Sunday, November 13, 2011

Making Clear & Calculated Preparations

This morning, I took a 90K midday ride. Having touched down early yesterday morning, I had to fulfill my lack of sleep. In recent months, I have benefitted fully from slightly longer sleep and naps. When you are in your forties and competing in sports, you will want to gain as much advantage as possible from your recovery. Your fully recovered body can perform optimally and to your expectations when it is completely topped-up.

This morning, I am aware that some of my friends are doing their last long rides, before they begin their taper. My concern is, many of them (who are self-taught and self-directed) are not scientific in their training efforts. Some have bludgeoned their bodies with too many intense running races 8 weeks out from the big dance. Running does the most damage to a body that is already struggling to regain its health after weeks of endurance training. More red blood cells are destroyed from every footfall than with any other sport. Here to four weeks before your A-race, you should be completing your power workouts rather than taxing your aerobic fitness. More can be impeding. Less is impending.

Our personal ‘engine’ is vital to our athletic achievements. Feed it well, nurse it back to health, take it to task occasionally and it will reap rewards on multiple levels. You cannot continue to break the cardinal rules of starving it during training and competition, and depleting it continually with long-duration, high-intensity, physical challenges. Include rest and recovery when you are injured. What is up with the pain-stricken runners, who bind their knees and ankles with artificial support and sports-taping? Do they expect to improve by race-day wrapped up in pantyhose swathes? They could possibly benefit much more with cross-training (lower-impact sports selection) and active/passive recovery.

I am certain that some will continue to turn a deaf ear to such suggestions, so they will make their fair share of mistakes (thus, earning wisdom). Others will rely on their faith in mechanical technology; a few will really listen to their inner voice and outer voices to establish a clear sense of purpose. Do ask ‘why?’ occasionally to affirm, confirm or dismiss our hunches and thoughts.

Leadership Lessons: What do you do if when you have experienced static performance results for a while? How open-minded are you to changing your plans? Make breakthroughs with tweaked preparations instead of punching through each workout with dogged determination. Sometimes, less is more and it applies to aspects of our lives.

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