Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Switching Gears: My Second Meso-Cycle

I am sore in my arms; a result of a fairly intense swim squad session. This evening’s Monday Night Swim session with 22 members, including recent Ironman finishers was my first serious session after a long season of racing in marathons. Tonight spells exactly one week after my post-flu, Singapore Marathon completion. It is timely to switch gears and shift from pure distance-running to triathlon-specific race training.

I have 11 more weeks to go before Ironman New Zealand. Coach has prescribed my first week of conditioning and it includes no rest, but active recovery. My schedule for the second week of my second meso-cycle (4 week-block) looks daunting, partly because I will be focused on more mileage and power-specific intervals. As I will be on two weeks of vacation, I will be able to train more diligently and enjoy more sleep. Of course, Fox has been kind to suggest some degree of flexibility for a time-crunched athlete. Olympian and veteran coach, Chris Carmichael also wrote a book to address the serious triathlete who is tight for time, yet wants to excel based on the ‘quality time’ approach.
This phase of my training that will run through the end of the year is about engaging adaptation. Apply new stress on the body gradually, and it will adapt by becoming stronger, faster and fitter. Deprive it of much needed rest and nutrition, and it may not recover well and may weaken. The axiom is: Train, recover, and race. Repeat. The delicate line of consideration is: stress the body exceedingly and briefly, but not excessively and prolonged. One hard week is followed by one easier week. Active recovery and rest is an integral part of athletic improvement and progression.

I look forward to this phase of my triathlon training as, after withdrawing from IM Canada this year, I was eager to race again. After a hectic season of running-based races, I ready to race an Ironman. Perhaps, my first 226K-race will be my opportunity to do a personal record (PR) I was denied last year. I suffered a bad crash when a taxi knocked me down while I was cycling one month before IM New Zealand. I eventually raced, although not at my best and posted a 13-plus hour completion. I was disallowed any swimming as my fractured cheek would have risked infection of my sinus.
I also signed up for Ironman Switzerland on 15 July. I chose it as the Australian M-Dot branded races were all sold out. IM Western Australia 2012 sold out in just 69 minutes, as the wave of fervent interest for the 226K-triathlon format increases. All Asian Ironman races have been discontinued, with the other Kona slots distributed over the new Australian M-Dot races.

Leadership Lessons: How do you cope with physical and mental changes? What is your coping mechanism for crisis and emergencies? How open are you to changes? How do you cope with changes in the marketplace? How do you stay relevant and contemporary? How much time do you factor in for rest and recovery?

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