Sunday, August 6, 2017

Variety, It's the Spice of Triathlon Training

Variety, it's the Spice of Training

Obstacle course racing.  It's great!  If you've read this blog in the past, you know I'm a champion of variety in training and racing.  Keep it fresh.  Keep the interest level high.  In my circle of training buddies, many have done a Tough Mudder (or TM half,) Rugged Maniac, Spartan or other event where getting dirty is just part of a day's work.  Er, day's fun.  That's more like it.  Most are around 2 hours or less, present a fair workout worthy of log book entry, and when done with friends are the tales that make up winter laughter.

Respect your injury.

Most triathletes are psychologically stronger than they are physically.

Many athletes focus on training related injures involves solely whether or not they’ll be affected in an upcoming race.  Little thought is given to making injury resolution priority #1.  They've sought help from a friend, an internet forum, or local medical professional. But in the end, many realize they've invested so much time and energy as part of this sport, there's a good chance they know more about themselves athletically than any physician.  Although this is likely not true medically, this gives them an insight into helping their care giver help them. It's a pretty unique patient-doctor relationship that as a physician I don't see all that often but one I enjoy.

Brett Sutton, famed tri coach, views it this way: "injuries are nothing more than a test of character.  You see quickly how they deal with adversity.  Injuries go but the scars remain in the minds of most." (Sutton's comments leave me wondering if those are positive or negative scars.)

The take home message here is that we will all be injured at one point or another, some of us frequently, some of us annually, some less.  You know that all of us get a great deal more out of of triathlon than finish line times.  Although you've heard this before, you can't hear it often enough.  Listen to your body.  Most triathletes are stronger psychologically than physically!  Really.  And I think you know it.  (For those of you old enough, does the name Gordon Liddy, organizer of the Watergate burglaries during the Nixon administration, mean anything?)  If we have the potential to do things to ourselves in the name of fitness, we have the potential to undo them as well.

Monday is the "most commonly injured" day.  It's not actually. It's just the day that people complain of pain the most. "I don't understand it. I just ran my usual 5 miles this morning."  What they don't see is that it may have taken a couple days for the effects from Saturday's big brick workout to become apparent.  I see it all the time.

  Take local athlete Mark Foley.  He is a master at achieving a sense of balance between offspring, job, triathlon and just plain enjoying living that many strive for but few of us achieve. You know how when you're talking with one of your tri friends, (or perhaps someone talking to you? Am I getting warm here?) and it becomes obvious that your idle chatter is cutting into their work out time? And they start to fidget? And then fidget a little more? And if you talk to them too much- "well, my T1 split at his race was 2:33 but at the next one it was..." they go into a full grand mal seizure? Yeah, I thought you did. It reminds me of one of those Whack-A-Mole games.........

Mark doesn't do that, ever. He has this sense of calmness, of control, that everything's going to be OK.  I think this is because he sees triathlon as a part of life, but not life itself.  Like many successful athletes, he's learned to utilize the darkness.  He plans work outs around work and life instead of the opposite, even if this means getting that morning work out done before heading to the lab, it gets done. Achieving this morning competence can be quite valuable since when you're the first one up, you can get in a run and wave to the deer and the newspaper guy.  Or, some time on the trainer with Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin distracting you with previous TdF dvds.  My swim group meets at 5:30.  In short, you can get in some quality training and be done when others are just stirring.

I had someone tell me once that they'd think twice before hiring some one deeply involved in this sport.  Sure, the old adage about giving something you want done to the busiest person you know is part of this but do they think, plan, drown in triathlon during their work day to the point that it diminishes their effectiveness....

I, as anticipated, disagreed strongly knowing that a triathlete is a master of the clock.  To quote my fellow writer Lisa Dolbear when asked about time management:

"I could do a tri, I just don't have the time."
News flash: We don't have the time either, but we've found a way to carve it out of our busy lives because that's what you do when you commit to something important to you. Thirty-five year old mother of two, part-time MBA student, community volunteer, fitness instructor and full-time marketing professional Darcy DiBiase is no stranger to busy schedules. She’s also no stranger to triathlon. "I learned how to own my world at 5:30 a.m., and use the time before everyone else’s day started to do things for myself," the three-time Iron Girl finisher says. "And time is only one of the resources I needed to be successful—I’ve also found the right people along the way to keep me motivated and committed to my goals."

That's right gang, like Darcy, stay committed to your goals!

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