When I was growing up, quiz shows on television were all the rage. Blankety Blank hosted by Limerick man Terry Wogan was a personal favourite (sssh!). Ah come on, I was only 10.
By the time I had reached my 20s I had long since stopped watching them, honest. I do recall for a brief period, though, watching a show called The Weakest Link. Anne Robinson – the host – was known for being insulting to her guests. More about this later.
I have suggested previously how important it is to add 'rest' into our training plans. Whether we are preparing for a marathon, a triathlon, an assault on Croagh Patrick or a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, rest should be a vital part of our strategy. On top of training and proper nutrition, rest is the third vital component to maximising our ability. Every single body needs regular rest.
Last week, I was out for a run. Often whilst running, I daydream a lot. On this particular occasion, a vision of the 'Queen of Mean' – as Robinson became known – popped into my head. As her image appeared, I had been daydreaming about the two days of consecutive rest I had taken earlier that week.
After four weeks of hard running, in preparation for an annual pilgrimage of 26.2 miles around Dublin, I felt a second consecutive day off might be a sensible reward for my body. On this run, I felt very strong and was keen to diagnose why. I realised that the two days of rest had contributed hugely. So why The Weakest Link reference?
Put simply, that programme illustrates the importance of banking progress. In sport, we do this by resting. It helps us to recharge before we go forward to the next level. Those familiar with the workings of that quiz show, might already have worked out the connection.
The object of each round was to create a chain of consecutive correct answers and earn money for each that was answered correctly. If you didn't bank, but answered the next one correctly the rewards were greater, but it was a high-risk game. Those who didn't bank at regular intervals risked losing everything and Robinson took great pleasure in vilifying the greed of some contestants in refusing to bank as they progressed. So why the parallel?
I am firmly of the belief that we should bank our training successes at regular intervals by resting at least once a week. It is worth noting that it is during rest periods that our fitness elevates. Those who don't rest often, risk everything.
It can be so tempting – just like in the show – to push for more than is wise. A number of things will almost certainly happen in a sporting context. We will not recharge and therefore not bank our progress to date or elevate our fitness. We put all our gains at significant risk by pushing a tired body.
We also risk picking up an injury by training when we should be resting. Don't be greedy. Rest/bank at regular intervals. It will help you secure the big prize.
Gerry Duffy is a motivational speaker and endurance athlete. www.gerryduffyonline.com