury or sickness. I have been around athletes for a long time and have yet to meet one who fits this profile. I personally have some old injuries that still need to be taken into consideration. A torn shoulder ligament from a car wreck many years ago gives me trouble when I pick up yardage in the pool, so I have to take care. Patella tendinitis in both knees can be a bother if I don’t take care to plan accordingly. What 45 year old man doesn’t have some minor aches and pains that act up from time to time? These are things that you have to keep in mind when you use someone else’s training plan, or one from a book, magazine, or from the internet. I know I have mentioned this before, and it is why I support plans built specifically for individuals. There are too many factors to consider, and I feel it opens prospective athletes up to issues that could steer them away from the sport.

What are your thoughts on individual plans?

8 thoughts on “I Am Not Borg, And Neither Are You

  1. The difficulty for a coach is having multipul training plans! I agree each person has individual needs, I think they can all be on a simillar plan, where each session is tailored to the individual, ie. intensity, number of reps or distance are all adjusted to suit the individual! Something I believe swim coaches/squads do really well, mainly as a result of the confined enviornment & avaibility of lanes to the squad! Just my 2 cents worth.

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    1. Very true points, I work as a assistant swim coach and my son swims on two different teams and there are definitely lane over-crowding issues. We start each year by finding out each swimmer’s goals. We look at their previous results, to tailor a plan to help them reach their goals for the current season. The head coach of the USA Swim club built a training schedule that allows us to rotate swimmers based on swimming goals and abilities. So, I do agree with your comments especially with swimming and the lack of lanes.

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  2. I try to follow a plan but over last couple of years have learnt to adapt better to how i feel any on any given day. For example didnt want to run weekend just gone so compromised and went out on bike instead. Felt better for it as well.

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  3. The macro and mess cycle planning should certainly be individual to the athlete. Flexibility in micro cycle planning is an emotional contract between the coach and the athlete, part of understand who we are and where we are. Sticking to a rigid plan from week 1 to (say) week 24 might work but the chances are, trying to catch up on missed training will lead the athlete toward injury or illness. Another great post Wayne.

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