Some Training Thoughts

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Something I have been giving a lot of thought to lately is how I can expand and improve my training program.

Over the decade-plus I have been blogging, I have had many “plans” that have seen the light of day. Some are well thought out, some not.

Generally it’s some mix of trying to create the perfect storm of materials plus time expenditure. At the end of 2021, for instance, I had this plan.

That’s a plan that was reasonably well-designed with quite a bit of thought put into it. Yet I failed. Why? I believe the answer is because I focused on the “what” but not the “how and when” of things.

The what is easy. What do I need to do to get better? You can find many answers to this question, most of them valid and based on the experiences of others. You can spend time analyzing your games and trying to eradicate weaknesses. You can work on your tactics, your endings, or your openings. You can do those last three with a board and set, a website/app, or with books. Again, this is the easy part.

The hard and less discussed part is the how and when. How are you going to achieve your goals? When will you work on them? That is something I didn’t consider when I wrote the above plan.

While I have no children, I am married and have a full-time career that typically sees me putting in at least 43 hours weekly. So, the how and when factor in when considering these things. I can’t very well ignore either my career or my wife and expect life to continue as is.

Something I have seriously thought about is the idea of waking up early in the morning for training. I currently get time every morning to solve some tactics and review some lines on Chessable each morning with my coffee. On Monday and Wednesday, I work from home, so the time I would usually spend commuting can be repurposed for training.

I have been thinking, “Sure, but what if I get up at 4:00 a.m. and then train daily from 4:00-6:00 a.m.?” That’s one possibility, but what would happen on Thursday nights when I play? To routinely get up at 4:00 a.m. in a state of mind where it’s possible to train, I’d have to go to bed by 9:00 p.m. each night. Yet on Thursday, I routinely am at the chess club until 10:00 p.m. and often am not home until as late as 11:00 p.m. So what then?

Also, if I get up at 4:00 a.m. on Thursday, I will be tired when I start my 7:00 p.m. game. I also couldn’t get up early on Friday to train since I would be going to bed hours later than normal. This means we’re talking about getting up early to train three days a week instead of five. As it is, I get some time in on Mon-Wed, so would this only benefit me on Tuesday? Is it even worth it, then?

These are the quandaries of trying to train under the family life circumstances. It’s not a question of what you can achieve as much as it’s a question of what you are willing to give up to have the chance.

I welcome the readers’ opinions on this one.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott