Train Like You Race or Race Like You Train


“I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things half-heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results.”

Michael Jordan

Should you race like you train or train like you race? Is it a binary choice?

There are many ways to approach this age-old question that has challenged every athlete and coach. The actual issue becomes much clearer when you substitute the words for training and practicing with learning (the goal of training) and substitute testing for racing (what a race actually is). Learning and testing (racing and training) have two very different goals and approaches when you see them as a binary. There are really 3 .


  1. Practicing. Learning and developing skills to be better. This is where your goal is not to just do something faster. You must focus on doing it better and more efficient. This is where you live in the reach zone. Slow things down and take the time to learn (Check out the Reach Zone).

  2. Learning to compete. Schools teach how to test. Billions of dollars are spent every years on students testing them how to handle the SATs. Some time should be taken and given these skills. Mental approaches, routines, starting, finishing dealing with stress and expectations.  

  3. Racing and competing. Nothing magical happens in a race that has not happened in practice. An athlete’s race performance is the direct reflection of what the mind and body can produce when under pressure. To achieve a specific race result, an athlete must be prepared to learn and practice the skills to get the results.