...Magnify the small and increase the few... Achieve greatness in little things
There are three ways I see this idea influencing my training. First is by doing more frequent, but shorter duration workouts that emphasize technique. There were times in the past where I ran into scheduling conflicts that left large time gaps in my training log or I stopped training altogether because I couldn't find the large blocks of time I felt necessary to meet my goals. But five years away from doing something gives me a much different perspective. Instead of lamenting the 2, 3, or 4 hour blocks of time I don't have on a given day, I try to focus on the 15, 30, or 60 minute blocks of time I do have an make better use of those. I like to use these "mini" workouts to do those things I normally wouldn't because of my short attention span. 15 minutes in the pool working on my stroke/technique is way better than no time spent in the water at all. The same goes for 30 minute trainer sessions on the bike which emphasize pedal stroke and cadence, or my 15 minute treadmill runs which focus on leg turnover and speed at a low heart rate. They all count toward my goals and I do them to get me ready for those times when I can train in 4 or 5 hour blocks. I can also use these small blocks of time to do core work, mini yoga sessions targeting trouble spots, or body weight workouts. These are things which all contribute to my overall fitness and allow me to get and keep my body ready for the more time consuming work to come.
Second, I try to focus on the little things that get me ready to train. Now I spend time thinking about how I am going to eat and sleep leading up to key training sessions. I try to spend as much or more time planning my food and my recovery as I do my races and training. During my recovery days and weeks, I schedule massages, Rolfing, acupuncture, naturopathic and nutrition appointments to stay on top of my overall health and wellbeing. In one sense, I may not be a professional triathlete, but where ever possible, I really try to treat myself as if I were one. Where this is paying off is now I find myself better prepared to actually execute and achieve my goals. I am injured less, except for the bike wreck, and I'm generally pain free and rested prior to key workouts. This in turn sees me actually meeting more of my goals because now I am paying more attention to the things that actually make it possible for me to train and race well. And as a result I have a much more positive outlook.
Third, I try to remember to celebrate my small victories. Instead of focusing on race times, placings, or PR's, I focus on smaller triumphs like having my run stride feel fluid and effortless, or taking ten perfect strokes in the water, or pedalling so as to take full advantage of "power points" and floating up climbs. I focus on the things I am learning and make note of even the smallest improvement. I know triathletes who get discouraged after all the training, the time, and the sacrifices they've made and see no reward or payback on raceday because they didn't have the race they expected or didn't beat someone. I like to keep my triumphs small and personal. This way I always see constant improvement. I am discovering when I take care of the small things, the big things really do take care of themselves which is exactly what "magnify the small, increase the few" means.