Sunday, November 28, 2010

Training like a grown-up

I have a life...sort of...okay not so much. I do have a family and I support that family and they in turn support me. I am also training for Ironman Coeur D'Alene 2011. Type 'A' Ironman triathletes, which of course is redundant, have been known to abandon family and/or work in the pursuit of a qualifying slot for Kona or perhaps a PR. I include myself in that group. Now I'm not so naive as to say I'm not going to backburner more than a few things in the name of following my training plan, but I am determined to handle things in a more straight forward, and thus less stressful manner. And if there is less stress, long hours should suck less!

I'm not going to go back over my race goals. If you haven't read them 'click here.' Instead, here's a list of simple truths about how training will be conducted. Some of these statements might make Tim cringe, but oh well. That's what he gets for crap'n in front of me!

1) Rest is as or more important than exercise. Working out when overtired results in poor form. Poor form results in injury. Injury results in missed workouts. At almost 45 yrs of age, I can't afford setbacks.
2) If a workout is missed, it's gone. There are no makeups. *Note: this does not mean I can't rework the plan in advance to keep the progression/recovery intact.* I instituted this policy back in my rowing days, and while it seems extreme at times, in the end things have always worked out better. When you try to juggle things in an effort to make up for missed time, you invariably 'F' up the progression and cannibalize recovery time. (see point 1) Miss too many key workouts, and frankly someone is telling you there are bigger issues than missed workouts if you know what I mean.
3) The plan is important, but that doesn't mean I won't add some "creativity" in order to keep from going insane. This is my third trip through the protocol. I understand the progressions and what we're trying to accomplish during each phase. I also know myself and my needs. If the ankle aches, no questions asked the runs move to trails or water. I may split up long rides between the Kurt Kinetic, the rollers, and/or the road, or get creative with intervals. Here's one: try riding a section of your Z1 ride as a butt load (3 x 20 w/5min between @bottom Z1) of 45sec top of zone, 15sec ZR for an average of mid Z1. Time flies and you can use the 15sec to get the blood back in your junk!

Goals, even important meaningful goals, are frequently devices which we contrive to put pressure on ourselves, pressure intended to make us perform at a higher level. However, in setting goals we frequently don't list the opportunity cost of those goals, namely sacrificed friends, family, health, etc... It's easy to say, "yeah we have to make sacrifices," and we do. But how many people list the specifics of what they are willing to sacrifice? 6 hour continuous bike ride and not skating with the kids? Too costly for me. How about 4 on the bike, some skating maybe lunch, and then another 2 hrs later on when they are otherwise occupied? Maybe the T-run is in the pool at the athletic club so the kids can swim?

There's more than one route to any destination. There may be costs, but there might actually be gains as well. A mentally relaxed athlete is waaaaaay more powerful than a stressed athlete. Stress kills. How many people crush 'B' races and step on their cranks at 'A' races? Lots. Getting my body ready is important, but I've got to get my head there as well, and the best way for me to do that is to keep living the rest of my life while I train.