Monday, December 30, 2013

Re-post... Stress + Rest = Progress

With the sun setting on 2013 this week, many people will be setting New Year's resolutions.  In the health and fitness industry, we see a huge surge at the gym.  Masters swim programs, running and cycling groups all see an increase in activity and workout participation.  So, I thought it would be a good time to share the post form earlier in the year as a reminder to keep the balance with your training.  This will hopefully allow you to stay healthy which leads to consistency in training which leads to you reaching your goals for the 2014 year.

One of my favorite authors, Matthew Kelly has a saying he calls “carefree timelessness”, such a simple yet powerful statement.  I drew the inspiration for this article on a training break as I spent the morning lazily wandering along a river taking pictures of my friends fly-fishing.  The landscape was stunning and as the morning progressed, large billowy clouds slowly formed on the mountaintops surrounding the valley.  The sound of the leaves rustling in the gentle breeze was both soothing and cooling and the thought of a nap crossed my mind on more than once occasion. 

From an athletic standpoint, we call this a recovery day or in some cases a recovery week.  It is just as important to schedule rest and recovery days, as it is the hard training days.  Rest is when the training adaptations occur and too much training without taking into account recovery, can lead to injury and burnout. Stress is the combination of workouts that challenge both your body and mind.  Rest comes in the form of easy training days or complete days off from exercise.  Progress is made when you have the optimum balance of stress and rest. This balance will be different for every individual.

When setting up a training plan for an athlete, balancing the stress and rest of training is a top priority.  First and foremost is the age of the athlete.  Let’s face it; we just don’t bounce back like we did when we were kids.  That said the adult athlete can still perform at a very high levels of intensity, but is just takes longer to recovery from those efforts.  Other things to be considered are current level of fitness, number of years in the sport, past or present injuries, demands of job, family obligations and how much can they train versus how much they are willing to train.

But, what if you’re not training for an event?  What can you do to add a little rest and recovery into your day?  Try taking time to check in with yourself, hitting the reset button and putting the fast paced world on hold.  It does not have to be a long period of time by any means even five minutes will do.   Some people find mornings are best to check in and set your intentions before beginning the day.  Others may find a mid-day break is just what they need before diving back into the afternoon to do list. Or maybe you prefer some quiet time in the evening to unwind and decompress from it all. 

Really it can be pretty much anytime that works for you.  One of my colleagues, Cris Dobrosielski, has a saying that I really like, “small consistent change, over a significant period of time, leads to monumental results”.  Five minutes may not seem like a lot, but it can have a big impact over time if you are consistent.  So, keep searching to find your optimum balance, not only sport, but in everything you do in life.

Best of luck in all you set out to do in 2014 and Happy New Year!

Coach Eric

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013...almost history. The future... a mystery!

The end of the calendar year is often a time to look back and reflect on what has transpired the past 365 days.   So, before the year comes to an end in 8 days,  I challenge you to set a side a little time to reflect back on what 2013 has meant to you and answer this one question before getting too carried away with thinking ahead to 2014.

Do you know why you do what you do?

If you know the why, then the how you do it and what you do will take care of themselves.  This could be applied to many aspects of one's waking life such as work, school & sport to name a few. 

If 2013 was a year you considered successful, then keep building on that momentum.  If the year had some bumpy patches, try to learn from those experiences and bring that new knowledge forward into 2014.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Coach Eric 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Run... The hour of Power

Thought I would take advantage of the layover in Singapore to share this great 1 hour run workout I love to do while on travel. 

Really quite simple, and can be done on any type of surface: road, trail, snow, treadmill and terrain: flat, rolling or hilly route.

9 min easy/1 min hard
8 min easy/1 min hard 
7 min easy/1 min hard
6 min easy/1 min hard
5 min easy/1 min hard
4 min easy/1 min hard
3 min easy/1 min hard
2 min easy/1 min hard
1 min easy/1 min hard
1 min what ever you have left in the tank

Finish up with 5 min cool down and you have 60 minutes on the nose.

So, you end up getting some speed in as well as a progression type workout as the rest time between efforts gradually decreases. 

Make it a great week!

Coach Eric 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Catching up with Kyle in Cottesloe, Australia

Warm up time.... 50M pool at Scocth School

Kyle in action!

The Aussies love their swimming.  With over 60 (50M) meter pools in the Perth area alone, no wonder there are so many good swimmers down under.  Water sports are a big part of the Aussie culture.  Head to the ocean and you will find surf lifesaving clubs are scattered up and down the coast from Cottesloe Beach. 
Last week, I dropped in on a swim squad that Kyle trains with from time to time and snapped a few pics from his last long session (a little over 7K) before IM Western Australia.  This particular squad is in preparation for the biggest open water swim in this part of Western Australia, the Rottnest Channel Swim next February.  After the session, we sat down and chatted more about his training.

What got you into triathlons?  
Kyle - It was a slow progression in 2010 when I did the bike leg for a relay team in a 1/2 IM and that inspired me to try a 1/2 IM on my own in 2011.  In addition to the 1/2 IM that year,  I competed in a number of sprint and olympic distance events.  I have a good good support group of friends to train and race with and in 2013, a few committed to going "the full hog" and signed up for the Western Australia IM in Busselton Dec 8th, 2013

Why do you want to do an Ironman?  
Kyle - Looking for a bigger challenge and it seemed like a natural progression after completing the 1/2 IM distance.

How do you feel your Army training has helped you prepare for the IM?  
Kyle - For starters, it has gotten me used to sleep deprivation, but more importantly, the discipline and mental toughness that the Army training has instilled in me has been a great asset.  The flip side is the IM training has allowed me to better develop my endurance.  Only being 23, in the past I have been too aggressive in my training so, taking on the IM distance has taught me how to be patient with a better long term approach to my overall fitness.

How do you keep the balance with school, work, girlfriend, family and training? 
Kyle - I sometimes tread a fine line between too much training and too little study.  Better planning of my days and cutting out unnecessary tasks is the key.  The bottom line, it comes down to one word: efficiency.  My girlfriend has been very supportive of the training and I look forward to the time we spend together away from our studies and work; often taking the option of a stroll along the beach or at a park to unwind.

What is your favorite recovery meal?  
Kyle - For sure a smoothie post ride or run taste great.  Coach has been showing me how to "really eat" after a tough training session.  My new favorite smoothie is chocolate milk, with bananas, a few ice cubes and scoop of protein powder.

What is he saying to that gel?
Lots of gear to choose from

Just like this pic!

Anything else you would like to add? 
Kyle - Don't under estimate the logistics of training and the time commitment of Ironman and endurance sports.  A good way to be efficient with my cycling training was commuting to Uni.  Sometimes as a recovery from a workout, other times serving as a warm up for a workout.  Set up your training groups to help you stay on task and motivated in the training.  We usually have a large group that heads down for the 1/2 IM every year now and a little healthy competition can be a great motivator.