Thursday, January 26, 2012

Be Like the Water

I think a lot of times in life you can find yourself constantly struggling to overcome, breakthrough, or tear down all the obstacles that face you on a daily basis. The more I observe people who are successful in training, racing, work, and life are the people who don't have that "win at all costs" personality. There is something to be said about good healthy competition and how it forces you to strive to achieve a level within yourself that you never believed was possible but the more I watch and learn from those who accomplish their goals the more I realize how much they behave like the water.

It's a bit complicated to explain but imagine you are a stone at the top of a mountain, you are strong, solid, unyielding, and are willing to break anything in your path to get to your goal. Now lets say your goal is to get to the bottom of the mountain, you start rolling and you are crushing everything in your path; smaller rocks and stones, trees, roots, branches, streams whatever is in your way you can get through. However eventually you hit a stone even larger than you are and it stops you dead in your tracks. You fight and hammer and pound against the solid stone but it's useless there is no force great enough that you can create to get through this wall. Now imagine you are a stream of water and your goal is to get to the bottom of the mountain, you move and snake through the same trees, rocks, stones, and even other streams. When you get to the stone you follow the edge until you find the easiest way around it and eventually find your way to the bottom of the mountain.

The people that I find that are successful in what they do are not the type of people who bully, push, and force they're way to success. They are the type of people who are the most adaptable and fluid in their actions and behaviors. I admit that I am a bit of a fan of Ultimate fighting and when I see a fighter that is extremely strong and powerful and forces his way through everyone in front of him it is extremely impressive! However eventually those fighters will meet someone who is even more powerful, more strong, and more capable then they are. When that happens they fold and their confidence is lost. It's the fighters that move like the water, the one's that are difficult to hit and absorb any punches and kicks that are thrown at them that are successful. They understand that the fight is not about overpowering your opponent it's about doing damage while not getting damaged.

I look at a long term training plan in the same way, when I first started training for triathlon I had the mindset that more training, more intensity, and more racing was going to make me faster, stronger and allow me to become better. At first it worked and I started to think that this is the key! But I had to be willing to change my approach as my fitness changed and at first I was resistant to it. I just thought if I do more of X I'll get the result Y, but the body doesn't behave like that. The body breaks down and time and recovery are what help it become a better engine. Slowly I started to realize that over the weeks, months and years of training I was training my body and mind to take on massive training sessions but eventually I will hit a stone bigger than I was and I had to be willing to change what I was doing to still be successful. I have to thank Amber for helping me realize that the key to longevity in our sport is not having the ability to do more but to be able to adapt and change what you are doing and to fully recover. She's helped me enormously in the aspect of nutrition, the one area I am weak on, and it's equated to better training sessions and quicker recovery.

Everyone has their challenges in life and my advice to you is to simply face the challenge like the water, the more you absorb, adapt, change, and move with it, the more successful you'll be.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Training Season Has Begun

It's always an exciting time when the off-season is over and I get back into some hard training again but I forgot how much it can take out of me. It's been a while since I've had to push myself in training and I'm starting to feel the effects of a couple hard efforts. I did an hour easy run with the boys and Harley last Saturday followed by an hour of "Drop the Hammer" Coach Troy session and I forgot how much that can take out of you. Fortunately Amber has been on a smoothie kick and has been blending up all sorts of fruits and vegies which is outstanding for recovery. I've feel like my body is just soaking up all the nutrients in one drink and it's so much easier to drink vegies and fruit than eat it. I know I'm guilty of buying all sorts of good food just to watch it go to waste because it takes a lot of effort to prepare and eat it all. Now Amber and I can just blend it all up and drink it down, it's awesome.

This has been a tough week for a lot of people, it's been -30'c and colder and everyone is starting to feel the workouts take effect on their well rested bodies. I know of a couple people who have been sick this past week and I feel like I've been fighting something so I took two days off. I started to bounce back last night so I did 45kms of the Great White North course and felt fantastic. I'm still not in peak shape and I don't have my new bike yet but I managed to bang out the 45kms in 1:11.00, not bad for this time of year. Followed that up with a good swim with Bart and Robert this morning doing 5 x 5 sets of 50's going faster each set. It was good to get back to pushing in the pool again and 50's are a great way to jump back into some hard swimming. I'm swimming better than I have in a long time and I want to try to hold on to this fitness going into the spring/summer and hopefully not be so far behind everyone coming out of the water this year. This next week will be an 'endurance focused' week as I go into the next 5 mile Speed Revolution race. The race on the 28th is going to be a killer- Wapiti Hill Climb! 1 mile- 2%, 1 mile- 4%, 1 mile- 6%, 1 mile- 4%, and the final mile at 2%... yikes!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The First Speed Revolution Race

Here's a little clip of the suffering that was happening in the Skyloft on Saturday. I put in a few sections of the ultimate running style, Crowie. It doesn't look like it but I can tell you with certainty that everyone in this video is hurting like hell!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Let The Suffering Begin!

It's now 2012 and I feel like training for the season has begun. It's great to get back into a structured routine again and I've started a 5 mile indoor race series on treadmills for some local triathletes under the "Speed Revolution" name. I know none of us will be in spectacular shape now but the idea is to improve throughout the winter and be fast and ready to rock when the spring running races start. I have 10 people confirmed + myself and Amber so that's a really good start for the first race especially considering we only have 4 treadmills at Amber's gym. These 5 mile all out efforts hurt like hell but they definitely make you a faster runner. I'm excited to start suffering again and getting back into racing form again.

It was necessary to let my body fully rest and recover after Hawaii but now I'm happy that I can start training and go into 2012 feeling faster. I'm treating 2012 as a transition year, concentrating on 1/2's and shorter races with the intention of doing IM Coeur D'Alene in 2013 and hopefully Hawaii again if I qualify. It's hard to believe I'll be in the 40-44 age group in 2013 but I guess time doesn't stop for anyone and eventually you will move up into the next age group...