The definition of rigor is the quality of being extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate.
I have no idea how long this word will be at the forefront of our minds in this training cycle but I hope it stays throughout my entire time here. I am unable to do anything now without thinking of rigor and how I should apply it to every aspect of training. While rigor is great to constantly be thinking of, I think it is best paired with a sense of urgency. I am unsure of everyone’s goals on the team, but I plan to train for the next 4 years with everything I have and see where things go from there. This means that I have a limited amount of time to get the most out of my body and really we all do, it is just that I have placed a specific time limit on mine. With this time limit comes one of the greatest senses of urgency I have ever felt. The closest feeling that comes to mind is knowing that you have a large project due soon and you feel like you do not have enough time to finish the task. What a person can do in this situation is either panic while frantically trying to get ready in time or stay focused and apply rigor to every part of what you are doing because you want to give it your best. I think my mindset for training is best thought of in this light.
I realize I am limited by how long I have to train here which means that I have to apply rigor to everything I do if I am going to maximize my ability. Every hurdle drill I do, I try to do it perfectly every time because that is what rigor is all about. There is not any room for thinking that I have several months before I race a steeple. The only option is to try to be perfect and set the best patterns possible so that when I am exhausted going into the final lap of a steeple, my form never falls apart. It is amazing how much better you get at every type of drill with this attitude. I feel as if I should mention here that it would be unwise to give in to excessive devotion to mastering the drills that we do. With this idea of rigor and urgency, I do not want to give the impression that I wake up at 3 a.m. in order to work on these drills for 5 hours before practice starts. There clearly needs to be a balance or else you will wind up injured. Our coach (Robert Gary) explained to us that he does not believe you can do a lot of quality work whenever you are exhausted. An example would be if you did explosive or dynamic plyometric work immediately after a long run, you would likely do them incorrectly and not get the desired benefit. It is hard to work muscles that are completely fatigued. This idea is taken from making sure we are not overloading ourselves in mileage to making sure we are doing enough drills to get better but not enough to become unable to do them properly. Knowing that you only have a certain amount of attempts to do a specific exercise perfectly means that you have to focus on each one because in a few minutes, you will be finished and have to wait a few days before getting more practice in. I think this mindset is great for increasing rigor and I hope I am able to maintain that mindset throughout my time here because so much seems possible when thought of that way.