October 28, 2014

When An Obstacle Isn't An Obstacle

"All of this had a purpose: Every second his energy was to be spent on his legal case. Every waking minute was spent reading - law books, philosophy, history. They hadn't ruined his life - they'd just put him somewhere he didn't deserve to be and he did not intend to stay there. He would learn and read and make the most of the time he had on his hands. He would leave prison not only a free and innocent man, but a better and improved one."
    -About Ruben Hurricane Carter in 
     "The Obstacle is the Way" by Ryan 
      Holliday. 

How often do we encounter an injury, or other roadblock to training?  I know from experience it's pretty easy to throw your hands up in the air and give up.  Having struggled with a series of fairly significant biomechanical problems since late 2003, sometimes I wonder why I even try to keep training. 

Many of us training for a few months and hope "it" goes away.  Or quit training entirely.  

What if we instead rededicated ourselves to doing everything possible to break through that obstacle?

What if every obstacle only made us better in the log run?

Would we even call them obstacles any more?

October 27, 2014

Learning By Doing

don't think we experiment enough with our bodies in training. 

Think about it. When is the last time you consciously thought about testing conflicting workout parameters to see which led to the most performance gains?

I think we get comfortable doing a given routine and stick with it because it's...comfortable. 

This might be the single most valuable aspect of hiring a coach - an unbiased outside perspective. 

Playing with these things don't require a coach though.  Just a bit of forethought and a workout log. 

Outside of workouts, what else can you experiment with in hopes of more speed?  

A new pre-race routine, altered caloric intake during workouts/races, different nutrition products, a new bike fit, or different gear?

Thanks to Richard Branson for the idea.   Virgin.com

October 26, 2014

Price vs Cost

One of the biggest negatives you hear about Ironman triathlons is the high entry fee.  After online registration fees, you're generally looking at over seven hundred dollars for a single race. 

Even the most expensive marathons aren't one third of that price.  

So why do many Ironmans sell out 3,000 spots in less than a minute?  

It comes down to price vs cost. 

Price is the number of dollars you pay for something.  Cost is the lifetime value of that item. 

The price of PVC pipe is far less than copper.  But copper lasts far longer. Over the lifetime of owning a home, the cost of copper pipe can be far lower than PVC. 

The same can be said for Ironmans. You can do a small town iron distance race for a couple hundred bucks. The course safety as volunteer support might even be just as good. 

But the Ironman event carries a few things that no small town race can replicate...the incredible finish line experience, the one and only Mike Reilly announcing "Eric Johnson, you are an Ironman", and of course the perception of the Ironman brand by the general  public.  

Ask any triathlete what race they should do if they plan to do an iron distance race as a bucket list item.  It will always be an Ironman event. 

An Ironman may have a much higher price, but taking all factors into account, a lower cost. 

October 20, 2014

Stimulus Variety

One of the most important strategies to prevent tissue overload (injury) is to vary the stimuli (stresses) of training. 

My two favorite are rotating my shoes and running on a variety of surfaces, such as asphalt, grass, rocky roads, and forest trails. 

Other options include varying the length of each run, varying the pace of each run, or doing non running cardio such as cycling or elliptical work. 

What other strategies do you use?

October 19, 2014

Check Lists

To maximize performance on race day, a lot of little things need to go right.  It's easy to drop the ball considering our emotions take over and we focus on the race itself. 

Maybe we should do what airplane pilots do - and make a checklist. 

To make your checklist, list all of the  minor and major things that need to get done the day before the morning in chronological order. 

This comes to mind today as I failed to use my checklist yesterday.  I ran in a short trail race and, due to lack of planning, ate a rushed breakfast without thinking about which foods might give me problems during the race. 

Now, I'm trying to do better about not making excuses for poor performance. So I will freely admit that the five guys who beat me on race day did so because they were better athletes that day. 

With that said, my poor choice for breakfast led to stomach issues and the ensuing potty break a half mile from the finish line resulted in two people passing me. 

Had I use my checklist, and followed it, there's a good chance those problems would not have arisen.  

Here's a checklist I use for long triathlons.  Feel free to copy, modify and use it or yourself.