03/25/21: What exactly is the Hidden Training Program?

Sent 3/25/2021

We launched Fueling the Pursuit, UCAN's new podcast, on Monday. I hope you'll subscribe and give it a listen. Our conversation with Meb in Episode 1 inspired today's topic.


This week's Think Better Newsletter looks at the Hidden Training Program, what it is and what it isn't.

The Idea

Meb 24-7 quote

In our conversation with Meb, he said the following:

"Replenishing, stretching, icing, therapy, sleeping, and the mind frame are important. So for me, you know, even when you're sleeping you're training. I really believe it was a 24/7 job."⁠⁠

This is the hidden training program. It's all the 24/7 activities that most athletes don't associate with being part of their training.

Most athletes think of training as what their coach requires them to do. But that's just the formal training program, which is a small portion of what you really need to do to be successful.

The Hidden Training Program

Most young athletes do a decent job of putting a lot of effort into their formal training programs. If their coach asks them to do it, they do it. And let's be clear: that's the most critical piece to get right. 

But if we want to be truly successful, we have to step back and realize that there is a lot more to be done than just our workouts. Every aspect of our lifestyle affects our training.

Meb's quote highlights some of the big ones, but there's more. Where we live and who we live with. What we spend our time doing and not doing. How we communicate with those around us. Our access to the support we need.

The more hidden the importance of these activities remains, the greater the disadvantage you're at relative to your competition.

The System

The solution to discovering the hidden training program is engaging more in the sport. Reading more books, asking more questions, and actively seeking out knowledge are critical.

Many coaches try to identify parts of the hidden training program for you, and to build routines that make doing them easier. Great teams formalize as much of the hidden training program as possible. But you can't remove it entirely. You'll always need to be looking for it, and trying to improve it.

Which leads me to one last point. The hidden training program isn't always the same for every athlete. Yes, we all need to sleep and stretch and hydrate.

But I may have supportive parents who make it easy to train, whereas you may have a more difficult home environment that you'll need to figure out how to navigate. Some aspects of your hidden training program are truly yours.

The hidden training program isn't just about doing what the best do. It's about doing what you really need to do.

The Question

If somebody watched you for 24 hours, what would they say you aren't paying enough attention to?


Go Be More,

Bryan Green
Author of Make the Leap: Think Better, Train Better, Run Faster and the companion Think Better Workbook
Co-host of the Go Be More Podcast

"Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things." - Bruce Barton


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